Story Title: Breathe Again by ysar
Chapter: 8. Blunder
Genre: Twilight – Romance / Hurt/Comfort
Warnings: Strong Language, Violence,
Post Word Count: 3075
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!”
I must have dozed off, because when I came to, the fire was little more than a glowing pile of embers, and nearly everyone was gone. A few of the guests were paired off, whispering quietly in the remaining glow, but the party was clearly over. And I was still wrapped in Jacob’s arms.
“You know you talk in your sleep?” he whispered.
I looked up at him, afraid to ask. Please, please, please tell me I didn’t say anything utterly embarrassing!
“I don’t mind, Bells,” he said grinning. “As long as it’s my name you’re saying, you can talk all you want.”
I could feel myself blushing and I tried to look away, but Jacob’s hand was under my chin, and he wasn’t going to let me budge. In an instant, he was kissing me, softly, sweetly. And I forgot everything.
“Bella!” Sam was yelling from the open back door. “Bella, come inside for a minute,” he said.
But we weren’t dong anything! I silently protested. Jacob pushed me to my feet and stood up beside me, taking my hand. It looked like I was going inside whether I wanted to or not.
“Just you, Bella,” Sam said as we came through the doorway. “Jake, we’ll only be a minute. Wait outside.”
“No,” I protested, clutching Jacob’s hand tighter. I was in no mood to face the alpha wolf alone. Besides, he wasn’t my pack leader. He couldn’t control what I did, and I had every intention of going back outside if that’s where Jacob would be.
“Fine,” Sam snarled. He sighed and turned to Emily.
“Bella, there’s been a little change of plans,” Emily explained, stepping toward me. “The power has gone out in Forks, and your father has to go in to work. He asked if you could stay at Billy’s tonight, but–,” she glanced at Jacob, “We told him it would be best if you stayed in our guest room instead.”
Okay, that wasn’t so bad. I was almost relieved, and I was starting to wonder where a second bedroom would be hidden in a house this small. Then it occurred to me why she didn’t want me to stay at Billy’s, and I bristled.
Before I could respond, she hurriedly continued, “No one is saying you can’t be…responsible, Bella. But I don’t think he’d be happy about you staying at Jake’s if he knew.”
“But Charlie already knows, and he trusts me,” I argued, thinking back to Charlie’s annoying grin when Jacob kissed me.
“Then tell me this: Do you honestly think he’d would want you stay there tonight if he’d seen you and Jake outside earlier?”
“Fine,” I said grudgingly. Billy’s house didn’t have a guest room anyhow, and I didn’t think a night of the sofa would be very comfortable. Then I remembered the nightmares. What was I going to do about them? It was bad enough to wake up screaming at home, but at least Charlie was used to it. Did I really want to wake up screaming in Sam’s house? Emily must have seen the worry on my face, and she completely misunderstood it.
“And don’t worry about Charlie. The rest of the pack has been watching him while you were here—” she paused to put her hand up in a ‘stop’ gesture as Sam shot her a dark look, “and there’s no sign of the vampire. They’ll be watching him tonight, and the others will be here.”
Rest of the pack? There were more wolves than the five I knew about? But I didn’t have time to think about that. I had to get out of there.
“Ummmm, Jacob, do you mind if I talk to Emily for a second?” I asked. He looked at me with curiosity, and maybe a little concern, then kissed my hair and walked out the door. Fortunately, Sam followed him.
“I can’t stay here,” I whined as soon as the door was shut. “I have to go home. It’s not like I need electricity to sleep. And the pack will be there, right?”
“No. Charlie made it clear he didn’t want you home.”
‘You can’t keep me here against my will. You said you’d take me home whenever I wanted, and I want to go home now.“
Suspicion crossed her face. “Is this about Jake? Did he…go too far again?”
“No, of course not! I just really need to be at home,” I said.
“That’s not going to happen, Bella. Now tell me what’s really going on.”
The house was too silent and the bed looked way too comfortable. Jacob had kissed me goodnight and slipped out into the darkness of the woods, his clothes left in a neat pile on a chair in the kitchen. I missed him already, even though I knew he was probably watching my window. I walked back into the kitchen and picked up his shirt. It was still warm and I could smell the scent of his skin on it, green and musky, like the woods. Surely he wouldn’t mind if I borrowed it? Back in the guestroom, I slipped off my clothes and pulled on his shirt. It was way too big, of course, but it was as close as I would get to having him here. I reluctantly crawled into bed and waited for the nightmares. At least Emily knew what was coming.
I didn’t have time to stifle my screams before Sam burst through the door, throwing the light on and staring at me in alarm. Jacob was only a second behind him, and he quickly pushed by Sam to sweep me up off the bed, blankets and all. As I buried my face against his neck, choking back tears, I saw Emily pulling Sam back out into the hallway. Jacob sat on the edge of the bed, cradling me in his lap.
“Another nightmare?” he asked softly.
