A/N: Since the Den was dropped by its host site, we lost the material posted there. Unfortunately I didn't have most of it saved. However, I had posted this little side project for fun, and so I thought I'd put it here. For those of you that hadn't read it on the Den, this is an Alternate Universe version of the Imprinted Chronicles…a sort of "what if" kind of thing I was writing for fun a while back. I don't have much of it written, and I didn't spend any time in editing, but I wanted it available to those who wanted to reread the AU.
Much love, Mel.
The Imprinted Chronicles (AU)
Someone needed to tell Embry Call to fix his sign.
Samantha decided that she would definitely not be the one to do it, choosing instead to straighten the small wooden placard as she paused in front of the dojo entrance. Both placard and door looked to have seen better days, a combination of low budget materials and the telltale signs of some sort of human conflict. Possibly repeated human conflict. Wondering slightly if she should trust a sensei that apparently couldn't keep his own students from violence off of the mat, Samantha decided that she didn't really have much choice. It wasn't as if Forks, the next town over, was teeming with alternate dojos for her picking. This was the only one within walking distance of her father's home, so Call's Family Martial Arts Studio would have to do.
Taking a small breath and smoothing a hand over her ponytail just once, Samantha quietly stepped inside. She immediately winced. A large bell jangling loudly over her head made her entrance less stealthy than she would have liked. She glanced at it ruefully, reaching up and silencing it with her fingertips. Announcing your presence to the world wasn't a bad thing, but Samantha had always preferred to be a touch more discreet. The door stuck on its way back closed and she had to tug it hard to get it in place, setting the bell off again to her irritation.
"Annoying, isn't it?" A deep male voice rumbled from across the open exercise room, a touch of humor in his tone. "Customers are hard to come by, so Embry makes sure he doesn't miss them."
Samantha looked back down and saw a tall man seated cross legged on the room's protective mats, a laundry basket full of jumbled wraps at his side and one half-rolled in his hands. But it was the man sitting at his side that caught her gaze. Dark brown eyes locked onto her own and Samantha's breath caught. The world tilted, twisted, and changed. Something important had just happened. Something more important than anything in her young life up to this point.
The man seated cross legged on the mat's handsome face was split with a wide grin, but he didn't matter anymore. All Samantha could see was the other one, the one that was dark hair and broad shoulders and heavily muscled arms. The one that was slowly climbing to his feet, all seven foot two-inches of him, so massive that he should have been frightening. But Samantha wasn't scared. Scared was sitting in a hospital room, watching her mother die. Scared was packing her things and climbing into an airplane, knowing exactly what kind of man would be waiting for her when it landed. Scared was being seventeen years old, and being completely and utterly alone.
Scared was her, up until about a minute and a half ago.
The bag on Samantha's shoulder slipped, hitting the ground with a soft thud, but she ignored it as she stepped forward. Her eyes flickered, instantly committing every line, every plane, to memory. He was beautiful, more than anyone she had ever seen. So stunning that she would spend a lifetime blushing whenever she caught him staring, would spend a lifetime laughing when he winked at her, that lazy smile stretched across his handsome face.
"Seth, you better get to the dojo, man," the other one was murmuring into his cell phone. "You're not going to want to miss this."
But then the man in front of Samantha was moving closer to her, and it didn't matter who was saying what, because this man, this one, was who mattered. He was who would always matter, until the very end.
"I'm Samantha," she said softly, reaching out her hand.
"Jacob Black," the massive stranger rumbled, eyes drinking her in as he took her offered hand.
The moment Jacob Black's fingers folded around hers, that fear, that sick feeling of dread that had lingered in the center of her belly for weeks now finally slid away. As for the loneliness, that too would pass, because this was the start of something amazing, and Samantha knew it. She knew it, with every fiber of her being. Then she grinned at him, because she was still gripping his hand, and instead of thinking she was strange, he was still holding onto hers.
The warmth from Jacob Black's answering grin was like the rising sun.