Story Title: Breathe Again by ysar
Chapter: 5. Revelation
Genre: Twilight – Romance / Hurt/Comfort
Warnings: Strong Language, Violence,
Post Word Count: 3270
Status: Work In Progress
Summary: “If Alice hadn’t seen Bella cliff-dive, what would have happened? Would Bella have given in to her feelings for Jacob? Was she even capable of moving on? Victoria’s hunting, Edward’s coming back—and that’s just the beginning!”
Author’s Note: If you haven’t already done so, read the short companion story “Wisdom” before you read this chapter. Sam and Emily are about to have a talk with Jacob, and you’ll definitely want to see how they got there.
I’d been arguing with myself ever since Jacob left. I was furious with him…no, I was furious with myself. But I knew better than to sit at home by myself all night. Obviously I never should have kissed him. He was still a sixteen year old, even if he did have the body of a grown man. The perfect muscular irresistible body of…stop it! Just because I was attracted to him didn’t mean we should be together. Things were so much easier when we were just friends.
His immaturity may very well have been why I had so much fun with him—until recently. Lately everything had just been a mixed-up disaster. I mentally outlined everything I needed to say to him and hoped tonight would be my chance. I would tell him that I loved him but that I was wrong to kiss him. I would make sure he understood how much he’d helped me, saved me really, but that I just couldn’t have a relationship with him. I couldn’t handle the lack of control-his lack of control. My lack of control, too, but I probably shouldn’t mention that. I wanted my best friend back, the one who made me laugh and was always there for me, not this new person who was just all over me–and laughing at me. He’d be upset at first, but he’d forgive me, right?
We would talk when he came to pick me up. He probably wouldn’t want me to go with him after that. But if he did, at least I’d know he wouldn’t have the wrong idea.
Jacob hadn’t told me what we were doing, but I suspected we were going to the bonfire Embry had mentioned. I stood at my closet door, not sure what I was supposed to wear. It’s not like there was a bonfire dress code, but since I’d be with Jacob, there were probably some outfits I should avoid. I grabbed a tank top, but after this afternoon, I layered it under a warm black flannel shirt I’d swiped from Charlie—and I buttoned it right up to the collar. On top of some baggy old jeans and boots, I considered it a job well done. I could have lost or gained twenty pounds in that shapeless outfit, and it would have been impossible to tell.
On an even brighter note, it’s not like we would be alone. The whole pack was sure to be there, and I doubted Sam or any of the elders who happened to be in attendance would think it appropriate if Jacob tried for a repeat performance. They didn’t know it, but I was counting on the pack to protect me not only from Victoria, but now Jacob as well. I couldn’t contain my smile as I thought of Sam putting Jacob in his place…Oh no! The pack!
Ughhh! Why hadn’t I thought of that before? If Jacob had changed into his wolf form at any time recently—and he probably had—they would all know every detail of what happened. Embry had already been laughing at me. Now they all would. What was I thinking, kissing a werewolf? They could hear each others thoughts! Could they see each others thoughts, too? I sat down on the floor with a thud. I couldn’t even be mad, now. I just wanted to hide. A bunch of horny, immature teenage boys were probably witnessing my private moments with Jake right now.
“Bella, Jake’s here!” Charlie called up the stairway.
I couldn’t do this. Not now. Not with everyone knowing. I raised up enough to reach the doorknob and turned the lock. I was never leaving my room. Ever.
“Bella?” Charlie was standing outside my door now. He knocked, then tried to open it.
At least the lock works, I thought.
“Bella, open the door.”
“Bella, are you okay? What are you doing in there?”
“I’m fine, Dad,” I lied. “And I’m not doing anything. Can you just tell Jacob I’m not going?” His footsteps echoed down the stairs, and I heard voices below, but I couldn’t make out what they were saying. I hoped Jacob would just listen to Charlie and leave.
I should have known better. Someone was coming up the stairs again, and I knew my luck better than to think it was Charlie.
“Bella?” That wasn’t Jacob’s voice. Or Charlie’s. What was Emily doing here? “Bella, please open the door. The men have gone outside. It’s just me. Can we talk?”