“You knew about them?” I asked, surprise in my tone.
“Charlie said something back when you were…” he trailed off. “I hear you all the time when I’m watching your house. Can you tell me?”
I hesitated, not sure if I should explain. Then again, if Jacob and I were going to be together, he had a right to know just how messed up I was. “I’ve always had nightmares,” I explained. “They just got so much worse when…when Edward left.”
His body went rigid, and it felt like he was holding his breath. I panicked.
“Please don’t be mad, Jacob,” I sobbed. “It’s not him. I just…there’s so much I’m afraid of and I can’t block it out when I’m asleep and I love you and I can’t even hear him anymore and please don’t me mad. I need you.” The words were tumbling out in a rushed mess, and I didn’t even know if I was making sense. “Don’t leave me. Please don’t th—” I was starting to hyperventilate and I couldn’t finish.
He was stroking my hair and cradling me against his chest. “Shhhh, honey. It’s okay. I’m not mad.”
His arms loosened and he started to push me away. My hands clung desperately, trying to hold on to him.
“I’m not leaving,” he whispered. “But if we’re going to get any sleep, I need to fix the bed.” I let go and he let me down to stand, the tangled covers falling in a heap around my feet.
He scooped them up and quickly arranged them over the bed, then turned to me and froze. Starting at my feet, his eyes slowly worked their way up over me. When they finally reached my face, I was holding my breath. He’s not mad about his shirt, is he?
He stepped forward, so close to me I had to lean back a little to see his eyes. “That’s mine,” he growled huskily.
“It’s warm…and it smells like you,” I said timidly.
“Tell me you’re wearing something underneath it.”
I looked down and gasped, feeling the blood rush to my face. His shirt was big on me, nearly reaching my knees, and even with the sleeves rolled up, the cuffs were at my wrists. But only the bottom three buttons were closed, leaving a two inch wide gap all the way down to my waist. I peeked over to the pile of my own clothes I’d left on the floor. Yep, my bra was strewn on top. I was actually standing there…next to a bed…with Jacob…in nothing but panties and a mostly-open shirt.
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I wanted to see her face, but she only pressed it closer into my chest as she slept. Her breath was warm through my shirt, and as I felt her lips move I wondered what she was dreaming about.
“Jacob,” she mumbled quietly.
“Bella?” I whispered. Then I realized she was still asleep.
I should wake her, I thought, for a moment feeling like I was intruding. But I wanted to hear. Is she dreaming of me?
“My Jacob,” she said in her dreams, and I smiled.
Even though we were sitting on the ground, by a dying fire, surrounded by people, I was suddenly in my favorite place in the world. It didn’t matter that the last few days had been hell. It didn’t matter that I had nearly lost my chance with her. What mattered was that she was here, in my arms, dreaming of me.
She moved slightly, and I felt her breathing change. She was waking up.
“You know you talk in your sleep?” I whispered.
Her eyes shot up to mine, wide and fearful.
“I don’t mind, Bells,” I said, unable to hide my smile. “As long as it’s my name you’re saying, you can talk all you want.”
She blushed and tried to turn away, but stopped her. I didn’t want her to be embarrassed. I just wanted to kiss her.
She surrendered as soon as our lips touched. Our kiss was slow and soft, and I was lost in her. The taste of her filled my mouth and I could think of nothing but her lips…her tongue…
Leave it to Sam to ruin a perfect moment. And what did he want with Bella, anyway?
“Bella, come inside for a minute,” he said.
Bella seemed to hesitate, but I knew there was no arguing with Sam. Whatever it was, it must be important. I pushed her to her feet and rose up beside her, leading her inside.
“Just you, Bella. Jake, we’ll only be a minute. Wait outside.”
I started to leave, but Bella held tightly to my hand.
“No,” she said, surprising me with the firmness of her tone.
This was bad. I had to either defy Sam or go against Bella. This wasn’t a choice I was prepared to make. Either way I went, there would be hell to pay.
“Fine,” Sam said angrily, much to my relief.
Emily explained that there was a blackout in Forks and Charlie wanted Bella to stay at my house. She and Sam wanted Bella would stay with them, and I was glad to hear it. I was bound to get myself into trouble again if Bella stayed over at my house. My dad was a sound sleeper, and Bella was irresistible. It was hard not to laugh when Bella got offended.
“But Charlie already knows, and he trusts me,” she insisted.
You’re not the one they’re worried about, I thought.
“Then tell me this,” argued Emily, “Do you honestly think Charlie would want you stay at Billy’s tonight if he’d seen you and Jacob outside earlier?”
My point exactly.
“Fine,” Bella sulked. But then her lips pulled out of their cute pout and fear flashed across her face. She reigned it in quickly, but we all saw it, and before I could ask her what was wrong Emily spoke up.
“And don’t worry about Charlie. The rest of the pack has been watching him while you were here and there’s no sign of the vampire. They’ll be watching him tonight, and the others will be here.” Emily ignored Sam, who was clearly not happy that she’d just revealed our numbers.
