Holding the sun (one shot)
I parked my car on my usual spot next to Billy's house. As soon as I stopped my truck engine Jacob opened the front door of his house. A wide smile spread on his face and he rapidly climbed down the steps to reach my door. He opened it for me and helped me out, as if I needed help. He might be afraid that I could trip on my way out and cliff diving would then be impossible for us. I thought he said it was rather dangerous and the last time I mentioned it he didn't seem so eager to go with me. Then why was he so happy this morning?
"Hey Bells! Ready for the big game?"
"Sshh!" I hissed through my teeth. "If your dad hears you he will tell my dad and you can be sure that I will be grounded for the rest of my life!"
Jacob laughed heavily. Right now he was exactly like he was before, before this werewolf nonsense. He was the Jacob I used to know, the Jacob I liked.
"You don't have to be afraid of my dad. He's not here anyway, he's down at Harry's," he said and then I gave me one of his huge hugs and for one second I couldn't breathe.
"Oh I know," he said with another laugh when he released me."You can't breathe. You say this all the time. So you're ready to go? You're still willing to go?"
I rolled my eyes and looked up at him. Of course I was still willing to go cliff diving! What on earth could have made me change my mind? I really thought that cliff diving was reckless enough to make me hear this voice. The voice I couldn't live without, the voice that was making me stay in Forks.
"Of course I still want to go, silly. The only thing I'm afraid of is that the water may not be as warm as I'd like."
Once again Jacob laughed heartily when I showed him the clothes I took with me to wear after our little stunt. They were the warmest clothes I've ever had. I also took another pair of shoes and some towels.
"Well, I think you're well prepared. But I have towels too you know. You could just have asked me."
He said we couldn't take his car because he was out of gas and he didn't have time to go to the gas station. I climbed in my truck and waited for him to go get a bag in his kitchen. Then he went to sit next to me and showed me the food and drink he had bought especially for today. He said it was in case he got hungry on the way.
"When you get to the store take the first road on the right," he said after a few minutes. He had already eaten three sandwiches and I was pretty sure was the bag would be empty before we could reach our goal. Maybe I should have taken something to eat too because watching him swallowing all this food was making my stomach gurgle.
"I know a spot which is perfect for you," he added with the same smile on his face. Maybe he had stuck it to his lips in the morning and it will stay there for the rest of his life. That would be nice, very nice. "It's a little cliff which is not too high for you, I think. Of course with me by your side we could try something higher but with your luck, you would find a way to get hurt. And I don't want you to get hurt."
I didn't respond to that because at this point what difference one or two more bumps would do anyway? My mind was almost cured from what happened some many months ago and it felt so strange, so bizarre that I was pretty certain that hurting my body was for me a way to compensate this healing. But I couldn't tell it to Jacob he would find it very weird. Besides, he would never allow me to dive from that cliff if he knew that I wanted to get hurt or that I wouldn't mind if I was.
"Here we are. Park there, next to this elm."
I nodded and drove carefully to avoid the big rocks which were everywhere. Now that almost all my money had been spent for the motorcycles I couldn't afford to repair my truck if I damaged it. I got out of the truck and watched my feet to be sure that I would not trip on anything. An instant later Jacob was by my side and took my hand. His hand was so warm it reminded me that the day was not as hot as I hoped it would be. I squeezed his hand tighter to get more heat but he didn't seem to notice. He looked down at my feet and then up to my face.
"Take your shoes off. It will be easier for you down there without shoes full of water."
I stared at him in disbelief. It wasn't even easy for me to stay in one piece with my shoes on. Why did he say that he didn't want me to get hurt and now he was asking me to do the opposite by leaving my shoes behind?
"What? Is there something wrong, Bella?"
"Mmm...Jake? I don't know if you remember but I'm not some kind of werewolf. I'm not like you. I don't think that my feet will appreciate the rocks so much."
"So if you don't mind I prefer to keep my shoes on."
Jacob agreed silently and smiled again. Right now he was just as he was before he turned into a werewolf, as he was when he thought that Sam was leading some kind of gang. And Gosh! It was amazing the effects that this smile could have on me. First, I couldn't help smiling back at him, it seemed so natural now. And for a brief instant I completely forgot why I came here in the first place. For one brief instant I was just going to enjoy a moment with my friend, my best friend, my Jacob.
