I carefully peered into Jacob's room, almost hoping he was not yet awake. Somehow I felt it would be easier if he were asleep. Part of me was stupidly afraid of his reaction.
It's not like I didn't already know how he'd react. I'd been going through the scene in my head for what seemed like a lifetime.
I saw him grin in my direction. No sense in hiding now that I'd been spotted.
"Hey, Bells," he said as I walked in, the agony obvious in his voice.
"Jake," I finally blurted out, blushing as I inched closer to his bed. "How are you?"
"I'm fine. Dr. Fang says I'm healing fast. Not that I didn't know that already," he said, winking and flashing my grin. The grin that made me fall in love with him. "You didn't come here just to check on me, though, did you, Bella?"
I dropped my eyes to the floor and sat down on the edge of the bed, careful not to touch his soft, hot skin. "Is it that obvious?"
"Let's see... you've got blood red cheeks, you're avoiding eye contact, and you're acting like you're afraid to touch me. I'm guessing you've made your decision. And I'd be willing to bet money that I'm not gonna like it." His smile slowly turned into a frown with every word he spoke.
"Jake, listen, I--" He held his hand in front of my face to stop me. "It's okay," he murmered. "I think in a way I expected this. It hurts like hell, Bella, but it's okay. I want to see you happy, even if it is with that bloodsucker and not with me."
Tears were welling in both our eyes. Why did he have to make this harder? "Please," I stammered, forcing myself to hold back the sobs I felt scratching at my throat, "just listen to me--"
"Really, Bells," he interrupted again, "I wish you and Edward the best. I really--"
"Jacob!" I amost yelled. "Stop interrupting me for two minutes! I didn't come here to tell you goodbye. I came here because--" I bit my lip as I stammered over the tough part-- "I love you, Jake. I want to be with you."
A mix of confusion and elation crossed Jacob's face, and I knew I would have to explain. The worst part was yet to come, I realized.
"When edward left," I began, crossing my arms protectively across my stomach, "when he left I was a mess. I could barely live with myself. That's when I realized I couldn't live without him."
I could see anger boiling in Jacob's face. "But you... Jacob, you made it bearable. You were there for me, even knowing my heart belonged to him. I can't live without you, either, Jake. When we kissed... it was something different. It was warm, and soft, and... human. I want to feel human again. I can't live without Edward, but I can't live with him, either. Because the only way I can stay with him... is if I die."
Jacob just stared at me, once again smiling. "Aren't you going to say something?" I asked him. His silence was terribly irritating.
"What can I say, Bella?" he asked, his grin turning into a mocking smirk. "I'm speechless. I never thought I'd see the day when you'd finally come to your senses!"
I scowled at him, lightly punching him in the ribs, not realizing how much it would hurt until he groaned in pain. "Oh, Jake, I'm sorry!"
He just laughed at me. "Your left hook's getting better, Bells," he teased, pulling himself up closer to me.
He leaned his face close to mine, his warm hand cupping my chin. His lips touched mine with a burning that came from his skin and from his desire. I kissed him back, the most amazing kiss I'd ever experienced. He wrapped me in his hot, muscular arms and I knew that's just where I belonged.