"SORT OF BEAUTIFUL CHALLENGE" Entry
Title: The Sweetest Girl
Your pen name(s): independenceindividuality
If you would like to see all the stories that are a part of this challenge visit the "SORT OF BEAUTIFUL CHALLENGE" profile page:
DISCLAIMER: Twilight characters and related likeness owned by Stephenie Meyer, Little Brown Publishing. No profits have been received in the production of this piece.
A/N: Hello, girls! This is my entry for the SOB contest, which I think is a fabulous idea, by the way. Perfect to spread the Jacob love. This is very different from anything I've ever written, and I'm very excited about it. This was beta'd by the lovely Tiffany Nichols, who was a doll and went through this and weeded out my mistakes so fast it made my head spin. A hit to my ego, but very impressive. I've followed just about all of her suggested changes, but kept a few within dialogue where the characters were intended to speak/think incorrectly. So any mistakes like that are entirely my own doing and intentional.
Disclaimer: I just wanted to add another disclaimer besides the required one above to state that this fic is based off of the song, The Sweetest Girl by Wyclef John. So I don't own the plot and I don't own the lyrics leading the story off. I also don't own the title or the characters - just the twisted things I make them do.
So please enjoy, please review, and when the time comes (October 1st!) - if you think this fic is worthy - please vote!
I love writing for you all. Endless love. xx.
The Sweetest Girl
she had a good day, bad day, sunny day, rainy day
all he wanna know is, "where my money at?"
closed legs don't get fed, go out there and make my bread
all he wanna know is, "where my money at?"
- the sweetest girl, wyclef john
. + .
Once you've been somewhere for so long, it's hard to remember how you got there in the first place. It becomes almost impossible to remember the steps that led you there, the person you were before, memories tinted with a different light that your eyes now can't make out.
Or something like that.
Renesmee still can't remember how she got here. Not exactly.
She knows it had something to do with the crash; your family dying will do that to you. Getting put into the system definitely doesn't help either, but now, with her memories all foggy, she can't remember if she was better in it or out. Couldn't have been much of a difference either way. Life will find a way to fuck you, no matter what.
She doesn't think about before, because there was no use. Before ached like shit, and now was now and that's all there was to it. Sometimes things'll remind you, though - things you didn't realize until they happened.
Rain. How motor oil smells. Old Spice. The color green. Any of these things can take her back if they come on too quickly - it's why she keeps her sight blurry.
Wasn't it Nelson Mandela who said something about returning to a place that remained unchanged to see how you had been altered? She couldn't remember. Tenth grade social studies was too fucking far ago, back when she cared about shit like that.
She leans into the car, smells Old Spice and motor oil, and for the first time in months, her eyes focus.
You know that feeling when you've lost something that you love so much, that you searched and searched for but could never find? And then you think you see it somewhere, out of the corner of your eye, and leap? But it turns out not to be your favorite sunglasses after all, just some your friends left over last week.
Yeah, it was like that.
He had to have been an idiot to be driving down a drizzly Chicago street at three in the morning with his windows down, but that's what it was. The woman leaned in, smelling like sex and some kind of chemical cocktail that was surely illegal, and he was just getting ready to roll the window up, her fingers be damned.
"Hey, baby." He looked over to tell her to get the fuck away from his car and into startling brown eyes. Blurry eyes. He watched them focus in shock. "Wanna - fuck."
He wasn't sure if her sentence had changed, but the inflection definitely had.
He just stared, took in the copper hair and the eyes and - and - it wasn't her. It couldn't be her.
But it unmistakably was.
She didn't remember. She never remembered, but he was more beautiful than she remembered. Sort-of beautiful. She hadn't seen anything as clearly as she was seeing him now in years.
"Nessie," his voice - his voice - breathed, and the hole opened up.
Before came back, seeming more real than ever, and her chest cracked. No one had called her that for four years. No one but him had evercalled her that.
