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A Matter Of Time

Summary:
A TLYDF Recommendation, Nominated for Immortal Cookie Award, Won Best Imprint in the Silent Tear Awards Two weeks and the whole world can change. Caius and Jane led an insurrection against Aro and are making a mad power grab. Renegades from the wolf pack, unhappy with the treaty with the Cullens, are attacking vampires at every opportunity. Jacob and Renesmee are struggling with the paradox of imprinting. Edward, Bella and all the Cullens must come together to protect the world they've come to love. A tale of action, deceit, intrigue and sexual awakening.


Notes:
Stephanie Meyers owns all things Twilight. My thanks to all the wonderful people at PTB who helped with this story.


15. Chapter 15 Sparkling Water

Rating 3.8/5   Word Count 5243   Review this Chapter

Renesmee

A chartered plane took Emmett, Rosalie, Jacob and me to Rio de Janeiro. Carlisle and Esme flew with us as far as Portland, where we had a three hour layover. Carlisle worked on rustling up a supply of blood for Rosalie, and Esme pulled together passports and clothes.

Bella had warned me not to tell Jacob about the involvement of werewolves in the firefight in Denali. She was worried that with his impulsive nature, he would immediately rush into some kind of confrontation. “Let him heal first,” she counseled me. “Then we’ll tell him.”

Emmett carried Rosalie from the car to the plane in his arms, handling her with the care a museum curator gives a priceless antique. She was bundled up in a jacket, scarf, gloves, and sunglasses so the extent of her injuries was barely visible to the causal observer. Her face had already begun to heal and her speech was now intelligible, if slightly slurred. She had no memory of how she leapt from the burning house to end up on the lawn or being hosed with the firefighters’ foam, which had prevented the flames from burning her further.

Jacob, much to his dismay, was wearing air casts on both arms, covering his arms from elbow to palm. With his elbows locked in place, he carried his arms awkwardly and was unable to even scratch his nose. I had watched him rub his nose against the seat back in the airplane, trying to scratch it. Carlisle had instructed him to keep the casts on until he could wiggle his barely visible fingertips without pain. The blisters on his side had drained, but the skin was still angry looking.

It was night as Emmett drove the boat over the dark waves to Isle Esme. The mood in the boat was downcast, our minds on the family we had left and the dangers they would be facing. Jacob was subdued as we showed him around the house. He didn’t even rise to Rosalie’s jibe about the doghouse when she pointed out the bedroom in the far wing of the house where he would be sleeping.

It was a long, restless night for me, but the next morning was bright and cloudless. I woke up to the sun streaming in the windows and the sound of the gentle rolling of the waves. I leaned out the window in my room and took a deep breath of the clean, salty air. The scent of the bougainvillea flowers brought back many happy memories. My parents and I had spent two months here, several years back.

I padded out into the kitchen, where Emmett stood at the stove, his broad back completely blocking the stove from my view.

“You’re cooking?” I asked skeptically, pulling open the refrigerator door.

“You bet.” He grinned. “Your mother made me promise.”

I looked over at the stovetop. Very respectable omelets were shaping up. “Not bad,” I admitted.

Jacob came into the kitchen, glowering. His eyebrows were pulled together, and his black eyes flashed with frustration. Dressed in just sweat pants, his bare chest was already misty from the heat.

“Hey, wolfman,” Emmett said, sliding the omelets onto plates. “You’re just in time for breakfast.”

Jacob’s face was a study in exasperation. He raised his arms, covered with the casts, into the air and let out a strangled, frustrated, “Arggh.”

I stared at him, uncomprehending.

“I can’t even brush my teeth with these damn things on! What the hell was Carlisle thinking?” He looked at the casts as if he was going to tear them off with his teeth.

“He was thinking it would help you heal,” I reminded him. “Come on, sit down, I’ll help you.”

Jacob slumped into the kitchen table chair. Emmett placed the plates on the table, while I poured some juice. “Aren’t there some straws around here?” I asked.

Emmett gestured above my head. “Cabinet above the sink.”

I popped a straw into the juice glass and placed it in front of Jacob. “There you go.”

He leaned over to take a long pull of the juice. Half of the glass was gone before he pulled back. “Ah,” he sighed, his eyes closed with satisfaction.

I dragged my chair closer to his. I cut a piece of his omelet and raised the fork to his mouth.

He looked at me without opening his mouth. “You’re serious, aren’t you?” he said, tight-lipped.

