A/N - If you're wondering what happened to the rest of the chapters, unfortunately they won't be listed because my story has been published. I guess you could say I'm shamelessly advertising my book. Anyway, I hope you like it and if you feel like supporting me, it's finally on Barnes and Noble.

If you do decide to support me, just to let you know this is the ISBN for my book: 9780595525317 (Paperback) and 9780595512942 (Hard Cover). The reason for this is the version from a company called Xlibris is no longer available, but are still listed on some sites like and such. The newest version is by a company called iUniverse.

One other thing. If you have read my story when I first put it on this site, just letting you know that a lot of the content is different than before. This is according to the suggestions from the company that I went with.


Summary:

Jenna thought she had everything she needed—happiness, laughter, friends, and a terrific family that loves and cares for her. She'll be a senior in high school this fall and after that, college beckons. Yep, life is perfect, except for one small little glitch: she's in love with her best friend, Jacob Bennett.

Everybody thought that she had gotten over her silly crush on Jacob ever since tenth grade. In a way, they were right; but what she didn't realize was that even though she managed to convince herself she was over him, the feelings that still remained were more than just friendship. Helplessly trapped with her feelings, how can she ever tell Jacob how much she loves him without ruining what they already have?

As the year goes on, both Jacob and Jenna must come face to face with their feelings. And in the end, their decision just might affect the rest of their lives…

Full of humor and romance, Always Been You is a touching novel about the strength of friendship and true love.


Chapter 1: The Beginning

The summer sun was bright against the crystal blue horizon; high in the clear afternoon sky. Unfortunately, the only thing from making it a perfect August day was the sweltering heat; the air stifling at seventy-eight degrees. As I sat here watching the arrivals and departures of people bustling through the terminal, I was glad to be in the comforts of an air-conditioned room.

Normally, I would avoid the Vancouver airport, especially for this particular time of year. Huge crowds with pushy people tend to annoy me. However, since I had promised to pick up a friend and his family, I was sitting here on one of the blue chairs, waiting patiently for them to arrive back from their trip to Australia.

Finally seeing a rush of passengers from the four o'clock Australian flight coming through the doors, I quickly put down the magazine I was reading and began craning my neck over everyone's heads. But because my stature was only five foot four, I had to climb on the chair I was sitting on for a better view. Within seconds, I easily found my friend.

Standing right beside a portly man in a red Hawaiian shirt and straw hat was Jacob Bennett, a six-foot, half-Chinese, half-Australian hottie. He was running a hand through his wavy, brown hair and standing on his tiptoes, his hazel eyes also scanning the crowd. After a few years of playing sports like rugby and soccer for our school's team, Jacob has a build no guy would be ashamed of showing off. Wearing a short-sleeved, navy blue polo shirt and a pair of grey cargo shorts that emphasised his healthy muscles, even his tanned features seemed sharper and more chiselled than before. As he tightened his grip on the brown leather bag slung over his broad shoulders and pushed his way through the crowd, I still couldn't believe the hottest guy in our school was my friend.

When he finally turned to his left, he then broke out into his recognisable warm, one-dimpled smile once he saw me, and as he began to wave back, a familiar image immediately appeared in my head.

Three summers ago I was also at the airport waiting for Jacob and his family, but instead of waiting alone, I had been here with two of my best friends. Amy Taylor, whom I've known since kindergarten, and Matt Conner, who is also Jacob's cousin.

Amy and I have always been curious to meet Jacob, ever since we first heard Matt talk about him back in eighth grade. When we heard that Jacob was moving back to Vancouver to live since his dad, a cardiac surgeon, had decided to transfer back, we then asked Matt if we could accompany him and his dad to pick them up. The only one who wasn't coming back was his sister, Ashley, a part-time model who was still attending York University in Toronto. As we waited for them to arrive, however, the image that had flown through Amy's and my minds was of Jacob's eighth grade picture. The only picture we saw.