Renesmee didn't know much, but most of the things she did know and remember were about him. She did know that she wanted to be here, and she also knew that she couldn't be.
Before could never come back. Nessie couldn't come back.
This might not even be real. She had tripped out before, seen him in places he wasn't. Hell, the first time, she'd tried to imagine his face, but it never worked like that. When she was with them, she could never pretend she was anywhere else besides where she was.
Her eyes hurt from seeing everything in such stunning detail. The lines of his face, the shape of his eyes, the bow of his mouth. The black of his hair. She hadn't seen anything clearly in years, and she hadn't seen him so clear, even in her own mind, in four.
But she wasn't Nessie. She was Ren.
She felt her body turn to leave and then a searing hand clamp her arm. She didn't flinch like too many years of this lifestyle had taught her to do, but her entire body opened up, as much as a half-dead body like hers could, to a touch she hadn't felt in years. A touch she'd never thought she'd feel again.
"Get in the car."
It wasn't a command, even though she was used to them.
"I - I can't," she mumbled, not even believing it. That it was him and he was here, and she was having a conversation with him about this. "I'll get in - I have to - "
"I've got money," he said, almost turning her stomach. She'd heard those words before. "Get in the car."
That was it. Those were the rules - he had the money, you got in and you were nice about it. Except this was Jacob and he was here and -
She got in the car.
He wasn't sure how he had gotten here. He was just trying to get home, he hadn't even - for once he hadn't even been thinking about her - and there she was. In his car. Looking worlds different and just the same as he remembered. In a leather skirt, stripper heels and top that barely deserved the word. No makeup, though. She never wore makeup.
He looked down at her knee. The freckle was still there.
He couldn't breathe. He couldn't believe he'd done what he'd done - when she said that she couldn't, he understood immediately, and it confirmed all his fears. What she had come to. His Nessie.
He wanted to grab her up in his arms and - and - and take her home and bathe her and get that fucking chemical stench and the smell of God knows the fuck who off of her skin and see if she still smelled the same. But he didn't - he just told her he had money and to get in the car.
He hadn't lied - he did have money. And he would give her whatever she needed for only a few seconds of her time, but - but he didn't want only a few seconds.
"Where do I go?"
He still couldn't wrap his mind around it. He couldn't pretend to know how this worked, but he couldn't get her in trouble. He couldn't let anything happen to her.
He almost chuckled bitterly to himself. What the fuck was he talking about? He already had.
"W-wherever you want, honey."
Baby. Honey. He didn't like it. It was bad. It wasn't her - she'd always called him Jake, Jacob, not these names. These names that were supposed to be sweet but just turned his stomach.
How had she come to this? He understood her family dying was rough, and then - then being sent away. God, the day they sent her away. She'd been fifteen - with no family, and - so they sent her, God, he didn't even know where they'd sent her. He was nineteen. He'd wanted to fight for her, to - to do something, but she'd made him swear not to.
He'd been nineteen and she was only fifteen, and that just wasn't allowed. If he'd have raised any more trouble, fingers would've started pointing. They didn't know where she was going, so she swore she'd call when she got there. That they'd fight it out and as soon as she aged out of the system, they'd find their way back to each other.
But she never called.
He parked in the most remote spot he could find close by and cut the engine, stared at her steadily from the corner of his eye. Her face was so young, just like he'd remembered, but so old at the same time. So aged.
He remembered when she'd run track and been on the debate team, and - and she was so bright and beautiful and smart - and - the sweetest girl.
What had happened to his sweetest girl?
"Ness." Ah. That name. That girl. Who was she? "Nessie, what happened?"
What happened? What happened? Foster families without enough government supervision had happened. Living on the streets had happened. Aunt Hazel had happened. Demetri had happened. Fuck, Demetri . . . he expected them to do business quick.
Lots of things happened, and she didn't remember any of them. Or she pretended she didn't at least, because remembering never brought anything good. See - if she'd never remembered him, her chest wouldn't be opening itself up right now.
