But why am I Jessica? @lalaland972
Chapter 9

A

But Why am I Jessica?

Chapter 9

The Cullen's reappearance at Forks High School was all anyone talked about Monday morning. It was a surprise, to everyone but me. Bella walked hand in hand with Edward like royalty when I saw them in the hallways between classes. She radiated joy. I was pleased she could be happy again but there was a hesitation with being too pleased remembering Jacob. Bella didn't sit with us at lunch, like she used to, but she came up to update me on everything at the end of the lunch period.

I watched Bella stroll over to our lunch table with a confidence I had not originally noticed when she was first with Edward. "Hi Jessica." Bella directed her eyes to the empty seat next to mine as if she was asking for permission to sit in her old seat. I waved my hand over it. "Your throne, my Queen." Bella rolled her eyes at me before she sat down.

"I wanted to call you last night, but Edward was over late as we discussed him being back and 'us'." She hasn't even asked me how my trip went yet…

"It looks like that conversation went well." Her brown eyes lit up as bright as the stars in the sky at night. Her cheeks were flushed with a rosy tint. Her lips turned up and it was the first time I noticed how she tethered her happiness to being with Edward. It was sad.

"Yeah, it did. We are better than before. I feel…complete again."

"Were you incomplete before he came into your life?" I watched the color drain from her face and Bella eyed me carefully. Maybe she didn't appreciate me questioning her in the same manner as I once did post-breakup. Noted.

"Sorry, I don't mean to be rude. If you're happy, I am happy. How did Jacob take the news though?"

"He doesn't know yet. Everything just happened. I will tell him soon." I nodded at Bella, pretending I understood her plight. In actuality, I was disappointed in her actions. My opinions would mean nothing to her and would be pointless to voice.

"I am sure you will. Go easy on him. You know he has real feelings for you." I regretted saying that as soon as the words left my mouth.

"Our relationship is not like that, Jessica. How many times do I have to tell you? He knows we are just friends," Bella said coolly. I sighed in response. I knew too much to be so involved in their lives. I apologized again and left the table first.

Upon my exit, I noticed Edward try to catch my gaze from across the room. I didn't stop for him, the cafeteria doors, or when facing the doors that led to the school parking lot. It was not a good look on the class valedictorian to skip, but I needed to think. I decided in Helena that I was going to stay away from the Twilight Saga, and my opportunity was just handed to me. Bella would be absorbed into Edward's world and once again not think much of our recent developing friendship. Without contact with Bella, I would have no involvement with Edward and Jacob. The plan did have it set backs, but I didn't dwell to call them out. There was one looming factor that I could not ignore. Edward did not go to Italy. The Volturi have not been involved yet. There is no reason for Edward to change Bella into a vampire. But that still doesn't prevent Eclipse's major plot line of the love triangle and Victoria's growing newborn army. Oh shit! I forgot about that. Geez, what a MAJOR incentive to stay away. I want no part in that AT ALL.

Lost in my thoughts, I somehow drove myself to the only grocery store in Fork's. It was next to a liquor store. What I would give for some tequila right now. But I am "17", so I cannot drink. Or can I…? I redirected my car to drive home. Jessica's parents were at work and Daniel was in school. It was just past noon after all. I should have had reservations about what I was going to do, but I decided to say "f*** it all". I rummaged through the unlocked liquor cabinet in Jessica's dad's office. It was shelved to the T with a fine selection of hard alcohol. Nothing was to my taste. I walked into the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of '03 Merlot off the 12-bottle wine rack. It was my observation Jessica's parents hardly ever drank; it was a safe bet it would take them awhile to notice they were down one wine bottle. There were still seven remaining, so I thought the odds were in my favor of not getting caught.

Forks didn't have a lot of options to hide out and drink alcohol in the middle of the day. I had to drive myself to an abandoned park decently near the house. It had a sign promising that it was to be revitalized in the future as one of the Fork's Mayor's pet projects, but I didn't believe it. As long as I knew I would be alone, I did what any one in my situation would have done, drink.

I measured time passing in how much of the merlot I killed. It was only three-fourths of the way gone when Jessica's cell phone rang. It was the first time someone was calling me on it. Jessica's parents returned it to me after Christmas, but I hadn't charged it and turned it on until this past weekend. I forgot I had put it in my school backpack after I returned the night before. Stupid me.

