Here is part 5. I hope everyone enjoys it. I look forward to hearing what you think!
We walked at a slow human pace through the canopy of trees that covered the path leading away from this new house. We had decided to take a walk to clear our heads from the extraordinarily awkward afternoon that had transpired earlier. Jacob looked content as he twined his long fingers in mine as we walked.
I couldn’t get over the feeling I had when I was with him like this. It was so new but it felt incredibly familiar all at the same time. I loved the heat from his hand on mine, how small my hand felt in his, even the silence of the forest around us. We were all alone, free and clear from parental danger, and caught up in our own world. We continued down this path for about a half hour until it forked off to a small quarry just off the river.
Jacob let go of my hand as he began to climb up a small embankment. He reached the top and held his hand out for me. I narrowed my eyes and crouched down low. I leaped into the air and closed the distance between us in one bound stopping short in front of him.
He smiled softly as he grabbed my hand and pulled me up close against him. He was easily two full heads taller than me, but he managed to bend our bodies so that he could stare directly in my eyes. As much as I wanted to be near him I still wasn’t quite used to the closeness. It was embarrassing with all the errant thoughts that were going through my head. I wanted him to know me and know how I felt about him, but I wasn’t quite ready to relinquish the more ardent feelings that would be transferred without my permission.
I saw his body stiffen slightly at my hesitation but he didn’t say anything. He sat down on the flat surface of the cliff and patted the ground in front of him, motioning for me to sit down. I sat down between his legs facing the water and he wrapped his arms around my shoulders as he rested his cheek against the top of my head.
“It’s pretty here,” I said staring out over the river.
It was overcast but the setting sun cast a scarlet luster over the river. He tightened his grip around me and let out a deep breath.
“Yes, but that’s not what has my attention,” he said grabbing a stray lock of my hair and twisting it around my finger.
I chuckled under my breath with nerves.
“It feels weird that it was that easy.” I admitted changing the subject.
“What was that easy?” he asked innocently but I knew he knew what I meant.
“Uh, Mom and Dad….you and me?” I said skeptically.
“Oh that. I told you it wouldn’t be as bad as you thought. You really need to learn to trust me.” He said in a superior tone. “I always have your best interest at heart, you know?”
I sighed. “I know you do,” I admitted leaning my head against his shoulder. “Why is that, exactly? I mean, I think I know, but I never really asked you…..from your perspective, anyway.”
“Why? Does it bother you?” he seemed hurt by my question.
I turned my head slightly so that I could look at him out of the corner of my eye.
“No, not at all….it’s just that I have heard the…the theory of imprinting from my father’s perspective, but never from you.” I explained. “I’m curious, that’s all.”
He was very quiet for a few moments. I could hear his heartbeat, steady and even in his chest as he collected his thoughts.
“I suppose it’s fitting now,” he concluded.
I sat very still waiting for him to go on.
“Well, it is simple and complicated at the same time.” He began.
I could feel his eyes on me as my face twisted in confusion at the duality of his statement.
He laughed lightly then continued.
“I mean it is simple for me because I just feel it, but it is hard to explain without sounding hokey.”
I didn’t say anything, but just nodded for him to go on.
“Okay, here goes. I’m not sure if there is an actual definition for how imprinting works. I can only explain my relationship with you and hope you understand. I think the most comprehensive word for it would be purely……wholesome. In the sense that no matter what age…or should I say ‘stage’ you have gone through up till now I have only existed to give you what is absolutely essential for you to be completely happy at any given time.”
He looked down at the top of my head for a moment before he went on.
“You are a part of me….of my nature. I can’t even think of you in any sense that is less than worthy of what I just said. Your happiness exists before my own.
And in turn, I am wholly in tune with you- completely connected in a way. I can ‘feel’ when something in you changes- and then I change to reflect what you need at that time.”
I sat very still letting the weight of his words settle. My father had tried to explain this to me before, but even in his best interpretation it was the abridged version. I didn’t know what to say- what do you say to something like that?
“So, that’s it,” he said quietly.
I still couldn’t think of anything to say. His words were so profound. I racked my brain thinking of a response that would be proportionate or even appropriate, but nothing I thought of seemed ample enough. After a few seconds of silence he reached around to pulled my chin up to look at him.
“Sorry if I made you uncomfortable. I’ve never tried to explain it before…it’s pretty heavy, I know.”