She looked at him, beautiful and perfect and exactly the same except better. Older, in a nicer car. Her Jacob, her love. And then there was herself.
Ruined at nineteen, in all the worst ways - Big Harry's best friend and no stranger to the streets. A rejected stripper. Scarred inside and out and - and so far from how she was. She had taught herself long ago not to be ashamed of what she was, what she had become, but in front of him now, she was ashamed.
She opened her mouth and heard the dull, emotionless voice that was her mask. Not the clear voice from four years ago that she'd just reverted back to outside the car.
He wanted to say a lot of things.
What are you? Where are you? How are you? Who are you? But all except the last one were obvious. He wanted to kiss her and he wanted to laugh and he wanted to cry and he wanted to understand.
"Listen," she said, just as he was working the nerve to open his mouth. He looked at her, but she was looking at his throat. Her voice was different, not the way he remembered, the way it was outside the car. "We're only allowed - we're not supposed to spend more than fifteen minutes per car, so you need to tell me what you want."
She reached forward and touched his arm. He'd - he'd spend nights dreaming about feeling her touch again, but this turned his stomach. It was a tainted touch. He understood what she meant.
He wanted to ask what the fuck she thought he was. When - when he'd told her he had money, did she think - ?
"Why didn't you ever call me?"
No, not this. Not this.
How was she supposed to call him? She'd had no access to a phone for months while they processed her - who did a girl with a dead family need to call? - and then, and then foster care happened and they were not . . . good, and she couldn't tell him that. And then leaving foster care happened, and by then it was too late. She was ruined.
Jake didn't deserve a broken girl. And she was more than broken now.
"I - got busy."
Renesmee had done a lot of things in her life. A lot of horrible things. She'd stolen and lied and cheated and whored and many other things she would much rather not even admit inside her own mind, let alone in the light of day. And the guilt ate her inside, when she let it.
But she would not regret not calling him. Even when calling him might have changed everything. Then again, it might not have, and she could never have done anything to hurt him.
Not calling might have hurt, but he'd moved on. The fact that he was here now was proof of it, and calling definitely would have hurt worse. They never could have been what they were and while - while these four (was it four?) years had brought her to painful terms with that, he never would have understood.
He would have tried to fix her. You can piece some broken things back together, but you have to have all of the parts. Nessie had to have been missing about half of her parts by now.
"Yeah, you look real busy."
The bitterness in his words surprised even himself. He hadn't - expected that. For her to be like that, blow him off. Act like she didn't care. He cared. It had been four years, and there hadn't been a heartbeat where he'd stopped caring. He'd been driven out of that goddamn rainy-ass town by the mere thought of her, seeing her in places she knew she'd never be again.
And then they find each other - he'd gone through everything in his head, every excuse, that she'd forgotten his number or her foster parents wouldn't let her call. On her eighteenth birthday he spent the entire day sitting by the phone in his bedroom, knowing, just knowing she'd call. She was eighteen, she was free - but she hadn't.
So then they find each other, something he'd dreamed about for years, and his girl, his love, his Ness has the nerve to tell him she hadn't called because she'd been busy?
Busy doing what he could easily see.
He watched her eyes flicker, something like hurt or shame flash through them, but it was gone before he could look again.
"You're the one who told me to get in the fucking car," she spat, and in a moment of ridiculous naivety, that kind when old habits creep up, he realized he was shocked to hear her curse.
She never had - she used to always be on him about his mouth. He wanted to chuckle bitterly as he realized he would be grateful now if the only thing that had changed about her had been her mouth.
"I didn't have to. I don't get paid to answer questions - I think you can guess what I get paid to do. Now, you've ate up about five of your fifteen minutes, so you can tell me what the hell it is you want, and I'll try to do it for you in the time I've got, okay?"
She hoped he'd kick her out. Really, just push her straight out of the car. It wasn't like it wasn't something that had never happened to her before, and she really didn't want him to take her up on her offer. She had known that wasn't what he wanted, of course it wasn't, but this was the only kind of interaction she knew how to make with other human beings anymore.
