twilight. jacob/bella. r. ~5500 words. Bella leaves Italy, alone. post-new moon.
i don’t own twilight or any of the characters mentioned within. title from ‘deep inside of you’ by third eye blind. i also recommend listening to ‘bonfire’ by third eye blind while reading. unbeta-ed, so all mistakes are mine.
you disembark the latest flight from paradise
you almost turn your ankle on the snow
you fall back into where you started
make up words to songs you used to know, so –
-heart, by stars
- The plane cuts through the air smoothly, silently. She can see the lights of a city underneath her, doesn’t know who they belong to – for too long only the black expanse of the ocean glanced up at her through the window of the plane. Bella drums her fingers on the armrest, her heart shrinking in on itself in the quiet, recycled air of the plane cabin.
(She is alone. )
That thought is all consuming but she left by herself for a reason. Told Edward, “You know I’m alive now. You can go on…” living. Eternally not-living. It’s like she can still feel his eyes grow dark, his cold fingers on her arm as he begs –
Her whole body shudders involuntarily and the man two seats over spills his gin and tonic on the tray in front of him. Walls are closing around her, it feels like; her heart hates her for the decision she’s made, but her mind fights against it.
I want to be happy, Bella thinks.
It’s been too long.
The ice in the plastic cup melts slowly. A movie, some romantic comedy, passes by slowly on the screen in front of her. When did it stop hurting? Where did the strength come from?
To be honest, Bella honestly has no idea.
Forks is the same; quiet, sleeping under a blanket of humidity, kicking off the covers of spring as summer clouds gather on the horizon.
Bella goes to the second drawer under her mirror, reaches under the hairbrush and around the lip gloss – touches paper, pulls it out. He lies there, beauty captured for one second, skin pale, eyes gold. The tight feeling in her chest is nothing new but the resolve in her head (this is not you anymore you are more than this) is. Her fingers fiddle with the corners of the photograph; she toys with the idea of ripping it in half.
Instead, she places it back in the drawer. Tries to place him in the back of her mind. She won’t forget – she doesn’t want to. Bella will come to terms.
When she opens her window to the slightly chill, black air, the paint flaking on the corners of the window sill, she takes a deep breath. The tears do well up, but they feel different in a way she can’t quite place.
She leaves the window open and falls asleep on top of the covers.
His absence is still everywhere, but she –
(No longer will she let that nothing be everything.)
The red flag on their mailbox greets her everyday when she gets home from school; college acceptance letters start filtering in from the couple of places she applied to. Bella spreads them all out on the kitchen counter, face up, staring at her and willing her to make a decision. Angela is going to Brown, Mike is staying here – Bella doesn’t know where to go. The names of the schools all seem so foreign. She wishes, for the first time, that she had spent more time caring last fall –
It seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?
Vassar, Amherst, University of California, Loyola Chicago, University of Central Florida, Colgate.
“God, did a crack addict decide where I was applying?” she murmured to herself, eyeing the return addresses on all the envelopes. Charlie leans against the door frame, hesitant.
“I think you closed your eyes and played eenie-meenie-minie-moe in the Barron’s book,” he admitted. Bella raised an eyebrow and laughed quietly.
“Where should I go?” she asks, not really to Charlie, but to the world at large.
It’s been forever.
(Brave as Bella was to walk away from him, Edward, who made her feel safe and loved and special, she doesn’t think there’s enough heart in the world that could make her look in Jacob’s eyes and apologize for what she did to him.)
She decides on Loyola Chicago, not for any reason, really, except that she went to Chicago with Renee when she was eleven and loved the city, the feel of it, the cement beneath her sneakers. She looks at the pictures and can see herself in them, almost. It’s far enough, but not too far. Charlie nods and sends in the deposit.
Bella goes online and buys him a “Loyola Chicago Dad” baseball cap. Sort of an ‘I know I’ve been a sucky daughter and all-around bad person lately but I’ll try to be better’ present.
After graduation, Bella is tired and restless and sticky from being in a dress all day, but Charlie wanted to have people over and she would oblige, for him. They string up paper lanterns in the backyard and put out card tables and plastic chairs with cheap tablecloths. Renee and Phil are there and Phil cooks up four trays of lasagna, meat and vegetarian, and soon the yard is full.
