Dedication: For meliz875.

A/N: We're rounding out the holy hotness of wolf trinity this week because the birthday girl likes a little hot Lahote now and again with her Jake and Embry. ;) Mel's birthday is in, like, three weeks, so there's lots more to come during the Month of Mel. Not to worry!

Pre-reader: meliz875

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Inspiration for this chapter:

Fuck music. This chapter is inspired by Alex Meraz's hot ass in my fantasies. I could pretend it's not, but then I'd be lying. Seriously, Mel had to talk me down a few times because I always write Paul like I want to crawl into his lap and grind on him while he pets me like his naughty kitty. Just sayin'.

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Chapter 2: Paul

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Embry was nothing if not patient. He had waited two long years for Bella Swan. A little more, truth be told.

Well, not waited so much as moved at a snail's pace. Bella needed slow. She'd been burned badly before and was leery of leaping in with both feet again too quickly or letting someone get too close emotionally, which meant their progression as a couple had been practically glacial. They were, at best, extremely touchy best friends with benefits. Neither of them were willing to put a label on it just yet.

And the "L"-word?


Neither had said it yet.

Embry was afraid of scaring her off.

Bella was afraid she'd say it and mean it and there was no taking it back and she had been down that road before and it was full of pitfalls and traps and Civil War Majors wanting to suck her dry over freakin' papercuts and, just, no. It was much easier to show him how she felt than to make some grand declaration and end up broken and sobbing on the forest floor again and— okay, she admittedly privately to herself, she may have been overthinking it, but she had good reasons!

Looking down at her beautiful face and chest flushed with excitement and not a little naughtiness as she struggled under the weight of a case of pilfered moonshine, Embry was thinking it might be time to take the next step.

He wanted to claim her, but first, he'd have to pin her down long enough to get her to listen when he told her he loved her.

The reaction she had to even a hint of those words made him think she was allergic or something. He'd put it off as long as he could, but he needed to say them. He needed her to know that she was it for him.

He stumbled, causing his brothers to laugh at him as he got caught staring at her boobs and thinking about getting her alone again. It had been a while since he'd gotten his hands on B.

With a knowing grin and a poorly concealed snicker, Bella glanced down at the crate in her hands. Little swirls were drawn on labels on each of the jar caps.

She cocked her head curiously and nudged Embry, "Look. What is that? A six? Or is it a 'G'?"

He shrugged, "I don't know. They're Old Quil's. Maybe it's supposed to be an 'O'. His handwriting is pretty bad."

Bella thought that seemed just as likely as anything else she could come up with. She huffed, shifting the weight of the crate in her hands to take the pressure off her fingertips.

Paul growled with impatience, hefting the crate that Bella was struggling with and growling at the others, "For fuck's sake, can we go already? I wanna get hammered and see if we can get Swan to skinny-dip." He leered at her appreciatively, making her snicker.

Like she'd never gone skinny-dipping with the pack before…

Hazel tsk-tsk'd his foul mouth with a teasing click of her tongue and tick of her finger, "Such language from a Protector. What kind of role model would you make for the younger generation?"

"A terrible one," Jake and Quil quipped together, sniggering.

Jake motioned to Embry to hand over one of the crates, relieving him of half his noisy burden so they could move more quickly and easily through the woods to Third Beach at Strawberry Bay, where the older members of the pack had collected driftwood earlier in the day for a bonfire. The younger wolves as well as Sam and Emily were all sitting around the fire at the top of the cliffs there, chatting amongst themselves when the party of thieves of arrived.

They stacked the crates out of responsible, former-Alpha Sam's line of sight in the woods with some coolers full of other supplies for later and joined the rest of the pack around the low-burning, blue-green flames of the driftwood fire for some s'mores before Sam and Emily decided to call it an early night.

The packs' parents and a few Elders had gathered on First Beach for their own bonfire to catch up with one another while Renee was in town. Sam and Emily wanted to swing by to say a quick hello on their way home.