Jacob began to walk towards the edge of the cliff and dragged me along with him. He was avoiding the biggest rocks and obstacles, not for his sake but for mine and I was grateful for that. The cliff was becoming closer and closer and I was beginning to think that maybe it wasn't the best idea I had had in my life. Maybe it was too cold today to do it. Maybe we could do it another day, another time, when the sky would be blue and cloudless. But a little voice in my head erased instantly these thoughts. I had to jump off that cliff because I wanted to hear this voice, this soft and velvet voice that I was looking for so eagerly. Jacob was talking to me but I couldn't figure out what he was saying. I caught the words "waves" and "current". And suddenly, we weren't walking anymore. We had come to a stop and Jacob let go of my hand.
"Here, sit on this rock and take your shoes off now, Bella."
I sat as he said and started to unlace my sneakers. Jacob sat next to me on the ground and put a lock of my hair behind my ear to see my face. I didn't look at him but I felt my cheeks burning softly and I was pretty sure they were becoming pinker. Jacob chuckled quietly and dropped his hand.
"Can I ask you something, Jake?"
"Sure. What is it?"
"I'm just wondering...It's not that I don't like it but it's been so long since you were like you are right now. What happened?"
"What?" Jacob seemed completely lost. "I don't understand what you're talking about, Bella. You know what happened. I discovered I could morph into some gigantic wolf. And then you told that some freaking vampire wanted to kill you. This is what happened."
"Yes, I know that. But..." I felt Jacob's gaze on me and I looked up to meet his eyes. "I mean, since I have figured out what you are, you have always seemed preoccupied. And since this morning, you're always smiling. The smile on your face didn't fade away until two seconds ago. So, I was wondering. Why are you so cheerful, so happy today?"
As a response to my intrigued face, Jacob took my hands in his and laughed heartily again.
"Do I need a reason to be happy, Bella? Because if I need one you will have to look in a mirror to find it. I'm just happy to be with you like we were during the first weeks. And you know Sam gave me my week-end." It sounded like Jacob was an employee and Sam his boss and he had given him some days off to go in vacations.
"He said I had to spend some free time with you because if I didn't, you will not want to stay stuck in La Push doing nothing, like you did these past days. And that you could end doing something very stupid or dangerous. So, nobody will disturb us today. No changing into a werewolf, no pack gathering, no vampire hunting. Just you and me, and this cliff. Isn't that great?"
I had to admit that it was great. Jacob was entirely mine for the week end. And he could even get some rest. That was perfect. But it would be greater if the sun was shining. Of course the sun was shining from his face, from his smile. But I wanted it to shine from the sky, too.
I finally took my shoes plus my socks off and I got up. Jacob imitated me and took something in his pocket that he handed to me. It was a rubber band for my hair. I rapidly made a ponytail with it and when I was done, Jacob took my hand again. He led me carefully to the edge of the cliff. I came closer to the empty space in front of me and looked down at the sea. Maybe it was a little cliff but it was high, anyway. I felt Jacob's arm tight around my waist. His fingers accidently found a bit of my skin underneath my shirt and the feeling made me shiver. Not because his fingers were cold -his fingers weren't cold anymore. Just because he was Jacob and I was Bella and he could only be my best friend. He seemed to realize I wasn't at ease with his touch but he didn't draw back.
"I think the cliff is twenty feet high. You're okay with this?" he asked quietly, his mouth much too close to my ear.
I nodded still looking down at the sea. I didn't want to look up and find his face too close to mine. All I wanted was to hear the voice in my head, the voice that will tell not to do what I was going to do. Jacob was my best friend, the only one who could understand me and I had made it clear before that this would never change. Jacob was just too persistent right now. I focused on my feet and he finally let go of my waist.
"Okay, so no matter what happens, I will hold your hand all the way down there and you mustn't let go of it. No matter what. The current may be strong and I will not be able to help you if you are too far from me. Do you understand, Bella? Hold my hand as tight as you can."
"Got it, Jake."
And to prove it, I squeezed his hand harder. He didn't feel the change in my grasp but he saw what I was trying to do and it comforted him. I took a half-step toward the edge but he didn't move. His face was serious again.
"When you jump, take a deep breath and keep your mouth closed. I know it seems obvious but you could be taken by surprise when you will hit the water," he added when he saw me rolling my eyes.
"Jake, I don't think that something will go wrong if you're by my side. I'm ready. Let's do it. Now!"
I waited for the voice in my head to tell me the contrary, to tell me to go back to my truck, to put my shoes on again and to put an end to all theses reckless things I have been up to for a while. But nothing came. No voice in my head. Strange, I thought. Cliff diving was one of the most reckless things in the world, in my world. I was certain the voice could not agree with it. I took another half-step toward the edge. This time Jacob followed me. I could sense his gaze on me. I looked at the sea, thinking very hard that very soon I will be down there, that I would have jumped twenty feet in the void. That I will probably get hurt. That I was not keeping this promise I made in the woods that rainy day. But still, there was nothing in my head. It was beginning to annoy me. The purpose of jumping off cliffs was to hear my velvet and soft voice.
I sighed and tried to loosen Jacob's grasp on my hand. Maybe the voice would speak if it understood that I wanted to jump without any link with Jacob. Because Jacob was strong enough to prevent me from drowning. Of course I didn't manage to get my hand off of Jacob's. I sighed again.
"You're not obliged to do it, Bella," he said. "I will not make fun of you or anything if you step back. You don't have to pretend to be tough with me. I'll understand. We'll find something else to do."
"No, that's okay. I'm fine, I'm fine."
Maybe the voice will come to life during the fall or when I will be down there, like a parent scolding his child. I took a deep breath and looked at Jacob with a timid smile. He smiled back with apprehension this time, not sure he should allow me to jump.
"On three, okay? One...two...three."
I closed my eyes and just let him lead me to the water. The wind froze me and my clothes didn't protect me at all. I couldn't feel anything except the cold. My ears were buzzing. I was not afraid of the fall, not afraid that I was falling into the emptiness towards the ocean. I was very still because I knew that Jacob was by my side, that he was holding my hand firmly, that he would protect me if something went wrong. The fall seemed to last forever. It was like I was flying. Nothing mattered anymore. I was free from all my problems. I didn't even care about the velvet voice which was not shouting at me yet. Right now all the events that happened a few months ago disappeared and under my shut eyelids the only image I saw was one of peace, of sun, of light and of heat, all that I was craving for. And then without helping it I felt a smile spreading on my face. Maybe the voice wasn't shouting at me because I wasn't doing this cliff diving stuff to annoy it anymore. I was actually enjoying myself. I opened my eyes and the rush of air made them wet. Some tears rolled down my cheeks but I wasn't sad at all. I turned my head to see Jacob and he was looking at me. I thought he was smiling at my smile but suddenly we hit something hard and my eyes were not the only part of my body which were wet. My whole body was wet. And cold.
I was so surprised that I opened my mouth and let a cry escaped. Instanteneously water filled my mouth and my throat. I was surrounded by water and one second later Jacob's huge hand pulled my head out of the water. I choked during a few seconds and then inhaled deeply. The current was very strong and I couldn't stay still. I had to constantly move my legs to keep my head out of the water. Jacob carefully let go off my hand. He grasped my waist and hold me tight against his chest. I took severel deep breaths before I was able to concentrate or even speak again.
"You're okay?" Jacob asked, concern in his voice.
I didn't have to move my legs anymore. Jacob was supporting all my weight with his arms, just like I was less heavy than feathers. I put my hands on both of his shoulders to steady myself. His white shirt was as wet as mine and I could feel every one of his muscles underneath the fabric. I could felt his rapid heartbeat under my right hand. His short hair was falling on his eyes but he wouldn't put it back, too afraid to let go off me.
"I'm fine. It was great!" I exclamed after a short instant. I smiled widely and his concern disappeared. He smiled back.
I was about to ask him to go back to the top of the cliff to jump again, to feel this freedom again when a stronger wave hit us. Jacob didn't flinch at all but it surprised me and I unconsciously put my arms around his neck to prevent me from falling under the water. His hold tightened.
"It's fine. We're fine," he whispered. Our faces were so close that I felt his breath when he spoke. He was still smiling, I was still smiling and our eyes locked. His look was hesitant but at the same time, eager. I assumed that my look might be the same. I felt a rush of heat on my face and I blushed. But still, I couldn't look away. Jacob was very still, not determined to speak or to move either. And without thinking about it twice, without thinking about the consequences, without thinking if it was right or wrong, I kissed him.
My kiss was hesitant during just one second. Then I find no resistance from Jacob and it became more passionate. He had obviously been waiting for this. He had been waiting for me to do the first step because he didn't want to force me to do anything I didn't want to do. I tightened my hold around his neck and grasp some of his hair. Against my chest I could feel his heartbeat quickening, on the same rhythm as mine. Jacob loosened his hold to put a hand on the nape of my neck. But it didn't frighten me because I knew that he won't let me fall. Never. And then I realized that the velvet voice meant nothing to me. I could live without it because it was not it which was making me stay in Forks anymore. It was not some invention of my mind. It was something real, it was this boy. More than a boy, it was this man. This man that I had always considered like family, like my brother. But now my Jacob-brother had disappeared and all that was left was my Jacob.