I squinted hard to read the fuzzy name on the caller ID. It was "Unknown". I should not have answered it, but I was feeling a buzz that whispered in my ear "Why not?".

"Hellllllllllllllo." Shit. Is it obvious I am drunk?!

"Jessica, we need to talk." The voice sounded familiar but it I couldn't discern it.

"New phone, who dis?" I laughed at my own joke. It didn't make sense, but I found it rather amusing.

"What's wrong with you? It's Jacob Black. I stole your number from Bella's phone in case I needed back-up." He sounded so serious.

"Why so serious, Jacob Black?" I laughed hysterically at myself. Jacob did not laugh with me. Darn. My joke is lost on him. Has Batman Beyond even come out yet? Christian Bale is such a sexy Batman. Man, I wish could converse with men and not dumb, immature boys…

"I don't know why you are acting so weird, but we really need to talk. Are you home?" Nope. What time is it? Is school out?

"Negative, Jacob Black."

"Where are you?"

"An abandoned park." WTF. Why did I let that slip? I am in no condition to be talking with a Twilight character.

"I know that one. I am on my way there now. Stay put." Why is Jacob so serious and raining on my parade? I just want to be an adult and enjoy my alcohol. He is going to kill my buzzzzzzzzz. I should dispose of my evidence. I killed the wine remaining in the bottle, exited my car, and chucked the bottle into the grass. I watched it shatter on the grass. Wow, it still shattered!? Why did I do that? Kids could step on that. Dum-dum!

Jacob pulled up to the parking lot of the park on his motorcycle and found me on the grass on my hands and knees picking up glass shards.

"What are you doing? I have something serious to talk to you about. And why are you in this park?" Jacob was starting to play 21 questions as he walked closer to me. "You smell like…have you been drinking?!" Jacob shouted at me incredulously. Why is HE mad? And SO loud?

"A tinsy bit." I had to admit the truth. He has super powers with his wolf smelling thingy. I continued to pick up the glass while he lectured me on the damage drinking could have on my undeveloped brain. He soon picked up on the fact I was picking up glass shards from a wine bottle. He sighed heavily as he knelt down to join me in cleaning up my mess. It was a nice gesture. He didn't have to help.

"So…what did you want to talk about?" I asked him as seriously as possible.

"No. I need your A-game for that conversation. This version of yourself will not do for my dilemma." Probably a wise decision.

"You got my digits so try again at a better time. Good talk." I grinned foolishly at Jacob. Our conversation was over, and I could finally enjoy the rest of my buzz. Which could get worse soon when the last of the Merlot hits me.

Jacob stopped picking up glass and attempted to draw my attention to him to no avail. "Hey halfwit, I am not leaving you like this." My body involuntarily flinched at his name calling. I cursed myself silently for answering the damn cell phone in the first place.

"That's not nice Jacob Black to call me a mean name. I can take care of myself. I am an adult."

"You're sure not acting like it." Before I could protest, my cell phone rang for the second time today. It was Jessica's Mom. Shit! Shit! Shit! Shit! Shit! I had to ignore it. Jacob didn't approve of me ignoring 'my mother' calling. When Jessica's mom rang my phone again, he took the phone out my hand, pushed answer, and handed it over to me. I did my best to convey a 'screw you' with my eyes.

"Hi mom." Every fiber of my body was concentrated in portraying myself as normal and not drunk off my ass.

"Jessica, thank you for picking up. Your father and I cannot pick up Daniel; please pick him up from school. His robotics club ends in 15 minutes, please try to be there on time. Mr. Jones has been threatening to disband the club if the kids aren't picked up promptly by the adults." I am in no condition to drive but… Jacob is.

"I can do that." Jessica's mom thanked me and quickly hung up. I needed to do recon with Jacob. I was drunk but knew I couldn't shirk my sisterly responsibilities because Jenna never failed me. I felt tears well up in my eyes by the mere thought of her. I blinked them away.

"Jacob, I need a favor from you." Jacob looked at me peculiarly.

"I don't think you're in a position to be asking for favors."

"Says the person who needs 'A-game' Jessica."

"Touché. I will hear you out."

"I need you to take me to pick up my little brother from school. I am in no condition to drive but I don't want to fail him because of my mistake." Jacob stood up from the grass. He assessed the area. I thought it looked pretty glass free at this point. He walked over to me and offered his hand. I didn't think twice before I took it and he pulled me up.