In that photo, Jacob looked skinny, wore a pair of huge, black, round-rimmed eyeglasses, and had a mouthful of braces. When the terminal doors opened, Amy and I couldn't believe who had appeared. Instead of glasses, Jacob had worn contacts, and his braces had been removed revealing a perfect straight smile. His lanky frame had filled out nicely, and he even had the height of a model, standing three inches taller than Matt.

He was already so good-looking that when he had asked me if I could show him around and do some sightseeing to see what had changed once he got over his jetlag, I became nervous and wary on how the day would turn out. Amazingly, it turned out better than I had expected.

I was amazed at how easily we had gotten along after spending the day touring the city and had thought that maybe our outing had been only a one time thing. It was too good to be real. Especially, when it came to spending almost an entire day with a hot guy. But then two days later on the first day of school, I had been surprised that Jacob had sought me out, asking me to help him show him around campus instead of Matt. Once Jacob got used to his schedule, he then began seeking my presence during lunchtime, and he even accompanied me to some of my classes before going to his.

For a while I kept wondering why he had always hung around me. I thought that maybe it was because Matt had just begun dating Amy and was busy with her, and that Jacob didn't know many people. But when Amy had mentioned her theory that Jacob actually harboured some secret crush for me, pointing out the things Jacob did—like the way how he would always try to find me, or the way he would look at me whenever we were together—I thought that maybe Jacob liked me too. Regrettably, before any of us could ask Jacob about it, a few weeks later Jacob had started seeing Ivy Jones.

Ivy was everything I wasn't. She had long hair that was very light, platinum almost, fitting well with her watery, blue eyes. Her legs were thin like a model, and her skin was perfect and even-toned. But even though she's very pretty, I didn't think that was the reason Jacob had chosen her. I actually thought that maybe it was because Ivy was one of the popular girls in school, and I wasn't.

Throughout the years, my close friends and I were never part of the 'in crowd' and had preferred not to be. Matt wasn't even part of that crowd either, even when Jacob had transferred to our school. That was because Jacob had befriended this group of guys we never liked. They were rude, cocky, and enjoyed having people grovel at their feet. And because Jacob is wealthy, boyishly handsome, and constantly has girls throwing themselves at him, it made those guys even more arrogant to be included as one of Jacob's friends. The stupid part was that those same guys only acted that way whenever Jacob wasn't around to see.

When I had found out about Jacob and Ivy, I was surprised, only because Jacob had told me that he found snobby girls to be annoying. But he still chose her, and instead of feeling happy for him, I felt completely heartbroken. And since I also couldn't deal with the idea of him kissing her, I then had decided to distance myself away from Jacob. Matt hadn't like the idea, but he still accepted my decision. Only because he knew what it was like getting over a first crush. The only thing different from the rest of girls in school who also had a crush on him was that I didn't like Jacob because of the way he looked, or because he was the typical jock. I actually liked him for who he really was.

At first I didn't think my plan would work since he and Matt were related, but things had actually worked out great. I barely saw Jacob. When I did, it was only because we had the same classes. Things had been going so well for me that a few months later I even had accepted a date with one of my classmates named Riley Peters.

Riley isn't as handsome, or as tall as Jacob, but he was still good-looking. He had straight chestnut hair, and striking blue eyes. He could always make me laugh with his out-going attitude, and he even taught me how to kiss. Still, even though we had dated for four months, and he always made me feel wanted, I realised that my feelings for Riley couldn't continue any further than friendship. When I had decided to end it, I was extremely lucky that things had ended on such good terms between us. Countless times I had witnessed couples breaking up and rarely did they remain friends. I was lucky that even after our mismatched debacle, I still have Riley as a friend.

It had been a good choice for me to date Riley. Our brief relationship made me realise that I was finally over my crush on Jacob. But no matter what I thought, I knew my luck couldn't last. And one day I had been put to the test.