They gathered up their things while Jared took his turn to run a quick patrol. Knowing the woods had been quiet lately, Kim decided to go for a wolfback ride with Jared. There were so few vampire incursions these days, the pack only had to patrol a few times a day to check for new scents in the area and up into the state park to look for nomadic scent trails.

Jared threw a salute to his Alpha and Hazel and took off into the woods with his girl, stripping as he went and handing his shorts off to Kim before phasing so she could clamber onto his wide back.

She shouted over her shoulder, "We'll be back in twenty! Save us a few drinks!"

Hazel turned to her sisters, hands on her ample hips, "It's getting late. I think it's time for you to head home. I don't mind if the boys go back to the house with you, but Nui is going to call pretty soon to check and make sure you're in by curfew."

She was met with a chorus of whines from her sisters and their wolves.

Lani whined, "Haze … we were going to do some night-diving with you guys!"

"You mean drunken skinny-dipping," Hazel looked at them pointedly. "What am I—stupid? I don't want to hear it! I won't cover for the four of you again. You screwed up, running up to Vancouver and staying out on wolfback til four a.m. to skinny-dip last time! You're lucky Nui didn't haul your sorry asses all the way back to the island after that stunt. Go on home. There's a stack of pizzas in the freezer and two cases of soda in the fridge on the back porch. I picked up a couple of new movies in Port A yesterday, too—plenty to keep you four busy at home after curfew without getting drunk or naked for once."

"Fine," Laurel rolled her eyes, helping Lani gather up their things while Collin and Brady loaded the extra coolers into Collin's truck, "but we're not stupid, you know. We can tell you just want to get rid of us so you can suck face with Alpha Hot-ass."

Jake's blush could have rivaled Bella's just then. He coughed, turning away to hide his embarrassed laughter.

"Jealous much?" Hazel called out after her sisters as they wandered up the path to the parking lot and Collin's jeep.

"Seriously, Col," they could hear Laurel, the more outspoken of the two twins, telling her young mate as they walked away, "I bet I could bounce a quarter off your cousin's ass."

The remaining wolves on the beach roared with laughter when the quieter twin, Lani, muttered quietly, "More like a dime … because that ass is a ten."

Brady's low growl was the last thing they heard as the group piled into Collin's rig to head home.

Hazel waved them off with a bemused grin, turning back to Jake to offer apologies on behalf of her sisters, "You know they don't mean it, honey. They've got their own wolves. They just like to make you blush."

She rose to her toes and Jake met her halfway as she pressed her lips to his. She wrapped her arms around his neck and leaned back. "I think they were onto something with the suckin' face, though. Don't you?" She waggled her eyebrows.

He grinned at her and started pressing kisses to her cheek, along her jaw, continuing down her throat as his hands ghosted over her curves and he rumbled a lupine purr, "Mmm … maybe."

A loud clap from Paul got everyone's attention. "Time for adult swim. Who wants a drink? Or are we diving first?" he asked, retrieving the crates from their hiding place.

"Can't we do both?" Quil smirked.

"Drinks, cards, diving?" Jake's suggestion was met with a rumble of general agreement.

Bella got to work opening the coolers and setting out all the drink mixers she and Paul had prepared at his house late that afternoon.

She and Paul hadn't always been close, but they'd come to an understanding over the years. She thought he was misunderstood and needed a few more good friends. He was a shameless flirt and liked to tease her to make her blush. Getting her drunk was fun, too. She'd sing and strip and raise hell in a way that made him proud when he could get her to let loose. He thought she could use a little more of that.

Not that Embry wasn't good for her. He had worked miracles on her self-esteem, but he tip-toed around her and romanced her.

He loved her. That much was obvious.

Anybody with half a brain could see that she was terrified of commitment.

Besides, Paul firmly believed that she was a kindred spirit—a born hellraiser who needed a little encouragement to act her age from time to time rather than the middle-aged old soul who had first moved to Forks three years earlier.

