Love Strikes

It was the second month of school already and I was studying for mid-terms; with my schedule and Jake's it had been two days since I'd seen him and I was starting to get edgy. I popped into the garage to say hi and Jake gave me a big hug – a tingle ran down my spine.

"Hi, Ness! I missed you! How are the mid-terms?" Jake asked enthusiastically, kissing me on my cheek. It seemed he missed me as much as I missed him.

"No problems so far, Jake." My cheek burned with the light touch but I shrugged it off, it was a warm night for late October.

"Are we going out tonight?" he asked getting ready to pack up.

This was the first time I'd ever hesitated to do something with Jake.

"Uh, I've still got a test in Bio to study for with a couple of girls from study hall. Sorry Jake," I apologised, he looked heartbroken; I didn't know I was so much fun.

"So, you have so many new friends to hang-out with, there's no time for Uncle Jake?" he kidded, he was Uncle Jake to me for at least 2 years. But today I was a little upset. I know I'm still a teen, but can't he see I've matured in the last couple years. I would never be as tall as Jake but at 5'8" I was at least taller than my mom.

Yeah, 'Uncle Jake', I'm going to play in the sandbox, see you tomorrow," my tone came off as angry as I intended.

"Sorry, Ness. I didn't mean… You can have other friends" Jake backpedalled. "It's been a tough day at work, the parts for the Subaru didn't arrive and I can't figure out why this bad boy – he pointed to a huge truck – won't start, and two no shows cutting into my paycheck, I shouldn't take it out on you. Go study, see you tomorrow?" He cocked his head looking for forgiveness.

Why was he so nice? I got pissed for no reason and Jake's apologizing to me. I didn't know what to say. He gave me another hug and a kiss on the cheek which sent another ripple through my body "Later, Ness. Really, I'm sorry. Let's go for dinner to that new Mexican place on 4th Street, tomorrow, my treat?" He looked eager.

"Sure Jake, I'd better go study, see you tomorrow." I left him to take it out on the truck. I knew Jake – he'd have it running before he left. Jake was never one to back down from a challenge.

I met the girls and we did study, but I was distracted and I couldn't figure out why. I really didn't like fighting with Jake but we could never stay mad at each other very long. I had a knot in my stomach the whole evening.

I didn't understand why I was so upset about my conversation with Jake until lunch period the next day. I picked out a soup and salad and sat down with my new friends. A girl from my calculus class was gushing "I think I'm in love…" she went on and on about how cute the new teaching assistant was, wondering if he was too old for her but I only partially listened. I wondered if it was really that easy – love at first sight and all. Would I ever be in love? Would he, could he, love me back given my secrets, my family's secrets? I don't think I could be in love if I had to hide part of myself from him forever. I wanted someone I was comfortable around; I could tell anything to, someone who would love me as me. Someone who would forgive me if … I got mad at him for no good reason. Suddenly, my world was not the same; I was frozen in this new realization. Thinking back, I now knew it had been building in me for months – the touches, however chaste, the kisses on my cheek and our daily comradery had caused a slow change in me. All was now clear - I was in love with Jacob Black.

"Sorry, guys I left my phone in the locker room," hoping it wouldn't ring in my back pocket before I got away (being a Cullen you'd think I could come up with a better lie but I couldn't think). I ran to the lockers glad there was no one there and crumbled onto the bench. Ness, get a grip. He's your best friend, your mom's best friend. I think mom even kissed him once or twice – as a little girl I used to laugh when mom and Jake told me that story but now I was….jealous? No, it was too long ago. But there was no doubt in my heart I was in love. Just as quickly the tears started to flow…how could he love me? I'd known him since the day I was born… he fed me bottles…changed my diapers (ew!) …picked me up and swung me around in pretty dresses. One summer on a visit to La Push, Claire and I even buried Quil and Jake in the sand – great memories….but certainly not girlfriend material. I knew I couldn't miss biology (I hadn't lied to Jake, I did try to study for my test), so I picked myself up washed my face in the sink and took a deep breath. Live the lie, teenage Ness, today I broke down like the 6 year old child I really was. Jake could never love me like that, to kiss me more than on my cheek. To touch me, as more than a friend. He thinks of me as a child, his best friend's little girl. I headed to class trying to get the fantasy out of my head of Jake and me together.

The rest of the day passed by in a blur, I was meeting Jake for dinner. Should I cancel? No. Until he find out and runs away to Canada just to get away from this little kid pining for him, I'd take what I could get.