Today was the dreaded day. Sam and Emily were going to get married. My ex-boyfriend and cousin were tying the knot. The wedding of the man I still love to my sister. I was a mess. But I was trying to keep it together.
"Leah!" Seth's shout snapped me back to reality.
"Yes?" I answered irritably. Geez there was no need to shout.
"Mom asks if you're almost ready." He said behind my door.
"Almost." I said even though I was really still wrapped in a towel sitting on my bed with my dress laid out flat beside me. Lord give me strength. I pleaded inwardly. At least help keep me from phasing on the altar. Oh, yeah did I mention I was one of the bridesmaids?
I finally got up quickly slipping the lavender dress on. I looked at myself in the mirror. I couldn't help but smile. My hair was slightly passing my shoulders and the dress didn't look horrible on me. This was the first time I actually tried it on and I was glad I wouldn't have to make my own alterations with safety-pines. The spaghetti strapped dress showed off my tattoo which I didn't mind these days. Being in Jake's pack made being a wolf a whole deal better. I had been his beta which was kind of a big deal.
"Leah?" A voice called out awkwardly.
"Yes Charlie?" I answered back slipping on my flats. I opted not to wear heels so I wouldn't look like an Amazon standing next to Rachel and Kim.
"Your mom ordered me to come get you . . ." My mom was smart to use my fondness of Charlie against me. I opened the door. "You can tell her officer Swan got the job done."
"Leah." He said smiling in awe. I raised my eyebrow at him. He refrained from giving me whatever compliment he was going to give me. I smirked at him. Somehow Charlie got me.
"Shall we?" He offered me his arm. Charlie was a nice guy and made Mom happy. That was most important. Seth and my mom were waiting at the bottom of the stairs.
"Wow sis!" Seth exclaimed. "You look great!"
"Thanks lil' bro." Seth looked really handsome. I couldn't believe my baby brother was looking so grown up. He wore dark colored jeans and one of dad's old belt buckles with a white dress shirt and a brown blazer. Mom wore a long beige dress that I helped her pick out last week in town. Charlie wore a tux; it would probably be a bit much for a La Push wedding. But Charlie insisted he had paid good money for the tux and he'd wear it as often as he could. Good old Charlie.
"Leah!" Little Claire came running up to me. I was trying to avoid the wedding party especially Sam and Emily. She wrapped her little arms around me. I don't know why she was so fond of me. But, it was nice actually having someone excited to see me. My own pack brothers hardly bothered to say hello. I kneeled down to her level. "You're the prettiest little flower girl in Washington." I said admiring her halo of flowers. "Thank you."
"My mommy says it's time."
"Oh, okay." I said attempting a smile. She skipped off to where Quil was.
I took a deep breath. Keep calm Leah. I told myself.
I walked to where everyone else was congregated. Kim and Rachel were the other bridesmaids so obviously Jared and Paul were also in the wedding party, Sam's beta and third-in-command. The final groomsman and my "partner" was Embry, Sam's more than likely half-brother.
"Leah! Girl you look amazing!" Kim said looking me up and down.
"Thanks." I said politely. Did I really look great or were these compliments courtesy of pity?
"Line up!" My mom ordered. This was typical. Mom always put herself in the middle of things. She thought her organizational skills were a gift and she bestowed them upon people whether they asked for it or not. She squeezed my arm as I walked past her.
Embry came out of nowhere and looped his arm around mine. Pest, I thought.
"Ready Lee?" He said flashing me his signature cheese.
"Promise you'll . . ."
"I got your back." He said leaning his forehead against mine for a second.
We commenced our walk to the altar. Sam was standing there looking remarkably cleaned-up. I felt a rush of emotion come over me. Embry tightened his hold on my arm. I felt bile rise in my throat. I tried my best not to think it but the thought crossed my mind anyway.
It wasn't supposed to turn out like this. Sam and I should be getting married.
I took my place by Rachel and tried not to look at Sam again. I casted my eyes down until Emily came down the aisle. She looked beautiful there was no denying it. It was like Sam and Emily's love cancelled out the fact that she had those scars on half her face. She was just plain radiant. Her eyes finally met mine and she gave me a pleading look. In return I crossed my eyes and stuck out my tongue.
