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Comfortable walks on the beach give way for awkward conversation. Bella/Jacob, mentions of Bella/Edward.


1. Chapter 1

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There's the inkling of awkwardness in the silence between them. She knows he wants to ask her questions about why. Why would she want to become one of those things? Bella pretends not to acknowledge the tense feeling by concentrating on the hair being whipped into her face by the wind, its howling in her ears. She concentrates at how the damp sand wettens the bottoms of her jeans, making them stiff and cold. She focuses on anything that is as uncomfortable as this silence.

She hears him sigh and bites her lip. He's becoming restless with whatever question he has spinning in his head.

"Just ask it," Bella commands him exasperated. Jacob starts and looks at her before speaking.

"Ask what?" he dodges. She knows he just doesn't want her to feel pressured and uncomfortable, but she feels so already. It couldn't get worse, could it?

"What do you want to know about me changing?" she ventures with little caution. It's no use dancing carefully around it.

"Aren't you going to miss eating?" Jacob blurts.

Bella is silent a moment, surprised by the questions, before she belts out laughter. Jacob lets his lips bend up in a smile, but he's not sure exactly what is so funny.

"Only you would be concerned about eating," Bella giggles. Jacob grins.

"If I were you, that's definitely something I'd be concerned about," he points out. He pauses, serious. "But then again, if I were you, I wouldn't want to be a bloodsucker in the first place. Or be with one, for that matter."

Bella stops laughing, hearing the ice and jealousy in his voice. Such cold tones sound foreign and misplaced coming from his warm vocal chords.

"Jacob," she says gently, almost lightly scolding.

"Sorry, Bells," he replies solemnly, not wanting to enter that conversation again, the conversation of why she loves Edward and how she wishes she could please him too but can't because her heart belongs to that leech. Jacob always thought hearing Bella tell him she loved him would make his heart soar, but it makes it sink and hurt knowing she loves him, but chooses that horrible block of ice instead.

They walk in silence, waves talking to fill the gaps, crashing against rocks and the flat sand. Jacob grabs her hand in a way that's sweet and friendly, but also possessive. Bella smiles at him and relishes the warmth soaking into her frozen fingers.

Jacob grins devilishly and swings her around and releasing her, sending her flying into a small sand dune. It's playful, but symbolic. He can't hold onto her forever, spinning in circles of love, absence, drama. He has to learn to let her go.

"Jacob!" she complains, sitting in the sand, her expression fighting between angry and amused. She chooses laughter over shouting. He simply stands there, a neutral smile on his lips while she sits in the sand, giving him a look of mock anger.

"I love you," he tells her quietly, his smile widening slightly but his words sound almost like a plea for her not to change. Bella starts a moment, not expecting him to say it and especially not in that tone.

"I love you, too," she smiles at him sadly, apology in her tone, and wishes her heart would allow her to pick differently than what she's already set for herself. The ring on her finger stands out more than ever like a big, fat accusation and she wonders if she's making the wrong decision.