Story Title: Breathe Again by ysar
Chapter: 11. Discussions
Genre: Twilight – Romance / Hurt/Comfort
Warnings: Strong Language, Violence,
Post Word Count: 3719
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!”
Still holding my hand, he wrapped his other arm around me and pulled me so close I was practically sitting in his lap. I took a deep breath and laid my head against his chest. Jacob cupped my chin and turned my face to his, planting the softest kiss on my lips. Then he simply smiled, and I could finally breathe. It was all going to be okay.
“Soooooo…can we talk about it?” he asked gently.
Which ‘it?’ I wondered. Days ago when you couldn’t keep your hands off me, or last night when I didn’t want you to? I shrugged and leaned my head against his chest again. “Okay,” I said.
“What Sam said…Is it true?” he asked.
He certainly wasn’t starting with the easy questions.
“What exactly did Sam say?” I asked, hoping it wasn’t as embarrassing as I had imagined.
“He said you…I…was moving too fast…physically.”
Yes, it was just as embarrassing as I’d imagined. But this was Jacob, and I could tell him anything. Couldn’t I? “Ah, maybe a little.”
“So that’s why you got a little mad at me?” he asked, his voice tinged with amusement.
“Okay, maybe more than a little,” I admitted.
“Because it’s too soon? With us, I mean? Or because you’ve never…” he trailed off.
I was tempted to say “Never what?” but I caught myself. No matter how he filled in the blank, the answer was probably the same. “Both,” I said quietly.
“I’m sorry,” he said. He was quiet for a second, then he said, “Sorry because I rushed you, not sorry that you’ve never…” he trailed off, then whispered, “I’m actually happy about that part.” His arms tightened around me and we sat in silence for several minutes. “Is it because the bl–Edward couldn’t…ah…do that with you or because you…didn’t want to?”
I was wrong. He had started with the easy questions. Now it was my turn to be silent as I tried to figure out how to answer him. Granted, the subject had come up, but not like it does in normal relationships. Instead of talking about when Edward and I would have sex, it had been a discussion about how it was impossible, assuming I didn’t want to die. But what if it had been possible? We’d been together for several months, which was a hell of a lot longer than a lot of people waited. And we were hopelessly in love—or so I had thought at the time—but the fact was that the possibility hadn’t come up. I really had no idea how to answer him.
“Never mind. Don’t answer that. I shouldn’t have—”
“No, it’s okay, Jacob. I just…I don’t really know. It wasn’t an option…we couldn’t…I never had to think about it.” It was an awkward thing to have to explain, and I was sure I wasn’t making any sense. But at least I was trying to be honest.
“Oh,” was all he said.
Then he turned my face up to his again, a mischievous grin playing across his lips. “So do you think about it now? With me?” he asked.
The blood rushed to my face, and I was sure I’d turned a new shade of red. I yanked my hand away from his, thinking I should be angry or embarrassed. Instead I couldn’t help but laugh. “You really are a dog, Jake.”
After Jacob left, I spent the rest of the afternoon catching up on everything I’d neglected during the week. Between loads of laundry I emailed Renee and finished my history paper. I folded clothes and cleaned out the refrigerator. I even ironed Charlie’s uniforms, knowing he probably wouldn’t have time after his long night and subsequent nap. I didn’t want to vacuum while Charlie was sleeping, so I made out a grocery list and went to the store, returning home just in time to start dinner. All my tasks kept my hands busy but left my mind free to wander.
The talk with Jacob had played out more like a round of Twenty Questions, but that was to be expected. After all, I already knew he loved me, I already knew what he wanted, and our night together told me that now he was truly making an effort to rein himself in. If I’d just talked to him to begin with, instead of lashing out at him, he wouldn’t have been left with so many questions. But at least now it felt like we’d reached an understanding of sorts. I only regretted two things: wasting so much of my spring break fighting with him, and not asking a few questions of my own. I had to admit I was a little curious now about Jacob’s…prior experience.
But in the end, everything had turned out better than I could have hoped. Jacob loved me. I’d known that throughout our friendship, but I’d tried to ignore it, focusing instead on my feelings for Edward—not to mention the fact that Jacob was so young. But Edward was gone. It didn’t hurt so much anymore to admit that. And Jacob didn’t seem so young anymore, either. Gone was the infatuated teenager who had looked so boyish, with his innocent smile and playful ways. In his stead stood a paradox. His face bore the hardened lines of someone who had seen the unpleasant truth about the world, and his body was most certainly that of a grown man. But he was still impish and at times unsure. And over the past few days I’d seen more and more of the old Jacob, my Jacob, in his eyes.
