The reveal comes tomorrow!
Title: Getting It Right
Word Count: 3,251
Pairing/Character: Edward/Bella/Jacob... or E/B, J/B might be more accurate.
Warnings: Angst. Sex. More Angst.
Summary: Edward wants to make Bella happy. He'll do whatever it takes - even if that means he has to share her with Jacob Black.
Author's Notes: jacyevans, I really hope you enjoy this! I had a lot of fun with the prompt, though I hated having to torture Edward so much. Also, I must thank my friend kcmrgn213 for reading drafts and outlines and keeping me motivated even when I decided to rewrite the whole thing in a different pov. Please let me know what you think!
I made the decision the night Bella had visited Jacob in La Push. The night I held her, broken and sobbing, in my arms - a fracture of the girl I knew. She'd told me, the next morning, that she'd made the right choice in picking me - the only choice, she said. Yet, somehow, I knew that wasn't entirely true. She would never consider asking for the thing she really wanted, though I could give it to her. I could give her everything she wanted. And, in a way, I owed it to her, no matter what it would cost me.
And so, I decided to share my Isabella with Jacob Black.
Convincing myself to share was one thing. Convincing Jacob was another entirely.
It took me days to hunt Jacob down. It seemed that Jacob rarely left Quileute territory anymore, and when he did, he was running with his pack brothers. Eventually, though, I was able to catch Jacob off guard during one of his patrol runs.
Why have you been following me? What do you want? Jacob growled his thoughts at me, not bothering to change back to his human form.
I had to fight to keep my voice calm, though I could feel the tension welling up within me - both because of the werewolf in front of me and the words I knew I would have to speak. "We need to talk. About Bella."
Jacob's growling ceased, though he still stayed tensed in his wolf form. Is she ok? Did something happen? I could see flashes of Victoria and other former dangers to Bella in Jacob's worried thoughts.
"No. There's no danger."
I studied the horizon, not wanting to see Jacob's reactions while he spoke. Hearing him would be enough. "She's not happy. There's something broken in her - I can see it in her eyes. She cries in her sleep." I paused, acutely aware of Jacob's accusing thoughts. "I can't bear to see her in pain anymore. I need your help to heal her."
What could -I- do? If you did something to hurt her...
My fists clenched involuntarily, and my words escaped me with the wrath of a lion. "I would never hurt her."
Why are you here, then?
I forced myself to take a deep breath. "She loves you." The words were so quiet that a human would only have heard something sounding like a leaf fluttering in the wind. "She's not complete without you - she's not Bella." I shook my head, but it didn't help quiet Jacob's triumphant thoughts which were running victory laps in my brain. "But," I continued, "she loves me, too. She needs us both."
Wolf-Jacob barked in laughter. What are you saying? That we should share her? That's ridiculous!
I wished I hadn't come. I wished I hadn't had to. "Yes. That's precisely what I'm suggesting. If it's what makes Bella happy, it's not ridiculous to me."
Jacob was suddenly serious. What games are you playing now? She picked you already!
"No games, Jacob. She wants us both - are you going to help me give that to her, or are you willing to let her live unhappily?" I was quickly growing impatient with Jacob's selfish thoughts. Why didn't he see that this was the obvious way - the only way - for Bella to be happy?
How would it work? How do we -share- the girl we love?
I sighed. I hadn't even figured that one out for myself yet. "I don't know. Maybe we split days with her. Maybe we let her decide how it works. I just know that it's the only way."
I could tell that Jacob still wasn't convinced. He was tempted, yes, but not convinced.
Look, Jacob thought, his eyes narrowed and fierce. I don't understand why you think I'd want to -share- Bella. I don't understand why -you'd- want to share her. And, I don't understand how you expect it to work.
I leveled my own eyes with Jacob's gaze. "This is not about what either of us wants. It's about Bella. This is for her. We'll get this right, no matter what, for her."
And with that, Jacob could not argue.
It wasn't hard for me to convince Bella that we should spend the rare sunny, early-summer day on a hike in the woods. In her mind, I'm sure that meant 'time in the meadow with Edward.' I couldn't blame her - there's nothing I'd rather be doing than lying on the pillow-soft grass, my skin scattering rainbows on the face of my beloved in my arms. But today we couldn't. Today, she would be with Jacob.
I carried Bella on my back, but I didn't run. She had grown much more comfortable with running with me, but today I was in no hurry.
During the week between my meeting with Jacob and the day that the plan would take effect, I was careful not to alert Bella to my decision, though I felt like I needed to spend every moment with her - as if every moment were one of our last. Fortunately, if she wondered why I rarely left her side that week, not even to hunt, she didn't voice it. I tried not to feel like I was losing something - I knew that I couldn't live with myself if I had the chance to give Bella what she needed and I passed up the opportunity. I found myself listening to the conversation I'd had with Jacob on repeat in my head: This is for her. For her. For Bella.
This day had come entirely too soon.
I glanced sideways at her head resting on my shoulder. "I have something special to give you today, Bella."
