IM BACKKKKKKK. SO SO sorry for such a long wait. I've been literally trying to post this story for TWO months with no success. Big shout out to the fanfic people - who HAVEN'T answered any of my emails requesting help. Anyways, first chapter of the new story is below :)
I had a lot of requests for a story involving Quil and Claire. And, I thought about it, but it has been done so many times and I've read great ones myself, I just didn't see how I could put my own spin on it. So, this story involves Sam and Emily's daughter, Lilly, and a certain wolf (you must read to find out ;) ) and their imprinting. While it's not necessarily about Quil and Claire, it is a similar situation.
So, I really hope you guys like it. Thank you so much for your kind words on MYOD and for your patience with the slow updates. I'm going to do my best to update as often as possible. The second chapter of this story is still kind of in the works and I wasn't rushing to finish it since I couldn't get this one to upload lol.
Please leave me a review! They are much appreciated!
A streak of lightning cut across the alarmingly grey sky, illuminating it, along with everything else close by, for a long moment. It looked like it might split the entire sky right into two, sharp and vibrant in the air, but within the next second, it was gone. A clash of thunder followed in its wake.
I watched out the muddled glass, nose nearly pressed up against the window as I tried to see past the raindrops that were assaulting the house. Everything outside looked like one big blur; the trees that made up the forest on the edge of the backyard seemed to be mushed together with the sudden increase in moisture in the air. It was only early evening, but the darkening sky was deceiving and made it look well past dusk.
Another drum of thunder shook the walls of our two-storey house, rattling an old picture frame that hung above the kitchen sink. I flinched away from the large window in surprise, nearly falling out of my chair in my haste. One of my notebooks slid off the edge of the kitchen table next to me, fluttering to the hardwood floor softly.
"Lilly, honey," a gentle voice firmly broke through my traveling mind. "Away from the window, please."
I jumped once more, turning to see my mother stationed at the edge of the table, her hands resting on her hips as she watched me. There was flour in the shape of handprints on her yellow apron and her long, curly black hair was tied back into a hasty bun at the nape of her neck. This was her signature look for when she was working in the kitchen, which was often.
I'd never admit it, but I'd been so distracted that I hadn't even noticed her in the room. Though, judging by the two containers of freshly baked muffins cooling on the countertop, I'd been oblivious to her presence for quite some time. My eyes found the clock above the stove and my frown deepened. Had I really been sitting here, staring into oblivion for nearly an hour?
I tried to pretend that she hadn't been speaking to me like I was a toddler, because I knew she was worried, too. So, I slid my chair back, its legs screeching horrendously on the floor as I moved a good distance away from the window. It was far enough to appease my mother, that not so far that I couldn't still see the backyard if I really stretched in my seat.
"I'm sure they'll be back soon enough," she said. I hoped that her words weren't meant to be reassuring, because all my ears heard was the undeniable concern that coated her soft voice.
I sighed once more. It wasn't fair—my mother had far more practice in dealing with these kinds of situations than I did. Sure, I'd been in the know for a little while now, but I was really just beginning to understand the finer details. With that being said, I couldn't help being on edge, knowing anything could happen in the blink of an eye, whether I liked it or not.
"If you were working on that homework like you told me you would, I'm sure the time would have passed much more quickly," Mom murmured with a slight smile in her voice. She hadn't turned around from the counter, where she'd begun seasoning the chicken she was making for dinner.
I glanced down at the blank notebook before me. It was a typical Thursday night—or, at least, it had been, up until an hour ago. And, while I did have an essay due in my art history class tomorrow morning, I just couldn't seem to concentrate. This sudden situation had since taken all of my attention.
I didn't really know how anyone expected me to focus, considering they were still out there, risking their lives for everyone's safety. A stupid, thousand-word essay seemed completely pointless to me, when I couldn't even guarantee that all my family members were to return safely to us tonight.
You see, my family just happened to have what I considered to be the most special secret there was. It truly put other family secrets to shame. Not only was it severely unique, a once in a lifetime kind of situation, but it was also highly unusual. I didn't have many words to describe it to its full extent—not that I was allowed to tell anyone that wasn't already involved, anyway.
It wasn't like anyone would believe me even if I tried to.