Paul liked to see her let her hair down—really let out her inner devil—when she was hangin' out and trying to convince herself she was just another one of the guys. It didn't happen often at home, but when it did, it was something to see.

Really something to see.

Bella Swan would have turned her father's hair grey if he knew some of the shit Paul had talked her into over the years.

Their friendship was a bizarre combination of odd couple and partners in crime.

She pulled one of the jars of moonshine out of the top crate and some containers from the nearest cooler, pouring off a double-shot into a Solo cup and topping it off with a scoop of pureed strawberries and some lemonade, tasting as she worked side-by-side with Embry and Paul.

"Mmm… here, taste," she held the cup up for Paul's inspection.

He sniffed at it and turned the cup, touching his lips to the plastic over the mark left by her own lips. His eyes glimmered with the dark pleasure he gained from the taste of her under the flavor of the drink. The intensity of his gaze made her squirm.

Given the opportunity, he figured he would have gladly tasted her, too.

His wolf gave him some shit about it because of the woo-woo wolf thing she had with Embry, but Paul—the man—couldn't deny the attraction.

He tried. Fuck, he tried. He'd never willingly fuck things up, though, for her and Embry, and that's what kept him on the straight and narrow for the most part when it came to his friendship with Bella.

He licked his lips, running his tongue slowly and sensuously over his bottom lip in a way that was intended to torment her before answering, "S'good. You were right. The strawberries take away the bitterness from the moonshine."

Hesitating for a second and pursing his lips with a hint of the disdain the others would expect from him, he seemed to wage an internal battle before saying grudgingly, "Welcome home, tick-licker. This place was boring as shit without you."

She tucked her head down and tried not to grin. She knew he'd missed her when she was gone!

That said, he leaned over and—in a move that still surprised the pack no matter how many times they witnessed it—hugged Bella Swan, coaxing a low hum of pleasure from the petite brunette the others were never really sure he'd learned to do more than tolerate.

They couldn't have been more wrong.

Underneath all the bluster and teasing, Paul admired Bella; her bravery, her strength, the way she took charge of her life and fought her way back from the brink of madness and self-loathing after the leech abandoned her in the woods. She'd suffered for months from venom exposure. She could hardly speak in the months after her abandonment. The leech had fucked her up good.

She learned to lean on her friends without being totally dependent on them for her happiness. Jake and Hazel had done everything they could to support and encourage her and Embry had been her rock, but it was Bella who learned how to truly live again.

Spending more time with the pack, she spread her wings a bit after they finally caught the red-headed leech and her little band of freakishly strong vamps a few days after Bella's high school graduation. In the sunny, summer months that came after, it looked like the spark was finally back in her eyes.

Through the pack mind and their occasional orders to tail the couple on their non-dates, he knew she'd grown a lot closer to Embry over the years.

Not that she ever talked about it. She was such a staunchly private person when it came to her feelings.

She and Embry had a shared love of under-appreciated club bands. The genre didn't matter. It was more about the club experience; getting lost to the music, the comforting thump of the bass in her chest, and the feel of Embry moving his hips sinuously to the beat under her hands.

They went to shows together in Port A and Seattle for a few months back then in the early days and Embry accompanied her on her first campus visit to U-Dub when Jake couldn't make it due to his dad's increasing diabetes problems. The pack offered to help out so Jake could be there for Bella, but Embry stepped up into this new role he had carved out in her life and Jake knew she was in good hands, so that was that.

He wouldn't call their initial club nights dates exactly, but Paul knew Bella and Embry hadn't been innocent friends for a long time either.

Paul thought she deserved more than a friend with benefits, but he knew he wasn't the one to give it to her. Despite the outward changes of her maturing style that never ceased to surprise him, Bella Swan was a girl for white picket fences, two-point-five kids, and a freakin' labrador retriever.

Damned if he was going to be the lab who curled up at her feet at the end of the day.

So she and Embry went out on their non-date dates those first few months, and eventually got around to playing a little 'you-show-me-yours' in her truck on dark backroads while her friendships with the rest of the pack flourished.