The air is thick and full, fireflies are out, one of the lanterns in the corner flickering. A pile of gifts begins to form, taller than she is. Bella stays in her dress, almost feels pretty for the first time since –
Her hair is down and her spirits are too, as usual, but she puts on a smile and it actually does make her feel a little better, like the scientists say.
In hindsight it was kind of stupid that she didn’t expect to see him there – family friends and all that, and Bella knows that no matter how petty she may be, he usually isn’t. His warmth alerts her of his presence and she turns, sees him at the gate with his dad, wheeling him in – Jake’s eyes are on her, though. The look there is enough to make her want to cry and plead and smack herself –
(Because, inside, she knows it was stupid, the dumbest thing she’s ever done, to leave Jake for Italy. Make him think that he’s not good enough, too dull and normal and real for her. He was everything, friendship and comfort and heat and – and sex and love in the way it was supposed to be, in her fantasies when she’s awake at night and alone and undone and sleepy, love in the messy and hot and terrible way it’s supposed to be.)
So Bella does what she does best, and she avoids him.
People are there until two in the morning and she’s exhausted and Charlie is drunk, singing REO Speedwagon songs really loudly with Phil and his friends. Bella had two beers and feels a little tipsy, doesn’t see Edward in her head chiding her for being reckless. That’s good, she thinks, as she stares at the stars and thinks about her future.
Her bare feet are resting on a plastic chair and she plays with the ring on her pinky.
“Hey, stranger.” Jake lifts up her feet and sits down, resting them in his lap. Bella squirms.
She finally mutters a “Hello” in reply and he laughs, bearing his teeth. She hates that’s he’s hot. Not just stunning and handsome, like Edward was. Jake is beautiful and gorgeous and sexy. She hates it. (Not really.)
Silence passes and Bella pulls her feet from his lap and crosses them underneath her. Jake just looks at her.
“We’re still looking for her, by the way,” he finally says, after a few minutes. She doesn’t know what he’s talking about, until he says, “The redhead. Victoria. Keeping her away from Forks at all times.”
She can’t believe she forgot, except she can, because she’s a self-centered bitch sometimes. “Wow. That’s – wow. Yay?”
Jake laughs and she does too and the tension breaks, a little. He stretches and for a while they just sit there in a comfortable silence, listening to the drunken song and the sound of cicadas. Bella wishes he wouldn’t break this cocoon of happiness, and comfort, but she knows he will.
“I’ve missed you,” he said quietly. She curses. “What?! I did!” he exclaims, laughing, and Bella smiles sadly.
“Why? I’m awful, Jake, I’m so – I did the worst thing to you, left you here and chose –“
He stiffens visibly, and she clamps her mouth shut. “You’re too nice to me, Jake,” she murmurs, rubbing her ankle, feeling a mosquito bite starting to form. “You’re too nice and I’m so, so bad to you all the time.”
He glares at her for a second, then takes a labored breath. “Look, Bella, I was – I am mad about what went down, at you. But that doesn’t – it doesn’t make me stop – “
“Jake!” Billy calls, interrupting him. Bella sighs and looks away, nodding as Billy yells, “Time to go!”
“See you,” she murmurs in parting. Jacob looks at her, eyes dark, mouth open to speak.
She sleeps past noon the next day and then starts to open her presents. There’s some good stuff in there – posters to hang in her dorm room from Phil, a brand new laptop from Charlie and Renee, a subscription to Rolling Stone from Angela. Plus money. A lot of money. Bella didn’t know that graduating equated hitting the lottery, but apparently in Forks, they were akin.
Billy’s present she opens with a smile, a stuffed wolf and a book of Quileute legends. Under it, wrapped in newspaper – To Bells, Love Jake. She stares at it with pursed lips, finally tears the paper carefully. It’s the Funnies section, the paper, with Classic Peanuts featured prominently, her favorite. Inside, a necklace – a thin silver chain with a little motorcycle charm on it. She smiles.
There’s a CD case, too, with a blank disc inside. And a note reading these just made me think of you.
She puts it in while she cleans the house.
(They’re mostly love songs.)
Summer days are really fucking long, Bella learns, and she has little to do with herself. She organizes her closet, organizes Charlie’s closet, reads two novels and one play, and adds little album covers to all of her illegally downloaded music files within the span of week.
Only ten more, she thinks.
When she’s honest with herself, which isn’t very often, she misses hanging out at the reservation. It gave her something to do, nice people to talk to and laugh with, and kept her occupied so she wasn’t thinking of –
Well. Other things.