I mean, what exactly do you call a bunch of overgrown teenagers who erupt into giant wolves at the mercy of their uncontrollable, and sometimes, lethal tempers?
This was my point.
The pack—as everyone called them—had become an essential part of the Quileute tribe long ago. For as long as anyone could remember, certain descendants from the tribe transformed into building-sized wolves in order to protect not just the people of La Push, but people of other surrounding areas too, from their natural enemies.
As kids, we'd all heard the legends of the tribe. But, it was honestly safe to say that no one ever expected them to be anything but scary stories our parents had told us to keep us out of trouble and away from the woods. That was, until we were forced into the supernatural world they were based upon. Most of the time, participation wasn't a matter of choice, either.
My own parents had been forced into explaining all this to me when I'd been very young—probably a lot younger than they'd originally planned when it came to letting me in on the secret. From what I'd been told, while it had been a difficult decision on their part, it had also been too difficult for them to continue to keep me in the dark with so many members of the pack constantly coming and going out of our home all the time. Our house was considered to be "pack central".
I could vaguely remember how terrified I had felt, certain that because I knew everything, a vampire was sure to jump through my bedroom window at night and eat me for dinner. Now, the fear of vampires was very much still in tact, but for an entirely different reason. I didn't doubt the abilities of the pack to keep my family and me safe for a second. No, the most frightening thing of all was that it would only take one bloodthirsty, crazed immortal thing to potentially tear my family right out from underneath me.
I shook my head, bringing myself back to the present. Balancing my pencil between my fingers, I attempted to do as my mother had asked. Still, as I stared down at the stark white paper before me, my mind quickly ran elsewhere and soon, I was seeing images of bright, crimson coloured eyes outlined in my notebook. Bringing my fingers to my forehead, I scrubbed at my skin, willing the images to disappear.
I willed time to go faster.
Like I had said before, it had been just an average Thursday night up until a little while ago. I'd been attempted to tackle this essay while the house had been full of pack members, when they'd been called out to deal with three nomad vampires. Since that very moment, my brain had completely stopped functioning. I knew that I wouldn't be able to concentrate through the tense atmosphere now radiating through my home until they had all returned safe and sound.
Glancing around the room briefly, I tried to remember the last time it had been so quiet around here. Perhaps, it was the eerie silence that filled our regularly loud home that was making it so much more difficult to cope. Vampire sightings had been few and far between for several years now; I wasn't used to this kind of thing happening. The silence was making me uneasy—sending a crippling bout of nausea flip-flopping around in the pit of my stomach. I clenched my teeth, trying to fight the urge to lose my lunch all over the kitchen floor.
Once more, my eyes found the window next to me. I was desperate to see even one familiar figure break through the trees at the edge of our backyard. I wanted to feel that relief of knowing that they were all safe. I just wanted them home.
A gentle, calloused hand pulled my pencil from my clenched fist. I looked up in surprise to see my father's concerned brown eyes staring down at me.
Dad had been the alpha of the pack for a very long time. It was a title and a job I swore had been handmade with him in mind. He had been the first of his generation to phase, making him the ideal candidate to lead the pack. I may have been a little biased, but despite a few bumps in the road—of which I didn't know many details on—he'd been a successful leader.
Sometimes, he displayed this stern exterior, which seemed to really only come out when he was dealing with the pack or other tribal matters. Otherwise, he was a big softly that would do anything for the people he cared about. He was the one person I knew I could always go to for advice. I respected him a great deal.
He had long since retired from the pack—like the majority of his generation—but he was still very active in terms of decision making and other things that I honestly didn't really know anything about. Since he'd been an alpha for a long time, he held a very important position on the tribe council, acting somewhat of a buffer between the pack and their families, as well as the rest of La Push.
Meeting his gaze now, I could see the strength in his eyes. There wasn't much that fazed my father. My mother always told me that he found it hard to sit on the sidelines and if that was how he was feeling now, he hid his emotions very well. I knew he believed in the pack's ability just as much as I did. His 'lax body language seemed to stabilize my crazed emotions just a little.
"How's it going?" he asked gently. His eyes may have been on my blank homework page, but I knew that wasn't the only thing he was referring to.