He stared at her, silent, his eyes hurt. Seconds ago they had been bright and angry, but she hadn't been. She'd had to force the fake anger out at him, her defense mechanism. She deserved his disdain, but she couldn't stand it. She could take it from the world, but not from him.
And she really, really couldn't - do this.
For the first time in a really long time, Renesmee made a decision.
She didn't look at his face when she said it, because she was done looking at his face. It wouldn't make leaving it any easier. She didn't care that she was going back empty-handed to face Demetri and his perpetual, "Where my money at?" She didn't care about the consequences of not having an answer for that question. She was leaving.
His hot hand caught her arm when she was almost home free, dragging her back in even though all he did was stop her in her tracks.
"No, please, don't go," he pleaded, and she didn't look at him, and for a second she was standing weak and hurting and fifteen in a Wendy's parking lot outside a government car. It was the hardest thing, besides not calling, that she'd ever done. Could she do it again? "I'm sorry, Nessie, please. I know - I know you have to leave now, but - I need to see you again. Here's a hundred dollars - is that enough? I - I don't want you to - "
Get in trouble. The end of that sentence went unspoken, but the point got across. She looked back at him, and his eyes broke her shattered heart.
She had found her answer. She couldn't.
She felt herself soften. She took the hundred dollar bill from his fingers and clenched it in her fist.
"What do you think we are, courtesans?" It might have been a joke, and a normal person might have smiled, but Renesmee didn't. "It's more than enough."
His eyes knocked her stomach out, suddenly empty of anything but relief.
"Tomorrow?" He asked, hope filling his tone. She was surprised she even recognized what it sounded like anymore.
She had work tomorrow. She had work every night, if she didn't want to be kicked to the curb. Streetwalkers didn't exactly have the most flexible hours. Renesmee winced at what she was about to have to say.
"I - we don't - you might have to - " Renesmee would be a liar if she said this life had never forced her to beg for anything, but she was loathe to ask anything of him. And she was terrified he would say no. "Buy the night."
"Sure," he'd said before he could even think. "Sure, of course. I can do that."
He wasn't wondering about what kind of world he had just stepped into or even what kind of world his girl was trapped in, the kind where she couldn't even give her time freely. The kind where he had to buy the night for her.
But he would. Of course he would. He would see her again.
It was one word, and it was quiet and over entirely too soon. Because it was soft and it was just like her voice before. It was amazing. Because it was also an agreement to see him again.
"So . . . do I give you the money now?" He questioned, honestly able to say he'd never done anything like this before. In another time, he might have been embarrassed, but now he just wanted what he wanted. "I've - I can get more if I don't have enough."
Her eyes watch his chest, his stomach, his legs. Not his face.
"Two hundred?" She looked vulnerable. He wanted to hold her, but he knew he couldn't.
He nodded and saw her body sag. Had she thought he'd say no? That it was what? Too much? Too much for some time with her after - everything?
When he reached for his wallet, she cringed a little and stopped his hand. Her warm touch on his arm startled him, and for a second the stench and the scene and everything else melted away, and she was in his arms, injured and weak, crying as he begged her not to go. Like she'd had a choice.
"No, you don't . . . give it to me now." Her beautiful eyes flashed to his and then back down. "Come tomorrow - tomorrow night."
Tomorrow night. Tomorrow night. Could he wait that long? He'd waited four years.
"I'll be here."
He'd be there. He'd be there. She knew he would too, because he wasn't her. Jacob wasn't a liar. If he said he would be somewhere, he would, and he said he would be there.
It was almost as hard as leaving the first time to leave him. She walked back towards 'her corner' quickly, so she wouldn't have to watch him drive away. She was hoping Demetri would let her be done for the night since she'd gotten a pretty good 'tip', but before she could even make it back, another car pulled up. A car she knew.
"Come on, baby, hop in."