She’s been thinking too much lately. About Edward. Wondering if she made the right choice, letting him go, when she could have had him. Sometimes she sees his eyes in her dreams and feels his cold skin and she starts awake, wants to look for him, find him, beg him to take her back.
She won’t, though, because Bella wants to prove to herself that she can be strong and do the right thing for herself. This is the only way you’ll ever be happy.
It’s the end of June and evening and Bella finally gives up and drives over to the reservation, her truck groaning the entire way. It’s really, really hot outside, no clouds, the sun blazing. She sees Sam a little way off, sitting under a tree. When he sees her, his eyes narrow a little. (She can’t really blame him for that.)
“Is Jacob here?” Bella calls, trying to keep her distance. Sam nods, grunts a little, and motions over his shoulder, towards the beach.
The sun is setting, over the water, and it looks really beautiful. Bella doesn’t see things like that very often and the sight almost knocks her off her feet – she sits on a rock near the dunes, staring at the water. Doesn’t see him until he’s right next to her, shaking his head and spraying water all over her like a dog, so she shoves him and he falls into the sand.
“Jerk,” he mumbles, making a feeble attempt at brushing the sand off of himself. He’s shirtless and still wet and his beautiful, dark skin glows in the dying light. Bella sighs quietly, resting her chin in her elbow.
Together, they watch the sun set.
(It’s later when it happens.)
The sun dips below the horizon and at that exact moment Jake asks, “Why did you come here?”
Bella shrugs, traces meaningless words in the sand with her fingers. It passes through her fingers slowly. “Bored. Hot. Tired.”
“Miss you,” he says again, looking at her. She doesn’t meet his eyes, can’t bear to see what’s there – she doesn’t understand the desire, the need, the feelings there. They are silent feelings that have never been expressed but they crash over her, more real than anything else in the world, and it’s like she’s drowning in the current.
“Tell me what happened,” Jake suggests quietly. She stiffens, stares at the scar on the inside of her wrist. She doesn’t want to say it out loud, doesn’t want to make it real. But she will tell him, because he deserves to know.
“I – I went to Italy with Alice, because Ed- he thought I was dead and was going to – he was going to hurt himself. And I didn’t want that. So I went and I saw him and he –“ her breath catches, but she soldiers through, because this is important, dammit, he needs to hear this. Hear why she came back, why she returned alone. “He wanted me to – but I couldn’t. I told him that I…that I couldn’t do it anymore, be with him and pine for him and want him all the time, and I let him go.” The tears come before she realizes how sad she is, the pounding of her heart, and her shoulders start to shake and she presses her forehead against her knee, feels the drops on her own dry skin. And his hand, big and warm, on her back, rubbing softly, his nose pressed into her shoulder.
“And that’s why,” Bella exclaims wildly, her throat raw and sore and her voice awful, “why I never wanted this to happen with us, because I don’t want to hurt you but I can’t do anything but hurt you because I feel like I can live without him and sometimes I can go for a day without thinking about him and I think about you instead. But you don’t deserve that,” she sobs, staring at him through red eyes. “You deserve more than someone broken, like me, that you have to fix. You deserve so, so much – “
(Bella can’t remember ever breaking down like this.)
Jake kneels in front of her, takes her face in his hands. She protests, weakly, but looks at him while he rests his forehead against hers. “Bells,” he breathes, so quiet, so reverent. It’s enough to make her heart pound, her hands shake at his sides. “You know how much I love fixing things.”
They both laugh and she pinches him in the side, leaning back, rubbing her hands over her face. Jake takes them from her, intertwines them with his. Before Bella knows what is happening, where the sky is and what color, his lips are against hers, soft and warm and finally.
The CD he gave her stays in her car for the whole summer.
It becomes easier than it should be quickly. Jacob leaves a piece of notebook paper on her dashboard a few days after the night at the beach. ‘The Healing Process of Bells’ is scribbled across the top. Bella does like lists.
1. Make out with Jacob Black.
2. Listen to happier music and throw away that emo shit.
3. Kiss Jacob Black.
4. Employ brighter colors into your wardrobe.
5. Go skinny dipping with Jacob Black.
They have a very easy relationship, simple and fun and free, and sometimes Bella wonders if it’s just the summer or the circumstances or if it’s them, if this is how Jake and Bells are meant to be. They watch stupid movies on her couch at night and she hogs the popcorn and they quote them for the next four days, much to the chagrin of everyone else they meet. Jacob swims and Bella watches because she does not swim, except for that one accidental time. Some nights he goes away with his pack and comes back with scratches and bruises, but always smiling.
