Spoilers: Set during New Moon before all the werewolf shenanigans start, I guess?
Word Count: 1,561
Summary: She’s kind of into baby steps, as far as this whole happiness thing goes.
Author's Note: Ha ha ha, check me out! I bet, lalumena, when you gave me the prompt 'Quiet, Jacob/Bella,' you thought it would never actually get written! Or maybe it was me who thought that. In any case: I decided to just attempt the impossible, and then this happened. A disclaimer: I have not read any of SMeyer's, er, glorious prose in several years, and strangely am not, like, super-into the idea of changing that anytime soon. Besides, I feel like my skills as a writer quite simply will never be epic enough to master the myriad complexities of a character who has said "Holy crow!" on many occasions. (Whyyyy does anyone like these books again???) So instead I think I just channeled KStew the whole time. Because I do like KStew.
Jacob falls asleep doing math homework. He’s slumped forward, cheek pressed against the coffeetable, and at first Bella thinks it’s just because he’s concentrating really hard or whatever. But then his breathing gets slow and even, and he doesn’t make fun of the episode of Friends that’s on the TV on mute even though Ross and Monica are doing a really stupid dance. Bella’s done with all her homework already, and she’d figured that dinner-wise Charlie could just stick last night’s lasagna in the microwave, so it’s not like she really has anything else to do. So she looks at Jake. It might be sort of creepy to watch someone while they’re sleeping (unless you’re Edward, she guesses, and then she abandons that train of thought, ‘cause hi there gaping chest wound of everlasting heartache, it’s just great to see you again), and she’s sure he’ll tease her about it if he wakes up and catches her, but it’s not like there’s a lot that’s way more interesting to do in this town. So.
His legs seem, like, ridiculously long, and one of them’s bent at this weird angle, and there’s no way that’s comfortable. He had taken his hair out of its ponytail earlier to try to engage her in a dramatic hair-flipping contest, like, shampoo commercial style, because apparently he’s the world’s actual biggest dork, sorry Eric, sorry Mike Newton, sorry Ross from Friends. The weirdest part is how okay she is with it. Or maybe the weirdest part is how much even looking at him can make her want to, like, not die. Right there. That’s skills.
Her hair, for the record, is still in its ponytail: she just watched him and laughed earlier. She’s kind of into baby steps, as far as this whole happiness thing goes.
It’s raining out, big surprise, and that’s pretty much the only sound since the TV’s on mute and all. That and Jake’s breathing, and she guesses all in all it’s pretty quiet. Her relationship with quiet is interesting these days. On one hand, it’s like – God, if she ever hears another love song again, if she ever hears Jack Johnson being all peppy about how it’s better when we’re together, or anything Taylor Swift has ever even like thought in her sparkly princess brain, she will actually go into catatonia. Just, like, cease to exist. Misery coma. Bam. She gets that it’s stupid to, like, wish all of the love out of the world for the rest of time, or whatever, but she can’t help it. Screw everyone who’s in love and happy (and she knows it’s petty, but she can’t shake it) – screw them, because she was happier, and she was more in love. It’s lame, maybe, to think like this, because it’s not like Edward was a big Taylor Swift listener. As far as she knows.
(God, even thinking his name. She misses him so bad it twists her stomach, like, she gets that it’s not very swooning-delicate-heroine or whatever but thinking about him seriously makes her want to vomit sometimes. She doesn’t know how to make the whole loss thing pretty. She thinks about touching him, about the sudden shock that always came with putting her fingers on his smooth cold skin, like being slapped or stepping out into a rainstorm or slipping on ice, and how alive she felt, because he was really good at that, and how’s that for irony, right, her dead boyfriend sure could get her heart pumping, too bad about his pesky qualms with just stopping it forever, huh. God damn it Edward. God damn him, god damn her for being stupid enough to think he would ever stay with her in the first place. Because, like, whatever, she’s sure a catch, she’s just great at, like, stammering and making casseroles and falling over. Don’t trip over each other while you’re lining up there, Every Guy Ever.)