Jared and Kim and occasionally some of the others would join Embry and Bella for double dates. The girls had kept up their girls nights the last two years, even though they didn't happen as often anymore as they had before Bella left for school.

Jake had been neatly friend-zoned in the early days which he seemed to almost welcome after seeing Embry's feelings for her in the pack mind.

Quil perved on Embry's memories every chance he got, conveniently forgetting that Bella was his distant cousin.

Seth and Leah were spending a lot more time with Bella as Charlie tried to lend a hand around the Clearwater place after Harry's passing. The two families began to merge before anyone really realized it was happening.

Even the pups that phased late—almost a year after the Cullens left—took a shine to Bella, seeking her out for help with the extra summer course work the Elders and the school had agreed to give them to keep them from falling behind, and sucking up for her homemade cookies and brownies with every 'A' they brought home from a tutoring session.

Sam and Emily tried to ignore the teenage drama and focused on the wellbeing of the maturing pack and Bella's progress, easily extending the pack kinship to her and treating her like family even after Jake took over as Alpha when he turned eighteen. For Bella's part, Sam and Em were more like parents to her than her own had ever been. She came home to visit them as often as, if not more often than, Charlie.

Then there was Paul.

It was during the fall break of her first semester at U-Dub—the weekend Bella first brought Hazel home when she and Jake had met for the first time. Bella could see the writing on the wall between the two of them. Realizing that she couldn't rely on her two friends to prop up her fragile self-esteem forever, she focused on the precious little time she had with Embry when he didn't have patrol and decided to tackle the puzzle that was Paul, finally coming to the conclusion that knowing your enemy was the best way to befriend him.

She set out to do just that.

That first long weekend home from school—Columbus Day weekend—they got to know each other better, maybe even gained a better understanding of why each of them were the way they were.

It all began with two beers.

He was working on a new back deck when Bella stopped by. She called out, asking if anyone was home and he shouted back to come on through the house and grab a couple of beers on the way.

Stopping at the fridge, she snagged two beers and popped their caps on the door-mounted opener before heading out the back door to the porch. Paul was stripped to the waist as usual, but he was covered in sweat, little bits of sawdust clinging to his back and knees. The air had been thick and close for days with the recent unseasonably warm weather. (Old Quil blamed global warming loudly and constantly to anyone who would listen.) His feet were bare and his bronzed skin was glistening. Bella imagined what it would be like to straddle his waist and run her tongue down his throat—just to taste him one time.

Salty, she imagined.

That had been happening more and more lately. Becoming close to Embry, she'd had tapped into a new sexuality she hadn't been aware of before. Suddenly, she was aware of hot guys everywhere.

She noticed them.

They noticed her.

With the patience of a saint, Embry took pride in her burgeoning self-confidence. He was the last one who would complain about Bella's new, tinier wardrobe. She was talking about body piercings, too.

Body piercings.

Embry couldn't wrap his head around it, trying to imagine what she'd pierce first.

Because she talked about piercings, as in more than one.

Paul's dick jumped at the idea when he heard it, too.

Lounging against the half-finished railing, she tipped the second beer back and chugged half of it before looking back down at him.

"Like what you see, Swan?" he leered at her, running a grimy hand down his chest. He knew he looked good, dirt and all.

"It's not bad. It is too bad about that other problem you have, though," her lips tipped up in a taunting grin behind the lip of her beer bottle.

"What problem?" he snorted.

"Your mouth."

A slow, easy, answering grin spread across his face, "You've got it all wrong. My mouth is the solution. It's good for what ails you," he hinted darkly, running his long, facile tongue over his lips and teeth.

Bella shuddered with a flare of unexpected desire—on the inside.

On the outside, nothing.

She wouldn't give him the satisfaction.

Two could play his game.

He had leaned back against the house, propping his drink hand up on his bent knee and squinting at her. "When I asked you to get a couple of beers, I meant for me. Wolf, remember? It takes three times as much alcohol for me to enjoy it."

