Jacob, school, and work – in that order – help fill Bella’s days. Charlie is happy to see her come back to life. But Bella knows she hasn’t fully recovered:
I was like a lost moon – my planet destroyed in some cataclysmic, disaster-movie scenario of desolation… that continued, nevertheless, to circle in a tight little orbit around the empty space left behind. (9.2)
As Bella gets better on the bike, Edward’s voice starts to fade. Bella becomes determined to find the meadow.
It’s Valentine’s Day. Jacob asks Bella to be his Valentine. She agrees, because she doesn’t want to hurt his feelings. Yet, she feels uncomfortable:
I was trying to think of some way to make the boundaries clear. Again. They seemed to get blurred a lot with Jacob. (9.12)
To keep her distance, Bella invites Jacob to go see a movie with her and some friends from school. Jacob accepts.
Everyone ends up canceling for various reasons, leaving only Bella, Mike, and Jacob.
From the start, the two boys vie for Bella’s attention. While Jacob stays his sunny confident self, Mike gets all sulky.
During the movie (another dreadful horror flick, called Crosshairs), Mike suddenly falls sick and throws up in the bathroom.
Waiting for Mike, Jacob puts his arm around Bella. She withdraws, so he asks her straight out if she likes him. Bella answers "Yes." She even admits that she likes his touch:
"The problem… is that it means something different for me than it does to you."
"Well." He tightened his hand around mine. "That’s my problem, isn’t it?" (9.161-162)
After driving Mike home, Jacob drops Bella off her house. His skin is burning and Bella thinks he has a fever. She makes him promise to call her when he gets home. Before he leaves, Jacob promises Bella to never let her down and to never hurt her.
Bella wishes Jacob could be her brother, so that she could be around him without the guilt.
Jacob doesn’t call, so Bella calls him. Billy answers, saying that Jacob is too sick to talk to her and that she shouldn’t visit.
The next morning, Bella has the stomach flu. She spends her day on the bathroom floor.
When Bella finally gets Jacob on the phone, he acts strange and says, "Wait for me to call" (9.294).