So that’s what the quiet has going for it. It’s not love songs, and it’s not happy hallway chatter. It’s not Charlie er-ing and um-ing and uh, Bells, sweetie, I just want to make sure you’re okay-ing.
But at the same time, quiet’s so huge and so empty. She feels right at home there, but, like, in this way where she’s pretty sure she should move, you know? Slap a For Sale sign on the lawn and take off.
She knows she needs to shake her way out of this. It’s been like half a year and he hasn’t come back yet, there hasn’t exactly been that big I was wrong, hey, actually, I can’t live (or whatever it is I do) without you moment, where, like, she wakes up in the middle of the night and there he is at the foot of her bed, watching her. Maybe his eyes are a little amber, and his gaze a little too sharp. She never told him or anything, because she knew it’d spook him, but she might have liked him like that the best: when there was that little hint of monster in his face, when she could tell that he was listening to the thud of her pulse way too close. Sometimes, in moments like that, he’d twist his hands in his lap, like somebody trying to pray, or like Hugh Grant wearing a cravat and a contrite expression in that Jane Austen movie her mom likes so much. (Fine, yes, she knows the title, fine, yes, she’s a total dork. It’s not like she can help it. She’s always wanted that big unreal love, that big unreal life.) She wonders how far she could have gotten him to go, if he’d stayed. She thinks of the guilty twist of his fingers and even now, even after he’s pretty much left her to die (or not die, which is the problem), she feels it deep in her. How it felt to watch his fingers, how it felt to look at something as beautiful as he was and to know it wanted her more than anything else. Kind of a rush. Like, she’s tried other stuff since, and Red Bull didn’t exactly cut it. Riding On Motorcycles With Strangers worked a little better. But, like. Still.
She starts to count Jacob’s breaths in her head, without really thinking about it. It’s probably a creepy thing to do. She’s probably a creepy person. A non-creep probably would have gotten another boyfriend by now. The rain pounds outside.
Friends ends and the TV switches to one of those stupid celebrity gossip news shows, like, wow, yes, obviously gorgeous untouchable people are super-important. Bella decides she’s sick of the quiet. She takes off one of her sneakers and tosses it at Jake’s back.
He makes this totally stupid oomph! sound and sits up really fast. There’s a piece of lined paper stuck to his cheek. He looks like a complete moron, and like a little kid who just happens to be, like, really tall, and she loves him for being so normal and such a mess. It’s not the kind of love that, like, actually matters in a post-Edward world. She’s pretty sure it’s a major downgrade. But it still feels good to feel it. Which just makes her feel, like, really dumb and easy, like, way to keep up those standards, girlfriend.
“What…?” Jacob sputters, pulling the paper off his face. Too bad. It was such a hip look for him.
“You fell asleep,” Bella informs him. “It was really boring.”
“So you threw a shoe at me,” he says, like this is somehow weird.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” she answers flatly.
“Really, Swan, really?” he asks, dark eyes dancing. “You think you can take me? You think you can mess with this?”
He stands up, like he’s gonna attack her or whatever, but then he falls down again because his leg’s asleep. His hair is in his eyes. He’s laughing.
She thinks of Edward, because his hair never does the whole messy thing, and the way he stands is so perfect that it’s just like, no other dude in this century has ever been able to swing it, not even in period piece movies, and when he kisses her it’s always like she’s exquisite and fragile, seven lifetimes of bad luck if he breaks her, and here is the actual truth of the matter, just in case you were wondering: every girl wants to be cherished like that. Pretty much none of them are.
Most of them just get cute boys who fall asleep in their living room, then get fake-grumpy when you throw shoes at them. And look at you like you’re the best thing ever, even though you are fully prepared to Miss Havisham it up ‘til you’re withered and wrinkled and ninety and (the unsexy kind of) dead.
She thinks that if she were a little less off, a little more healthy, she’d be okay with that. As is, though, he pulls her off of the couch and into his arms (because apparently this is how you fight to the death against She Who Cast The First Shoe, yeah, okay) and his skin is warm and she can feel his laughter shaking in her. Jake, she knows, would never hurt her.
And it’s like, where’s the fun in that.