Story Title: Breathe Again by ysar
Chapter: 12. Comfort
Genre: Twilight – Romance / Hurt/Comfort
Warnings: Strong Language, Violence,
Post Word Count: 2700
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!”
If you haven’t already done so, read the short companion story GOSSIP before you read this chapter. Bella’s about to skip lunch, and you don’t want to miss out on what’s happening while she’s away.
I was never big on Mondays, but I especially hated this one. Spring break was over, and I had to go back to my school routine. Fortunately, the day went by quickly.
I skipped lunch completely, making an excuse about having to do a paper instead. I knew it was cowardly, but I just didn’t want to deal with any of them…especially Lauren. I hadn’t liked her much before, but after seeing her with Jacob, I was pretty close to hating her. My spring break with Jacob, despite the threat of death-by-vampire, had worked out so perfectly in the end, and having to leave it all behind for school was just depressing. Of course, I wasn’t leaving it all behind. I had more than enough to fuel some daydreams until I could get home and call Jake.
And daydream I did. In fact, I was so focused on thoughts of Jacob that I completely spaced out in Calculus. When Ms. Hunter called on me, I just stared at her, earning plenty of snickering from the rest of the class. Ms. Hunter just looked surprised and a bit disappointed, and I guess I couldn’t blame her. I was usually her best student.
But the hardest part of my day was answering the dreaded “So what did you do on spring break?” question.
Well, I kissed Jacob, then yelled at him and cried a lot. Then I went to a bonfire and watched him flirt with Lauren. Then Mike tricked me into a date and had the nerve to kiss me! Then I kissed Jacob (again) and tried to drive him away (again) but he wouldn’t leave. Then his “boss” completely humiliated me by talking some sense into him, and I spent the night with him, but we behaved…sort of. Oh, and did I mention that he’s a werewolf and he’s protecting me from a vampire that’s been stalking me because my ex-boyfriend (also a vampire) killed her mate? So, yeah, that was my spring break. What did you do?
“A few bonfires. You know, nothing much,” was my practiced answer. It’s not like the people who asked really cared what I did anyway. Only Angela had any genuine interest.
“So you and Mike are together now?” she asked while we were walking to our last class of the day.
“No!” I replied a little too sharply. Seeing her hurt expression, I softened my tone and explained, “I mean, we hung out a little, but that’s all. I really don’t like him that way.”
“Oh. Well, maybe someone should tell Jessica,” she said, a worried expression on her face as she looked past me.
I glanced up, only to duck my head back down when I caught Jessica and Lauren glaring at me as we walked by. “I thought they broke up,” I whispered.
“They did—often. But they always get back together. Probably because Jessica keeps harassing every girl who looks at Mike,” Angela said laughing.
Great. As if Lauren’s thinly veiled hatred for me wasn’t enough. Now I had Jessica to deal with.
I muddled through the rest of my classes, though, and drove my ancient truck home as fast as it would go. The second I was in the door, I grabbed the phone and dialed.
“Hey, Billy, is Jacob there?” I asked, hoping I didn’t sound like some lovesick schoolgirl. Of course, that’s exactly what I was.
“No, sweetie, I haven’t seen him”.
“Oh, okay. Ah, thanks. Can you just tell him I called?”
“Sure will. Bye”
A strong arm snaked around my waist and the phone fell from my hand as a husky voice at my ear whispered, “You missed me.”
Before my heart could start beating again, Jacob spun me around and captured my lips in the tenderest kiss. I’d wanted to yell at him or hit him or just do something to him for having nearly scared me to death, but instead I found myself pressing closer to him. He was in no hurry to deepen the kiss, and I instantly forgot my indignation. When he finally pulled his lips from mine, he just smirked and said, “I missed you, too.”
The door swung open, and I jumped back as Charlie walked in carrying a stack of files. He eyed Jacob as he made a show of removing his gun belt, then turned to me and asked, “Don’t you have homework to do?”
I rolled my eyes. “No, Dad, I’ve only been back at school one day.”
Charlie cast another sideways look at Jake then walked to the refrigerator to grab a beer. I glanced up at Jake and wasn’t surprised to see he was smiling broadly. At least I had the good sense to look uneasy.
Charlie sat down at the kitchen table and started flipping through his papers. I felt a pang of guilt as I realized the work he’d brought home was all the information the police had on the still unsolved hiker deaths. I wished there was a way I could tell him who—and what—was really behind them, but I knew he would not only not believe me, but probably send me to a shrink if I even tried. Jacob must have sensed my change in mood.