She didn't feel like dealing with his particular needs tonight, but rules were rules. If her head hadn't been swimming so bad, she would've ducked when she'd seen his car. She - she wasn't sure she could do this so soon after seeing Jacob, his face fresh in her mind.
Turns out, she could.
Jacob didn't sleep that night. He went home, took a long-ass shower, fell into bed and didn't sleep. He would see Nessie tomorrow, have her alone, away from the prying eyes of whoever the fuck was watching her. Had her in their grip.
Could he bring her here? To his house? Cook her dinner? Talk with her? Would she talk to him more normally now? Maybe, maybe with the night to adjust they would be more normal, less in shock. Maybe they could talk about what had happened in the intervening years calmly and like adults before he informed her he was getting her the fuck out.
Jacob had changed a lot in four years. He laughed less, now that she was gone, and wasn't as optimistic. He wasn't a hermit or anything, but life wasn't the same without her - people kept saying he'd get over it. Get over, like she was a hurdle or a bump in the road.
He had work tomorrow, and he really needed to be working on all cylinders, but sleep wouldn't come. He'd also be up late tomorrow, with Nessie. All night hopefully. Talking, being, working it all out. He needed sleep.
He closed his eyes and imagined himself chasing a tinkling laugh through wet, green wildlife a thousand years ago. He slept.
Renesmee was a mess. She did good to keep everything blurry - it was how she coped, but after seeing Jacob everything was in detail. She couldn't stand James in detail. She'd barely had the money in her hand before she bolted, and she couldn't even make it to the garbage. She vomited on the side of the street outside his car.
"Stupid whore," he spat as he drove away.
From then on, everything was in detail. The colors of the streets and the lines of Demetri's face. After James, he let her be done since she'd come back with a little something extra. He took his cut, leaving her with virtually nothing, but looked happy when she mumbled to him that she had somebody wanting the night.
"Do you now?"
She just nodded, keeping her eyes on his shoes. She heard the bills scratching together as he counted.
"He know the price?"
"I told him two hundred." She squinted her eyes closed and prayed he wouldn't tell her to ask for more.
He must've nodded, because the next thing she saw were two twenties being shoved under her nose that she took with trembling hands. She didn't like the details.
"Tomorrow night?" Tomorrow night was Wednesday, a slow night. She was grateful. She nodded. "Good. Who is he? You worked him before?"
"No." Which wasn't a lie. "He just came tonight."
"You better not blow it, Ren." She didn't say anything. She couldn't guarantee it. "You can leave."
She did, walking down the street in the opposite direction of where she stayed. There was one more stop she had to make - she knew exactly how to get the blur back.
Jacob was a wreck. He dropped shit at work, and he clipped the wrong wires. That was shit you just couldn't do when you were remaking classic cars. Sam sent him home early with a, "I don't know what the fuck's wrong with you today, Jacob, but go figure her out before you come back here."
He went grocery shopping, went home and cleaned his apartment from top to bottom. He bought a pre-made strawberry shortcake since he remembered Nessie liked that. It was all she used to ask for for her birthday.
Nessie turned nineteen last month. He was twenty-three. Where had the time gone?
He wasn't sure about the etiquette of this stuff, if they had any at all, but he figured midnight wasn't too early. She'd be out there, right? God, just the thought of how many nights she'd stood out there waiting for God knows who else turned his stomach.
He got in the shower at eleven thirty.
Things didn't improve from there on out. A visit to Felix and her forty dollars got her the blur back, mostly. Or got her messed up enough that she didn't care. She doesn't remember crashing, but she woke up around noon if she could judge by the light coming in through the window.
Shit. She didn't want to be messed up to see Jacob, but she'd wanted a chance to do up a little. She should've gotten up earlier. So she only took a little. She couldn't go daytime, but she definitely couldn't go with her hands shaking.
Being around Jacob like she was already made her ashamed enough.
