When I make it back to the beach everyone is speaking around the fire, having phased out to leave me to my thoughts. Nobody hears or smells me approach, well everyone bar Paul. We are always aware of each other's presence for some weird reason. He nods at me subtly and doesn't announce my arrival to anyone.
I close my eyes and take a few moments to calm myself, still unsure what I'm going to say. Should I vent my anger? Should I show how vulnerable I feel? Should I run again?
Too late… "Iz, your back!" My papa goes to pull me into a hug, but I raise a hand to stop him.
Placing an expressionless mask over my face I make eye contact with as many of the group as I can. "I want to know it all. Tell me everything." I demand.
My Papa looks to Paul and Paul nods. Dammit there is more! I think to myself. Paul pats the space on a log next to him and gestures for me to sit. Hesitantly I look around, not expecting this to happen. I thought they would say, 'Nope, that's it, your adopted, nothing major!'. Now I'm petrified as to what I'm about to be told.
"There is something about being a shifter that we haven't told you yet and we think now is the right time. It is something that no one your age should have on their shoulders but if we don't tell you it would be like keeping it from you, and as we've just seen that doesn't do us many favours." Papa starts, I yawn at his stalling. "There's this thing that a wolf does when he or she meets the person who should be in their life forever."
"Dad are you giving me the sex talk? Don't bother cause mum beat you too it like 5 years ago!" I exclaim wide eyed, my face starting to blush.
My Papa takes an exaggerated deep breath and starts explaining again, "No, Isabella. If you would let me finish, I would explain. "When the wolf's soulmate in a sense makes eye contact with them for the first time after the wolf phasing, something in the wolfs head changes. Everything he or she held top priority would be moved to second place and this person becomes their everything, all strings attaching them to the earth now are attached to this person. This thing is called imprinting."
I scrunch my face up confused, "Papa why do I need to know this?" I ask.
This time it isn't my Papa that speaks, it's Paul, "Because, Izzy, I imprinted on you when you arrived to us."
"What? But how can you? I've looked you in the eyes since I was bor-adopted. Does that mean I'll never imprint?" I ask, this is all so confusing, I know I would probably normally be raging at this but I want all the answers and I want them now.
Paul looks deeply into my eyes and I know there is something I've overlooked. "Iz, you did imprint, you imprinted on me as a baby." He whispers, trying to be gentle, oops. Didn't work.
I growl, eyes glowing amber. "If anybody else has an secrets they would like to share with me then please speak up now!" I roar.
Harry Clearwater stands up, "Actually Isabella I would li- UGH!" He falls to the ground clutching his chest; I'm down in a millisecond to see what's wrong. Sue screams 'No, no, no, no, no.' at the top of her lungs. I take in Harry's appearance and decide that he is in the middle of a stroke. I should have realised before, we had just been taught it in health class. Now I look up close his face was drooped on one side and he had flinched a couple times because of a pain in his arms.
"WHY ISN'T ANYONE HELPING?" I cry out, I know that at this moment there is not much you can do but it's better than standing staring. "OH MY GOD!" I scream at them all. I try to remember what to do and since health class is the only one I can pay attention in, I quickly remind myself. The symptoms seem to have stopped, well at least on the outside.
I try to pull him onto his side but he's too heavy, even though I'm a shifter. Paul quickly realises what I am trying to do and helps pull him over, I pull my hoodie off and place it under his head. I assess his clothing, noticing his checked shirt is a bit tight and motion for Paul to help me unbutton it. Just in case, I check his pulse and his breath, both as steady as can be expected, so to be honest not steady at all.
Somebody must've called an ambulance because I turn to see the paramedics rushing down the beach. Trying to not get in the way I jump to the side beside where Paul had moved to. He lifts me so I am between his legs and squashes his thighs around mine so my now freezing, though not from the cold, body is completely covered by him. I feel him kiss my head and pull me closer as we watch them take Harry's unmoving body away. I hope for my biological siblings sake that he survives and I also pray that I did all I could to help.
