Don't Tell Me Cause It Hurts
I concentrate on my breathing. In, out. I take deep breaths, making them even. In, out. In, out. It hurts. So bad. The wave of pain that threatens for engulf me hovers dangerously above my head. In, out. I can’t let her see how much pain this is causing me. Jacob's point of view on the last time he speaks to Bella. Companion story to Always Something There To Remind Me.
1. Chapter 1
Rating 4.5/5 Word Count 2759 Review this Chapter
You and me
We used to be together
Everyday together always
I really feel
That I'm losing my best friend
I can't believe
This could be the end
It looks as though you're letting go
And if it's real
Well I don't want to know
I know just what you're saying
So please stop explaining
Don't tell me cause it hurts
I know what you're thinking
I don't need your reasons
Don't tell me cause it hurts
I hear her hesitating outside my door, wondering whether or not to knock. I would usually laugh at her, but this is no time for fun and lightness. I know why she’s here.
The door creaks open, and her face appears around the corner. She looks nervous. I keep my face blank; not letting her know how much pain this is going to cause me.
“Hi, Jake,” she says quietly as she enters the room and shuts the door softly behind her.
I look at her face, thinking how much I simply love her. But this could never be simple. A love triangle is never easy, but it’s a thousand times worse when it contains a werewolf, a vampire, and one very breakable human girl. I realize she spoke to me, and rearrange my face in a slightly mocking smile to answer her.
“Yeah, I sort of thought it might be like that,” I sigh. “Today has definitely taken a turn for the worse. First I pick the wrong place, miss the best fight, and Seth gets all the glory. Then Leah has to be an idiot trying to prove she’s as tough as the rest of us and I have to be the idiot who saves her. And now this.” I wave my arm towards her.
“How are you feeling?” she mumbles.
“A little stoned. Dr Fang isn’t sure how much pain medication I need, so he’s going with trial and error. Think he overdid it,” I sneer.
“But you’re not in pain,” she confirms.
“No. At least, I can’t feel my injuries,” I say, smiling mockingly again.
She bites her lip. Man, I hate it when she does that. She’s worried again. My forehead creases. I remember what happened in the forest. Between us. Maybe he said something to her. If he hurt her…
“How about you? Are you okay?” I ask, concerned.
“Me? Why?” she asks, confused.
“Well, I mean I was pretty sure that he wouldn’t actually hurt you, but I wasn’t sure how bad it was going to be. I’ve been going a little crazy with worrying about you ever since I woke up. I didn’t know if you were going to be allowed to visit or anything. The suspense was terrible. How did it go? Was he mean to you? I’m sorry if it was bad. I didn’t mean for you to have to go through that alone. I was thinking I’d be there…” I trail off, looking at her confused expression. I feel awkward until she finally understands.
“No, no, Jake! I’m fine. Too fine, really. Of course he wasn’t mean. I wish!”
My eyes widen. “What?”
“He wasn’t even mad at me – he wasn’t even mad at you! He’s so unselfish it makes me feel even worse. I wish he would have yelled at me or something. It’s not like I don’t deserve… well, much worse than getting yelled at. But he doesn’t care. He just wants me to be happy.”
“He wasn’t mad?” I ask incredulously.
“No. He was… much too kind.”
I frown. He just had to go and ruin everything! “Well, damn!” I growl.
“What’s wrong, Jake? Does it hurt?” she flutters as she looks around the room.
“No,” I grumble disgustedly. I can’t believe this! He didn’t give you an ultimatum or anything?”
“Not even close – what’s wrong with you?”
I scowl, shaking my head. “I was sort of counting on his reaction. Damn it all. He’s better than I thought.”
“He’s not playing any game, Jake,” she says quietly.
“You bet he is. He’s playing every bit as hard as I am, only he knows what he’s doing and I don’t. Don’t blame me because he’s a better manipulator than I am – I haven’t been around long enough to learn all his tricks.”
“He isn’t manipulating me!” she exclaims.
“Yes, he is! When are you going to wake up and realize that he’s not as perfect as you think he is?” I ask, exasperated.
“At least he didn’t threaten to kill himself to make me kiss him!” she snaps. Almost instantaneously, she blushes. “Wait. Pretend that didn’t slip out. I swore to myself that I wasn’t going to say anything about that.”
I take a deep breath, trying to clam myself down. “Why not?”
“Because I didn’t come here to blame you for anything.”
“It’s true, though. I did do that,” I say evenly.
“I don’t care, Jake. I’m not mad.”