“Smells good!” Charlie announced, coming into the kitchen.
“Doesn’t it always?” I said grinning.
“Well, someone sure is happy,” he laughed. “You had a good time with Jake?”
I’d had a wonderful time with Jake. Almost too wonderful thanks to his shirt, but I wasn’t telling Charlie that. “Yes, Dad. I had a good time,” I said, rolling my eyes.
“Good. Then you won’t mind that I invited him and Billy to dinner,” he said with a wink.
“What? When? Tonight?” I sputtered.
“We always have plenty of leftovers, Bells. It’s not like there won’t be enough for everyone.”
He was right, of course, but I was still annoyed. Of course I was dying to see Jacob, but not with both Charlie and Billy as an audience.
Dinner hadn’t been nearly as bad as I’d expected. Jacob had behaved himself for the most part, aside from the big kiss he planted on me—right in front of Charlie!—when he first arrived. Of course the food was good. I’d made a southwest chicken casserole, and Jake made quick work of what would normally have been several days worth of leftovers. Charlie and Billy were both watching us and grinning a little too much, but it was better than the disapproval I’d always felt when Edward was around. Even so, I was glad when it was over and they made their way to the living room to watch TV.
“You dry,” I said to Jake, tossing a towel at him.
We gathered up the dishes and headed for the sink.
I managed to slosh dishwater everywhere, but we made quick work of it, and when we were done, he grabbed my hand.
“Come on,” he said, leading me toward the door.
“Are we going somewhere?” I asked, glancing back at our dads and wondering if they’d even notice.
“You’re quick, Bells,” he laughed. “Just come on.”
As soon as we got outside, he dropped my hand and walked over to the Rabbit, grabbing a bundle from the back seat. Before I could ask him what was going on, he was dragging me toward the backyard.
He spread a blanket out on the ground, sat down on it, and patted the spot beside him. As I lowered myself down next to him, I looked back at the house. We were positioned in perfect sight of the living room window, where Charlie and Billy could keep an eye on us. I didn’t know if that was a good thing or not.
Jake stretched and leaned back to lie down, crossing his hands behind his head. I started to lie down, too, but before my head could touch the blanket, Jacob’s arm was around me, pulling me to him. Being near the window was turning out to be a bad thing.
“Jacob, they can see us,” I argued, trying to pull away. It was no use. Every time I pushed against him, he just drew me closer.
“Then I guess you’d better control yourself,” he teased. “Oh, and I believe this is yours?” he said, handing me a bundle of fabric.
The shirt. The one smelled like him. The one that had very nearly gotten me in trouble. I hoped I wasn’t blushing again. I relented and curled up against him, hugging the shirt to my chest. If Charlie was going to shoot us, it would be Jake’s fault. And then I noticed the sky.
It was a rare sight, a cloudless sky in Forks. And it was beautiful. The stars shimmered across the black night, and the moon hung so full and low it felt like I could reach up and touch it. Its silver beams illuminated the yard and surrounding forest, casting a magical glow on everything they touched. A cool breeze floated over us, but I was warm lying there against Jacob.
“What did you think I was going to say?” he asked quietly.
“What? When?” I asked. Did I miss something? What’s he talking about?
“Today, when I said we needed to talk. You looked really scared, Bells.”
“Oh,” I mumbled. I had been scared. I’d been terrified.
“So what was it?” he prodded.
“I-I thought you were going to leave me.”
He sat up suddenly, pulling me with him, and grabbed my chin, forcing me to look at him. For a moment I thought he was angry, and then I saw his eyes. They were filled with confusion and disappointment.
“Why would you think that?” he asked.
“Because…well…it’s just…” I stammered, searching for a way to put it into words, and then finding way too many at once. “Because I was so happy and you didn’t even want Maria and I love you so much and I got to wake up next to you and you buttoned up my shirt–your shirt–even though I didn’t know if I wanted you to and everything was so perfect and—”
“So you thought I was going to leave you because everything was perfect?”
“Yes. I mean no. I don’t know Jake, ” I sighed. “You know what they say. If it seems to good to be true…”
His face was suddenly close to mine, so close that with the slightest shift I would have been kissing him.
“I won’t leave you, honey. I can’t. I don’t know how,” he said, his eyes begging me to believe him.