Sometime during last June, I was hanging out over at Matt's house with Amy when Jacob had suddenly shown up at Matt's door. Since I hadn't talked to Jacob in over a year, I made as if to leave when he sat down next to me on the couch, assuming he would want to talk to Amy and Matt in private, but he surprised me by asking that I stay. Of course I did, but then two hours later when Amy and Matt had given up with breaking through to Jacob and chose to rent a movie instead, the three of us then got even more surprised when Jacob finally had spoken to ask if I could stay behind. Before I could tell him I'd rather go with Amy and Matt, those two then quickly walked out the door.

I knew why they left me alone with him. They thought that maybe I might be able to find out what was bothering him. Except with my heart hammering loudly against my chest and my mind a jumbled mess of thoughts, I didn't think it was a good idea. But then while I was trying to figure out what to say to ease the deafening silence, Jacob had suddenly shifted closer to me, and we soon fell into our usual banter like before.

Amy always told me that I had a certain knack of knowing how people felt. I knew what they needed, when to push them or back away. I guess Jacob knew that too. Ten minutes into our conversation, Jacob had told me what had been bothering him.

All the times we had hung out in the past, and minus the time we had talked about following in our parents' footsteps, Jacob and I never shared anything else really personal. We weren't that close with one another. But I guess Jacob must have seen something in me that I didn't. Soon after that day, Jacob and I began spending numerous summer nights over at each other's houses, talking into the long hours of the night. Once we started opening up to each other, discussing private things, I then realised that officially I was back as one of Jacob's friends.

Like before, Matt actually thought that Jacob and I were heading into the direction of a relationship, until Jacob had told him about dating one of the other popular girls in school, a brunette named Amber Henley. When he questioned me about it, I then had told Matt that the remnants of my crush on Jacob had long since faded. I had resolved not to fall under his spell again, and would only offer my friendship as much as he needed or wanted it. I knew that I was a side-line, part of the few people who understood him, but not more to him than anyone else. I even had convinced Matt that I was over Jacob by revealing I was also dating someone I had met a month ago while shopping with Amy, an Asian guy named Ethan Su.

"Jenna?"

Completely lost in my reminiscing, I only became conscious I was staring blankly at Jacob when I gradually noticed his moving lips and his hand waving in front of my nose.

"Sorry, Jacob, what were you saying?" I said, coming out of my daze.

"Are you sure you're all right?" he asked, gathering me into an embrace. "You sort of blanked out for a second."

"Just thinking about things," I said, returning his hug.

"Was it about Ethan?" he said, sounding concerned.

"No, it wasn't about Ethan," I said. "Hey, it looks like you've grown a lot. Were you working out the whole time during your trip so you could impress the Australian girls?"

"No, I did not work out. Besides visiting family in Melbourne, I just went for a jog every morning and only got a tan."

"You've gotten more than a tan," I said, pointing at his arms and legs as I took the bag from his shoulder. "Your muscles seem much bigger since the last time I saw you."

"Are you only saying this to be nice?"

"Honest, you look great. However, you do know the girls at school are going to be tripping over each other just to get at you now."

"Did you really have to tell me that?" he sighed.

"Would you have preferred it if I didn't warn you beforehand and just let the girls show you how much they like your new body?" I grinned.

"No, this way is definitely better," he said.

"And who is this?"

Upon hearing the feminine voice, I swivelled around to find a gorgeous girl looking at us with a smirk on her heart-shaped face.

"Ash, this is Jenna Chow," said Jacob. "Jenna, this is my sister, Ashley. She finally has some time off from school and has decided to stay with us for a bit."

"So you're the infamous Jenna," she grinned at me. "I'm finally glad to meet the girl our mom's been talking about. I must say you really are a good choice."

"And what has mom been saying to you?" said Jacob.

"If you want to know, you'll have to ask her yourself," she giggled. "So, Jenna, how did my brother convince you to be the unlucky one to pick us up today?"

"I think he made sure your mom was in the vicinity when he asked me to," I said. "He knows I can't say no to her."

"Who would've thought my little brother has brains in that huge head of his," she grinned, playfully ruffling his hair.

"Where are mom and dad anyway?" asked Jacob, ignoring his sister's jab as he pushed her hand away. "I thought they were right behind us."