"Let's go pick up Daniel." Jacob's hand had not let go of my hand yet despite me already being up. His hand was rough, but provided a warm comfort. Maybeeeeee he thinks I can't walk? I am a little bit stumbly.

"You know his name?" I asked in surprise.

"Bella mentioned him to me before." As soon as Bella's name was mentioned, guilt crept up in me and I shook my hand out of his. I pretended I needed it to dig the keys out of my jean's pocket. Jacob walked over to the driver's side of my car and I tossed the car keys, that I skillfully timed the length of their retrieval out of my pocket, to him.

Jacob and I picked up Daniel on time. I was able to play off I wasn't driving because I was helping Jacob drive a car versus his motorcycle. That was the only good part, when we returned home I was in a heap of trouble. Jessica's mom smelled my boozy breath and astutely figured out a wine bottle was missing. To add to the shit storm brewing, the school called to inform Jessica's parents I missed my classes that afternoon. Which I had no idea they could even do. Essentially, I was grounded and had disappointed Jessica's parents. It was a shitty feeling. Jessica's dad read to Daniel that night and I was forced to go to my bedroom without dinner. Also, my cell phone was confiscated again. Jacob only witnessed the hell fire in Jessica's mom's eyes after we pulled up to the Stanley household. He offered to run back to his bike and declined Jessica's mom's offer to drive him to his bike in thanks.

I wasn't the only senior at Forks High School grounded that Monday. Bella was too. That evening, Jacob showed Charlie the motorcycles they were building.

….

Thump. Thump. Thump. The thumping I was hearing on a Tuesday school night seemed to be coming from my bedroom window. I set down the pencil in my hand and headed to the window from my desk. It was dark outside, so I couldn't make out the figure interrupting my studying before I opened it.

"Hello?" I asked openly to the darkness.

"It's Jacob. I am coming up." Why is he here?

Before I could refuse his declaration, his face was in my line of sight. I should have just shut the window.

I found myself backing up to allow Jacob into my room. Then I realized my door was still open and anyone standing in the hallway could see my uninvited guest. I swiftly ran over to close and lock the door. A good measure to take despite there being low odds of being visited by anyone in the Stanley family due to my being grounded.

"You should not be here. I am grounded." I folded my arms against my chest. Jacob was standing in front of me in cut off jean shorts and a sleeveless shirt. It's winter still! Does he not get cold ever?

Jacob's face lit up. "Is that why you've been ignoring my phone calls?" Jacob asked. He sounded relieved.

"My phone was confiscated, again, soon after you dropped me off. I am cut off from the world outside of school or using the landline."

"Well looks like you and Bella are in similar situations." I knew what he meant, but I was not supposed to at the moment.

"What do you mean?"

"I got her grounded," Jacob smugly informed me.

"Why?" I feigned with false ignorance.

"To keep her away from Edward. I went to surprise her yesterday by showing up to meet her when she got out of school...and I saw he was back." Jacob's tone was dark and unnerving.

"Oh Jacob..." I whispered disappointed. I was on the fence for my next words to say but I leaned towards the conclusion he needed a reality check. Jacob was looking at me anxiously for my response.

"And how did that go for you?" Jacob closed his eyes and frowned. Almost as if he was revisiting that moment in his mind before he answered me.

"Not well," he spoke begrudgingly.

"Do you want my opinion or advice?" I would leave the choice up to him if he wanted to live in his delusion or have some sense knocked into him.

"That's why I originally called you!" He exclaimed with enthusiasm. "I need help from 'A-game' Jessica to win Bella. I mean I had to do my first move without you, but you know how her and I are together. I helped her heal when that bastard was gone. He treated her like garbage. I would never leave her like he did." He had his heart in the right place, but his approach was all wrong.

"Okay, can I be honest if you want my help?" Jacob insisted so. He didn't know what was coming otherwise he many have optioned for a 'hell no'.

"One, bad move on getting her grounded. Did you think that would really prevent them from spending time together? Maybe it would limit their time outside of school together, but we ALL go to the same school." Jacob sheepishly looked at the floor. It was the most lenient thing I had to say for my 'guidance'. "Two, Bella and you weren't dating to my recollection. She has every right to get back with Edward. It is her choice." Jacob's neck muscles tensed at the harsh truth of my words. "Three, I don't doubt you love her. But you won't win her over acting juvenile. Continue to be who you are with her, even as a friend for now. If that doesn't change her mind to choose you, it's her loss Jacob." Jacob finally met my eyes. Jacob's blank look led me to believe he was confused. "My follow up is to ask you this. Why do you love, Bella? What makes her worth this effort to pursue her?" My questions were for my own selfish benefit. I never understood it in the books besides the whole 'Renesme' storyline of being why Jacob was drawn to Bella. I always wondered if there was more to it.

