Story Title: Breathe Again by ysar
Chapter: 19. Questions
Genre: Twilight – Romance / Hurt/Comfort
Warnings: Strong Language, Violence,
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!”
“We were leaving,” I replied, unable to hide my smile.
Jake’s lips brushed my ear. “Are you sure?”
I struggled to control my breathing.
“I could have sworn we weren’t leaving just yet,” he whispered.
“Charlie’s expecting me,” I said, although at this point I really didn’t care about being late.
“Call him from my house,” Jake said. “You can just tell—”
Whatever he was going to say didn’t matter. I covered his lips with mine, instantly seeking out his tongue. Everyone was gone. It was just us and the night.
I slid forward, pressing myself against him and reveling in the warmth of his skin. I slipped my arms around his waist, tracing the muscular lines of his back as our lips moved gently together. This was the kind of kiss that every girl dreams about…strong and slow, sweet and consuming, soft and deliberate. His fingers brushed over my cheek, gently cupping my face as his other hand pressed against my lower back. And then I realized.
I realized why he’d been pushing me back, trying to keep those couple of inches between us. My perch on the edge of the seat as he stood in front of me made up for our difference in height, and the evidence of his attraction to me was pressed squarely between my legs. Before I he could react, before I could even consider what I was doing I slipped further forward, wrapping my legs around him.
He instantly tensed, and an almost silent growl rumbled through his chest as his shaky hands sought out my hips. I locked my ankles behind his back as I pushed his hands away. His kiss became hungrier even as his hold on me loosened, and he half-heartedly tried to pull away. I caught his lip between my teeth, biting lightly, and in the next second I was crushed against him.
His fingers tangled in my hair, pulling my head back as he assaulted my neck with hot, desperate kisses. His tongue darted out, burning a trail from my ear to my collarbone as his free hand found the top of my thigh. Our breathing grew heavier, our hands gripping each other more tightly. His fingers dug into my leg, alternately squeezing and relaxing, before sliding around and under the back of my shirt.
As much as I knew I should stop, I couldn’t. I simply held him there against me, sucking his tongue into my mouth and second-guessing myself every second that his hands lingered over the clasp of my bra.
“Bella?” came a sharp voice from behind him.
Jake shoved my hips back almost roughly, and stepped an appropriate distance back, turning swiftly to see who had such terrible…or was it perfect?…timing.
“Ah…Mrs. Newton…I…” I stuttered, wishing Jacob hadn’t stepped back so at least I could hide behind him. What was I supposed to say?
“I expect Charlie’s waiting up for you?” she asked, casting a critical look toward Jake.
I couldn’t even look her in the eye. I could feel her shock, her judgment, her intense disapproval. But while my immediate reaction had been embarrassment, I was suddenly overcome with indignation. So what if I was kissing Jacob? Wasn’t that normal behavior for teenagers? I doubted she would have the same reaction if she’d walked up on me with Mike. I fought back the shudder that threatened to ripple through me at that thought, and I raised my head back up to meet her severe gaze.
“Probably not,” I said. “He knows I’m with Jacob.”
She arched an eyebrow, but mercifully chose not to call my bluff.
“Well…I…I’ll see you Friday,” she said, glancing at Jake again before turning and walking to her pretentious Cadillac.
I was still watching her walk when I heard a chuckle.
“So, Bells? What was that?” Jake asked, doing little to suppress his laughter.
“I didn’t like the way she was looking at me…at us,” I said.
“So now you’re defending me?” he asked with a smirk.
“Get in the truck, Jake,” I said, rolling my eyes.
He was still laughing as walked around to the passenger side and climbed in.
“Your place or mine?” Jake asked. His smirk told me he was well aware of the implications of his question.
“Yours,” I sighed.
Truthfully, the last place in the world I wanted to go was home. Mrs. Newton was a bit of a meddler, always gossiping about people and usually exaggerating. I had a bad feeling that she was dialing Charlie’s number before she even pulled out of the parking lot.
“Shit!” The word escaped my lips before I could even process what I was seeing. Charlie’s cruiser was parked right in front of Jacob’s house. I briefly considered just backing out and heading home, but common sense squashed that idea. It didn’t take supernatural senses to hear my truck coming from a mile away. Sure enough, before I could even cut the engine, Charlie was standing in the doorway with his arms crossed and a way-too-fatherly look on his face.
“What’s his problem?” Jake asked.
“Mrs. Newton,” I replied.
We both got out and started toward Charlie. Jacob walked closely beside me but didn’t touch me. Thank God. Charlie was wearing his gun belt.
“Hi, Dad,” I said, trying to sound cheerful.
He just nodded in my general direction, his stare still fixed on Jacob. “Jake, son, we need to talk.”
I wasn’t sure whether to feel relieved or call 911. I glanced up at Jake, and while he was smart enough to keep his grin to himself, there was a twinkle in his eye that told me he was enjoying this. If I wasn’t afraid of hurting myself, I would have kicked him.
“Go inside, Bells,” Charlie said.
I stepped past him, pausing in the doorway to give Jake a look that I hope said, ‘Behave yourself,’ then shut the door behind me.