"They got held up with their luggage," she explained. "Oh, look, there they are now."

Over an hour later, we finally made it back to the North Shore and into West Vancouver. No matter how many times I've been over to Jacob's, I still get awed with the place. As I pulled into the huge limestone driveway, their estate made my mom's CR-V look like a red speck of dust.

Their gigantic, gated waterfront house had twenty-foot ceilings and walls made out of glass. The furnishings inside the house were a mixture of custom-made rock fireplaces, cherry wood cabinets and floors, Italian furniture, and plush area rugs. There was even a custom-designed 400 gallon salt water aquarium that was built into the wall by the foyer.

The kitchen, which was a chef's dream, had stainless steel appliances, a gas stove, marble top counter, and two movable islands. A grand staircase in the middle of the house with glass railings provided a panoramic ocean view of the inner harbour from each of the three floors. Down in the basement was a sauna room, an exercise gym, a poolside lounge, Jacob's dad's office, and a huge media room. The media room had top-of-the-line entertainment equipment, surround sound speakers, and a huge flat-screen TV that covered almost half the wall. When you head out any of the glass doors from the lounge, the media room, or Jacob's dad's den, they all opened up to the patio that was surrounded by a glass fence. There was a barbecue centre to the right, a pool in the middle, a hot tub to the left, and a pathway leading you onto the beach.

While Jacob lugged his suitcase to his room on the west side of the top floor, I joined his mom in their brightly lit kitchen to help her with dinner, and we began talking like we usually do. Some days we talked about her work as a nurse at the local hospital, or about how grateful she was of me for helping out Jacob in school. Other days we would talk about the girls Jacob's dated, all of whom she's never really approved since she always thought most were either too conceited, or that they probably only liked him for his looks. But when I thought she was going to talk about his current girlfriend, Amber, our conversation took on a different turn. It even took all my will power not to blush when I finally found out what Ashley had meant.

Their mom had this harboured secret of wanting Jacob to break up with Amber, so he could go out with me. She always thought I was the only one good enough for her baby boy. In her honest opinion, I was a well-mannered Chinese girl, who was brought up the proper way like her. I was taught to never be rude to elders, to offer help out without needing to be asked, and to always be polite and considerate to others.

I wasn't sure how to respond to her confession, even when she began to cry. However, just as I was about to console her, Jacob walked in.

All throughout dinner, Jacob kept shooting the both of us questionable looks. I knew he was itching to ask why his mom was sobbing in my arms. I couldn't tell him, not when it could embarrass his mom. Unfortunately, he was too intrigued. And since Ashley had left to hang out with some of her old high school friends, I was the only one he could bug. He even refused to let me go home, unless I told him what his mom had said. I was only allowed to leave when his mom appeared in the living room and began yelling at him for keeping me out so late.

Dawn broke early and bright the next morning, and I literally had to drag myself out of bed just to be on time for school. I was so tired, even if I had a pack of wild dogs chasing me down the street it still wouldn't make me move any faster.

When I eventually made it to West Vancouver Secondary, I then bumped into my bubbly, sandy-blonde, brown-eyed friend, Nikki Evans, who couldn't understand why I looked so groggy, crossing the main field near the track. According to her, I should be feeling more excited about our first day of senior year than wanting to crawl back into bed. But instead of letting her know that half of the reason I was sleepy had to do with leaving Jacob's house around midnight, and the other half was laying in bed thinking about what Jacob's mom had said to me, I decided to keep my mouth shut and just continue walking. I still couldn't believe that both his parents approve of me, just as much as my parents love Jacob.

My dad, a short plastic surgeon with a decreasing amount of hair on the top of his head, never really minded who I dated as long as I liked him. But the guy he really favoured and trusted the most to take care of his only child was Jacob. Even after a hectic day at work, my dad always found time to spend it with Jacob whenever Jacob came over to our house.

My mom was completely opposite from my dad. She's also kind and considerate, but even though she's very petite, she isn't someone you would want to cross. Sometimes when she questions me, I feel like I'm one of those guilty convicts on the stand.

