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The Road Less Traveled

Summary:
Bella's worry over Jacob's disappearance drives Edward away. Years later, when she's had time to come to terms with herself and grow up, she and Jacob meet again. He, too, has matured. Can they build a life together? And what about Edward? TRLT Prequel to The Road Not Taken by Daintress of tm_switzerland .


Notes:


5. Chapter 5

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1004   Review this Chapter

They ordered-in Chinese, after Bella spent considerable effort convincing Jacob that it would be far better than anything he’d tried in Forks or Port Angeles. He was pleased to discover she was right, and they sat on either side of the shiny mahogany table in her little kitchen, sharing their meals and laughing. It occurred to both of them, at one point or another, that this was how it was supposed to be - this was the camaraderie that had made it so easy to fall in love that they almost hadn't noticed it was happening.

Bella gave up on finishing her food and shoved it toward Jake, who'd been eyeing it covetously. "Thanks," he replied, making her laugh as he immediately dug in.

"I knew you'd like it. College towns always have better take out places."

Jacob nodded, mouth full, and spared a thought for what life might have been like for him if he hadn't turned out to be a werewolf. His grades had been good. He'd never had to work very hard at it. Probably the elders would have insisted he go to college. And he'd have definitely tried to get in here, since this is where Bella was. Would they be spending the whole school year together, dating like normal college kids? He pushed the thoughts aside as soon as the word 'normal' registered in his brain. There was no normal. There never could be again. But that was alright, as long as there was Bella. He grinned at her when he'd finished the last of the food. She was clearing up the various rice containers and plastic utensils.

"Next time we'll order something extra," she promised, and they both laughed again. It wasn't late, but between a six-day road trip and shopping most of the afternoon, they were both a little tired. Jacob disappeared into the bathroom, squeezing passed the mattresses that were leaning opposite the door.

Bella finished clearing up, and then went back into what used to be her living room. She'd used the shoji screens to block the new bed from the view of the apartment door, so she now had to turn left and then right again to get passed them, as if she'd made another hallway. Her dresser and mirror were against the wall at the foot of the bed, and her nightstand had been placed on one side of it. The headboard and foot board matched her screens well, but her dresser and nightstand didn't. She determined to replace them as soon as possible. Alice would surely enjoy a shopping trip during the weekend she was in town.

When she heard him start the shower, she waited a few minutes and then knocked on the door. “Jake, can I sneak in and get your clothes? I’m starting the laundry,” she called. He sounded amused when he agreed. She retrieved them quickly, tossing his cut off sweats across the toilet lid. She’d found them in the bag, forgotten, but they’d been washed on the last morning of their trip, so they were clean. She made sure to close the door behind her with a quiet click, so he’d know she was gone. She grinned. Then he could go back to singing in the shower, or whatever he did.

She changed into her pajamas, and then puttered around the laundry room. She generally spent as little time as possible in here, and most of it was spent trying to resist the urge to open the door on the other side of the room. The laundry room was shared between the two second floor apartments in her little building. In three years, she’d never opened that door. Today, she didn’t even glance at it.

Warm arms wrapped around her as she finished adding the fabric softener and closed the washer and an instant later, burning lips were brushing her earlobe.

Bella grinned as a shiver ran down her spine. “What are you doing?” she asked.

“Just saying thank you. You ARE washing my clothes.”

She turned in his arms, and he was smiling down at her – her smile. The one that could warm her even if he stood ten feet away. She blinked in surprise as his hands grasped her waist and he lifted her onto the machine.

Jacob stood between her knees and pulled her as close to him as possible. Perched on the washer, she was his height. He liked it. Bella did, too. She leaned forward and kissed him gently. He let his hands fall to her hips.

There wasn’t anything he could think of that he liked better than this. Her lips, just slightly cool against his forever fevered mouth, parted easily. Gone were the days of trying to coax her, trying to convince her that she wanted him. Her kisses were distracting enough that he forgot to be embarrassed about standing between her legs until, unexpectedly, her kiss became more urgent, and she wrapped them around his waist.

His hands tightened on her hips. They broke apart an instant later, both panting slightly.

She rested her forehead against his for a moment before sliding her hands to the back of his neck, playing in his hair. She’d noticed, during the course of the summer, that he really liked that for some reason. She was only at it a second before he was kissing her again with the same heat as before. Finally, as they broke to catch their breaths a second time, she whispered against his lips.

“Take me to bed, Jacob.”

He’d been about to kiss her again, but at this he leaned backward instead, trapped by her legs, but wanting to be able to focus on her face to see if she meant what he thought she did. “Are you sure?” He felt his hands twitch, and imagined she must have, too, but she didn’t smile. She ducked her head a little and looked up at him through her lashes. That was good enough for him.