I fall asleep in that position after about twenty minutes while everyone packs the stuff up and I'm only half aware of Paul carrying me home in his arms. As I drift in and out of sleep I see that he isn't taking me home but to his house where he lives alone. I've always had a bedroom at Paul's and I always just thought that my parents must've wanted to go places but couldn't so Paul ended up just giving me a room.. But now that I know about the imprint, I realise that it must be so he can have me close sometimes.
He tucks me in and sits and watches me sleep, I don't know exactly what he is doing because I'm practically sleeping but I feel his finger tracing patterns in my hand. He stands to leave but not before leaning down, kissing my head and whispering, "Well done today Bells, you did us all proud, Spitfire."
I hear the door shut and drift into a peaceful sleep filled with dreams of babies and hospitals.
When I wake up the next morning I hear people in the kitchen, I slowly creep down the stairs and hear that Paul is arguing with someone.
"No! She's asleep, she had a rough night last night!" Paul states. He's not angry at the person but by the tone of voice he is using I can tell he isn't please with them either.
The person huffs, "I need to speak to her Paul, I need to thank her and hug her and tell her how grateful we all are and how much she means to us!" I recognise the voice as Leah's, shouldn't she be at the hospital with her father?
"I'm awake Paul, it's okay." I say, tiredly. Leah whips around and runs towards me, I see tear stains down her cheeks.
My biological big sister grabs me and spins me around in a tight hug. "You saved him Iz, the doctors said that that stroke would have been what killed him if you hadn't done that. Thank you so so so much little sister. We appreciate it so much that I can't even describe it." She exclaims.
"Then why are you crying Lea?" I ask tenderly.
She looks at the floor and when she looks up there is a fresh set of tears in her eyes. "What you did saved my dad from that stroke but Bells, late last night he had a second one and he passed." Leah says. I take in her looks again and notice the black bags under her eyes and that her eyes are already bloodshot. She must've been up all night.
"I love you Lea-lea!" I whisper hoarsely, wanting to cry for the death of my real father but feeling stupid because I never knew him.
Leah went home after that. Her mother had fallen into a deep depression overnight, the shock of losing her husband so rapidly like that had done a huge number on her and Leah said the doctor had already prescribed antidepressants because of how severe it is. So Leah was left to plan the funeral, my parents had offered to help as Harry was one of the elders who had cared for the kids growing up on the Rez practically alone, like my Papa and Paul, so he was very dear to my dad even after the fiasco with me.
I was going to stay at Paul's for the next couple of days; he had taken the days off work to keep me company. We decide to throw on a movie and he let me pick, I chose Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I loved the Harry Potter series and knew that Paul did too and the Order of the Phoenix was both of our favourite one.
We grab the massive bean bag from the corner of the room and drag it to the middle. It's big enough for both of us to fit on with a bit of room. We had a huge bowl of popcorn and settled in to watch out movie.
"Paul?" I ask.
"Do you wish you imprinted on someone else, like someone your own age?" I ask sadly.
He doesn't answer for a moment, then he bursts out laughing, "Izzy, in about four years we will be the same age." He laughs.
"What? I don't understand, I'll be seventeen but that's the age you were when you phased and that was ages ago." I ask.
He takes a deep breath, "Bella when we wolves phase we stay the same age until the danger of vampires leaves La Push, we all stay roughly the same age as when we phased. I am technically still seventeen although I've been around for more than that many years. Your Papa is still eighteen; uncle Seth is still fifteen and so on. But Bell you are a whole new ball game, you continued to grow even though you've been phasing your whole life, we believe that you will stop aging around the age that I stopped since I am you imprint but we aren't certain. Don't worry too much. All will be well." He finished and kisses the top of my head.
I slowly drift off to sleep again because of how exhausted I am and Paul puts the popcorn on the floor and tucks me up against him and we both sleep like that for the rest of the day. Harry still fighting He-who-must-not-be-named in the background.
A/N Well it's an update! Finally, review if you want more and review if you don't!