"Story of your life, right? Always needing three times as much of everything to get some satisfaction?" she smirked, "So I'll get you another." Tilting her head back and finishing hers off, she held her hand out for his empty so she could go get seconds.

Paul watched her closely, assessing her mood and the changes in her since she'd gone back to school. Her brown hair was shorter and darker—almost black. It was cut at a sharp angle, short in the back and longer in the front so it was barely brushing her shoulder, and she'd given herself dark cherry red highlights. She had an edgy undercut on one side of her head from the night that Hazel had tried to talk her out of giving herself a drunken haircut over the sink in their dorm room after a party.

Paul had heard about the haircut through the grapevine from Jake.

It made him smile to think of Bella getting drunk and trying to shave her head because she thought needed a change. She didn't do anything half-assed or half-way.

Hazel had to wrestle the clippers out of her hands, then talked her into waiting until she was sober to make any future decisions about her hair.

Bella had shown up to Paul's in black skinny jeans, her black DMs, and a threadbare, tiny tomato-red T-shirt emblazoned with The Kinks logo that unseasonably hot October day during their Columbus Day break. Paul recalled Embry giving her the shirt for her birthday. Thanks to the pack mind, he knew she wore it all the time, often braless with the tiniest little pair of red, metallic panties when she was alone with Embry. He'd nip at the enticing tips of her breasts through the shirt and slide his hands up the back beneath the hem. She loved the feel of Embry's large hands on her lower back and would arch like a cat when he touched her there.

Paul memorized all those little details and was disappointed to realize she was wearing a dark swimsuit under the same shirt the day she came to visit him.

Her hoodie was tied around her waist due to the heat and he could see the ties of her black swimsuit peeking above the neckline at the back of the T-shirt.

This was not the Bella Swan he remembered leaving for school in August.

Even that Bella was miles away from the one who first went out with Embry back in the spring.

There was none of that ghost girl left in the succulent, curvy creature before him whom he'd come to know through Embry's memories.

He adjusted his dick as she crossed the porch. Before she disappeared inside to grab more beer, Paul said quietly, "If you wanna … stick around, go grab one of my T-shirts and some drawstring shorts from my room. Look in the back of the closet for some of my old pre-phase stuff. That dark, emo shit you have on will cook you in ten minutes out here in the sun."

She nodded and continued inside.

Ten minutes later, she had on an old pair of his cutoffs from junior high that were two sizes too big and slung low on her hips, and her little black bathing suit. She had three beers that time—one for her, two for him—and she was barefoot, the dark purple polish on her toes a sharp contrast to her fair skin.

Paul never finished the deck that day. They lay side-by-side on the finished section of deck, feet dangling over the edge on the side with no railing, drinking, mocking and goading each other before they made plans to go out that night to check out the blues, brews, and barbecue festival in Forks.

Embry had been sleeping most of the afternoon because he had a long patrol ahead that night. Bella needed the distraction Paul was providing. She missed Embry. She'd seen him the weekend before, but it was so much harder to be home and not be able to be with him the entire time. Time spent with the pack helped, but there was really no substitute for Embry.

Bella suggested Paul put a roof over the deck so he could hang a porch swing.

He asked her what the fuck he was supposed to do with a porch swing.

Flushing beet red, she bit her lip before answering, "You might meet someone-" she cleared her throat, "-someday who likes to drink … coffee on the porch. It would be a nice place to sit and read."

That was when Paul realized Bella could see herself there, doing that, maybe drinking beer with him—that maybe she was picturing exactly that as they lay there harassing each other and swilling beer.

Embry's, his wolf reminded him.

He didn't know what to say that wouldn't make him sound like a dick or a pussy, so he offered a compromise, "I could get a hammock instead—one of those big double ones. It would be more comfortable than laying here on the hard floor. I could lay in it and drink beer and there'd be room—if someone who was always falling asleep at the drop of a hat came over to drink beer with me one afternoon and shoot the shit—there'd be room to lay in it with me."