I chewed on my bottom lip with the edge of my teeth, eyes falling to the table. "Um. Not so good."
I knew this kind of situation, had it been normal, would have given me a sort of pass on this assignment from my teacher. But, considering I couldn't exactly tell my art teacher that I'd been unable to complete my essay due to the fact that the majority of my family had been out chasing vampires that were threatening the reservation, I was stuck trying to fight my way through it. I may not have lived the life of an average American teenager, but that didn't mean that my parents didn't take good grades seriously.
Dad's hand reached out to smooth some of my unruly, black hair away from my forehead and I leaned into his touch a little, closing my eyes. After a moment, he slipped the notebook from the table completely. I looked up at him, surprised.
"Leave this for now. You can worry about it later on," he murmured. "They shouldn't be too much longer, anyhow."
"Sam," Mom demanded, spinning around from her place at the stove to glare at my father.
Dad immediately looked sheepish, turning to meet her gaze. He walked over to her and pulled her under his arm. As he held her close, her anger seemed to melt away bit by bit.
As highly revolting as it was to watch my parents act all lovey-dovey with one another, the story behind their love was much more compelling.
Imprinting, as it was called, was the term used to describe the moment when a wolf found their soul mate.
Everyone told the tale a little differently, but from what I could gather, having an imprint was like having a true love, only about ten times stronger and about one hundred times more special. This was the person they were made to spend the rest of their lives with. A wolf would do anything for their imprint, be anything they needed them to. I had witnessed many imprinted couples and to me, it was one of the most beautiful things I'd ever seen.
However, my parents' story hadn't started out so effortlessly, so beautifully. In fact, it had all went to hell in a basket quite quickly.
Before my parents had met, Dad had actually been in a very serious relationship with my aunt—my mother's cousin. They'd been high school sweethearts. They had even been discussing getting married.
Then, Dad had phased. And he had met my mother. He had imprinted on her right away.
Mom and Auntie Leah had been best friends. The incident had driven a stake into their relationship for years. Leah had felt betrayed and had refused to speak to either one of my parents. And when she had phased into the pack—the first, and so far only, girl in the history of the tribe to do so—things had become even more complicated and uncomfortable.
Three months before my parents' wedding, Auntie Leah had been scouting universities and bam, she had imprinted. According to Mom, it had taken her a while to put herself out there again, to let herself get close to someone, but in the end, it had all paid off. Auntie Leah and Uncle John were two of the happiest people I'd ever met. They had been married for ten years now and had a six-year-old daughter, Chloe.
Despite all this, imprinting was once considered to be rare. That theory had been slightly blown out of proportion after nearly half the pack had imprinted in such a short period of time. Most of them had been lucky enough to do so as early as just a few months after their first time phasing, while others it had taken them a little longer. There were some that had yet to discover what imprinting was like, but in my opinion, there was an imprint for every wolf somewhere on this planet.
I'd be crazy to say that I didn't wish for my own imprint. Who didn't want an eternity of happiness? I was surrounded by imprint couples—I could see how happy they all were. I wasn't stupid.
Now, as I watched Dad place a chaste kiss to my mother's tanned check, where three prominent scars marred her otherwise flawless skin, I wished for my own imprint even more.
Frantic footsteps pounded down the staircase and a moment later, my eighteen-year-old cousin, Claire, appeared in the doorway of the kitchen. I watched as she hurried towards the window, her eyes filled with purpose. She didn't utter a single word to any of us.
She had been holed up in her bedroom since the moment the boys had left and now, I could see why. She had a used Kleenex clutched in her fist and dried tracks of tears, blackened by her mascara, covering her cheeks. It was like none of us even existed as she pressed herself close to the window, her eyes watching the backyard intensely.
I wondered if that was how I had looked before my mother had told me to move.
Claire was really more of a sister than a cousin. My parents had become her legal guardians not long after her third birthday, when her own parents had been killed in a horrific car accident. Despite the tragic event that had pushed her in our direction, I was glad for her constant company. We were close in age and I was an only child. She was pushy and stubborn and often rude, but you just had to know how to handle her.
I'd had years of practice to perfect my skills.