“Come on, Bells. Got any good movies?”
“Ah, yeah,” I said, mentally prying my mind off Victoria.
“Well, go pick one,” he said, nudging me toward the living room.
As Jacob sprawled out on the sofa, I dug through the small collection of videos we had stacked beside the TV. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Charlie had switched chairs, his new seat giving him a better view of the living room. I was going to have to talk to Jacob about his tendency toward blatant displays in front of my dad. While I knew Charlie approved of Jacob, I didn’t want to test him.
Finally, I found the movie I was searching for and slipped it into the player. I grabbed the remote and tossed it at Jake, then went to sit beside him. He immediately grabbed me and pulled me closer, nuzzling my ear, which was just enough for Charlie to cough loudly, an unnecessary reminder that he was watching.
“Behave yourself!” I scolded, just as the movie was starting.
Two hours later Jacob was sound asleep, his head lolled back against the sofa and his arm wrapped tightly around me. I was so comfortable curled up against him, my head against his chest, that I would have dozed off myself had I not been so wrapped up in the movie. Charlie had come into the living room once, probably planning to sit in between us, but when he’d seen that Jacob was asleep, he’d just rolled his eyes and gone back to poring over his files.
“Jake,” I said, poking him in the ribs. Ouch.
“Wha-? Oh, thank God it’s finally over,” he said with a lazy grin. “There weren’t even any car chases.”
“Well, there was a fire,” I said.
“Not a good one,” he argued.
“Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books, and it’s a perfectly good movie,” I insisted.
“It’s a girl movie,” he laughingly complained. “What did she see in that guy anyway?”
“He was sweet,” I laughed, “Even if he was just a big ugly monster.”
“I hear you’ve got a thing for monsters,” he said suggestively as he pulled me in for a kiss.
Within seconds, Charlie was complaining about being hungry. Jacob excused himself, planting yet another kiss on in full view of Charlie before he left. I ignored Charlie’s reddening face as I headed to the kitchen to make dinner.
I had completely wasted my spring break. Instead of just spending it with Bella like I’d wanted to, I had spent most of it hunting a vampire, pissing off Bella, and maybe even stalking her a little thanks to that stupid Newton kid. At least everything had worked out in the end. Bella was with me now, and it was every bit as wonderful as I could have hoped. The only problem was that we went to different schools, so I had to go all day without seeing her. A simple transfer could fix that. Of course, then Bella would definitely think I was stalking her.
“If I didn’t know better I’d swear you imprinted,” said Paul, catching up with me.
Paul had imprinted on my sister over the weekend, and while he seemed thrilled about it, I just felt sorry for him. Rachel was moody and opinionated, and she’d probably already started bossing him around. He had no idea what he was in for.
“I don’t need to imprint,” I said. “Bella’s already mine.”
“Yeah, but what if it happens? What if you do imprint and it’s not her?” he asked.
“What’s it like anyway?” I asked, ignoring his question. I was honestly curious. Imprinting was supposed to be rare, and the only other pack member who’d done it was Sam, but he didn’t like to talk about it.
“Man, it’s amazing. One second you think you have it all figured out, then you look at her, and nothing else matters. It’s like she becomes your whole world.”
“My sister is your whole world?” I asked a little disbelievingly.
“She’s smart and she’s funny and she’s beautiful, and you wouldn’t believe what it’s like to kiss—”
“No!” I clapped my hands over my ears.
“I can’t help it. She’s just so perfect.”
Apparently, imprinting made you blind and stupid, too.
“Sounds like you’re whipped,” I laughed.
“Sounds like you’re jealous,” he countered.
“Whatever. I got Bells, and you got a crazy woman,” I joked, taking my seat.
“Maybe I like crazy,” he whispered as Mrs. Rivers began class.
The day couldn’t go by fast enough. I was supposed to be studying language, something our elders insisted on at Tribal School, but I was too anxious to see Bella. Spending the night with her had been my undoing. Holding her and feeling her next to me as I slept, waking up with her…it was all too perfect. I wanted nothing more than to spend every second with her now. And if I ran straight to her house after school, we’d probably get there at the same time.