He turned his head to squint at her with one eye, keeping the other squeezed shut against the sun shining high overhead, waiting to see what she would say—if she would say anything.

Her eyes met his and she chewed on her lips thoughtfully, letting the subtext of their conversation roll around in her head before answering, "We could go over to Newton's now. Mike's mom would still give me my employee discount. We could pick up a hammock and have it put together before we go back out to the festival tonight."

"We could," he agreed, nodding. "I don't have to patrol tonight. Maybe I'll have myself a little backyard campout and sleep in it."

That's exactly what he did, but he didn't sleep alone.

For all the times she'd passed out in the previous months with one of her packmates, Paul had never had the pleasure of napping with Bella.

He thought maybe he finally figured out what Embry had known all along.

She brought out this weird protective side in him, even as her tight little body enticed him to take more.

The next morning, Jake and Quil came running out of the trees throwing on shorts, laughing and shoving as they stumbled up the new steps to Paul's unfinished deck in search of their pack brother. He was late coming to Sunday breakfast at Sam and Emily's.

Bella, too. Hazel was out hunting her down.

Neither Jake nor Quil knew what to make of the scene that greeted them. Paul, still dressed in his nicer clothes from their evening out—dark jeans and a dark grey button-down—lay stretched out in a brand new hammock on the finished half of the deck. In his arms was a girl in black jeans and a tiny red T-shirt with Paul's navy blue hoodie laid over her back like a blanket. Paul had an arm wrapped over her back under the hoodie, pinning her in place, and their boots were both kicked off under the hammock. A dozen empty beer bottles and three tequila bottles littered the floor on either side of it.

The girl shifted in Paul's hold, tilting back as if she would roll out of the hammock. He braced her with one hand until she settled in at his side. Burying her face in his neck, the hoodie fell off of her shoulder, better revealing the clothes underneath. It wasn't until they got closer that Quil recognized The Kinks logo on the T-shirt and the owner's little purple-polished toes.

Quil had seen a very vivid memory in Embry's head of him sucking on those polished toes the previous weekend in Seattle when he ran up to visit.

Embry and Bella were into some pretty kinky shit for newbies.

Looking back up at Paul in stunned silence, they saw him raise a finger to his lips in a bid to keep them from waking her.

They retreated to the steps and watched as Paul shifted, gathering her in his arms, and carried her inside. They saw the flash of grey from his shirt as he passed the windows, following his progress up to his room where they could just make out his shadow as he lay her down in his bed and covered her up.

She murmured at the loss of his heat, complaining about the cold when he pulled away. A rustle and flick of a blanket could be heard along with the rattle of metal on hard plastic and a few whispered words of comfort before Paul made his way quietly back down the stairs and outside.

"What?" he nodded at his brothers.

"You're late for breakfast at Sam's. We just came to… Hazel is looking for… Does Bella want to… ?" Jake was floundering. He didn't know what the fuck to say.

For his part, Quil was pissed. He knew Embry had been trying to give Bella space and time to figure out what she wanted and he hoped it might be him. He never imagined Paul of all people would ever show interest in sweet, quiet, little Bella Swan.

Paul scratched the back of his head, answering quietly as he looked up and back at his bedroom window where Bella lay sleeping, "She's not going to be up for breakfast anytime soon. I put a bucket next to the bed just in case, but even if she's not hungover, she partied pretty hard last night. Er—we did. She's probably gonna sleep 'til noon. In fact-" he moved towards the door, but Jake caught his wrist.

"You're not sleeping with her," he bit out between clenched teeth.

"I am. Sleeping, Jay. I need sleep. I have one bed. She's in it," Paul's calm was unusual and disquieting. It made Jake's hackles raise in suspicion. "Nobody bats a fucking eye when she passes out on anybody else. She falls asleep here one time after having a few drinks and, suddenly, I'm the douchebag who can't keep his hands to himself? What the fuck? You two ever heard of platonic friendship or harmless flirting? People do that, too, you know."