Emmett started laughing. “It’s either that or starve, pal.”

“Come on, open up,” I urged him, wiggling the fork in front of him.

Shooting a warning glance at Emmett, Jacob opened his mouth and I placed the bite between his teeth. He chewed, and his expression changed.

“Not bad, bear boy,” he said appreciatively.

“Of course,” Emmett replied. “Wait ‘til you taste my béarnaise sauce. I’m told it’s to die for.” He chuckled evilly.

I alternated between feeding Jacob and myself. Jacob relaxed into it and started enjoying the attention.

“Toast,” he demanded. I held up his fourth piece and he took a huge bite from it. “Your family owns this island-the whole island?” he asked, chewing.

“Well, it’s called Isle Esme.” I took the last bite of my omelet and pushed the plate away.

“Chartered jets, private islands, where’s the yacht?” he teased.

I opened my mouth to rip off a smart reply, but I stopped. Suddenly, I thought how this must all look to Jacob. I took for granted the wealth my family had, the cars, the houses. I never wanted for anything. Jacob was raised in very different circumstances. The Quileutes weren’t the richest Indian nation and, God knows, Billy’s house was a tiny thing. Jacob’s garage seemed to be doing well; there were always cars lined up outside it, but you don’t get rich on a mechanic’s salary.

This must all be a bit intimidating to Jacob. “No yachts,” I said, smiling. “We have to take Royal Caribbean like everyone else.”

“Ah.” He nodded knowingly. “Slumming.” He pushed his chair back from the table.

“Well, when you have Alice picking your stocks, investing is a pretty sure thing.” I picked up my plate. “You done?” He nodded and I took our plates to the sink. “If you asked her, I’m sure she would give you some tips.”

“I don’t think so.” He shook his head. “I’m not much of the investing type.”

I turned to him, noting his loose, tangled hair. “Come on. Let me help you with your hair and teeth.”

He opened his eyes in mock horror. “What, and lose this film on my teeth I’ve been working on for days?”

“Ew-w.” I made a face.

Emmett’s voice called from the other room. “Just be glad he’s got sweat pants, Nessie.”

I looked at Jacob. He was as mystified as I was.

“Otherwise,” Emmett yelled, his laughter making him almost unintelligible, “you’d be holding his dick for him when he peed.” He broke into full laughter.

I heard Rosalie reprimand him. “Emmett!”

“I’m saving that job for you, bear boy,” Jacob shot back. “Let me know when you want to see what a real one looks like.”

Emmett wasn’t giving up. “Well, when you’re ready to-Ow!” Apparently, Rosalie had had enough of this line of conversation.

I grabbed another straw and we headed to the bathroom next to Jacob’s bedroom. He sat down on the closed toilet seat, while I rustled up a toothbrush and toothpaste. He watched me as I worked.

“How’d you sleep last night?” he prodded, concern showing on his face.

“Fine,” I lied. I was sure the dark circles under my eyes were telling a different story. “Open up.” I started on his teeth. I hadn’t told him about the recurring nightmares that always ended with red eyes.

His face said he didn’t believe me. “Weally?” he asked, around the toothbrush in his mouth.

“Well, no, not really.” Trying to lie to Jacob was about as useful as trying to lie to my father. Jacob could read me well enough without having to hear my thoughts. “I’m scared of what will happen if they find Caius and Jane. But I’m also scared if they don’t.” I swallowed against the sudden lump in my throat.

He spat into the sink and reached a hand to me, reaching for my fingers with his own. His beautiful, dark eyes shone with compassion. “You have an incredibly capable family, Nessie.”

“I know.” I blinked back the tears that were threatening to gather.

“They’ll come through this, you’ll see.” The tips of his fingers stroked my cheek. “I’d be there fighting with them, but…” He held up his casts.

“No, Jacob,” I whispered. “I couldn’t stand it if you were there, too.” The thought of him in danger, away from me, was like a sword to my gut.

His eyes fell to the bandage on my arm where I had been shot. “Nessie, I am so sorry I couldn’t protect you.” The pain in his eyes was almost unbearable to see.

“Jacob, you did all that you could. You jumped into that firefight because you had to.” I couldn’t let him take this on himself. I cast around for the words to help him feel better. “You did take Demetri down.”

His face brightened after a moment as he thought about that. “I did, didn’t I?” He grinned like a child.

“Yes, you did,” I agreed, smiling with him.

“But not Jane.” His face fell again.

I couldn’t help it; just hearing her name made my knees weak. “No,” I whispered.

“Well, the time is coming, there’ll be some payback.” I knew he was trying to reassure me, but the thought of him facing her made my stomach lurch. Of course, it was very likely that’s who my parents were facing now.

I tried to keep my face composed as I fought the fears inside me. I lost the battle and I felt my face crumple. “Oh, Jacob,” I wailed, as he pulled me into his lap. I was sobbing, my face pressed against his hot, smooth shoulder. He held me awkwardly in his arms, the casts on his arms bumping against me. I felt his shoulder grow wet as the tears piled up, while he murmured into my hair.

I cried myself out. When I finally quieted a bit, he grabbed some tissues with his fingertips and gave them to me. “Thanks,” I mumbled as I wiped my eyes, and blew my nose.

He smiled at me as my nose honked. “It will work out, Nessie.” I hoped fervently he was right. I dabbed at the wetness on his collarbone.

I climbed off his lap reluctantly. It seemed such a safe place, a place of certainty in an uncertain world. I could have stayed there a month.

Sighing, I grabbed a brush from the drawer. “Turn,” I directed, so I had access to the back of his head.

I pulled the brush through his thick, black hair. It was soft and shiny and, like the rest of him, smelled of wood smoke and cinnamon.

He murmured, “M-m-m” and let his head and neck relax with the motion of the brush. It was hypnotic, pulling the brush through his straight ebony hair. Even with him sitting down, I just barely rose above him, but I could see he had closed his eyes, enjoying the sensation. Like him, I loved having my hair brushed. That I could give him this pleasure, made me feel warm inside. Stroke after stroke, I pulled the tangled strands into a satin-like curtain, bringing out the natural sheen of his hair. I fingered the silky strands, appreciating the way they lay against his dark brown back. His wide rounded shoulders and the long muscles of his back were warm and smooth under my hand.

I stopped suddenly, realizing I was running my hand along his back. I froze, unable to move in my embarrassment at having crossed the line from hair brushing to something more. As I stilled, he became motionless also. I held onto the brush with both hands, watching the back of his head. The air crackled with suppressed tension. I tried to ignore the blood rushing to my cheeks.

I couldn’t deny it. I was being pulled nearer and nearer to him like a tetherball on a string as it winds its way to the pole, closer and closer with each orbit.

He slowly turned to me, his face serious, but his eyes were shining. He raised his cast covered arm and slowly let his fingertips run down the side of my face. My skin felt as if it burned under his touch. I held my breath. Slowly, he pulled the brush from my frozen fingers and set it on the counter. “Thank you,” he whispered. Then he rose to his feet and walked out the door.

I watched his back as he left. I felt like someone had called the lottery numbers and I had just missed by one.

***

The next few days fell into a pattern. Rosalie spent most of her time on the deck chairs on the patio overlooking the beach. She would sit and stare at the ocean, dressed in her jacket, scarf and sunglasses. She was quiet, as she sipped the blood that Emmett kept her supplied with. I knew part of her inactivity was due to the morphine derivative that Emmett mixed in the blood, as per Carlisle’s instructions.

When not exploring the island with me, Jacob got in some male bonding with Emmett. They’d watch the Seattle Mariners on the television, courtesy of the satellite dish. Rowdy and raucous, the two of them would yell and cuss at the players on the television. It became worse when they discovered the DVD collection of Three Stooges comedies. Jacob would come out of the media room, holding his aching ribs from the laughter.

It was our third morning on the island and I was in my bathroom, shaving my legs, when I heard voices. I looked up; they were coming from the vent near the ceiling. The bathroom for the master suite that Emmett and Rosalie shared was back to back with this one; the air ducts must be connected in some way. I could hear the conversation as Emmett brought Rosalie into their bathroom.

The injury to her leg still prevented Rosalie from walking, and with the damage to her hand, crutches were out for the time being. Emmett carried her wherever she wanted to go and seemed glad to do it. It was touching to see how tenderly that huge mountain of a man cared for the injured woman in his charge.

“Here you go,” I heard Emmett murmuring as he apparently set her down. There was the sound of water running and rustling.

“Your hair is coming in nicely,” Emmett mused. “It won’t be long before you’re my honey blonde again.”

There was a strangled sound, like someone choking back tears or a cry. “How can you stand it?” Rosalie lisped.

“Rose, what?” Emmett’s voice was full of concern.

“I mean, look at me!” Rosalie whispered. “I’m hideous.”

“Rose, you could never be hideous to me,” Emmett reassured her.

“Oh, come on, Emmett. I’m a monster,” Rosalie choked out.

“Rose!” Emmett admonished her. “Don’t say that.”

“All my life, Emmett, human or otherwise, I’ve been the beautiful one. I’d walk in a room and eyes would turn to me. I liked that. I know it was vain, but it was something I had that made me special.” She took a breath. “Now I look in the mirror and I can’t stand it. Am I anything now?” She ended in a whimper.

“Rosalie Hale,” Emmett scolded. “From the moment I was reborn, yours was the first face I saw. I thought to myself, ‘I must be dead because there is an angel in my room.’ Several weeks later I knew I had indeed found my angel, because her beauty was nothing compared to her soul. It is you I love, Rosalie, not how you look. You will always be beautiful to me, Rose, always.”

There was the sound of bodies coming together, and I snuck out of my bathroom, eager to let them have their private moment in peace.

***

“Ah, that feels so good,” Jacob said, scratching his forearms vigorously. Emmett and I had just removed his casts. He smiled blissfully as he scratched. “Well, this calls for a celebration,” Jacob said. “Let’s go for a swim.”

Jacob hadn’t avoided me since that unexpected moment in the bathroom, but there was a reserve in him now that I had not felt before. We were both more careful of casual touches, more aware of each other’s bodies. In a way, I longed for the easy lighthearted relationship we used to have, where I could grab him and playfully tackle him to the ground. But now, I was dealing with a whole new set of feelings. My heart leapt every time he walked in the room. My eyes were drawn to him whenever we were in the same room. There wasn’t any activity more fascinating than just watching him walk around.

I had started to dream of Jacob at night, a welcome relief from the nightmares, but frustrating in their own way. The dreams were all jumbled and random, leaving me with a sense of loss and aching.

Emmett seemed blissfully unaware of the changing relationship between Jacob and me. However, I could feel Rosalie’s eyes on us from behind her sunglasses.

Jacob and I grabbed our towels and walked down to the point. We’d seen dolphins there and were hoping to swim with them. The beach was clean and pristine. The water was that beautiful turquoise color found in the tropics and the sky was deep blue and cloudless. It felt wrong to be in this tropical paradise while my family was facing unknown dangers.

I had spoken to my mother last night. She said they had found some leads on the agency supplying the soldiers and were chasing the information to San Francisco. She reassured me again and again that they were being cautious, that there was no immediate danger. I just wished I could believe her.

We spread our towels and I sat down to apply sunscreen. I didn’t tan easily but I didn’t want to take chances with this tropical sun. The bikini I was wearing wasn’t covering a whole lot of skin. I’d found it in a drawer in my room, but I thought I filled it out nicely. Looking in the mirror, I had been convinced that my womanly curves were finally here in full force.

In this strong sun, the faint shimmer that marked my skin grew more pronounced. Jacob watched as I rubbed the lotion on my arms. “Your skin is beautiful,” he said, almost wondering.

“Thank you.” I smiled at him. “You should put some on, too.” I handed him the bottle and he looked at it skeptically. “Especially on your side, you don’t need any more burns there.” The skin on his side looked almost completely healed now, but it still was pinker than the rest of him.

He sighed, taking the bottle from me, and started applying the lotion. He grimaced as he contorted to reach his side. I guessed his ribs must still be sore.

I wrapped my arms around my legs. The sound of the rolling surf was broken only by the occasional cry of a shore bird. I rested my chin on my knees and dug my toes into the sand. “Jacob, have you ever been in love?”

He put the bottle of lotion down in the sand between us. “Well, I thought I was once.” He stared out at the ocean, his face thoughtful.

“What happened?”

“She chose someone else.” He looked at me, squinting against the sun.

“Ouch.”

“It was a long time ago and a lot has changed for me now.” He stood up and extended his hand to me. “Come on, let’s go swimming.”

We splashed into the sparkling, sun-drenched surf. The water was warm and the waves shimmered in the sun. Jacob was like a seal in the water, diving below the surface, coming up with his hair slicked back. The salty water glistened as it streamed off his warm, brown skin. He laughed with the pleasure of the water, the sky, the beautiful day. His teeth gleamed whitely against his chestnut skin and his dark eyes twinkled.