Jacob took his time before responding to me. "What do you mean 'why'? Love is love." What a shit answer.

"Love can be a feeling, yes. One you think you know and can put a name to. But there should also be a reasoning to it. For example, I love the way she...okay I feel weird giving an example in the guy's perspective. Let me draw on my own experiences. I love the way he supports me. I love the way he laughs. I love his determination to always do his best. I love the way he holds me and whispers in my ear. I love the way he inspires me to be a better person. Of course, that is a 0.0001% of the reasons you could love someone, but there should be reasons. Not just because you think what you feel is love."

"Seems like you have experience being in love." Jacob was sitting on my bed now. Making himself a little too comfortable.

"A lifetime ago it feels like." Jacob patted the spot next to him on my bed.

"Looks like we both need to form a broken hearts club."

"Only if I am not the president. I would only accept being VP despite my emotional superior maturity," I giggled as I took my seat. The conversation had finally turned pleasant and I was happy for it. Jacob stared too intensely at my face while I giggled.

"You know, you can be kind of pretty when you smile. Most of the time you have this sour puss face on like you don't want to be where you are." Boy did he figure me out.

"Now don't go falling in love with me, Jacob Black" I wittily replied. He snorted in response.

"Fat chance. I think we both know I only have eyes for Bella." I smiled genuinely at him. He was a devoted romantic despite being flawed on the reasoning behind it.

"I know. I will root for you. Just...if there is a point where Bella is not going to be swayed to being with you, know when to stop. You deserve someone who can meet your affection. Otherwise, they will always disappoint you..." My last parting advice was taken from my days as Katie. My last boyfriend had put me through the ringer quite similarly as Bella would do to Jacob.

"Sure, sure. I'll change my approach thanks to you." Jacob's confidence was increasing once again.

"Good plan. I really should get to my homework. And we've pushed our luck enough without being caught. Last thing I need is for my grounding to be extended." Jacob looked at me with sympathy but the next words out of his mouth didn't reflect that.

"If the punishment fits the crime..." he teased. I threw a small, frilly decorative pillow at him from my bed. He chuckled after it hit him. "Alright, alright. I am out. Thanks for the talk. You provided good insight for me. Without a mom or my sisters around, I tend to be at a loss on the female perspective." I was shocked by his honesty. I instinctively threw my hand on top of his as it laid on my bed still. His face was priceless. I could not say any comforting words intertwined with empathy from Katie Smith towards the loss of his mom. All I could do was squeeze his hand to assure him I knew his pain. Jacob opened his mouth to say something but then closed it. He was at a loss for words.

*knock* *knock*

We both looked from each other to my bedroom door. I mouthed "Go!" to him. He looked down at our hands and I realized his initial hesitation. I quickly withdrew my hand from resting on top of his. He bolted to the window and escaped outside of it. I quickly shut it and then ran to unlock the door knob. I zoomed back to my bed to reposition myself in a natural position and answered the knock to say, "Who is it?"

Daniel opened the door and walked into my room with his head down. "Are you going to be bad Jessica again?" He asked me sadly. What on earth is he talking about?

"What on earth are you talking about?" I asked him exactly what I was thinking.

Daniel hopped on my bed and then proceeded to turn on the water works.

"I overheard Mom and Dad say you did a bad thing yesterday and that you...*sniff* *sniff* may be slipping back to how you acted before." Daniel's wails were assaulting my ears.

"What do you mean before?" I genuinely was confused.

"To before you got hit in the head and started being nice Jessica! I don't *sniff* *sniff* want you to be mean to me again." My heart sank. I finally understood how my thoughtless actions as Katie Smith finally did damage to Jessica's life. I wasn't 24 here or an adult. I was a 17-year-old living with parents, about to graduate from high school. My behavior was not okay with who I was now. I knew better.

I drew Daniel close into me and offered him a heartfelt apology. I then took his small face in my hands and wiped away his tears. I promised to him I would continue to be a good, nice sister and I promised to myself to do better to honor the big sister role that Jenna had role-modeled to me.

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