Emily hadn’t done anything to me. Refusing her would just be rude. I leaned over and unlocked the door. She looked a little startled to see me sitting in the middle of the floor, but she didn’t comment on my choice of seating as she turned to lock the door behind her.
“How long are you planning on staying in here?”
“You want to talk about it?” she asked, lowering to the floor beside me.
“I don’t have anything to talk about,” I mumbled.
“Of course you don’t,” she teased. “I’m sure you always sit on the floor, barricaded in your room, looking like you’re about to cry.”
“I am not about to cry,” I insisted. Crying was all I had done lately, and I was through with that. If I was going to be shedding any tears, it certainly wasn’t going to be over a boy.
She put her arm around me. “You know the pack doesn’t have secrets, don’t you? And you know they don’t have any choice in that, right?”
“I wish they did,” I said, unable to look her in the eye.
“Sam’s worried about you.”
“Sam? What—why is Sam worried?” I asked. Sam hated me. Okay, he didn’t hate me, but he didn’t like me much. He only put up with me because Jacob wouldn’t leave me alone. Plus I had information about Victoria. I was gaping at Emily like she’d suddenly sprouted horns and a tail.
“Because you’re very upset, and you have every right to be. Jacob is an idiot,” she explained, almost laughing at that last part.
“So I guess he ‘heard.’“
“He wasn’t trying to, Bella, but Jake’s always thinking about you. You have to talk to him. You can’t hide in your room forever.” A sympathetic smile crept across the un-damaged side of her face.
“I’ve tried to talk to him, but he’s impossible!” I insisted.
“That’s the problem with men—especially werewolves,” she laughed. “They’re terrible listeners. Sam is the worst,” she admitted. “But I asked him to talk to Jake about this.”
“Sam talked to Jacob about me?” I whined. “No!”
“Oh, Bella,” she chided. “It’s no wonder you & Jake need a mediator. Look, Sam told me what he ‘heard’ and I believe I know what’s going on.”
“I don’t even know what’s going on,” I countered. “But I do know it has to stop.”
“You were pretty messed up about that vampire.” She was looking at me with something close to pity.
Great. I’m pathetic now, too.
“You know Sam’s the one who found you in the woods, and he hated seeing you like that. And we all know how desperate Charlie was when you didn’t bounce back. I know it took you forever to get…to a good place. And Jake’s been there for you?”
She paused to gauge my reaction, and I tried to keep a blank face.
“And now Jake’s so happy and in love he can’t think straight. Has he been…pushing things a bit further than you’re comfortable with?”
I quickly dropped my eyes to stare at the floor.
“Bella, I think you’re more inexperienced than Jake realizes.”
My mouth was hanging open. Okay, this was truly humiliating.
“You’re what? Eighteen?”
“How many boyfriends have you had, Bella?”
“One.” Where is she going with this?
“Aside from him, there’s been no one else…ah…close?”
I shook my head.
“You’re a hell of a lot smarter than the eighteen-year-olds I know,” she mused. “And since he was a vampire, I’m guessing there wasn’t much… Well, things were pretty limited, weren’t they?”
Another nod. I really didn’t feel comfortable talking about it.
“That’s what I thought. And that’s exactly what I told Sam.”
Ok, my mouth was hanging open again.
“Don’t look so shocked, Bella. Sam’s a good man, and he looks out for his pack. Jake’s a mess when you’re upset with him, and it’s not good for his brothers. Lately he’s been a wreck, and it’s making things difficult for everyone.”
“That’s not my fault,” I muttered.
“Well, it’s driving the rest of the pack nuts. We all know how Jake loves you, and he shouldn’t be left to screw it up just because he doesn’t know any better. Sam set him straight, though. Now that he understands why you’re so upset, he’ll be much easier to talk to.”
“It’s really not like that, Emily. I’m not naïve. I know what…goes on, and it’s not like I have a problem with it. I’m just not…quite ready for all that…with Jacob.”
“Sam didn’t tell Jake I’m..? He didn’t make it seem like I’m..? Ughhh! I’m not a child! Please, please tell me Sam didn’t say something to embarrass me,” I whined. “Jacob and I are supposed to be friends. Nothing more. I just need to explain that to him, and everything will be okay again.”