“Promise?” I asked weakly. I knew I sounded like a frightened child, but I guess in a way I was.
“Promise,” he said, leaning in for the kiss.
Too soon he pulled away and laid back down, pulling me against him again, and laughing quietly.
“What’s so funny?” I asked.
“You are. Do you realize you just admitted you didn’t want me to button you up?”
I didn’t have to look at him to know there was a giant grin plastered across his face.
I put an arm around her and pulled her closer. Her breathing began to return to normal, and I turned her face so I could see her eyes. She still looked a little worried, but then so was I—-mostly that I’d sound like an ass.
“Soooooo…can we talk about it?” I asked.
She nodded and laid her head on my chest. At least she couldn’t see how nervous I was.
“Okay,” she said.
Here goes nothing. “What Sam said…Is it true?” I asked.
“What exactly did Sam say?”
Damn. “He said you…I…was moving too fast…physically.”
“Ah, maybe a little.”
A little? I’d hate to see what she considers ‘a lot.’ “So that’s why you got a little mad at me?” I asked, trying not to laugh.
“Okay, maybe more than a little,” she conceded.
Now I wanted to know. I’d told myself if wasn’t important, and maybe it wasn’t, but I still wanted to know. “Because it’s too soon? With us, I mean? Or because you’ve never…” I didn’t know how to put it.
“Both,” she said shyly.
She should have just hit me. It would have felt better. Instead, I was once again wracked with the same guilt I’d felt when Sam had talked to me about it. No wonder she got so mad at me.
“I’m sorry,” I said, holding her tightly. “Sorry because I rushed you, not sorry that you’ve never…” This was where that cutesy word would have come in handy. But she knew what I meant. “I’m actually happy about that part,” I admitted. Of course, now I had to ask, “Is it because the bl–Edward couldn’t…ah…do that with you or because you…didn’t want to?”
That did it. She didn’t say anything. It was too personal. She was going to think that’s all I was interested in. I was an idiot for even asking.
“Never mind,” I backpedaled. “Don’t answer that. I shouldn’t have—”
“No, it’s okay, Jacob,” she said, cutting me off. “I just…I don’t really know. It wasn’t an option…we couldn’t…I never had to think about it.”
“Oh,” I mumbled. Not exactly the answer I was hoping for, but certainly not the one I was dreading. And then I couldn’t help myself. I turned her face to mine again. “So do you think about it now? With me?”
She turned bright red and drew back swiftly. She was mad, but she was laughing. “You really are a dog, Jake.”
‘The Talk’ had gone well. I hadn’t been slapped, yelled at, or cried on. It was kind of a first for us. I felt awful about those few moments when she’d looked so scared, though, and I really wished I knew what that was about. But at least now we were comfortable talking about things. Well, maybe comfortable wasn’t the right word, but we’d talked—meaning I had asked a thousand questions and she’d answered them, and it made sense to me now. And I was so relieved to find out that she’d never slept with anyone. I knew it wasn’t important. I really would have loved her just as much if she had. But there was something special in knowing that she hadn’t. Bella and I were together, and we were happy, and the miscommunication problem was behind us. So when I got back to Sam’s, I set out to tackle the other problem I had.
“Sam, I need some advice,” I said.
“Talk to Emily,” he said gruffly.
“Emily can’t help with this.”
“It’s about Bella?”
“Emily,” he said.
“What the hell, Jake? I got you to stop pawing at her. I let you sleep in the same bed with her. I even made her coffee—that decaf crap she likes.”
“It’s not just about Bella. It’s about you and Emily, too.”
“Fine. But after this, I’m done. Watch Oprah or something.”
“So you’ll help me?”
“Spit it out.”
“How do you…you know, keep us from seeing things? Things between you and Emily?”
“Don’t tell me you two—”
“No! I just…Bella’s kind of…she wouldn’t want them to know anything. I don’t want them to know.”
Sam didn’t have any magic answer for me like I’d hoped. The only advice he could give me was to concentrate on other things. Like that was even possible. He did, however, offer to help me practice. We spent hours phased, me trying not to think of Bella, Sam trying not to laugh at me. By the time we were done, Sam knew every moment I’d ever spent with her, every thought I’d ever had about her, and even every fantasy I’d ever dreamed of her. Thank God Bella and I had ever done much more that kiss. But Sam handled it as only he could. He couldn’t help but laugh at my frustration, but he didn’t give me a hard time about anything I was thinking. By the time the sun was going down, I had actually had some success, and after a solid half hour of not projecting any thoughts of Bella at him, Sam called it quits and headed inside for dinner. My head was hurting, but I didn’t care. At least I could protect Bella from more than just vampires.