I smile. “I don’t care, either. I knew you’d forgive me, and I’m glad I did it. I’d do it again. At least I have that much. At least I made you see that you do love me. That’s worth something.”
“Is it? Is it really better than if I was still in the dark?”
“Don’t you think you ought to know how you feel – just so that it doesn’t take you by surprise one day when it’s too late and you’re a married vampire?” It hurts me even to think about that.
She shakes her head. “No – I didn’t mean better for me. I meant better for you. Does it makes things better or worse for you, having me know that I’m in love with you? When it doesn’t make a difference either way. Would it have been better, easier for you, if I never clued in?”
It hurts to hear her say that. It makes it final. But I don’t want her to see my pain, so I soldier on, and answer her question thoughtfully. “Yes, it’s better to have you know. If you hadn’t figured it out…I’d have always wondered if your decision would have been different if you had. Now I know. I did everything I could.” I draw in a deep breath, and close my eyes.
I hear her cross the room and kneel beside me. She leans in and rests her forehead on my cheek. She reeks of vampire. I sigh, and put my hand in her hair, holding her next to me.
“I’m so sorry, Jake,” she whispers.
“I always knew this was a long shot. It’s not your fault.”
She moans. “Not you too. Please.”
I pull away and look at her. “What?”
“It is my fault. And I’m so sick of being told it’s not.”
I smile, but it doesn’t reach my eyes. “You want me to haul you over the coals?”
“Actually… I think I do.”
I think about it. A smile crosses my face and I decide to do it. All of my anger at everyone and everything comes pouring out over the small girl beside me.
“Kissing me back like that was inexcusable,” I spit at her. “If you knew you were just going to take it back, maybe you shouldn’t have been quite so convincing about it.”
She winces and nods her head. “I’m so sorry.”
“Sorry doesn’t make anything better. What were you thinking?”
“I wasn’t,” she whispers.
“You should have told me to go die. That’s what you want.”
“No Jacob,” she whimpers, fighting against tears. “No! Never.”
I stop the yelling. Clever old me has gone and made her all upset.
“You’re not crying?” I ask in my normal tone.
“Yeah,” she mutters, laughing weakly through the sobs.
I start to get up off the bed, throwing out my good leg and shifting my weight around.
“What are you doing?” she demands. “Lie down, you idiot, you’ll hurt yourself!” she jumps to her feet and pushes me down with two hands.
I surrender, leaning back with a gasp of pain, and pulling her down with me.
“I can’t believe you’re crying,” I mumble. “You know I just said those things because you wanted me to. I didn’t mean them.” If only she could know how true that was.
“I know,” she says, taking a deep breath. “It’s still true, though. Thanks for saying it out loud.”
“ Do I get point for making you cry?”
“Sure, Jake,” she says, trying to smile. “As many as you want.”
“Don’t worry, honey. It’s all going to work out,” I say.
“I don’t see how,” she mutters. I don’t add that I don’t see how either.
“I’m going to give in and be good,” I say, patting the top of her head.
“More games?” she asks, looking up at me.
“Maybe,” I say forcing a laugh, and then wincing when it hurts. “But I’m going to try.”
“Don’t be so pessimistic,” I say. “Give me a little credit.”
“What do you mean by ‘be good’?”
“I’ll be your friend,” I say quietly. “I won’t ask for more than that.”
“I think it’s too late for that, Jake.” How can we be friends, when we love each other like this?”
I stare intently at the ceiling. “Maybe… it will have to be a long-distance friendship.”
I continue to stare at the ceiling, trying to ignore the strangled sobs coming from the girl beside me.
“You know that story in the Bible?” I ask. “The one with the king and the two women fighting over the baby?”
“Sure. King Solomon.”
“That’s right. King Solomon. And he said, cut the kid in half… but it was only a test. Just to see who would give up their share to protect it.”
“Yeah, I remember.”
I look at her. “I’m not going to ct you in half anymore.”
I can see that she understands what I’m trying to say, and for that I am grateful. I’m not so sure I’d be able to explain myself right now.
When she says nothing, I speak. “Can I tell you what the worst part is? Do you mind? I am going to be good.”
“Will it help?” she whispers. That is so like her. Always putting others before herself.
“It might. It couldn’t hurt.”
“What’s the worst part, then?”
“The worst part is knowing what would have been.”
“What might have been,” she sighs.
“No,” I shake my head. “I’m exactly right for you. It would have been effortless for us – comfortable, easy as breathing. I was the natural path your life would have taken…” I pause slightly. “If the world was the was it was supposed to be, if there were no monsters and no magic…”
I can see she understands this, too. “He’s like a drug for you. I see that you can’t live without him now, it’s too late. But I would have been healthier for you. Not a drug; I would have been the air, the sun.”