Her breath was warm against my ear as she sighed lightly. "Tell me it didn't cost you anything, Edward."
I sighed in return. It would cost me plenty, but she didn't need to know that. "No, Bella, I didn't spend any money on you."
"Good." She kissed my neck, then closed her eyes, letting my slower pace lull her into dreamy daze.
My meager plan was that we would meet up with Jacob in the woods, and I would explain everything to Bella there. Then, it would be Jacob's turn. After that... well... we'd figure it out as we went.
I paused when we reached the edge of the small clearing where I'd asked Jacob to meet us. Jacob was already there. I could hear his thoughts, both anticipatory and grumbling, from across the expanse of grass.
Bella stirred against my shoulder. "Where are we? I thought we were going to the meadow."
I pulled her gently from my back and spun her so that she was facing away from the clearing where I knew Jacob had already caught sight of us. I took her face in my hands and pulled her in to kiss her lips. As her warm lips burned against my own cool ones, I fought to suppress the intense pain that swelled within me. This would be the last kiss that was truly my own. Every kiss afterwards would be a kiss that, in some way, belonged to Jacob, too. But I pushed that from my mind, focusing only on her lips, her sweet scent, the feel of her hands on my chest and in my hair, the delightful sounds she made as I kissed her...
Suddenly, I felt Bella stiffen beneath me. Tuning back into my senses, I realized that Jacob had approached. His hand was on Bella's shoulder. I watched her mouth open in shock as he pulled her from my arms and into his own. His hands took the place of mine on her cheeks. I stepped backward as he leaned in -
"Jake, no! Stop!" Bella pushed Jacob away. She stumbled away from both of us, her face a wash of anger and confusion as her eyes darted between the two of us. "What's going on?" she demanded.
Jacob was confused, too. His eyes shot daggers into mine before they returned, much softer, to Bella. "Bells," he explained, "you've been upset. We want you to be totally happy. If that means that we have to share you, then we will."
"You can love us both, if that's what you want." I took a step toward her, needing to reduce the tension on the invisible string connecting my heart to hers.
She wouldn't have it. She backed away further, her face burning with the flames of what looked like anger. I expected her temper to rush out at us, but instead I watched the fiery look dissolve into a flood of tears as her body crumpled onto the grass.
I was at her side in an instant. I wanted to rub her arms, kiss her cheeks, and dry her eyes with my fingers.
But, there was Jacob on her other side. His hand around hers, his lips placing kisses in her hair, his thumb tracing comforting circles on her shoulder.
As much as my instincts screamed for me to placate her, as much as I needed her to be in my arms at that moment, I couldn't bring myself to play tug-o-war with Jacob. This was his day.
And in that instant of my hesitation, Bella pulled herself into Jacob's embrace, burrowing her head against his shoulder.
If breathing had been required of me, I would have failed miserably in that moment. I don't remember ever feeling dizzy or faint in the years since my death - I didn't think it was possible, but as Bella's tears gave way to Jacob's tender, comforting kisses, the forest began to spin around me. It was all I could do to back away slowly until I could feel the firm support of a tree against my back.
As I watched Bella in Jacob's arms, I wished for the millionth time that I could hear her thoughts. But, I could only hear her voice which seemed to betray her confusion. She was repeatedly asking, "Why, why?" then subsequently murmuring, "Jake, I missed you." She half-heartedly pushed his attentions away, then pulled him back, her lips seeking his. The wolf's thoughts were just as confused as Bella's seemed to be, but he let her kiss him and press herself against him as if his body were the sun and she was a flower that needed his light after a very long night.
I didn't want to watch, but I couldn't leave. My body was frozen against the tree which was creaking with the force of my body against it. I closed my eyes, but I could still see everything through Jacob's eyes in my head.
There was Bella - the only love in my life, my singer - pulling Jacob's t-shirt over his head and allowing him to do the same to her. She kissed him in ways that I never allowed her to kiss me. And - God - how I wished I could kiss her like that! I knew from Jacob's unobstructed thoughts exactly how her mouth tasted and how her tongue felt moving against his. I wanted to feel it for myself more than anything!
The worst part was knowing that I never would. I'd never be able to kiss her that way because now she would never be like me. As much as I protested her being changed, I realized that, somewhere inside me, I wanted to change her as much as she wanted it. Now there would be no forever with her. From now on it would be like this - I would watch her do all the things I wanted to do with her with Jacob and take whatever she would give me in return.
I forced myself to focus on the fundamentals of breathing and not the fact that Bella, abandoning herself in the emotion of the moment, was removing all her clothes and letting Jacob's hands and lips explore her body. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale... My body shook lightly with the strain of it all. This was not how this day was supposed to go.
It wasn't loud, but the sound of my name cut through to me just like it had been shouted. Afterward, everything else was silent - even Jacob's thoughts seemed to have frozen. My eyes flew open, and there was my Bella, naked in Jacob's arms, but staring at me - calling for me. I saw her take a shuddering breath and turn back to Jacob.