“Bella,” Billy said, nodding his greeting.
I just stood there, desperately wanting to ask how much trouble we were in, but not sure if I wanted to know. My curiosity got the best of me though, and I stepped over to the front window, slowly pulling the curtain back just enough to peek outside.
Charlie’s back was to me, and though Jacob was facing me, I couldn’t make out his expression in the darkness. While I was glad there was no yelling, I was disappointed that I couldn’t tell what was being said. All I could see was Charlie talking with his hands and Jacob nodding.
“She called him, didn’t she?” I asked over my shoulder.
“Yes,” Billy replied. “Any truth to what she said?” he asked.
“I doubt it,” I said, quietly adding, “We weren’t really doing anything.”
“Well then, there’s nothing to worry about. Why don’t you come sit down? Jake can take care of himself.”
I shuffled over to the sofa, slouching against the end as I tried to concentrate on what appeared to be a sports news show. Like that was going to keep my attention away from the possible homicide taking place in the front yard. I tried telling myself that if Jacob was really in danger of being shot, Billy wouldn’t be so calm. But I wasn’t convinced.
“So you two are pretty serious?” Billy asked.
I groaned. This could not be happening. If the thought of the whole relationship/sex talk with Charlie was disconcerting, having one with my boyfriend’s father was positively mortifying.
“Look, I’ll leave most of the worrying to Charlie, but I am concerned about my boy. He’s in…well…he cares about you a lot, and I just want to know that he’s not going to get hurt.”
My head whipped up, and I’m sure my surprise showed on my face. It’s not that I didn’t think Billy loved his son. It’s just that he’d always been so laid back about things. The last thing I expected was for him to question me. And now his words had me questioning myself.
Just how serious was I about Jacob? I knew he loved me, and I knew I loved him. But was it the way I loved Edward? Was it absolutely everything to me, and did I want it to be? I didn’t want to dissect my feelings. I didn’t want to pick it apart and compare it. The fact was that Jake made me happy, happier than I had thought I could ever be again. And when he was holding me, I felt like nothing could touch me, nothing could take away from what we had. He wasn’t Edward. But he was every bit as important to me. And that was serious enough.
“I…ah…” I hedged, not sure if I wanted to be talking about love with Billy. In the end, I just decided to go with the words he’d used. “I care about him a lot, too,” I finally managed to mumble.
“Good,” he said, mercifully turning back to the television. “Just be good to him.”
I didn’t miss the warning in his tone.
All I wanted was to kiss her. Okay, so maybe that’s not entirely true. I wanted to hold her, to hear her soft sighs and taste her sweet skin and think of nothing but what it felt like to be near her. Somehow Bella had turned me into a kind of romantic sap. And I was just fine with that.
“We were leaving,” she smirked.
I leaned forward and whispered, “Are you sure?”
That seemed to do the trick. I heard her breath catch and I seized my chance. “I could have sworn we weren’t leaving just yet,” I said.
“Charlie’s expecting me,” she replied, no real argument in her tone.
“Call him from my house,” I said. “You can just tell—”
I think I was going to say something about a phone…or…I don’t know. Both word and thought were lost the second her lips crashed against mine. I felt her press closer to me, wrapping her arms and legs around me as I traced my fingers over her flushed cheeks and down to the small of her back. She was so soft and so sweet, and I never wanted to let her go.
And then she pressed closer. I tried to push her away, but there was no strength in my attempt. I made a last ditch effort to pull back, just enough to be a safe distance, but she made it impossible. And then her legs locked around me, and she bit lightly on my lip. I should have been worried about what she would think. She had to know. She had to feel it…me. But she only pressed closer.
It was heaven. It was hell. It was every extreme I could imagine. My brain stopped functioning.
My hands moved without my permission, one threading through her hair and yanking her head back so I could drag my lips down her neck, and the other gripping her thigh too tightly. The war within me raged over whether I should give in or stop, my fingers clenching and unclenching with each conflicting thought. I finally managed to let go, quickly moving my hand to her back, only to be further tempted by the band of exposed skin where the back of her shirt was raised. I dipped my fingers beneath the thin fabric, running them over the smooth skin of her back and stopping just over the clasp I knew I had no right to think about undoing.
I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know what to do. Bella had been so controlled, so adamant about boundaries, and yet here I stood, pressed firmly against her, her small body completely wrapped around me in a way that prevented all rational thought. With every breath her body rubbed against mine, her hips rocking just slightly against me, every nerve in my body screaming at me to touch her.
The shrill female voice jolted me back to sanity and I pushed away, spinning around to see who it was that had probably saved me from making a huge mistake.
“Ah…Mrs. Newton…I…” Bella stumbled over her words as the woman practically glared at me.
I was too stunned, my mind still whirling, to say anything, but it was probably for the best. I wasn’t sure I was capable of forming actual words.
“I expect Charlie’s waiting up for you?” Newton’s mom said. She was still watching me with suspicion, and despite the lingering haziness in my brain, I was beginning to get annoyed. Apparently Bella was too.