She looked disappointed, but she smiled. “No one’s laughing at you, Bella. And if that’s how you really feel about Jake, I suppose you should tell him that. But you’ll have to unlock your door first.”
I wanted to be mad at her for dragging Sam into this, for talking to Jake about things that were private. But she smiled at me so warmly that I couldn’t.
“Believe me, Bella, I’ve been there. I’m not going to give you some talk about love and lust and all that goes with it. But I know your mom’s not here, and I can’t imagine the chief of police and a pack of wolves are very easy to confide in. You’re in on our little secret, so that makes you one of us, even if you and Jake are just friends. Unlike the guys, I am perfectly capable of keeping secrets, even from Sam if you want. So if you ever need to talk-”
I cut her off with a hug. I still didn’t want to face the pack, but I had to give Emily credit. I wasn’t crying anymore. Plus, I was considering unlocking my door sometime within the next month or two.
“Ok, Bella, about this bonfire…I asked the guys to wait in the truck, but if I know Sam, he and Jake have already left ahead of us. So it’s just you and me. Unless you don’t want to go?” she asked.
“I don’t know, Emily…”
“It would mean a lot to Jake. He’s feeling pretty guilty right now—and really stupid—and he at least needs to know you’re ok. You’re not going to resolve this unless you talk to him. And I wouldn’t mind your keeping me company on the drive out there,” she said with a grin.
“Okay, I guess.” It was impossible to argue with her when she was being so kind. And I did still need to talk to Jacob. I had to make him understand it was all a mistake, that we were friends. Only friends. “But if I want to leave?”
“I’ll take you home the second you want out,” she assured me. “Now about this outfit…”
Sam and Emily showed up at my house at five thirty. Emily went straight to the kitchen and started cleaning up the mess Billy had made earlier. Sam pulled me into my room and shut the door.
“Jake, we need to talk.”
I almost laughed. That was the kind of thing I expected Bella to say, not Sam. “Okay, talk,” I said.
“It’s about Bella.”
That got my attention. “What about her?” I asked, suddenly worried.
“Emily thinks you need some advice. And I think she’s right.”
“Okay…” I said uncertainly, dropping to sit on the bed. This should be interesting.
“Things with you and Bella have been kind of…volatile…since the other day, and it hasn’t been good for you. It hasn’t been good for any of us.”
“I know that, Sam, but it’s not a problem anymore,” I explained quickly. “We talked today, and I think it’s all worked out. There’s really nothing to worry about.”
“So she told you?” he asked.
“Told me what?”
“That she’s… Damn, I wish Emily was the one doing this.” He looked uncomfortable.
“That she’s what, Sam?” I was starting to get worried again.
“Look, Jake, I can’t have you distracted all the time. And I told Emily what’s been going on with you. She thinks the reason Bella keeps reacting the way she does, getting so mad at you, is because you’re moving too fast for her.”
“What do you mean too fast?” I asked suspiciously.
“You have to understand that I could only describe what I saw through your thoughts, Jake. And I only told Emily because I didn’t understand it myself. And if someone doesn’t help you out, I might have to kill you,” he said with a wry smile.
“Just spit it out, Sam,” I said, my impatience showing.
“I don’t like talking about this, Jake. It’s really none of my business. But as long as you insist on seeing her… Look, Emily thinks Bella’s a virgin. She’s probably never done half of the things you’re trying—or thinking about trying—with her. Emily says that’s what’s freaking her out.”
If I hadn’t been so shocked at the words he’d just said, I’d have found the discomfort in his expression thoroughly entertaining. Instead, I was staring at him like he’d just spoken to me in some foreign language.
“But…she’s eighteen! And I know I’m not the first guy she’s dated!” I’d be thrilled if Bella had never slept with anyone, but I couldn’t believe she was that innocent. I had sisters, and they’d had plenty of experience by the time they were my age. Bella just didn’t want to rush things…right?
“How many guys do you know about?”
“Just the bloodsucker. But Sam, you know how she—you know I didn’t do anything she didn’t want!” I insisted. “I stopped when she said to, and I didn’t try anything today!” He had to be wrong.