She ate something and then actually crashed again. Stupid Judas. And by the time she woke up, she was running late. Fuck. Renesmee barely made it to where she was supposed to be on time. She hadn't showered, she hadn't changed, she probably looked like shit. And she wouldn't have cared if it wasn't for who she knew was turning up tonight.
Demetri gave her a look as she ran up but thankfully didn't say anything. He knew he had some guaranteed money coming from her tonight - if the john showed. If he didn't - well, Renesmee knew she would see.
But of course Jacob would come. She just had to wait.
Renesmee found herself trying to finger comb her hair, bumming some cheap perfume off one of the other girls. Her heart sunk when she saw Demetri's finger crook towards her.
"James wants you," he instructed her, pushing her towards the direction of his car that she now saw parked down the street. Again?
"But I've got - "
"You can do a little extra work - we all know it won't take him long." Her heart sunk. "You'll be done before he gets here. It's not like you're worried about being cleaned up."
She hadn't - she didn't want to do that. Go to Jacob smelling like fucking sex - at least not fresh sex. Couldn't the universe let her keep a little bit of dignity?
Renesmee was just handing the money off to Demetri and straightening her skirt when she felt a tug behind her naval. She looked up and saw a car she'd only seen once, a few hundred yards away at a red light.
"He's here," she told him, hoping she could get to the car before Jacob could pull up.
She didn't want Demetri to get a good look at him. He didn't need to get any more mixed up in this shit than he already was. He nodded her away and she took off in her high heels, his parting words, "Don't fuck up, Ren."
Yeah, yeah, she knew.
He was about as nervous as he'd ever been, so when there was a knock on his passenger window about a hundred yards from where he was expecting to stop, he about jumped through the roof. His entire body relaxed when he saw her - she was here. He unlocked the door and she got in, in the same clothes from last night and the sex/chemical-cocktail scent worse but still looking beautiful.
"S-sorry," she murmured, shutting the door easily behind her. "I - I didn't meant to - "
"S'okay." Since he didn't have to go down to the corner to meet her, he turned around and went back in the opposite direction. He thought she looked relieved. "Where - d'you want to go eat or something?"
She looked up at him through her lashes, and he thought he saw shame painted there. The corners of her lips spread, just a little - something close to a smile.
"No, Jacob," she whispered, and he wanted her to say it again. Wanted to hear his name on her lips. "I won't go anywhere with you dressed like this."
He took in her clothes, obviously hooker clothes, and realized her shame. He wouldn't embarrass her.
"That's fine, we can go back to my place," he told her instead, and she didn't say anything. "We'll order pizza."
They got there and her eyes widened as he led her inside, even more than they had when he opened her door for her. He loathed to think what kind of life she'd been living that would make that a surprise. When they got into the living room - Nessie was standing in his living room - she just stopped.
He didn't know what to do.
"If - if you're not comfortable - I mean, I've got a shower and - and some clothes. Pajamas, if you want."
She surveyed him with her stunning eyes.
It was a better offer than she could have hoped for. A chance to get the stench of her life off of her for a few hours, just for him. So he wouldn't have to be poisoned by it too. He instructed her to wait, and Renesmee stood in his spacious living room as she watched him walk away. He was so big, so tall, compared with her. His muscles showed clearly through his cotton shirt.
She was disappointed as they disappeared from sight, and that surprised her. It had been a long time since she'd viewed a man's muscles as anything but a threat.
He came back with a soft white towel and some clothes bundled in his hand and beckoned her to follow. He led her to a bathroom and placed the things in her hands. Renesmee was turning to disappear inside when she heard his voice gasp and his hot hand catch her arm. Gently.
Her body almost convulsed when she felt his hot fingers slip through the strings in her top to touch the skin on her side. The raised, roughened skin there.
"Nessie," he breathed in disbelief, his fingers sliding across the raised edge of her skin. "They - they said it wouldn't scar."
Yeah, well they had said a lot of things.
"They also said Edward just had a concussion," she heard her voice say, and he let her go.