She looked shocked and then made the same face in return. She continued her walk down the aisle with an even bigger smile. I ignored the puzzled stares. Only she and I understood. Growing up we'd constantly greet each other in this fashion.
As Sam and Emily were about to be pronounced man and wife I clutched my hands tightly around my bouquet. From across me Embry nodded encouragingly. I didn't look out into the guests. I was afraid they'd all be staring at me. Eyes full of pity. Suddenly I found myself holding in laughter. How self-centered could I get? It was Sam and Emily's wedding and yet I assumed all eyes were on me.
Before I knew it Sam and Emily were kissing. I looked down at my bouquet when I looked back up it Embry held his arm out for me.
"Good job Clearwater." He whispered.
"Get me out of here." I begged.
He nodded sympathetically leading me to the back door and away from the reception. No one seemed to notice everyone was too busy congratulating Sam and Emily. The new Mr. and Mrs. Uley. I looked back briefly, Sam, who was staring at me intently looked as if he might make his way over but Billy Black came up to him shaking his hand.
Embry opened the door for me. "You're not heading out tonight are you?" He questioned.
"No." I said placing my bouquet on the windowsill.
"Don't you dare think about leaving without saying goodbye."
I smirked at him. When did Embry become bearable? I guess I was caught up in my anger so long I missed out on a few things.
"I'll tell them you weren't feeling well."
"Thank You." I said leaning against the porch pillar. I don't think I could support my own weight right now.
I heard the door close behind me.
After a few minutes I slowly walked back to my house. I could use a nap, if only to escape my feelings.
I woke to darkness. I was still wearing my bridesmaids dress. I should take this thing off I thought pulling it over my head. I grabbed a black tank top and a pair of jeans my most favorite and comfortable outfit. I doubted mom and Seth would be returning anytime soon so I resumed packing. I loved Sam and Emily enough to want them happy. I just couldn't bear seeing it; therefore I was leaving La Push. I'd be attending a college fifty miles away. The perfect distance away from home. Far. . . . but not too far. Anyway, it was time for a change. I finally managed my temper too; I hadn't phased in some time.
I kneeled down on the floor. Doing what I liked to call efficient packing. I had a throw-away pile, a take-pile, and a leave-pile.
I came across my old tape-recorder. It had belonged to my dad. This is so old-school I thought with a smile.
I absentmindedly pressed play.
"Hi! This is Leah—"
"Don't lie! This is Lee Lee and Sam."
"Fine! It's Lee Lee and Sam." I said laughing.
"We're just here laying on Leah's living floor recording a message to the future." Sam explained. "Go ahead Lee Lee."
"Okay! To future Leah. Gas is around three dollars a gallon . . ." But I didn't continue because I busted out laughing.
"Okay I'll take over. To future Leah, look what I had to deal with? How beautiful and wonderful you were. And I loved you very much. And I'm sure I still love you—"
I pressed stop. I couldn't listen to anymore. I carefully placed the record player in my leave-pile.
Sam's words replayed in my head. "And I'm sure I still love you."
Sam and Emily were leaving tonight for their honeymoon. By the time they got back to La Push I'd be gone.
I thru on my slip-ons sneaking ungracefully making my way downstairs. I hope I hadn't missed them. I ran as fast as I could. I even considered trying to phase so I'd run faster. I could feel my lungs starting to burn. Was I really this out of shape?
I could see the wedding party and guests they were all waving. I was too late.
"Sam?" I questioned trying to push my way through the crowd. Shit! Did they invite everyone in La Push. I looked for Sam desperately. It was hopeless, I gave up.
As soon as I turned away I felt familiar touch on my shoulder.
I turned around shocked to see Sam stand before me. We looked at each other in disbelief. I didn't think I'd catch him in time. He probably thought he'd never see me again. Without hesitation he hugged me pressing the side of his face against mine. I smiled into the collar of his shirt. I could feel Sam smile too.
After a moment he let go of me still smiling as we walked back. To Emily.
"Bye." He whispered.
I nodded smiling back. Message to future Leah. You'll always love Sam too . . . now go love someone else.