“No one’s accusing you of anything, Jake. Emily’s just saying…Hell, I’m just saying that Bella’s not used to this. Whatever it seems like she wants, she’s not ready for it. Just try to go at her pace—don’t let yourself get caught up in the moment.” He gave an exasperated sigh. “And if you need more advice, talk to Emily. She’s a hell of a lot better at this than I am.”
I was still sitting there in shock when he called Emily into my room.
“You okay, Jake?” she asked with concern.
“No.” How could I be?
“Leave us for a minute, Sam,” Emily said, and she waited until he’d shut the door then sat down beside me. “It’s not as bad as you think.”
I couldn’t say anything. I just shook my head.
“Is she coming to the bonfire with you tonight?”
“I think so. I told her I’d pick her up,” I said, not wanting to admit that she’d never actually said she’d come with me.
“She obviously loves you or she wouldn’t have put up with you this long,” she laughed. “Don’t be so hard on yourself.”
“What if she doesn’t want to see me?”
“What if I go with you to pick her up?”
“Why didn’t she say anything to me?” I asked, not really expecting an answer. Then I remembered. She had said something. Not in so many words, but she’d still said it. I was just too busy teasing her to pay attention. Bella was right. I was stupid.
“Get your butt in the truck, Jake, or we’re going to be late to pick her up.”
Charlie expected me, but he looked a little surprised that I had Emily and Sam with me. Fortunately, he was good enough not to stare at Emily.
“Bella, Jake’s here!” he called up the stairway.
We heard movement upstairs, but after a minute or two of no answer and no Bella, Charlie went up after her.
“Bella?” I heard him say. “Bella, open the door.”
She’d locked him out? I should have expected as much. I shot Emily a panicked look.
“Don’t worry,” she said.
“Bella, are you okay? What are you doing in there?” Charlie was trying to coax Bella out of her room. She wasn’t coming.
He gave up quickly and came back downstairs. “I’m sorry. She says she’s not going,” he told us, looking uncomfortable.
“Do you mind if I talk to her, Charlie?” asked Emily.
“You’ll probably have to do it through a locked door, but be my guest.”
“Thanks. Sam, Jake, do you mind waiting in the truck?” Emily asked as she headed up the stairs.
Charlie shrugged at us apologetically and headed back into the living room. We went outside.
“Let’s go,” said Sam.
“I thought we were supposed to wait in the truck.”
“No, this is girl time. And I’ve had enough of that for one day,” he said, scowling. He phased and I followed.
We didn’t run, and we didn’t head straight to the bonfire. I didn’t bother wondering why, either. I just used the time to get my head together. I didn’t even care that Sam could hear all my thoughts.
When Bella had screamed at Charlie about an oversexed boy, she had been talking about me. At least I had stopped when she’d asked me to. I hadn’t even hesitated. And though I’d teased her a little about it, I hadn’t pushed any further this last time. Maybe she would realize that and forgive me. Bella knew I would never mean to hurt her, right? She had to know that. We’d been friends for so long, and I’d never knowingly pushed her into anything. Except maybe into her room behind a locked door.
My stomach was in knots. How was I supposed to fix this? Sorry, Bells, I thought you were easy, didn’t seem like such a good idea. And it wasn’t true either. I’d just assumed she was like every other girl I knew. But I should have known better. Bella wasn’t like anyone I’d ever known. Why should this be any different?
I just had to focus on the positives. Emily was with her now, and if anyone could fix the mess I’d made, it was her. She was a girl, she understood these things, and she could probably explain it better to Bella than I could. All I needed to do was apologize. A lot. Probably every day for the rest of my life.
And it was probably selfish of me, but I liked knowing that she was all mine, that she hadn’t really been with anyone. Even if she made me keep my hands to myself from now on. And maybe later, much later, she’d consider redrawing those lines a little. That thought alone nearly brought me out of my depression.
Before I realized it, we were at Sam & Emily’s house, the bonfire burning brightly in the backyard and Sam’s truck parked near the back door. Emily was here. I could only pray that Bella was with her.