Fuck. He'd forgotten about all of that in the wake of her absence. Everything besides the fact that she was gone had floated away. Her parents had been killed on impact, but she and Edward - they were gonna be okay. Nessie was the worst off of the two - with that big horrible slice down her side.
Edward just had a concussion. They let him go the next day.
His concussion turned out to be much more than that, his brain more damaged than the small town hospital equipment could catch, and he was dead the next morning. Which left Nessie alone.
Maybe he shouldn't have touched her like that, but when she shifted, and he saw that huge scar between the cuts of her shirt, it all came rushing back. Her pale, white face - weak from blood loss, sitting beside her hospital bed. Praying for a miracle. It had come - they said she was going to be fine and that the wound might not even scar.
He'd been so shocked to see it. He remembered the day she left, how he had to hug her carefully so he wouldn't injure her side. It never occurred to him that it'd still be there. He managed to order a couple of pizzas and was sitting on the couch impatiently when she came out.
The first thing he realized was that she smelled the same. The sickening smell of sex and whatever the hell else was gone. She was just standing there in front of him in his green t-shirt, her curls damp and darker than usual. All the overtly sexual clothes and props were gone and it was just her, like he remembered.
"Um, the boxers didn't fit," she mumbled, taking a few steps closer. "But the shirt's long . . . "
"It's fine." What else was he supposed to say? She was fantastical the way she was. "Come sit."
It was too easy that night, too easy to forget she was Renesmee. Too easy to pretend it was possible for her to become Nessie again. Jake didn't ask her about anything for a while, he just told her about his job and his life. She didn't say much since she doubted he'd like to hear about the ins and outs of a whore's life.
Too soon, it was morning, and he had to take her back. He hadn't wanted to, she could tell, but she had to go. He asked to buy another night, his eyes kind, and when he could. She wanted to tell him tomorrow, ask for tomorrow, but she knew that wasn't wise. Demetri would smell something fishy, and she didn't want Jacob going on the black list.
She told him next week, and he said it was too long. But he agreed.
It was the longest week of her life. Even after only a night sitting on opposite sides of the couch with Jacob, it was hard to slip back into before. But then the week rolled back around, and the night repeated itself. They arrived at his beautiful little walk-up, she showered and changed into some of his clothes that smelled wonderfully like him.
But that night, she talked.
She told him about things - things she'd never said out loud. Horrible things, scars that sat on the inside and ached much worse than the mass of twisted flesh on her side. She told him about foster care and meeting Felix who introduced her to Demetri when she'd had a hard time paying a bill.
Jacob hadn't look surprised when she told him about what Felix had taught her, but he still looked heartbroken. His eyes searched her face imploringly.
"N-Nessie, you can't."
She ignored him and kept on. She told him about the insistence for the money, the importance of money, that it was what she had realized the entire world ran on.
"It's why we get up, it's why we work, it's why I'm allowed to be talking to you right now."
Jacob stopped her then. "I get up for you."
She ignored that too.
She told him about all of her lows, how she had tried to turn to stripping first and had been rejected. Who wanted a scarred stripper? That wasn't sexy. And so she'd only been left with one option.
She told him about the risks of the job even though something inside of her told her that she shouldn't. It was the same part of her that told her not to call - it felt strange to ignore it. She told him about Demetri's lack of concern about the condition the guys returned them in, although he probably did protect them from the worst of harm. Sometimes Jake looked like he was going to shake, but he always reeled it back.
Story by story, inch by inch, nightmare by nightmare, she made her way closer to him on the couch until she was sitting beside him. He sat normally and she sat with her legs crossed, facing him.
Then she got to the blackest secret of all. She felt it rise up in her and saw a tear drop onto the blue of Jacob's shirt she was wearing. She hadn't cried in, well - since then.
"Don't judge me, okay?" Renesmee heard Nessie whisper. She saw her vision move and realized she had begun to rock herself. She prayed he wouldn't hate her. He knew of the horrible things she had done but not of the worst. "I - I know, I mean I couldn't - I was sixteen and stupid and I still couldn't - "
The next second, she was in his arms.