Just as I was about to ask her what she was looking at, the door leading to the back porch swung open and the kitchen was immediately filled with laughter. Claire let out a high-pitched squeal and launched herself towards the group, whose voices buzzed with excitement. The once quiet house was now filled with the majority of the pack. They all spoke at once, talking at high intervals as they ribbed at one another and tried to relay what had happened while they'd been gone.
I studied their faces, their movements, trying to detect if any of them had been injured in any way. They had accelerated healing—courtesy of the wolf genes—but sometimes a hunt could still take a lot out of them. Thankfully, sans a few scratches here and there, they all seemed to be in one piece. The relief was overpowering.
They all seemed to be in high spirits, despite the fact that they had just been out, risking their lives. It was something I could never seem to wrap my mind around—how could they be at such ease, when they could have been killed out there?
I suddenly felt overwhelmed. I slipped from my seat at the kitchen table and moved away from the crowd before they could descend on me. Someone called out my name, but I chose to ignore them as I felt my eyes begin to mist over.
I made my way into the living room as an onslaught of emotion hit me heavily, causing several tears to slip down my cheeks. I sank down against one of the couch cushions, breathing heavily. A large lump seemed to have formed in my throat.
I'd almost preferred it when I hadn't understood what was going on. When I'd been younger, I hadn't known the reason as to why they all seemed to disappear into the woods at strange times. At least back then, I hadn't known that they might not all come back every time they left. Having to wait around, feeling completely helpless—it was the worst kind of torture. I hated not knowing—I hated wondering which one of them I might never see again.
I hated it.
I looked up from where I'd been staring intently at the floor and began to wipe at my wet eyes furiously as I took in the source of the deep, yet soft voice that always seemed to have an effect on me. Like a magnet, fueled by an electric charge that sizzled in the air, I felt drawn to his presence.
For the first time since I'd watched them hurry out the back door and disappear behind the coverage of trees, I felt true relief. The lump in my throat lessened significantly as I caught sight of the tall figure that was somewhat blurry due to the moisture behind my eyes. When he hadn't been in the kitchen with the rest of them, I had immediately assumed the worst. But now, the relief seemed to weigh my entire body down and I found myself slumping even further into the couch, unable to hold myself up any longer. The tears fell at an even faster rate, for an entirely different reason.
The large, very attractive boy standing at the edge of the room happened to be Brady Fuller. Brady was my best friend, the most constant person in my life. He was the one person I'd known for as long as I could remember. He'd been there through everything, was part of every significant memory I had. He was my rock, my support system. I honestly wasn't sure what I'd do without him.
His deep, dark brown eyes met my own, studying my face for a long moment—a true habit of his. He seemed to take in my tears in one moment and then he appeared on the couch beside me in the next. His long fingers curled around my elbow as he gently pulled me towards him. I fell against his broad side in one fluid movement.
I didn't get the chance to worry over the fact that I was crying, that I was completely making a fool of myself in front of him, because as I subconsciously pressed myself closer to his warmer-than-warm side, I lost all ability to think clearly. Surrounded by his familiar smell—a wonderful mixture of pine and sunshine that just smelt like home—it was impossible not to feel at ease next to him. It took no time at all for my ever-present tears to soak the front of his already damp t-shirt and I held onto the frayed edge for good measure, trying to convince myself that he truly was here. He was okay.
"Hey," he soothed, his breath warm on the top of my head as his lips found purchase in my hair. His arms wound their way around me tightly. "Hey, it's okay."
He sounded slightly alarmed by my tears, which I couldn't really blame him for. I wasn't one for showing emotion out in the open—certainly not like this. It had me wondering yet again why he bothered to put up with all my crazy antics in the first place. I was sure he had much more normal friends to spend his time with, instead of the ones that cried all over his clothes.
Yet, he didn't seem put off. He was here. And that was all that mattered to me.
I let myself cuddle even closer to his warm chest, unable to get past how relieved I was that he was all right. I worried over everyone when they were forced to go out unexpected, but I knew that if something ever happened to Brady, it would be ten times worse. I considered myself to be extremely lucky to have a best friend as wonderful as he was; I wasn't quite sure what I would do with myself if something ever happened to him.