"Jake, I'm sorry," she whispered against his ear before she kissed him one last time and disentangled herself from him.
I was still unable to move as she closed the distance between us. The look in her eyes was devastating. I could see a new element of pain there mixed with a longing that seemed to demand satiation.
When she reached me, she pressed her body to mine. My heightened senses could feel every inch of her despite the single layer of clothing that still separated us. She kissed her way down my neck, then pulled away to unbutton my shirt. I let her push it off my shoulders, and I let her run her fingers over my chest. Her eyes widened slightly at the chill of my skin and its contrast to the heat of the other body she had explored today.
I was mesmerized by her. Her body. Her actions. Every move she made sent bolts of pleasurable electricity through me.
Suddenly her hands were at my waist, undoing the button on my jeans. I tried to gulp back my desire and stop her, but I still couldn't move from my place against the tree. Then, Bella pushed my jeans down along with my boxers and her body was back against mine, her hands on my shoulders. She pushed lightly against me, and, this time, my body gave way, and I slid us slowly down the tree to the ground.
Bella's eyes met mine in a silent question as she positioned herself above my lap, her opening grazing my erection.
I knew I shouldn't let her. I knew she'd regret letting it happen like this later. I regretted it now. But, I wouldn't deny her. I couldn't.
Almost imperceptibly, I nodded, and Bella lowered herself on me. Her intense heat and tightness were overwhelming. I had been right to worry about my self-control in this situation. The only things that kept me from wanting to ravage her on the spot were the tiny gasp of pain she released as her hips met mine fully for the first time and the matching cries of pain from the boy who still sat a few feet away.
Calming myself, I moved to kiss Bella's cheeks, eyelids, and forehead as she recovered.
After just a moment, her grip on my shoulders loosened, and I felt her begin to move.
I watched Bella's face - her eyes were closed, her mouth slightly open. I wanted her to be the only thing in the world at that moment - the only thing in my head. But, Jacob's thoughts cut through to me like knives into my brain.
I'm sorry, Edward. I can't share her. I thought you were right - I thought this was the best thing to do - for Bella. But I can't handle seeing her with you. I can't. I can't torment myself like this every time she looks at you. Maybe you are as selfless as Bella thinks you are. How else could you do this to yourself?
I tore my eyes away from the beautiful girl in my arms to look over her shoulder at Jacob. I wanted to be angry with him for leaving Bella now, but I could hear the pain in his thoughts, and I could see it in his eyes. And I understood.
I bent to place a kiss on Bella's neck before taking one last glance at Jacob. His thoughts were consumed with his pain, but he nodded, seeming to understand that I was telling him that I would love and protect Bella for both of us.
I would never envy Jasper anything after today because, despite the thrill of Bella moving so pleasurably above me, all I could feel was an inner torment that seemed to come from myself as well as from Jacob.
Bella's breathing was growing shallower - I could tell she was close to reaching the high she desperately needed. Her hand grasped mine tightly, as if she needed something to hold on to.
"Jacob?" she asked shakily.
I met her eyes and shook my head. The wolf was gone.
Bella made a series of quick gasps - whether from pleasure or pain, I couldn't tell. Another tear escaped her eye. I leaned in to kiss it away before resting my forehead against hers. This was such a mistake.
"I love you, Edward," Bella whispered against my cheek. "For trying."
It was too much. She was too much. I began to realize that I may never fully understand this lovely creature and her willingness to accept me, no matter what I did. I captured her lips with my own, making her moan against me. Her hips rocked harder against mine seeking contact to her most tender spot. I moved my hand to the place where our bodies were joined and gave her the relief she needed.
I'd seen many orgasms in people's thoughts over the years - as much as I wish that weren't so in many cases - but I had never seen one that compared to Bella's. It was like watching a sunrise. I could see the first rays of sun on the horizon as she tensed around me - so warm, like the sunlight slowly parting the black of night to heat my skin. Her body seemed to glow like the dawn sky as she writhed in pleasure. I'd never seen anything so beautiful.
But, like a sunrise, it was over all too soon.
I eased her from my lap to the grass beside me and wrapped her in my arms. She was shivering, but I didn't want to let her go. I had to apologize. "Bella, I'm so sorry. I did this for you. I thought- I thought..." I wanted to say that I thought that being with both Jacob and me was what she wanted, but she silenced me with her fingers.
"What I need, though, is you. I had to choose." She pressed her lips gently to my forehead, as if I she wanted to comfort me. As if I deserved it.
I watched Bella's eyes drift from my own to a spot a few feet away where Jacob's discarded jeans lay forgotten. Her eyes began to glisten again, and her tears resumed their flow down the flood plains of her cheeks. I wanted to take it back. I wanted to make her forget that I'd ever had this idea. But, I couldn't. I could only pull her tighter into my embrace as she was, once again, wracked by sobs. Sobs that I caused. Sobs for my mistakes. I closed my eyes and kissed her temple, willing her to be okay - to come out of this without more scars on her heart.
As we lay there, I couldn't help but wonder - would I ever get this right?