This was Jacob Black, my life long friend. He was goofy and gigantic and…and…a friend. All of a sudden
I felt something inside of me shift and I felt myself suck in a big gulp of
air. Something was different. My eyes darted around the room and then back to
him, checking to make sure everything was in place. Everything looked the same.
He looked the same. But it was like I had never seen him before- like I was
looking at him for the first time. And I liked the way he moved so sinuously
across the room towards me, the way his deep cinnamon skin accented the muscles
in his arms and chest, the way he smiled that goofy grin at me. I liked it more
than I should have.
His brow furrowed slightly and his lips twitched at the corners of his mouth like he was fighting a smile. It was then that I suddenly
realized I was standing there gaping at him like a moron. I tried to pull
myself out my ridiculous stupor, but I couldn’t move.
“What is wrong with me? Stop staring at him like that,” I thought to myself. “He probably thinks your crazy. Just walk away.”
Good plan except….I was a statue. My feet might as well have been welded to the floor as he closed the distance between us. A small smile
stretched across his face and reaching up he grabbed the very top of the door and
reached out to shut it himself.
“Sorry.” I squeaked to the closed door as it clicked shut in my face. I heard him chuckle softly and I turned with an about face and went to sit on the couch.
What’s with you?” Seth teased. He watched with a playful smile as I sat down on the couch
like I was playing a frantic game of musical chairs. “You look like you’ve just
seen a ghost.”
“Nothing, I’m fine.” I replied.
Ugh! ‘fine’ was not the right word. I was having an out of body experience. At least, I wished I was. If I was out of my body it would be
easier to escape what I was actually feeling. Accidentally walking in on anyone
half naked would have been awkward, but this was Jacob. And to make matters
worse, I just stood there and gawked at him! I was so completely embarrassed. I
sighed and buried my face in my hands.
“Are you sure?” Leah chimed in. “You seem a little flustered.”
“Yep. I’m great,” I piped up a little too quickly.
She shot me a bewildered look. She was obviously wondering what size straight jacket I wore, which was probably fitting, given my behavior.
There was nothing like self-mortification with two other people around to
witness your disgrace.
“Ready Ness?” Jacob shouted from down the hall.
I groaned internally as I heard him rustling around with my things and making his way down the hall. My stomach was doing nervous little
somersaults as he came into view. I had no idea what I was going to say to him.
Hell, I could barely look at him without drowning in humiliation. At that
moment a frightening thought jumped into my mind; would this make things weird
between us now? Would he be just as embarrassed as I was? I had probably made
him completely uncomfortable, and all because I had forgotten to knock. I was
such an idiot.
He walked into the room, ducking under the door frame, and with a quick wink he motioned for me to follow. I studied his face closely
looking for any tightness, or sign of discomfort, but surprisingly, his
expression was the picture of ease. If he was freaked out he certainly wasn’t
letting it show. And I was surprised to find that I was slightly disappointed
that he was managing to be so unaffected by our little encounter. I gave myself
a hard mental shake at the fleeting thought. What a strange reaction, I
thought. I stood up, doing my best to work my features back into a composed expression,
and I said a quick thanks to Seth and Leah before heading out the door close on
“Are you sure you’re alright?” he asked for the sixth time since we got into the car. His face was full of concern. “You seem a little freaked out.”
“I’m okay.” I replied, trying my best to keep a neutral tone.
The 2 hr drive seemed to go on forever. He didn’t drive as fast as my parents but it wasn’t slow by anyone’s definition. I hadn’t looked
at him once since we got into the car. I was concentrating intently on the tree
line as I forced myself to stare out the window. I could feel his eyes on me
and I actually contemplated trying to count the trees, or possibly the
raindrops that splattered on the glass as we sped by, or doing practically anything
that would distract me from the memory of him in that room.
The embarrassment from bursting in on him had faded for the most part, but I couldn’t get the image of him out of my head. It was so vivid.
I couldn’t tell if this was a natural part of me to have these thoughts now, or
I was being absolutely ridiculous and overreacting.
Should I be having these thoughts already? I wondered. I had always developed so rapidly, both mentally and physically, that no one around
me ever dared put any timelines or restrictions as to what was normal for my
age, but this was so new. It had come on so fast. And I had certainly never
looked at Jacob that way before.
I risked a quick glance in his direction and I could immediately tell he wasn’t fooled by my response. I just prayed that he
couldn’t in a million years guess what had me so worked up. Our relationship,
up to this point, had been mostly a very close friendship. My father’s term
‘soul mates’ kept popping into my mind. What did that mean anyway? Up until now
I only had one perception of Jake and now, all of a sudden, it had changed. But
by how much exactly? I gnawed on my thumb nail as I stared out the window again.