Our kiss lasted for several minutes without any pause. I didn't want to stop it. I wanted it to last forever. Because right now I could feel peace and I didn't want this to go away. But I eventually ran out of air and I had to pull back to breathe. I didn't open my eyes and put my head on Jacob's shoulder to rest and steady my heartbeat. He kissed the top of my head and sighed with satisfaction.
"Well, that was something!"
I nodded in agreement, not willing to speak. I just wanted to enjoy the quietness of the moment. He seemed to understand it and he softly put his head on top of mine. Everything was silent except for the sound of the waves breaking against Jacob's body and the sound of the seagulls in the sky. After a few minutes I shivered. It was strange because so close to Jacob I felt very hot.
"We should go back to the beach," Jacob said, noticing it.
"No," I responded, finally speaking. I looked up and opened my eyes. He was looking at me, still smiling but also serious. "I'm fine here. I don't want to go."
"You'll freeze if you stay here. And you'll be sick and Charlie will want to know how you fell sick. Let's go to your truck so you could change your clothes. I can carry you if you don't want to swim. But before..."
He bent down and kissed me again, with the same eagerness as our first kiss. I couldn't help smiling and he smiled too, finally breaking into laughter. Still laughing he carried me to the beach. Out of the water I realized that he was right and that I was freezing. My teeth were chattering and my whole body was shivering. Jacob took my hand and rapidly but still carefully, he led me to my truck along a small path that I had not noticed before.
Jacob caught a towel and wrapped me into it. He pulled me against his chest to warm me up faster. He was rubbing my back with his hands when I realized that he was not wet at all. Wow, sometimes it was actually cool to be a werewolf. After a few minutes I began to feel warmer and my teeth stopped chattering. I realized that the peace I felt on the water had not disappeared when we left the ocean. I was still feeling it and added to this, there was something I had not felt for months. I was feeling happiness. Jacob was truly a gift from the gods.
"Feeling better?" he asked.
"Yes, much better. And you?"
He laughed heartily and put my hair away from my face to see my eyes.
"I wasn't feeling bad before but yes I think I'm feeling better now. Thanks. Oh, and by the way, I'm glad you kissed me. You can't imagine how long I've been waiting for this."
"I'm glad I did it too. I guess it is exactly what I need. I think that you are what I need. You've brought peace and happiness back in my life. Thank you Jacob."
"Wow. You never spoke like this before. I guess I should say "you're welcome" but I don't know if it would sound right."
"You don't have to say anything. You just have to be here," I said, resting my head against his chest and closing my eyes.
He nodded quietly and we were silent again for a long moment this time. I think I could have stay like this forever but the wind was beginning to blow faster and stronger and Jacob pulled me away gently.
"You're really gonna get sick. Come on, I take you to my home so you can change your clothes. I can make you hot chocolate too, if you want."
"Okay," I agreed. "But before..."
I did the same thing as he did in the water but I had to tiptoe to reach his face instead of bending. I kissed him and each time he was trying to pull me away and be responsible, I kissed him in a way that I thought was more violent and faster. And he obviously didn't want the kiss to stop either because he had more than enough strength to stop me whenever he wanted. When I realized that I chuckled and at the same time, we heard a wolf howling not very far from us. I twisted towards the place where the sound came from and I saw a giant wolf staring at us. I swore I saw a grin on its face.
"It's just Embry. He must be patrolling in this area. Go away," he hissed at the wolf. "And now they all know. I hate this mind-sharing stuff!"
For me that was a direct allusion to Edward. I thought his name unconsciously and automatically put my arms around my chest. But nothing happened. No pain. Nothing at all. I could say his name without fearing it. Wow. Jacob could really do miracles.
"Well it wasn't supposed to be a secret, was it?"
"No, it wasn't. But anyway. Go away!"
"Give him a rest, Jake. He's just jealous," I said with a smile and my eyes sparkling.
Jacob laughed heartily and I couldn't help laughing at my own assumption. He bent to kiss me again, his eyes still on his friend. The whole wet clothes stuff seemed to be forgotten now. I put my arms around his neck and my towel fell to the ground. I didn't care, I wasn't cold anymore. And at this exact moment, the sun broke through the clouds and blinded me. Now all was perfect. The sun was in the sky and I was holding Jacob tightly. I was holding my personal sun.