I watched as the emotions flickered across her face. She was embarrassed, and I was to blame. It was my fault her boss had walked up on us. I’d heard something behind us, but I had been too caught up in what I was feeling at the time to realize it was a someone. And if I hadn’t been so damn…affected by Bella… Well, I should have had better self-control. But just as quickly as the guilt set in, it was replaced by curiosity.
Bella’s eyes, which had been focused on the ground, lifted to meet Mrs. Newton’s stare. She straightened up, squaring her small shoulders and holding her head high. The wide-eyed, shamed look she had disappeared, and I could almost see the confidence build in her expression. I’d always known Bella was a strong person, but I rarely got a chance to see it. It was beautiful.
“Probably not. He knows I’m with Jacob,” she replied, practically daring Mrs. Newton to argue.
“Well…I…I’ll see you Friday,” Mrs. Newton said, giving me another look before she walked off.
I tried not to, but I couldn’t help but laugh. My Bella was really something. Not afraid of vampires, werewolves, or Newtons.
“So, Bells?” I asked, “What was that?”
“I didn’t like the way she was looking at me…at us,” she said.
God, she was cute when she was angry, especially when that anger wasn’t directed at me.
“So now you’re defending me?” I asked.
“Get in the truck, Jake.”
“Your place or mine?” I asked.
“Yours,” she sighed.
We rode to my house in silence. I watched Bella, her face a constantly changing flow of expressions. I wished she would talk to me, but the little crinkle between her brows made it clear she was lost in thought. I knew she was upset about Newton’s mom, but I hoped she wasn’t mad at me for my part in it. We really hadn’t done anything more than kiss, but it was…intense. And while I knew I’d gotten a little carried away with it, she really hadn’t given me much choice.
Bella’s outburst brought me back into the moment and I looked up to see her dad’s cruiser in our yard. The second Bella cut the engine, he stepped through the doorway, crossing his arms and looking like a man on a mission.
“What’s his problem?” I asked her.
“Mrs. Newton,” she said.
Charlie just glared at me as we walked toward the house.
“Hi, Dad,” Bella said.
Charlie wasn’t having it. He didn’t even look at her.
“Jake, son, we need to talk.”
Son? Yeah, I was in trouble. This should be interesting.
“Go inside, Bells,” Charlie said.
Bella shot me a worried look as she went inside. I wanted to laugh and tell her there was nothing to be concerned about, but I didn’t think Charlie would appreciate not being taken seriously. As soon as she shut the door behind her, he spoke.
“Jake,” he said.
We were getting nowhere fast. He continued staring at me as if he was sizing me up. Bad idea, Charlie. Bella would kill me if I phased in front of her dad. I shifted uncomfortably under his gaze, and then stilled as I saw triumph flash through his eyes. He was trying to intimidate me.
Sure, I was uncomfortable. I was standing in my front yard being stared down by a man who refused to speak when all I really wanted to do was go inside and be with Bella. But I wasn’t intimidated by him. Mostly I was just bored…and a little curious.
“I got a disturbing call tonight,” he finally said.
I could just picture Newton’s mom calling 911 and reporting teenagers making out in her parking lot. I held back my laugh, but I’m pretty sure Charlie saw my amusement anyway.
He scowled at me, and his face started to turn an angry red. “Mrs. Newton says she caught you in…a compromising position.”
Compromising? No. Definitely not. Perfect, heavenly, I’ve-been-waiting-my-whole-life-for-this position, yes. I rolled my eyes. “Look, Charlie—” I started.
“No, you look,” he said sternly, cutting me off. “That’s my daughter, and I don’t know what you thought was going to happen tonight, but you can just get that thought right out of your head. Billy may not care what kind of trouble you get into, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let Bella throw away her future because you can’t control yourself.”
“It’s not like that,” I said, wondering just how much of an explanation he needed. What did—or didn’t—happen between Bella and me was no one’s business but ours. Of course, he’d just referred to her as ‘his’ daughter, like he was trying to stake his claim, so telling him it was none of his business might not be such a good idea. Just then, I saw a slight movement from the front window. Bella was probably watching us, and I just hoped she couldn’t hear us.
“Now, Jake, you know I’ve always thought of you as family,” he said.
I nodded, waiting for the axe to fall. No one ever bothers to remind you that you have a good relationship with them unless they intend to do something to ruin it.
“But I’m not above arresting you.”
“Arresting me?” I asked, completely shocked. “For what?”
“Public indecency, statutory—”
“Hey, she’s older than I am,” I interrupted. “Besides, sixteen’s the age of consent here, so we’re good.”
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know exactly what I was doing. Charlie’s face turned from red to almost purple, and his eyes went wide. I was counting down the seconds until the vein in his forehead just popped out and took on a life of its own.
“Relax, Charlie,” I laughed. We’re not sleeping together. Not even close.”
“Oh…good…I just…” he stammered. “She’s too young to be in a serious relationship.” He paused for a moment, and something like pain flashed across his face. “She’s still my little girl, you know. I’m real glad she’s over that Cullen boy, and I know you like her, but…”
“I love her,” I corrected him.
“Yeah, well, just…just…you know.”
He stared at me again for a few seconds, this time looking like he was trying to figure something out, and then he walked right past me, got in his car, and left.