Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or anything else that may look familiar.
Leah Clearwater felt the sun's heat radiate on to her skin through the open window of Paul Lahote's old pickup truck. She had shitty luck so life usually sucked ass, but right now, it wasn't so bad.
It was a Saturday in the middle of July, and Leah was about to do hoodrat stuff with her love.
Well, once they finally got off the side of the road.
Nineteen years old, freshly jobless, and unbothered, Leah watched Paul struggle to start up the engine. Beads of sweat ran down his chiseled face as he cussed underneath his breath at the truck, and he looked like heaven. Frustrated, irritated heaven.
"You sure you don't want any help?" she asked him semi-teasingly. She didn't know the first thing about cars—she just hated dead air.
"I know my truck," he muttered, his tone even more agitated.
"Alright, alright," she said dismissively, not even acting like he believed him. Her big, brown eyes fell towards the empty, open road—the main road on the Quileute reservation of La Push. There it was again. The dead air.
Nobody is ever here, she thought. Nobody except me and Paul and this dead fucking truck.
Paul desperately attempted to bring some life into the truck, but all it could do was sputter. Still unbothered, Leah laughed to herself. She just couldn't be mad. It was nice out and he looked too funny.
"Whatcha laughing for?" he asked her.
"Lemme try," she told him.
"Nah," Paul replied curtly, still focused on doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
"For real, lemme try it out," