A lot has changed since she was seventeen and unscathed, laughing at the things he said and asking him to tell her scary stories. A series of Jacob/Bella drabbles taking place during New Moon and Eclipse.
These are drabbles I wrote a long time ago to go along with a Jacob/Bella fanmix I posted in my LiveJournal (http://flowrs4ophelia.livejournal.com/64549.html). This is some of the first Twilight fic I ever wrote so now that I go back and read them again some of them seem kind of lame and embarrassing, lol, but I'm posting all my old fic that I've never had archived here and figured I might as well make the collection complete.
1. Monster Movies
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On February 16th the weather is getting to be a little warmer and the Newtons' store is noticeably busier today. During Bella's lunch break, Mrs. Newton and another employee named Holly are in the break room with her drinking coffee and flipping through magazines. By now most people who work there have gotten used to Bella never having much to say anymore; they just about ignore her presence as she sits spinning the cap from her soda bottle on the tabletop.
"Did you and Derek do anything special for Valentine's Day, Holly?" Mrs. Newton asks.
Holly is in the middle of yawning boredly. "Not really," she answers after a moment. "We were both kind of busy. He gave me some flowers, though."
"That's nice. Andy and I tried to do something nice..."
As Mrs. Newton now starts telling Holly about a bad experience she and her husband had driving out of town to eat at some fancy Japanese place, Bella remembers Jacob handing her the little pink box of conversation hearts. It made her a little uncomfortable at the time, but now she thinks of it and feels grateful for how easy instead of awkward Jacob somehow manages to make everything. "What exactly does that entail?" "The usual—slave for life, that kind of thing." It suddenly seems a lot more silly to her than it did at the time, and without her fully realizing it, the corners of her lips tug up into a tiny, uncontrollable smile for a moment as she remembers it.
Jacob takes everything so lightly that sometimes he reminds her of a little kid. It makes the world feel like a safe place again rather than a dark and serious one. Somehow, at some point, the sound of Edward's voice humming her lullaby in the dark at night has been replaced with the chipper sound of Jacob casually whistling in the daytime as she's gotten used to him habitually doing all the time when she's with him. It's a very different kind of pleasing and comforting sound, like the chirping of birds outside as the sun is rising.
It doesn't take long for Jacob to figure out that Bella doesn't like to watch romantic films. They sit at his house or in movie theatres watching the most brutal and horrific movies, ones with zombies getting dismembered or aliens clawing into people's flesh or diseased dogs with red eyes snapping their sharp teeth, ones that always end with the screen filled with blood like an abstract painting with red paint thrown aimlessly all over the canvas, and she never even flinches. Only once during a movie has she ever gasped and covered her eyes with her hands, impulsively leaning her head into his chest to hide it further, and then recovered quickly to look up at his amused, smirking face and explain apologetically, "I don't like needles."
But if a couple starts kissing in a movie they're watching, or even holding hands or grabbing onto each other in fear, he's noticed she will suddenly become even more detached from the watching experience than she usually always is, looking down absently like she can't handle seeing it. Sometimes she'll even start to uncomfortably squirm in her seat a little like she feels like she's going to be sick.
It's just strange to him, now that he knows everything. That freak boyfriend of hers was just like a creature out of the kind of movies she has a taste for now. Yet none of the scenes of people getting attacked by them hit close to home. It's nothing about the Cullens' monstrous nature that scares her. It's love and intimacy that she's learned to be afraid of. Sometimes when she reacts like that to a movie they're watching together, he feels an impulsive, strangely protective need to do something—put his arm around her or take her hand securely, somehow convey the words I'm here and I'm not going anywhere. For what it's worth.
But then he always realizes his complete helplessness. It does no good to help a bruise heal by putting more pressure on the same place.
III. Blue Flame
A lot has changed since she was seventeen and unscathed, laughing at the things he said then in a way that made him feel ten times bigger than he knew he was and asking him to tell her scary stories. He keeps remembering her face that day now, thinking. How much did she already know?
Sam was able to tell Emily everything. More like he couldn't not tell her. He wonders, if he could just see Bella, if he was to imprint on her, if that bond would be strong enough to break the restraint of Sam's order...
Walking down the beach by himself, he shakes his head a little as if to jerk that thought out of his head. It may take a miracle to free her from the hold that's on her too, the claim that repulsive leech still has on her, but it won't make him feel better to imagine such an easy solution. That's when he sees the driftwood he and Bella were sitting on that day, where they always sit now, and in a surge of anger and frustration he imagines it burning up in a brilliant blue fire. She already knows everything. The memory of when he told her all of that is as clear to him as if it happened yesterday. Maybe not so much to her, he thinks feeling a faint sting.
Who is he kidding? He knows who his enemies are now—who they're supposed to be. She may not want to know the truth anyway. She may not be able to accept it that easily. Some bonds between people cannot endure anything like true love's kiss breaking a spell in a fairy tale or something. And between the ties she still has to the vampires and her ties to his world, he knows which bond is the strongest and more powerful.
But he keeps thinking of that memory, the instantaneous feeling that they could understand each other, the neat and orderly snapping together of two attracted magnets. Nothing magical about it, yet somehow still so strong. And he keeps thinking of how there are, after all, many varying kinds of bonds between people, a vast spectrum of different colors of feelings, different kinds of fire.
IV. Men and Monsters
Bella picked this one after Jacob mentioned it was good—X-Men 2. She's learned by now that he'll probably always agree to do anything she wants to do, but she figured she might as well use the opportunity if he'll actually like watching something she can handle.
Or thought she could handle. Not even realizing she's doing it, she crosses her arms and grumbles a lot during a few less action-oriented scenes. Then—oh, great. They're kissing. What kind of a "guy movie" is this, as Quil commented that it is on his way out of Jake's house when he saw what they were going to watch?
"What is he doing?" she demands in anger that is a little excessive; from the other side of the couch where he's sitting with his long legs stretched out and resting on the table, Jacob laughs lightly. "He can't just kiss her like that! I thought she was with the other guy—with the glasses!"
He laughs more. "She doesn't look like she minds too much. And come on. Don't tell me you'd pick Cyclops over Wolverine."
Bella makes a noise of disgust. "Please. At least he's a gentleman. Wolverine is animalistic and...uncivilized."
He is laughing as much as ever, grinning widely. She doesn't realize it, but he is happy about how naturally and lightly she's able to talk about such a thing at the moment. "Is that so?" he asks skeptically. "I took you for the type to go for more of a scoundrel."
"Me? Why?" she asks in an almost offended tone.
He looks at her like she is missing something quite obvious. "Well, you're not exactly the most old-fashioned and ladylike girl, are you? Getting motorbike riding lessons in secret?"
She looks down, appearing to feel defeated. She seems to be mildly irritated by the topic, but not quite realizing what they might really be talking about enough to lose her casual composure. "Hmph," she just says defiantly to the TV screen.
In the weeks following the Cullens' return to Forks, Jacob keeps himself busy and distracted working in the garage fixing things. One of his neighbors is paying him a decent amount of cash to do a lot of work on an old convertible. On the afternoon Jacob calls him to tell him he's done, he sounds astonished that it's ready so soon. "In perfect shape," Jacob promises.
"Wow," his neighbor says. "Thanks for being so quick. I ought to give you something extra to make it up to you."
"Don't worry about it."
As soon as Jacob gets off the phone, it rings again. He looks back at it, but he has a feeling who it might be and instead goes to the fridge to get some orange juice, ignoring it. A moment later Billy has picked it up from the other room and calls, "Jake, it's Bella again. Do you want to talk to her?"
Bella. He hasn't seen her or talked to her since her bloodsucker came back. He hears she's fine now. She's happy again. He keeps picturing her the way she was in the past many months, looking so thin and worn-out and with a kind of shallow blankness in her eyes, and then picturing her smiling with a genuinely happy radiance, the way he has hardly ever even seen her himself. It seems harshly unfair.
Does he want to talk to her this time? For once, he considers it fleetingly, imagining a conversation strangely similar to the other one he just had on the phone. "What? What do you want? You came to me broken and I fixed you. You've been returned to your owner in perfect shape. And he can't make it up to me, so what more do you want?"
Instead, he calls back, "No. Tell her I'm out."
VI. Young Love
Bella has made her decision, but she knows she will always look back on that time that it seemed like her and Jacob Black were the only two people in the world and feel a painful yearning for where it all could have headed—no, would have, as he said. The time when every morning she would wake up and it was only thinking of his face, that smile, that made it worth getting out of bed.
Everything was so perfectly normal. She sees now it was exactly the typical, unexciting way two teenagers end up falling for each other. Riding around in cars together, sitting in a garage eating junk food, going to bad movies, walking around hiking trails or beaches just to talk and maybe get lost—why not? It seems now that time was endless and unlimited then, even though it was the epitome of a normal and mortal existence. Just two high school kids spending their time leisurely talking about nothing, getting themselves into trouble, and slowly falling in love because there's nothing better or more important to do. It was perfect and she didn't even know it. She wants it back to do it again, to realize what she has this time, even though she knows she can't want that if she's made this choice.
She wants to live it again and this time forget that a life like that is not all there is out there for her. She wants to watch the horror movies not knowing there are any real monsters. She wants to go through it again as a whole person who never felt the needle and the drug in her veins, as someone who needs nothing more than air.
No, she thinks. She knows she doesn't really want it. She can't. But she wants so badly to want it that it may make no difference.