His enthusiasm was catching. This was what I loved most about Jacob, his vibrancy and his passion for life. Like his high temperature, it seemed like he was always living at a higher level than anyone I knew. He was more in the moment, more in tune with his senses and the beauty around him. He threw himself with passion into everything that he did, and that kind of fervor was undeniably attractive. He seemed the antithesis of my parents, hot while they ran cold, soft and warm while they were like marble, impulsive and visceral while they were intensely cerebral.

I stood chest high in the water, smiling as I watched him frolic.

He saw me watching. He smiled widely at me. “What?”

I felt my cheeks flush. Had I been staring at him? “Nothing.” I shook my head.

“Come on.” He motioned with his head from where he was treading water that looked dangerously deep. His arms slowly moved beneath the surface, causing his broad shoulders to ripple with the movement.

“No thanks,” I said. “I’m okay here.”

He swam gracefully over to me. “Come on,” he insisted. He pulled me by my hand into the deeper water. Suddenly, the sand disappeared from beneath my feet. I grabbed his arms and neck and held on tightly.

He looked at me, startled by the strength of my grip and the look of trepidation on my face. Sudden understanding lit his face. “You can’t swim, can you?” He threw his head back and laughed.

“Well, excuse me,” I said, clutching him tighter. “My parents aren’t exactly beach people.”

“But you said you’d been here before.”

“Yeah, I never went farther than waist deep. News flash, vampires sink.”

He laughed again. His arms lightly circled my waist. “I won’t let you go,” he reassured me, his face inches from mine.

“Don’t,” I whispered. “Don’t let me go.” I could feel his warm, sweet breath on my face. My heart started beating rapidly and my breath came faster. My arms were circled around his neck tightly, my body pressed closely. I could feel the hotness of his skin against my chest and belly while his dark brown eyes crinkled in the corners with his smile.

The sun danced off the gentle waves, causing the water around us to shimmer. The beads of water on Jacob’s skin glistened like diamonds. The air itself seemed to sparkle.

I saw his breath hitch in his throat as he watched me. Impulsively, I leaned forward slowly, and searching his face, I kissed him softly on the lips. They were smooth, soft and hot. The saltiness of the water on his skin was delicious.

I pulled back from the brief kiss I had given him, holding my breath. Surprise crossed his face first. Then something darker and deeper took its place. Understanding flared in his eyes and joy lit up his face.

He whispered, “Renesmee?”

“Jacob,” I whispered back, staring into his eyes. I was ready for this. I was more than ready.

His strong arms tightened around me, imprisoning me against his smooth hot chest. So quickly, his lips searched for mine. His arm rose on my back until his fingers cradled my head, his warm lips moving in the most delectable way. His other arm squeezed me against him. He kissed me like he had been waiting years for this kiss. Maybe he had.

My head was spinning but I couldn’t get enough of him. I squeezed my arms around his neck; his long wet hair was the only cool spot on him. The world around us disappeared. There was nothing in the universe but Jacob. I struggled to get closer to him. This was so innately right; in his arms is where I knew I belonged. I had a place in this world at last. Not in the human world, not in the vampire world, where I would forever be straddling both sides. But in Jacob’s world, wherever he was.

We pulled back from each other, our hearts beating furiously. “Wow,” he said, smiling.

“Wow,” I agreed, light-headed but clinging onto him tightly.

“Our first kiss,” he whispered.

It was my first real kiss ever. Sudden insecurity stabbed me. “Was it okay?” I asked him in a small voice. It had seemed earth-shattering to me, but surely he had more experience in this area than I.

He threw back his head and laughed, his white teeth glistening against his dark skin. Then he saw that I was serious. Still smiling, he brushed a wet tendril of hair from my face. “It was perfect.”

“Really?” I couldn’t stand it if he was lying to me.

His face grew serious and his eyes bored into mine. “Perfect,” he murmured.

I grinned at him and he grinned back as the waves jostled us slightly.

He sighed. “Come on, let me bring you in.” Although Jacob was standing, it was still too deep for me. “I think that’s enough boundary stretching for one day.”

My face fell.

“You are too important to me to rush this, Nessie,” he said, staring into my eyes. “Let’s take this slow. We have the rest of our lives.” Jacob walked us towards the shore, still holding me in his arms. I clung to him for as long as I could.

He put me down when the water was waist deep and we walked together to where our towels were spread on the sand.