She manages a wistful smile. “I used to think of you like that, you know. Like the sun. My personal sun. You balanced out the clouds nicely for me.”
I sigh. “The clouds I can handle. But I can’t fight with an eclipse.”
She touches my face, laying her hand gently on my cheek. I close my eyes.
“Tell me the worst part for you,” I whisper.
“I think that might be a bad idea,” she replies.
“I think it will hurt.”
“Please.” I can see her resolve fading away.
“The worst part…” She hesitates. Then she blurts out the rest in a rush of words. ‘The worst part is that I saw the whole thing – our whole life. And I want it bad, Jake, I want it all. I want to stay right here and never move. I want to love you and make you happy. And I can’t, and it’s killing me. It’s like Sam and Emily, Jake – I never had a choice. I always knew nothing would change. Maybe that’s why I was fighting against you so hard.”
I concentrate on my breathing. In, out. I take deep breaths, making them even. In, out. In, out. It hurts. So bad. The wave of pain that threatens for engulf me hovers dangerously above my head. In, out. I can’t let her see how much pain this is causing me.
“I knew I shouldn’t have told you that.”
I shake my head slowly. “No. I’m glad you did. Thank you.” I kiss the top of her head, then sigh. “I’ll be good now.”
I smile at her. “So you’re going to get married, huh?”
“We don’t have to talk about that.”
“I’d like to know some of the details. I don’t know when I’ll talk to you again.
I see her struggling to suppress the tears, and wait for her to be ready.
“It’s not really my idea… but, yes. It means a lot to him. I figure, why not?”
I nod. I try to keep my voice calm, practical. “That’s true. It’s not such a big thing – in comparison.” All lies. Lies is all I can say.
“Yes. In comparison.”
I’m not sure I want to know the answer to this question. “How long do you have left?”
“That depends on how long it takes Alice to pull a wedding together.”
“Before or after?” I ask quietly.
“After,” she replies.
I nod in relief. “Are you scared?” I whisper.
“Yes,” comes her whispered reply.
“What are you afraid of?” I breathe, staring at her hands.
“Lots of things. I’ve never been much of a masochist, so I’m not looking forward to the pain. And I wish there was some way to keep him away – I don’t want him to suffer with me, but I don’t think there’s any way around it. There’s dealing with Charlie, too, and Renée… And then afterward, I hope I’ll be able to control myself soon. Maybe I’ll be such a menace that the pack will have to take me out.”
I stare at her reprovingly. “I’d hamstring any one of my brothers who tried.”
I manage to smile half-heartedly. Then I frown. “But isn’t it more dangerous than that? In all of the stories, they say it’s too hard... they lose control… people die…” I gulp.
“No, I’m not afraid of that. Silly Jacob – don’t you know better than to believe vampire stories?”
I’m not impressed.
“Well, anyway, lots to worry about. But worth it, in the end.”
I nod unwillingly. Sure, it is. She knows I don’t agree with her.
She stretches up to whisper in my ear. “You know I love you.”
“I know,” I whisper back. “You know how much I wish it was enough.”
“I’ll always be waiting in the wings,” I promise her. She starts to pull away from me. “You’ll always have that spare option if you want it.”
She tries to smile. “Until my heart stops beating.”
I grin back. “You know, I think maybe I’d still take you – maybe. I guess that depends on how much you stink.”
“Should I come back to see you? Or would you rather I didn’t?” she asks.
“I’ll think it through and get back to you,” I say. “I might need the company to keep from going crazy. The vampire surgeon extraordinaire says I can’t phase until he gives the okay – it might mess up the way the bones are set,” I grimace.
“Be good and do what Carlisle tells you to do. You’ll get well faster,’ she tells me.
“I wonder when will happen,” she says. “When the right girl will catch your eye.”
“Don’t get your hopes up,” I say sourly. “Though I’m sure it would be a relief for you.”
“Maybe, maybe not. I probably won’t think she’s good enough for you. I wonder jealous I’ll be.”
“That part might be kind of fun,” I admit.
“Let me know if you want me to come back, and I’ll be here,’ she promises.
I sigh. She leans in and kisses me softly on the cheek. “Love you, Jacob.”
I laugh lightly. “Love you more.” More than you’ll ever know.
I watch her walk out my bedroom. I wait until the door is closed before I roll over, and let the wave of pain that has been teetering on the edge finally crash over me.