Bella likes it when he smiles against her lips, his fingers tracing her jaw or in her hair or tickling her side. He’s so…affectionate, and sturdy. Whenever they’re together, which is almost all the time, he has an arm thrown across her shoulders or a hand on her wrist. And if they’re alone, his lips find her forehead and the top of her head and her palm and her ear, his tongue seeks out her pulse. Jake distracts her, confuses her, entertains her, holds her –
Makes her happy.
It’s like a bolt of lightning one day that she realizes this, in her creaky old truck driving to the movies. He’s singing along to a Lady Gaga song on the radio, doing some ridiculous impression, and Bella feels light. It’s so different from what it was like with Edward, where every moment she worried about saying something wrong and losing him forever, doing something stupid and making him realize he was too good for her.
With Jake, she just feels light.
Charlie goes on a fishing trip the third week of July, so Bella has the house to herself. She can eat salad every night and play Rihanna songs at a very loud volume (her new guilty pleasure, introduced by Jake, of course) and not do laundry. It’s an ideal situation and she picks out a movie to watch that night.
She also bakes cookies, because she gets bored after three hours of reading.
Jake gets there and kisses her in the doorway like he’s missed her, hands framing her and body pressing her against the doorframe.
“Easy there, tiger,” she murmurs against his lips and ducks under an arm, flopping onto the couch without much grace. He grins and sits on her, laughing when she squirms and comes out on top. They settle into the corner, eventually, Bella’s head on his chest as they watch the movie. It’s not particularly funny and so they stop it about thirty minutes in and start to watch Law & Order reruns.
“I feel like we’re an old, boring couple,” Jacob whines and Bella shushes him, enthralled with the television. She can feel him shifting underneath her until, all of a sudden, he flips them over so that she’s between his legs and he’s kneeling over her, a predatory grin on his face. He clicks the TV off.
“Um,” Bella says, eyeing the remote in his hand. “I was watching that?”
“Not anymore,” he laughed before he presses his lips to hers, his tongue slipping into her mouth fast. Bella digs her fingers into his hair, running them along his scalp and arching into him, wanting so much from him and hating herself for it. His hand slips down between them, under her tank top, taking up its familiar residence on her stomach. She breathes out loud when it slips up, grazes the fabric of her bra and she tilts her head back as Jake traces his tongue down her neck. “Ja-ake,” she whines, drawing it out into two syllables, and he looks up with a smile.
“You’re so pretty,” he says, brushing their noses together and kissing her lightly.
“Jake,” Bella says again, and their eyes meet. “I want...”
It progresses pretty quickly from there, up the stairs and into her bed and his arms.
Bella had heard, through the high school gossip mill, that the first time hurt and was awkward and not very good. It would be easy to be scared but she doesn’t think, can’t feel anything but Jake’s hands and his lips and the weight of him on top of her. He peels the clothes from her body like she’s sacred and beautiful and looks at her in awe, his eyes not straying for a second from her body, her legs and her stomach and her breasts. She runs her hands over his chest, traces the tattoo on his arm and pulls him to her, in her bed, and nods when he asks okay?
He whispers to her the whole time, things that she knows are true on his breath, of her beauty and his feelings and them. And in the end, it feels like a stretch, uncomfortable but not pain, and his lips are on hers sweetly and softly. And then there’s nothing, nothing else in the world because he’s on top of her and inside of her and around her and it’s like the most spiritual thing Bella has ever experienced; his reverent touches and their hushed murmurs. And then there’s that right there and she falls apart around him, the two of them, Jake and Bells, joined always in one moment that stretches forever and imprints itself in her memory.
“Tell me something,” he murmurs later, in the middle of the night, moving closer to her and kissing her cheek.
She looks at him and sits up a little, propping her head on her hand. “Like what?”
He smiles at her, and Bella feels warm, loved. “Anything.”
She lays down and looks at the ceiling, searches her mind and finally comes up with this.