I was still lost in my thoughts when a warm hand appeared under my chin, coaxing my face up so I was looking at him once more. I found myself absorbed within the swirls of brown in his eyes and almost didn't notice when the fingers from his other hand trailed across my cheek to catch the tears on my face, tracing fire across my skin. He sent me a soft smile and I tried not to shudder from the sensation that his touch brought.
"It's okay," he repeated softly. "Everything's okay, now."
It was—but only because he was here.
The thought made me blush and I ducked my face to hide in his shirt once more, but his hand prevented the movement. "Don't hide," he admonished gently. "I hate it when you hide from me."
I knew this. He told me so on a regular basis.
The blush seemed to deepen at his words, much to my embarrassment. "I'm not hiding."
He chuckled, the sound low and quiet. It sent shivers down my spine. "Sure, you're not," he said, placating me. "Now, tell me why you're all upset."
I gave a half-hearted shrug. I wasn't really sure that I wanted to admit to him that I'd been up to my eyeballs in worry about him, specifically. The problem was—I wasn't the best liar. And, if there was one thing about Brady, it was that he didn't like being kept out of the loop from anything. If there was something he felt he needed to know, he was damn well going to find out, one way or another. Usually, I could keep my feelings bottled up inside, but when it came to Brady, the ability seemed to completely wash away.
I couldn't keep a single thing from him; no matter how hard I tried.
"Lills," he prompted finally, sounding slightly more serious than he'd been before.
I sighed heavily. It didn't take long for me to cave, but I chose my words carefully. "I was just worried about you—about all of you."
Now, it was his turn to sigh. His eyes studied me once more, before his arms came back around me, pulling me into a tight embrace. He seemed just as content to maintain close contact as I was and I was glad. It was almost like we seemed to require the same physical reassurance that one another were safe. I knew without a doubt that I would let him hug me as tightly as he deemed suitable—for as long as he possibly wanted—without a single complaint. In fact, if we never moved again from this very spot, I would probably die a happy girl.
"There's no need for you to worry about anything," he murmured after a few moments of silence. "I'll always come back to you—no matter what."
Instantly, I pulled back to look at him directly. A feeling of desperation came across me and I had to swallow hard before I could manage to get any words out. "Do you promise that?" I asked quietly.
I wondered if he understood how I was feeling—how desperate I was for his words to be true.
Ever so softly, the pad of his thumb skimmed across my jaw, just barely touching my skin. There was a spark of electricity that seemed to disappear the moment his hand did, leaving me to wonder whether it was something he had felt too, or if it was just purely part of my overactive imagination.
Thankfully, he didn't seem bothered by my sudden need to hear his promise aloud. He held my gaze directly, his expression strong and serious as he spoke. "I promise, honey."
Brady was not one to give out false promises. He had always kept his word—he had never failed me before. So, rather than pressing the issue further, I accepted his words and closed the distance between us once more, closing my eyes against his broad shoulder. I was going to take as much advantage of his moment as I possibly could.
I wasn't entirely sure how long we'd sat there, just the two of us. My fingers bit into the collar of Brady's shirt and I was unable to let go even if I'd wanted to. I pressed myself as close to him as I possibly could and found that I really didn't care that I was halfway draped across his lap. I needed the reassurance—I needed the comfort that I'd only ever been able to get from him.
Brady kept me close, seeming to understand that I wasn't ready to let him go just yet. He murmured softly in my ear, replaying the events that had played out while he'd been in the forest, assuring me that I was safe; all the while his fingers ran up and down the length of my spine, comforting me even further. I had nearly fallen asleep, exhausted from worrying and wrapped up in his warmth, when a deep voice broke through the silent room.
"There you are, Bray."
I jumped in surprise, jolting away and startling Brady. He ran a hand over my hair as I settled on the cushion next to him, cheeks burning with embarrassment. We both turned to glare at the person standing in the doorway.
Collin Littlesea was my other best friend. I loved him to pieces, but he was not the sharpest tool in the tool shed—if you caught my gist. He made up for his lack of maturity and habit of making stupid decisions with his unwavering loyalty towards the people he most cared for. He didn't have a serious bone in his body and continued to act like a five-year-old on a daily basis. Yet, despite all his persistently irritating traits that tended to drive me up the wall, I couldn't imagine life without him.