I placed my free hand over his and spoke into his hand.
“You can ‘feel’ what I feel?” I asked incredulously.
“I don’t read minds or anything but in a way…yes,” he responded. “Up until now I only had need of you, but now I can feel a pull from you that was never there before.”
“I know what you mean,” I said. Something has changed. I always knew you loved me but until today it was as a friend, or more of a confidant….but, now it’s more….” I trailed off at the end.
“Yes…” he said it confidently as if he had been waiting for me to arrive at this conclusion for some time. As if it was obvious, even through my nerves, and my need to stay in control. He had always known.
I sat up on my knees and turned around to face him. He was so beautiful I could barely look at him. He took my face in both his hands and stared down into my eyes. My breath became jagged as his hands ran from my neck down my arms and around my waist. He picked me up off the ground pulling my legs around him and my body tight against him. I wrapped my arms around his neck and buried my face in his chest. His russet skin matched the setting sun and I could feel the heat radiating off of him. He had a wonderful soft scent as I took a deep breath and let it out against his neck.
“What do you feel now?” I asked softly taking his face in my hands. He looked at me his eyes searching my face trying to find the right words. He shook his head back and forth bending me back and pressed his lips against my throat.
“I love you,” he whispered against my skin.
“Mmm….yes,” I answered acknowledging the double meaning.
He reached his hand up the back of my neck wrapping his fingers softly in my hair, and pulled my face towards him. His lips parted and he pressed his lips to mine. This wasn’t like the earlier kiss in the car. This was much more passionate. His lips were warm and soft and moved perfectly with mine. He opened his mouth and let his tongue graze my lower lip. My body was on fire, tingling from head to toe. His hand in my hair moved down to cup my face as he stroked my cheek and his other arm was pulling me tighter against his body.
I had been careful not to let my thoughts slip but this was too much. What was the point of holding back? He loved me so completely it was silly to keep this from him. I was gripping his strong arms until I moved my hands up to his face. With complete abandonment I let go every thought I had, no filters, no limitations. From way I regarded him at the bonfire, to what went thru my head when I saw him in Leah’s room, to our first kiss and up to this moment now. Every thought, every emotion, every feeling was his…ours.
I heard the groan in the back of his throat as he broke off the kiss and stared at me wide eyed. I was so caught off guard by the abrupt stop that it took me a minute to clear my head. I kept trying to pull myself back into his embrace but he was holding me at bay.
“What’s wrong?” I asked confused.
His face was frozen in a strange expression, but I couldn’t place it. He looked torn and sort of out of breath.
“Did you do that on purpose?” he asked astonished.
“Yes.” I looked away from him to the side when he didn’t say anything.
“I thought you liked it when you could see my thoughts.” I said.
He pulled me back to his chest wrapping his arms around me.
“I do,” he replied, whispering in my ear “that was just really intense. I have to behave myself and it makes it very difficult to that when you show me those types of thoughts.”
“Sorry, if you don’t want me to do that anymore I won’t.”
He pulled his face back so he could look at me. His black eyes burned into mine as he spoke.
“Trust me, it is quite the opposite, actually. That’s the problem…I made a promise and I’m afraid I won’t be able to keep it if you keep putting thoughts like that into my head. It is hard enough to keep them out of my head myself.”
I felt slightly pacified by his response and reached my head up to kiss under his jaw.
The sun began to set as we made our way back to the house. I laid my head softly against his arm as we got back onto the trail. The wind had picked up and blew up the loose dirt on the path. I loved the smell of the changing seasons and sucked in a deep breath.
Suddenly, my hair felt like it stood straight up on my scalp and I quickly dropped Jacob’s hand. Adrenaline pumped through my veins as I looked around frantically in every direction. Jacob must have noticed it at the same time. He was already pulling off his shirt and shaking so fast his perfect body blurred in my periphery.
“Vampire!” he practically spat the word thru his teeth.
“Maybe it is one of us” I said picking up my pace.
“Were you expecting company?” he asked.
“Not that I was aware of. Just take it easy, okay? Don’t phase until we know for sure who it is. Carlisle is at the house- I’m sure he’ll handle it.”
I was in full sprint with Jacob right by my side and we quickly closed the distance of our previous half hour walk in minutes. The scent was growing stronger and it was definitely not one I recognized.
When we got to the house my family was all standing outside in a united front to greet the massive figure wearing a long, charcoal hooded robe…..