Bella didn’t seem to notice. She was still worried about something. Once again, I was too slow to speak up.
“Ummmm, Jacob, do you mind if I talk to Emily for a second?”
It didn’t make sense. What wouldn’t Bella want me to hear? Sure, Emily was nice, but why couldn’t Bella talk to me? Maybe it’s one of those female things. I probably don’t want to know. I kissed the top of her head and walked back outside. Sam was right behind me.
“I can’t stay here. I have to go home. It’s not like I need electricity to sleep. And the pack will be there, right?”
Even outside we could hear her pleading. Sam put his hand on my shoulder and nudged me forward. I walked with him around to the farthest side of the circle around the fire, where we couldn’t hear her over the crackling embers and hushed conversation of the few remaining guests.
“What’s that about Jake?” asked Sam, nodding toward the house.
“I wish I knew.”
“She didn’t say anything? You didn’t do anything?”
Sam laughed, “So she kisses you, yells at you, locks herself in her room, and is refuses to spend the night… Yeah, she’s definitely the one for you.”
“I hate you, Sam.”
Bella was in the guestroom, and in spite of what she’d said earlier, Emily left us in there alone. Bella looked so tiny seated on the corner of the giant bed. It wasn’t a large house, but the beds in it were definitely picked out for werewolves. Bella was perched on the edge with her legs pulled up under her.
“Can’t you stay for a little while?”
“Not if you want to be safe,” I said, silently adding …from a vampire, from a werewolf that’s in love with you… “My brothers depend on me. I can’t leave them to cover for me just because you’re irresistible,” I joked, leaning down to kiss her.
“Sounds like you’re resisting,” she pouted.
“Only because I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
Fortunately, she was still dressed. Emily had offered her a nightgown, but Bella had said she’d sleep in her tank top instead. I was already picturing her in nothing but that tank top and… Focus!
“Goodnight, Bells,” I said, kissing her quickly. If I stood any chance of leaving that bedroom, I had to go now.
I phased as soon as I was out the door, willing myself not to think of her, but it was impossible. I knew the entire pack would be listening, so I tried to focus only on benign things, like our walks on the beach and how she’d fallen asleep by the fire tonight. It was all I could do not to think of kissing her, touching her…Jared started laughing.
Then I heard her screams.
I hadn’t strayed more than a few yards from the house since I’d left her, so I knew she couldn’t actually be in trouble. That could mean only one thing: a nightmare. I phased back instantly and ran inside, barely managing to get my jeans back on before I was through the door.
Sam was in her room before I was, but I pushed him out of the way and grabbed Bella. I picked her up, along with a mass of blankets, and held her as close as I could without crushing her. I sat down on the bed, cradling her in my lap until the strangled noises from her throat faded.
“Another nightmare?” I asked.
“You knew about them?”
“Charlie said something back when you were…” I didn’t want to bring up her post-bloodsucker depression. “I hear you all the time when I’m watching your house.”
She didn’t say anything and I wondered if she would tell me what was going on, why she had so many nightmares. I was almost afraid to ask. “Can you tell me…?”
She was quiet for a moment, then said “I’ve always had nightmares. They just got so much worse when…when Edward left.”
So much for not bringing up the bloodsucker. I hated him, and not just for what he was. I hated him for what he’d done to her.
“Please don’t be mad, Jacob,” she begged. “It’s not him. I just…there’s so much I’m afraid of and I can’t block it out when I’m asleep and I love you and I can’t even hear him anymore and please don’t me mad. I need you. Don’t leave me. Please don’t th—”
How could she possibly think I would leave her? I hadn’t been able to leave her even when she didn’t want me. There was no way I could leave her now. And what did she mean ‘hear him?’ Her breaths were coming out in ragged gasps.
“Shhhh, honey. It’s okay. I’m not mad.”
I knew Emily had kept Bella here to keep us from ending up in the same bed, but I didn’t care anymore. Sex was the last thing on my mind. I just needed to stay with Bella. I started to put her down so I could put the bed back together, but she wouldn’t let go.
“I’m not leaving,” I said. “But if we’re going to get any sleep, I need to fix the bed.”
I tossed the sheet and blankets back on as neatly as I could, then turned to face Bella…and very nearly came undone.
She was wearing my shirt, and it was so big on her it probably would have covered more of her than one of Emily’s nightgowns…if it had been buttoned. She just stood there, her white skin even paler against the dark fabric that draped down to her knees. Her tiny hands peeked out from the rolled up sleeves. But it was open, from her neck to her waist, and I could barely take my eyes off the long line of smooth skin it exposed. I forced myself to look at her face, and her eyes were wide. Didn’t she know what she was doing to me?
I stepped over to her. How much control did she think I had? “That’s mine.”
“It’s warm…and it smells like you,” she said.
I didn’t want it back. I wanted her in it. Just like this.
“Tell me you’re wearing something underneath it.”