As we were toweling off, a shout came from down the beach. Emmett was waving his arms in the air. “Carmen and Eleazar are here. Come on in.”

Rosalie was on the patio in her usual place as we came to the house. She didn’t say anything, but I glimpsed over my shoulder as I walked by her. Yes, she probably had seen us in the water. I threw my towel over the patio railing to dry.

“Jacob,” she said as we passed, “Could I talk with you a moment?”

He stopped and turned to her slowly. I paused as well, but Rosalie looked at me and said “Carmen and Eleazar are waiting for you.”

I padded into the house, wanting desperately to hear what she had to say to Jacob, but knowing I had definitely been dismissed. I was quickly caught up in Carmen’s hug. She gushed about seeing me and the supplies she had brought. Eleazar joined us and they led me to the kitchen to unpack their supplies. They had been unable to contact the Amazons as of yet, so they couldn’t stay more than a day or so.

That night I was wakened by the sound of thunder. I watched as the lightning illuminated the room in brief, erratic flashes. My thoughts ran to the towel and suit I had left hanging on the patio railing. It occurred to me that I should get them before the rain started. I padded past the media room where I could hear a movie playing and the sound of laughter.

I was halfway across the patio when a faint smell tickled my nose. It was fragrant and beckoning, a deep, rich odor. I took a deeper breath, inhaling through my nose. The perfume was heady and enticing. What was that delicious aroma? I found myself by Rosalie’s customary chair, staring at her half-filled and abandoned glass of blood.

I hadn’t tasted human blood since I was a baby. I’d been raised to appreciate the sanctity of human life. But this wasn’t taking any life, was it? My throat became suddenly dry, and yet my mouth was watering. I lifted the cup to my nose. The bouquet of it was tantalizing, thick and alluring. I knew it would be even more so when it was hot and fresh. Even so, it was compelling watching the liquid swish around the cup as I swirled it in my hand. The fragrance was complex and enthralling.

“Don’t do it.”

I looked up, startled to see Jacob at the edge of the patio. I looked at the cup in my hand. I couldn’t remember picking it up.

“Don’t do it,” he repeated, taking a step towards me.

“It smells good.” I laughed weakly. I wanted to put the cup down, but my hand wouldn’t let go of it.

“You can fight it, Nessie. Don’t give in,” he urged me.

I looked at the cup in my hand. A surge of anger flared in me. Why would Jacob deny me this? “This is what I am, Jacob,” I said roughly. The thick liquid swirled irresistibly. “A bloodsucker,” I whispered bitterly, sniffing at the mouth-watering aroma.

“What you are, Nessie, is what you choose to be,” he whispered.

Choice. I had a choice. He’d love me, no matter what I did here. But it did matter, didn’t it? It mattered to me. It mattered how I defined myself.

With a tremendous effort of will, I set the cup back on the table, and backed a step away from it. Jacob strode to the table and with a quick flick of his hand, tossed the cup’s contents into the bushes surrounding the patio. He set the cup upside down on the table.

The patio flashed briefly with the illumination of a far off lightning strike. His face was calm and composed. He wrapped his arms around me, and rested his chin on my head. “It’s the middle of the night. Why are you awake?”

“The thunder woke me.” As if to prove me true, the low growling rumble of thunder washed over us. “Why are you awake?” I asked, my head snuggled against his chest.

“Restless,” he admitted ruefully.

I felt the first patter of raindrops. “It’s starting to rain. My towel.” I broke from his arms reluctantly and walked over to the railing.

“Come on,” he encouraged me, as we walked inside. “I’ll tuck you in.” He followed me to my bedroom, where I tossed the towel and suit onto the chair and climbed into the big bed. He knelt by the bed and pulled the covers up as I lay back against the pillow. He kissed my forehead. “Goodnight.”

I looked up at his beautiful brown face, his deep entrancing eyes. “I love you,” I whispered and I knew it was true.

He stared into my eyes. “I love you, too,” he murmured. The honesty in our voices was unmistakable. A choice had been made. A line had been crossed.

“Everything alright in here?” Emmett stood in the doorway, his arms crossed.

“Just fine,” Jacob answered over his shoulder. He rose and turned off the light next to my bed. “Goodnight, Nessie.” He brushed by Emmett in the doorway.

“Goodnight, Nessie,” Emmett echoed, pulling the door closed behind him.

The patter of the rain had started in earnest and it quickly lulled me to sleep. My dreams were filled with Jacob.