Nessie told him shit he definitely didn't want to hear. She told him fucking horror stories, stories that made him want to go hunt down every fucker in every one of them and kill them brutally. She told him about her drug use and how she got pulled into it, muttering about keeping everything blurry. She even mumbled, her eyes on his knees, about the first time and how she'd tried to see his face.
Nessie interjected it with apologies, muttering frantically, "And I know that's sick and you're not like that but I was just so tired and so hungry and I couldn't go back - foster care - "
And he still didn't touch her. He hadn't touched her since the first night outside the bathroom.
She told him about the one time she'd tried to get out, back in the beginning before she'd met the monster she called Demetri. She'd gone to a church, to a pastor who had visited them and spoke of repentance and salvation.
"I thought I could do it - I thought that I had to do it because - " She bit off, not elaborating on the because. "I went to him and he took me into his office and I was so happy. I mean, he didn't even judge me. Here I was, dressed like a whore and smelling like the streets and he just took me in, in front of the whole congregation. I was so sure I could do it, that I could give it up."
She squinted her eyes shut and shook her head like she was trying to get an image out.
"I thought I'd been saved, I - I fell to my knees in front of him. I was just so grateful - and then he, he put his hands in my hair . . . "
She broke off, and Jacob's stomach twisted as he realized. A pastor?
"Wh-what did you do?" He didn't want to know. He didn't want to know, but he did.
Her wide eyes flashed to his once before returning to his knee.
"I did it." His stomach twisted at what she had resorted to. He wanted to kill himself for letting any of it happen. "And I took his fucking money just like anyone else."
But then that led to the next secret. The because from before. It led to her rocking in her seat and begging him not to judge her and a tear that he couldn't stand, and then he had her in his arms.
The first thing Renesmee felt over the pain of her guilt was how good Jacob's arms felt. She had never been embraced like this - not since the Wendy's parking lot. For the first time in four years, she felt safe.
So she told him. Practically sobbing into his warm neck, she told him what she had done. How she had found out she was pregnant and what she had resorted to. She couldn't make excuses for what she had done, but she couldn't have had that baby. She couldn't have been a mother. She wasn't even a person.
In between her confession, she begged his forgiveness. Besides the baby she'd never meet, his was all that mattered. And he gave it, muttering that he understood, that she was safe. Safe.
Then the next thing she knew, they were nose to nose, and she felt a feeling rise up in her that she hadn't felt since she was fifteen. In a moment of perfect insanity, she leaned forward to join their lips, but Jacob turned away.
Her lips landed on his flaming cheek and Renesmee's insides ripped. Of course, of course he understood but he wouldn't - he couldn't -
He held her tighter in his arms and murmured, "I won't be like them."
She understood and hated herself a little more.
"You're not like them, Jacob," she heard herself promise, felt more tears slide down. "You could never be like them - I, I never kiss them."
Jacob's eyes searched hers like he was looking for the truth. "Really?"
Should she tell him?
"The last person I kissed was you."
The - the overwhelming love that flooded into him at that knocked him off his guard, and then his lips were against hers. She kissed in the exact same way as before, shyly but honestly, her lips molding around his and clicking pieces into place that had been missing for years.
"You have to come back to me," he murmured against her lips, suddenly flipping her over until she was on her back and he was on top of her. "You can't do this anymore - I need you. I need you to be Nessie, my sweetest girl."
She had never felt this. She'd had men on top of her, below her, behind her and inside her but she had never been this close to another human being. And what he was asking her - asking to mend her. Heal her.
He was asking her to be Nessie again. The sweetest girl.
Could she do it?
"I love you," he murmured frantically into her mouth, his body hot and safe and amazing against her, and she felt whole. For just a second. "I love you, Nessie, please. Please come back."
Jacob loved her. Loved her.
With a rush of emotion, she felt Ren crumple dead to the ground. Nessie stood, weak and broken, but victorious.