"Nothing you ever do is harmless, Lahote," Quil growled, he and his wolf incensed at their brother's apparent intimacy with Bella.

Jake and Quil were just looking out for their best friend. Embry loved her—hadn't worked up the nerve to say it yet, but he did love her.

Paul took pity on the two of them, "We're only sleeping. That's it. We're friends, Jay. Just like she is with the rest of the fucking pack. She was missing Emb because he got stuck with the shit shift. We managed to get along well enough for one night to drink, talk about concerts we could all go to when she's home for Thanksgiving break, and fall asleep in the hammock she talked me into buying instead of finishing the deck yesterday." He snorted, muttering, "Porch swing. Pfft! Can't get drunk and sleep in a porch swing."

"Don't fuck with her, Paul," Quil warned. "She's not like all the easy skanks you chase. You could break her without even trying. You know how Embry feels about her."

"I'm not trying. I-" he coughed, clearing his throat. "She's okay, you know? She drinks like a goddamn fish, she likes Patron, and sings off-key when she's drunk. She didn't puke or cry once all night. She's actually pretty cool," he admitted. "Besides, you think I don't know how Embry feels? I see in his head, too. Maybe she just wanted … fuck, I don't know! It was … nice. She treated me like she treats everybody else. She didn't flinch every time I moved or assume the worst of me or say any of the shit you guys do about me only being interested in one thing. I mean, okay, yeah, she did, but she didn't mean it. There isn't a mean bone in her body. It's not like I've been particularly friendly to her before, either. I avoided her and it was stupid," he rambled on, "This- She was… fun and she's fine. I don't need to a get a girl drunk to get laid and you know it." He stuck his finger in Quil's face. "How you think I could- or would- Shit! She's Embry's! I wouldn't do that!" He ran his hands through his hair viciously, agitated. "Fuck. You know what? She's in no condition to go anywhere right now anyway."

He didn't wait for a reply. Stalking back inside and slamming the door, he flipped the lock out of spite.

Jake and Quil went back to Sam's. They spoke in hushed tones about the surprising turn of events at Paul's over breakfast that morning while Embry was out on patrol. The pack didn't know what to make of it. Paul did not befriend chicks. He didn't date and he sure as shit didn't take them home and put them in his bed.

While the pack gossiped over pancakes, Paul stomped up the stairs, stopping just long enough to change into a pair of cut-off sweats and tug Bella's tight jeans off. In a rare moment of conscience, he'd thrown a sheet over her lower half and worked sight unseen under the sheet to remove her pants.

He didn't even let his hands wander.

Kneeling by her side, he laid the jeans over the chair by the bed and murmured, "Hey B, I'm leaving the bucket here by the bed. Your jeans are on the chair. You warm enough? Want some shorts or something?"

She hummed quietly under her breath, "Mmm… Embry."

He sighed. "I'm fresh out of Embry. He's on patrol. You'll have to settle for me for now," he said by way of apology as he crawled over her to get to his preferred side, stretching out on his back.

She turned over and curled into his warmth as he pulled out his phone and hit the '4' on his speed dial.

It went straight to voicemail, so he spoke quietly, "Emb, when your patrol's done, head over to my place with a change of clothes for Bella—something comfortable. Your girl is passed out drunk in my bed latched onto me like a spider monkey, moaning for you in her sleep. And just so you don't get your dick in a knot, no, I didn't sleep with her. I did get her drunk enough to sing to me, though," he chuckled darkly before hanging up.

He lowered the phone and pressed 'end', flicking through his apps to set an alarm just in case so he'd be up in time for the football game with the pack on the beach later that day.

Enjoying the feel of her nails kneading at his biceps, he stared at the ceiling, thoughts drifting as his eyelids fluttered, listening to the soothing pulse of her quiet, even heartbeat as she tried to sleep off the beer and tequila, muttering quietly into his shoulder about wolves and, not at all to his surprise, Embry.

- - - o - - -

E/N: Leave me some love if you're loving a little Paul and Bella. ;)