Disclaimer: Usual spiel: I own nothing, don't want to, and glad of it. I think SM sucks. All that Blackwater groundwork she laid in Breaking Dawn . . . squished . . . I'll never forgive her. Title from 'Dare You to Move' by Switchfoot.
Timeline (According to Lexicon):
March 16th: Harry Clearwater dies.
March 18th: Harry Clearwater's funeral.
May 25th: Bella learns about imprinting.
Between Who You Are and Who You Could Be
(between how it is and how it should be)
"It's one of those bizarre things we have to deal with. It doesn't happen to everyone."
Jacob Black, Eclipse, Chapter 5: 'Imprint'
up against your will
Echo & the Bunnymen, "The Killing Moon"
"Did it happen to you?" I finally asked, still looking away. "This love-at-first-sight thing?"
Bella Swan, Eclipse, Chapter 5: 'Imprint'
"Yes," he replies.
If Bella hadn't been sitting, Jacob's absolutely sure that she would have fallen. Maybe she still might. Maybe she'll topple straight off the tree and onto the wet ground where he's sat by her feet.
Once — before — Bella's lack of balance would have made him smile. Throw his head back and laugh, even. Now it has him worried that she'll end up hurting herself, because she's proven to be real good at that.
He waits one minute. Two. Three.
Then, hesitantly, he clears his throat and looks up at her. "Bells?"
She takes a deep, gasping breath at the sound of his voice as if she's been holding it in. Then she scrubs at her face, wiping away tears which Jacob suspects begun to fall almost immediately after he admitted the truth. It's not as if he's been deliberately keeping it from her, but still he feels as if the last weight that's been holding him down has lifted from his shoulders. He's free.
"Aw, Bells." He reaches out for her, but he lets his hand fall when she flinches. "C'mon, don't cry."
"I'm not," she lies, turning her head away. "Really. I'm . . . I'm glad. It's good, right? I'm happy for you."
He doesn't believe her. Especially not when she chokes on a sob and wraps her arms around herself, exactly the way she used to after the bloodsucker had left her. The bloodsucker who had broken her into pieces.
No. It's not the same. He doesn't belong to Bella. He has never belonged to Bella. Not even after he'd finally put her back together. Not when she had crashed her motorbike and called him sort-of beautiful. Not when he had saved her from the water. And certainly not when she'd run off to Italy after he had begged and begged her to stay with him.
He doesn't belong to Bella, because Bella didn't choose him. Maybe she never would have.
Either way, it doesn't matter. She won't have the chance now.
Jacob still doesn't know how he feels about that, not even as Bella squeezes herself and keeps her gaze fixed on the horizon.
It is a long while before she speaks again.