“Before I went to Italy,” she murmurs, and he nods, “I thought that I would be with you. Because I’d never see him again, and I thought that I would settle for you, because you’d be the best that I could ever have compared to him. And then I went and I…I hurt myself, by separating myself from him, but it was the best thing I ever did.” The thoughts and the words are almost simultaneous and these things have never even occurred to her before but she knows that they’re true the second she says them. “Because I…with him, I was so down on myself. Like I wasn’t good enough for him, or something. And I thought it was my one, big true love because it was so hard and difficult and stupid but I…I think I was wrong, you know? Because I never felt good when I was with him. It was like I was on edge and acting to be someone else, the girl that he liked. And with you, I don’t have to act, and I don’t have to settle. Because it’s easy and it’s hard at the same time…that doesn’t make sense. I’m just so…happy with you, and I wasn’t with him. And you drive me crazy and we have our problems and maybe I’m still broken but, you know, that’s a part of my life I can’t take back. But I get to be with someone now who makes me feel…pretty, and smart, and good. And I think I finally know that that’s better than what I had before. Because I didn’t know, when I was with him. I didn’t know what it could really feel like. And now that I do…” She swallows, and looks up from the sheets.
Jake nods, smiles, and kisses her softly. “I love you, too,” he murmurs against her lips.
He leaves in the morning with more than a few kisses, promising to be back within a few hours to take her to the beach so that they can really skinny dip. When he’s gone, Bella looks at herself in the mirror in the foyer.
She looks different, somehow.
They don’t get to skinny dip for a while. Victoria kills another hiker and Bella feels that stab of guilt and she knows Jake can see it in her eyes, and so this time when the pack sets out they set out for blood – or, a vampire, whatever.
She hasn’t seen him in four days and it makes her anxious and on edge, so she goes to the store to get things to make a homecoming dinner for Charlie. The grocery store is too brightly lit and it hurts her eyes, a little, all that fluorescence. She’s in the produce aisle when a shopping cart rounds the corner, and –
“Alice?” Bella’s voice sounds foreign, dumbfounded, but yes, it is Alice standing in front of her, holding a cantaloupe. “What – what are you doing here?”
Alice, majestic in her own tiny little way, seems a little colder than usual. “Victoria,” she says as a way of answering, and Bella nods. Of course.
“Is - ?”
“He is.” Alice’s eyes flash. Bella wonders what, exactly, Edward told her.
It’s not really hard to avoid him.
Then again, it was probably inevitable.
Thunder and lightning have been around for the past few days. Bella and Jacob sit in a café downtown, arguing about which concert to go see in Seattle over the sound of rain, when the door jingles. And in walks Edward Cullen.
When Bella first saw him in the cafeteria the day she transferred to Forks, it was as though the world slowed down for him. Now, though, it’s like time speeds up and nothing can stop him from reaching their table, as though he was looking for her.
“Bella,” he says in that smooth voice. She stiffens, and Jacob glares up at Edward. “And Black. Wonderful to see you.”
“And you,” Jacob answers curtly. Bella can see the vein in his neck bulging and sighs. Edward’s eyes flicker to their entangled fingers across the table, but she refuses to pull away. This is – she can do this. The breath is still in her lungs and Jacob’s pulse is warm and there against her palm. She has someone, has something that is good. She can defend it.
“Could I speak to Bella alone, please?” Edward murmurs, and Jake opens his mouth to protest, but Bella nods. Jacob groans, as if he’s expecting it, and points at her.
“We get to go see Lady Gaga because of this,” he threatens. Then he stalks out of the café and sits on a bench under the awning.
“Bella,” Edward repeats, sitting across from her. He’s wearing a suit, even though it’s hot and sticky outside. It makes her feel uncomfortable.
“How are you, Edward?” she asks politely, ignoring his eyes. They were always her downfall – the caramel color of them, the way they changed when he saw her.
“I am…not my best,” he laments, a smile quirking his lips. “As I’m sure you can understand.”
Bella quirks an eyebrow. She doesn’t want to be cold, but – maybe that’s the only way to do this. “I don’t, I’m afraid.”
“I’ve been…melancholy. Without you.” His eyes are changing, she can see, but her heart doesn’t leap, and she thinks maybe this is a good sign. “I’ve been thinking of…when you left, in Italy. What you said. And I don’t think…Bella, you and I are meant to be together. It’s right. You are the most important thing in my life, and the thought of you alone, here, in Forks, for the past few months has been killing me.”
Bella nods. “I haven’t really been alone, though.” Edward looks puzzled, composedly, and Bella motions out the window. Jake has left his bench and is now picking flowers in the rain, which she is sure he’ll give to her when they reunite. The thought makes her smile, a little.