I was on my way to Bella’s. Sure, my dad was with me, but I didn’t care. In just a few minutes we’d pull into her driveway, Dad & Charlie would disappear into the living room, and I’d have her all to myself.
I pulled up and parked at the curb, then ran around to help my dad out.
“Someone’s in a hurry,” he said, giving me an amused look, as he rolled to the door. It was all I could do not to shove him out of the way and go running in.
I walked in and saw only Bella. I’m sure my dad and Charlie were just a few feet away, probably looking at me like I was crazy. Hell, Charlie was probably loading his gun. But I only saw Bella.
She was standing in the kitchen and wearing one of those silly “kiss the cook” aprons while she wiped down the counters. Well, she asked for it. I grabbed her by the waist and spun her around. Before she could say anything, I was kissing her. It was hard to hold back, even with the chief of police standing there. I wanted to crush her against me and tangle my hands in her hair and never let go. But Dad’s laughter and Charlie’s throat-clearing reminded me we were not alone. Still, I wasn’t disappointed.
Bella maintained a permanent blush all through dinner, picking at her food and self-consciously keeping her eyes on her plate. Dad seemed to be getting a kick out of it. I know I was. Even Charlie was smiling. But I was happier when everyone was done eating and we’d finished washing dishes.
“Come on,” I said, grabbing her hand and pulling her toward the door. I was so excited to see her again, to get some time with her, that I was acting like a kid at Christmas.
“Are we going somewhere?” she asked, sneaking a look back at the living room.
“You’re quick, Bells,” I laughed. “Just come on.”
I walked over to the car and grabbed a blanket from the backseat. I also brought my shirt, the one she’d been wearing the night before, although I was trying my hardest not to think about how she’d looked in it, and I tucked it under my arm.
We walked to the back yard, and I spread out the blanket, patting the spot beside me for her to sit down. She hesitated for a second, then joined me. I stretched out and laid back, then grabbed her and pulled her down beside me. There was nothing graceful about the way she landed, but that’s part of what was so perfect about her.
“Jacob, they can see us,” she said, noticing we were in full view of the window. Of course, that was probably the one thing that kept Charlie from running out after us. I’d made sure he could keep an eye on us from his recliner. I had the feeling his gun was within reach.
“Then I guess you’d better control yourself,” I laughed, not letting her pull away from me. “Oh, and I believe this is yours?” I said, handing her the shirt.
I couldn’t see her face. But I could almost feel her blush as she went silent. She didn’t say a word, but she curled up against me, clutching the shirt to her chest.
I was so happy I could barely contain myself. But there was one last thing nagging at me. Why had she been so scared before we talked earlier? She’d reacted just like she had back when the leech had hurt her, and I couldn’t figure out why. She was with me now, and I was doing everything I could not to hurt her.
“What did you think I was going to say?” I whispered, hating that I had to ruin the moment.
“What? When?” she asked.
“Today, when I said we needed to talk. You looked really scared, Bells.”
“Oh,” she said. Then silence.
“So what was it?” I asked again.
“I-I thought you were going to leave me.”
What?! Was she insane? I sat up quickly, pulling her up with me and turned her face to mine. She was serious! How could she be serious?
“Why would you think that?” I asked.
“Because…well…it’s just…Because I was so happy and you didn’t even want Maria and I love you so much and I got to wake up next to you and you buttoned up my shirt–your shirt–even though I didn’t know if I wanted you to and everything was so perfect and—”
“So you thought I was going to leave you because everything was perfect?”
“Yes. I mean no. I don’t know Jake,” she sighed. “You know what they say. If it seems to good to be true…”
I leaned closer, feeling her breath against my lips. “I won’t leave you, honey. I can’t. I don’t know how,” I said.
“Promise?” she asked.
“Promise,” I said, then I kissed her.
Remembering Dad and Charlie could see us, I stopped before I really wanted to and lay back again, keeping my arm wrapped around her. She settled against me and buried her face against my neck, just as I realized what she’d admitted.
“What’s so funny?” she asked.
I hadn’t even realized I was laughing. “You are. Do you realize you just admitted you didn’t want me to button you up?”
I didn’t have to see her face to know she’d never turned that shade of red before.