Since she was there when I had cried my eyes out over Jacob in the tenth grade, she always became wary, whenever I was interested in a guy. When Jacob came over the first time to my house, only because he was my Chemistry partner, she became hesitant and had been afraid that I would get hurt again. He was only allowed into the house when I had pulled her into the kitchen to reassure her that I was over my crush on him, and that we were just friends. Once she got to know the real Jacob, she actually liked him so much that she even told me if she had to choose the lucky man in my life, only a certain guy with the last name of Bennett would do. Come to think of it, she always found some subtle imperfection in each of the very few guys I had gone out with. If I brought over someone who wasn't Jacob, she would accept my choice, but then patiently wait until something goes wrong before pointing out how wonderful Jacob would have been.

"Earth to Jenna?"

I let out a huge sigh, broke away from my trance, and was surprised to see Jacob seated beside me on the bleachers. As he stared questioningly at my face, I then took in my surroundings and became aware that I wasn't standing with Nikki on the field. I guess I was too caught up with my thoughts, I didn't realise I had aimlessly wandered into the North Campus' gym.

"Oh, sorry, Jacob," I sighed. "I wandered off again, didn't I?"

"It was the same look you had at the airport," he said. "Are you sure nothing's wrong?"

"I'm sure," I reassured him. "Hey, have any of the girls seen you yet?"

"I got here early and came straight to the gym. Why?"

"Then you better remember to cover up those huge bumps on your arms if you don't want any of them to jump you."

"You mean this arm?"

"I guess I was wrong about you being buff," I said, rolling my eyes and pushing away his left arm he was flexing in front of my face. "You're still a bit flabby."

"Funny," he said wryly.

"So why isn't Amber here protecting her property?"

"I am not someone's property," he huffed at me.

"Okay, then how come Amber's not here protecting her boyfriend?" I laughed.

"Amber and I broke up."

I thought he was joking, but once I saw his expression, I quickly clamped my mouth shut. "Sorry. When did this happen?"

"Right before I left for Australia," he explained. "I was thinking of telling you yesterday, but we were having too much fun, I completely forgot about it."

"You keeping me hostage last night was not fun," I grumbled. "I'm still feeling the side effects from sleep deprivation because of you."

"Hey, I should be the one lacking the sleep. I did just come back from the other side of the world."

"It shouldn't make a difference. You're such a night owl."

"And yet you still won't tell me what my mom said to you, will you?"

"Like your sister said, if you want to find out, you're going to have to ask your mom yourself," I grinned. "Now, what were you saying before I interrupted?"

"As I was saying," he said, giving me a pointed look. "I'm telling you now because you've helped me a lot in dealing with her. I figured you might want to be the first to know before it ends up all over the school. Speaking of relationships, I just realised that I kept you from seeing Ethan last night. He's probably disappointed he didn't get to see you before school started."

"You don't have to worry about what Ethan thinks anymore," I said disgustedly. "We broke up about a week ago too."

"Judging by your tone, I take it didn't end well, did it?"

"No, it didn't," I muttered, turning my gaze towards the guys playing basketball on the gym floor.

"What happened?"

Before I could answer him, we were suddenly interrupted by the sounds of both of our names being called. Amy, who had appeared in the gym, was making her way towards me, while one of Jacob's annoying friends hollered at Jacob to get back and finish with their pick-up basketball game.

"I guess we'll just have to talk later," sighed Jacob.

"I guess so." I got up to leave, but Jacob quickly grabbed my hand and pulled me back down on to the bleachers.

"Hey, don't say anything about what I told you to Amy or anyone else," he said. "I know she's going to ask you, but I really don't want anyone to know right now. If she does get on your nerves, then just tell her to ask me about it."

"Are you sure you really want Amy bugging you?"

"Not really, but then you probably don't want her bugging you either."

"No, but she also let's things go after a couple of hours, unlike someone I know," I smirked. "At least I got to see you cowering behind me while your mom lectured you last night for keeping me out so late."