As much as I would never admit it to his face, I did happen to enjoy his company from time to time. He was a very good friend and like Brady, he'd been a large part of my life for a very long time. However, if I ever had to choose between the two of them, there was no competition. And since the two of them seemed to go hand-in-hand ninety-five percent of the time, when I was finally able to get Brady all to myself, I was no mood for whatever ridiculous antics Collin had hidden up his sleeve. Now, was Brady-time.
Though, I was sure that if I knew Collin as well as I thought I did, this was precisely why he'd come into the living room at this exact moment. It was either he owed Brady some sort of payback, or my father had sent him in here to "supervise", in order to keep him from making a mess in the kitchen. Either way, it wasn't as if he could ever "lose" Brady's whereabouts when we were all in the same house—he had supernatural senses, after all.
Collin could not lie to save his life.
Despite the fact that I wanted to scream and shout at Collin for interrupting, I leapt up from the couch to give him the hug I knew he deserved. I was glad he was safe, considering he'd been out there too, fighting the danger. What kind of friend would I be if I didn't show that? Besides, the smile that graced his face in response to my action was enough to stunt my irritation for the time being.
He wrapped me up in a tight hug, squeezing me playfully, before he dropped a kiss on the top of my head. "Hey, you," he greeted softly.
"What do you want Collin?" Brady asked unhappily, once his best friend had released me.
Collin shrugged innocently. A taunting grin appeared on his face he looked at Brady. "Just wondering what you guys were up to."
Brady stood up next to me, towering over me as he pulled me back against his chest, wrapping his arms around the top of my shoulders. At first, I was surprised, but one look at the growing grin on Collin's face told me that this was Brady's way to hide his expression from me. While I didn't appreciate it, the fact that I got to stay in close proximity to him sort of made up for it for the time being.
"So, Bray, when do I get my Lilly-cuddle time?"
I was immediately confused my Collin's suggestive tone, but before I could turn to look at Brady, hoping he'd be able to shed some light on the subject, he had carefully shoved me towards the couch. I caught myself on the arm, as I watched his large frame begin to waver, his body vibrating from head to toe. His teeth were clenched and his brown eyes had begun shifting from brown to almost black, a telltale sign that he was on the losing side of the battle to his anger.
I didn't understand what had just occurred between the two of them, but whatever Collin had been implying had obviously struck at nerve with Brady. I didn't like it, but before I could call interference, the two of them were out of the room and tearing towards the kitchen. I hurried towards the doorway, trying to follow after them as they barreled past everyone and hurried out the back door. My father reached out to grasp my shoulder, keeping me from going after them.
Even after the door had slammed shut, I could still hear them yelling. You didn't need heightened senses to hear the words Brady called Collin and the taunting words that the latter said back. It wasn't long before the words were replaced by growls and the other familiar sounds that accompanied the boys when they phased into their wolf forms.
It only took a few moments before everyone in the kitchen continued to go on as if nothing had happened. It wasn't as if this didn't happen on a regular basis around here, but it wasn't something that normally happened between Brady and Collin and that was what worried me.
"Sit," Dad ordered me.
I hesitated a moment, before a chair was pulled out for me and I found myself sitting stiffly on the edge of the seat. My eyes didn't leave the screen door, where I wished I could see what was happening. I could feel the panic turning in my stomach.
I'd just gotten them all back.
"Lilly looks like she's gonna hurl."
Dad smoothed my hair. "They're going to be—"
Mom let out a sudden gasp. "Boys!" She hurried towards the back door. "Would you get away from the flowerbeds?" She spun back around to glare at my father. "Sam!"
Grumbling under his breath about rotten werewolves and their rotten tempers, my father made his way towards the backyard. Despite the fact that the growls were increasing in volume and my mother was threatening to make them replace ever single flower they ripped up, Dad took his time to put on his running shoes and make his way down the porch steps.
Because, despite how concerned I was, this was nothing unusual when you lived with a bunch of shapeshifters.
"At least they didn't wreck the wall this time," Dad grumbled on his way out.
I rolled my eyes.
Welcome to my life.