“So you and Black are - ?”
“Yes.” Bella says. Her shoulders tense as his eyes change to black. Anger. She knows it. But he has no right -
“Bella, you don’t have to – “
“No,” Bella hisses, fingers clenching around her spoon. “Edward. You left me. You made that decision yourself – “
“I was wrong.”
“No, you weren’t. You were right. It was too dangerous, too risky, what we had, and it wasn’t right. It was bad for the both of us. You shouldn’t have to hold back, and I shouldn’t have to – have to prove to myself everyday that I’m good enough for love. I should never have put myself through that. So you were right to leave, and I was right to leave you.”
Edward looks surprised, to say the least, and angry as well, but maintains his composure. “You and I are destined for each other.”
“No,” Bella replies. “Edward…you told me once that I was the most important thing in your life.”
“That still stands today.”
“Well, that boy out there – “ she points to Jake, soaking wet and holding tulips in his right hand, chatting with a local, “ – he’s the most important thing to me. So please, please, respect that. And let me go.”
Edward purses his lips, nods. He stands, murmurs some nicety about it being nice to see her, and then leaves.
(She doesn’t know where the courage came from, either, but kissing Jake in the rain outside with a bouquet of tulips in between them makes her stop asking.)
Two weeks after the Cullens arrive and six days after her confrontation with Edward, Victoria is killed.
The Cullens leave without saying goodbye.
It’s halfway through August and Bella receives the name of her roommate. She looks her up on Facebook and adds her as a friend, glancing through her interests and deciding she might not be that bad. The girl, Taylor, is blonde. She has Almost Famous as a favorite movie, though, so that’s good. Bella starts to pack the second she gets the letter.
Jacob accompanies on her trips to Bed Bath & Beyond and Ikea and helps her pick out a green comforter and matching sheets, and holds the college-provided checklist, checking boxes while Bella throws things into the cart.
She’s leaving in two nights and Charlie is getting a little emotional, too much so. Jake is acting weird, too, and suddenly Bella has two moody men in her life and no idea how to deal with them.
Her tact is to start with Jake first, since she has more powers of persuasion over him.
They’re laying on the beach and it’s midnight, the moon out and crescent-shaped in the sky. Jake’s arm is tight around her and he might be asleep, actually, his nose pressed into her hair.
“Hey,” she murmurs, poking him in the side. “You okay?”
He looks at her with sleepy eyes and she wonders if he’ll lie, since she probably would. “You’re going to Chicago, Bells.”
Of course he wouldn’t lie.
“But you’ve known that,” Bella points out.
“That doesn’t make it easy.”
“No, but it makes it – well, I don’t know. But it can’t be that bad.”
Jake snorted. “I’ve kind of grown accustomed to having you at my disposal whenever I want you, which is always.” He kisses her then, hard, but she pushes him away.
“I’m going to miss you,” she says, running her fingers down her own collarbone and clasping the necklace he gave her in between her fingers. “And it’s going to suck. But I – we have to try, because it’s us. And we can get through anything.” Jake raises an eyebrow, and Bella smiles cheekily at him. “I mean, we have survived vampires and werewolves and my father’s atrocious cooking for you that one night. How bad could a couple of miles be?”
He laughs and so does she and the sound echoes on the empty beach.
“Love you,” he says. “That’ll always be true.”
“Yeah,” she sighs. “I know.”
She says good-bye to Charlie and tries not to cry, promising to come back for Thanksgiving and Christmas and other sundry holidays. And then Jacob gets into the driver’s seat of her truck and takes her to the airport, boarding a flight to Chicago. He accompanies her all the way to security before he can’t go any further and she stands there for a second, just looking at him.
Then Bella launches herself at him and he laughs, swings her around. “See you around, kid,” she whispers in his ear, kissing his cheek. “Enjoy high school.”
He glares, but gives it up soon to cup her jaw with his hand, and look at her. “I love you,” he says, with all the sincerity in the world. Her mind flashes briefly, to motorcycles and cliffs and the feel of him inside of her and tulips and that Lady Gaga concert they went to just for him.
“I love you,” she replies, and they kiss one last time, briefly, softly.
Her fingers stay on her necklace, on that little motorcycle, all through security and the gate and boarding and takeoff.
The plane cuts through the air smoothly, quietly.
(She is alone. But – no, she is not alone. )
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