The car began to slow down and we pulled off to the side of the winding road that led the way from La Push to our new house. Slowly, the
car rolled to a stop and he cut the engine. In my periphery I watched as Jacob stared
off into the distance colleting his thoughts before he turned to look at me. I
could feel his eyes boring into the side of my face but I couldn’t make myself
turn to meet his gaze. He cupped my face in one of his huge and extremely warm
hands and turned my face towards him. For a second I thought he might be angry
with me, but when our eyes met his expression became very soft.
“I can tell when something is bothering you, you know?” he said softly. I didn’t respond right away so he continued. “This morning was an accident. I hope it didn’t freak you out too much.”
The somersaults in my stomach returned at the mention of our little encounter, and I stared down at his elbow when I answered him.
“No. I’m okay…really. I mean, it caught me off guard, but it didn’t freak me out or anything, its just that-“
I stopped talking. I couldn’t finish my sentence. I was suddenly very away of how soft his hand was on my face, and how intently he was staring at me…and the way he was staring at me.
“Go on.” He urged. I tried to center myself and say something dismissive, rather than say the embarrassing things I was actually
thinking, but I could hear the words begin to tumble out as soon as the response
entered my mind. I knew this would just add to the earlier awkwardness but I
couldn’t manage to stop myself.
“I don’t know what to say Jake. I feel like I did something wrong, but it doesn’t feel wrong…it feels so right that it scares me.” I looked
up at his face, which held a very serious expression, and I knew at that moment
the fear I had of our relationship changing had just come true. I could have
kicked myself. Why couldn’t I have just kept my mouth shut? This would never
work; Jacob was my friend. He had known me his whole life and he probably
thought of me as a sister or something. He wouldn’t feel that way about me. And
what would my parents think? My father would probably kill him! Immediately, I
tried to take back what I said. I couldn’t stand the idea of ruining the
special bond we shared all because of my stupid teenage hormones.
“I’m so sorry Jake, I shouldn’t have said that. I-I’m just confused. I don’t know really know what it is I feel, or if it’s right or
wrong, or what! I don’t want to make you uncomfortable or make things weird
between us, but….” I trailed off. My heart was flying as the reality of what I
had said began to sink in. I stared down at my hands, feeling the tears well up
behind my eyes.
He placed his finger under my chin and tilted my head up, but I kept my eyes cast downward. I couldn’t bear to meet his gaze and I took a
deep breath trying to prepare myself for the gentle rejection that would be
sure to follow.
It was only my name but his voice was filled with so much intimacy and adoration when he said it that it made my breath catch in the back
of my throat. When I looked up to meet his gaze a very warm and sweet smile
broke across his face, like he knew some secret I wasn’t in on. Then his words fell
out the same was as mine had, but his were laced with a heady fervor and
confidence that mine didn’t have.
“Honey, you didn’t do anything wrong. And I am not uncomfortable. You must know how I feel about you…and always have. You are my
entire world, the gravity that holds me in place, and I have been tied to you
forever, since the day you were born. The way I love you changes to mirror what
you need most at any given time.”
He paused momentarily to study my face, which I could feel was probably a giant question mark. I had only realized my feelings for him
today. He noticed my confusion and his smile softened to match his eyes, as his
fingers stroked the side of my cheek.
“You just never noticed before because it wasn’t time for you to yet.” He explained. “But I can tell something has changed inside you because
I can feel it. I just didn’t understand what it was at first but now I do…and I
think now you do too.” He let his words trail off suggestively so they formed a
question at the end.
Of course, I knew what it was. I was in love! The emotion hit me like a tidal wave and the intensity of his eyes locked on mine froze my
heart. I hadn’t noticed how close his face was to mine and suddenly I couldn’t
find the right words. In fact, I couldn’t find any words. I could barely find
the air to breathe.
I could only manage a slight nod, but I hoped he could sense the emotion behind it.
His eyes lowered and he rested his forehead against mine. The heat that radiated off him was irresistible. I placed my hand over his hand
resting on my face and let out an unsteady breath. Slowly, he turned his head
and leaned in towards me, pulling my face to his at the same time. He hesitated
briefly and I could feel the soft caress of his breath on my mouth. My heart
began to race frantically as he pressed his lips, ever so softly, against mine
for only a short second before he stopped and leaned back, pulling my lower lip
out slightly when he did. He opened his eyes and looked down at me under his
dark lashes watching for my reaction.
I needed no further encouragement. Our eyes met again for only a moment before I leaned in toward him and locked our lips again. This time he wasn’t nearly as hesitant. He wrapped
one hand in my hair and parting my lips with his, deepened the kiss. I wrapped
my arms around his neck, hugging myself against his body, as he pulled me out
of the passenger seat towards him. Everything about him was so warm, and
strong, and sweet that it was intoxicating. I ran my hands along his face and
the planes of his chest- probably letting every embarrassing thought I had was
flow out of me and into him through our touch, but I didn’t even care at that
point. I was just lost in this perfect moment with him.