As soon as the last bell rang, I raced outside, catching up with Quil and Paul at the tree line. As soon as we got into the forest and out of sight, we phased. Carrying all our clothes in our mouths was no fun, but it beat the alternative. We couldn’t get away without shoes and shirts at school. Embry had tried it once, even going so far as to argue that he was simply dressing as our ancestors had done. He spent the next several days working on an essay about traditional Quileute clothing.
“Where’s Embry?” I asked.
“He’s doing that Insight thing,” said Paul.
“Online school? When did that happen?” Embry hadn’t said anything to me about that.
“Last week. You were too busy chasing Bella to notice. He couldn’t get enough sleep with and keep his grades up, so his mom enrolled him.”
“Yeah, he’ll probably graduate early now,” Paul added.
“Garage?” Quil asked.
Now that we were together again in the pack, we’d taken to hanging out in my garage again after school. It was the only place we could go where there was no Sam and no parents. When we were there, it felt like nothing had ever changed, like we had never changed. Plus, it was where Quil had stashed his magazines so his mom wouldn’t find them.
“Not today” I said.
“And you say I’m whipped.”
We broke into full sprints and I headed east into Forks. Staying hidden during daylight was a bit of a challenge, but it was a small town with lots of trees. It was a longer trip, sticking to only the places where there was sufficient cover, but when I was phased, a few extra miles were nothing. I could make out her house through the woods that crept up to her back yard, so I stopped to phase back and get dressed.
Bella’s truck was outside, the engine still popping loudly, so I knew she’d only been home a few minutes. Just as I got to the door, I heard her.
“Hey, Billy, is Jacob there?” she was asking.
She had a bad habit of leaving the door unlocked, and this time was no different. I walked in, expecting her to be happy to see me, but she had her back to me. I heard her disappointment as Dad told her I wasn’t home, and realized she didn’t know I was there. I’d forgotten how quietly I walked since I’d changed. This would be fun.
Just as she was hanging up the phone, I slipped an arm around her and pulled her toward me. She let out a gasp and the phone clattered on the countertop. “You missed me,” I said.
She jerked around, probably ready to yell at me for scaring her, but I kissed her before she could say anything. Her arms slipped around my neck as she pulled herself closer to me. I’d been waiting all day for this, to hold her, to taste her. Her soft lips parted and her tongue teased mine, but I resisted the urge to get carried away. God, I’d missed her.
I could hear Charlie’s cruiser pull up outside, and he was fumbling with his keys. How could he not know that Bella never locked anything? As much as I hated to, I pulled my lips from hers. She was breathless and looked dazed, and I couldn’t hold back a smile. “I missed you, too,” I said.
Of course, that’s when Charlie came barging in. Bella jumped back—like he wouldn’t notice that blush. And he noticed. He stared at me while he pulled off his gun belt—as if a gun could keep me away from his daughter.
He hassled Bella about some homework, then sat down and started going over some casework he’d brought home with him. Victoria’s victims. Bella seemed to notice, too.
“Come on, Bells. Got any good movies?” I asked, trying to distract her.
“Ah, yeah,” she said absently.
“Well, go pick one.” I told her. That was a mistake.
Bella was more interesting than the movie. At first, she sat about a foot away from me, probably because Charlie was watching us like a hawk. But what was he going to do? Shoot me? So I pulled her close and teased her until she insisted I behave, and then I just watched her. Her lips would part, or she’d get that little “v” between her brows, or she’d look sad or thoughtful or happy. Every time the scene changed, Bella’s expression changed. She felt every word that was spoken. I’d seen those looks a thousand times, but I watched her anyway— until the boring accents put me to sleep.
I woke up to her jabbing her finger in my side. But at least I woke up to her pretty face.
“Wha-? Oh, thank God it’s finally over,” I said. “There weren’t even any car chases.”
“Well, there was a fire,” she said, as if that made a difference.
“Not a good one.”
“Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books, and it’s a perfectly good movie,” she pouted. Now it made sense…sort of. Bella had a ton of books, but I’d never seen her read any of them. I wondered if Edward ruined that for her too.
“It’s a girl movie,” I laughed. “What did she see in that guy anyway?”
“He was sweet,” she said. “Even if he was just a big ugly monster.”
“I hear you’ve got a thing for monsters,” I said, catching her lips for a kiss.
Charlie took that as his cue to interrupt, of course, and Bella got up to make dinner. I needed to get home anyway. I was probably late for patrol. But I couldn’t leave without kissing her goodbye…and it wasn’t my fault Charlie was standing right there watching us.