Jacob just smiled and prodded my stomach.

"Jacob, are you coming or not?" yelled his friend.

"Coming!" he yelled back. "I'll talk to you later, Jenna."

"Later."

As I watched Jacob walk away, I then turned my head in the direction of my other friend and smiled.

People always joked around, telling me that Amy could pass as my twin by the similar ways we act. The only thing which makes their reasoning unbelievable is the fact that we are not even the same ethnicity. While I am Chinese, Amy, who is taller than me by two inches, is a British beauty. The hairs on both of our heads grew past our shoulders, but while hers is naturally curly and brown, mine is straight and raven-coloured. We both have brown eyes; except mine are so dark people think they are actually black. We both have natural, full pink lips, but Amy has a curvy hourglass figure that makes every guy go weak in the knees, whenever she walks into a room. Even though Amy thinks my boobs are perky, I think I am somewhat built like a boy. I have straight legs and a waist that almost blends both halves of my body together.

Both of us are stubborn, kind-hearted and strong-willed, except I am a bit insecure about myself—but which teenage girl isn't—have a sarcastic wit when someone challenges me, and I always tend to overanalyse situations. Amy, whom I've known since private school, is defiant, persistent, inquisitive, and very level-headed about many things.

"And what were you two talking about?" she prompted, her brown eyes flickering between me and Jacob.

"Nothing important," I said.

"Oh, come on, Jen," she pleaded, grabbing her curly brown tresses in a bun.

"Not a chance, Ames. Now let's get going before we're late for homeroom."

People we passed along the hallway and up the stairs kept staring at us. I swore some were following close enough to eavesdrop since Amy's constant string of questions was only about Jacob. They appeared to look eager and couldn't resist trying to listen in to our conversation. They only backed off once we entered into the chemistry lab that was our homeroom.

"Why are you being so stubborn?" whined Amy.

"Why are you being so annoyingly persistent?" I grinned.

"About what?" asked Matt, his blue eyes sparkling with curiosity, as we joined him at one of the black lab tables by the window.

"I'm trying to find out what Jenna and Jacob were talking about," said Amy, letting out a frustrated breath. "They were being secretive about something, but she won't tell me why."

"Speaking of Jacob, have you seen what he's wearing today?" said Katie Andrews. Her long, auburn hair that was normally straight and to her shoulders was now cut short, about chin length, and layered so it framed her face. "I just saw him coming out of the north gym, and I have to admit I was tempted to run a finger down the front of his shirt, just so I could feel how hard his chest is. It should even be considered illegal with the way he fills out his jeans."

"If you think what he's wearing now is hot, you should've seen what he wore this morning before he changed," said Amy.

"Ooh, I would love to have seen that," sighed Katie, her emerald eyes glistening in a dream-like state. "Jacob in a basketball jersey is definitely hot, especially with those new sexy muscles of his."

"Jenna saw Jacob's new muscles up close," Amy grinned.

"Did you touch them?" Katie asked me.

"Are you sure you're dating Alex?" I said.

"I'm starting to wonder about that too."

We all turned around. Alex Martinez, our resident class clown, had appeared in the room and was giving his girlfriend a baleful look.

"Can we please stop talking about my cousin's attributes?" grumbled Matt.

"Why?" said Amy. "Jealous?"

"More like getting disturbed about it," said Matt.

"Now, back to what we were talking about before we got distracted." Amy, who was mimicking the same look Alex had, aimed it to her boyfriend. "Jen, what did Jacob tell you that you can't say to anyone?"

"All he said was if you want to know, you're going to have to ask him," I said.

"He said that to you?"

"He did."

Later when I met up with Jacob to go for lunch, it eerily felt like when he first had transferred in. Some of the girls looked like they were going to faint from the sight of his new physique as we walked out of one of our classes and headed down the hall. Jacob was so uncomfortable with their appreciative murmurs and gazes that he finally got fed up at being gawked at, went straight to his locker, grabbed his coat, and covered up his arms before heading down to the cafeteria with me.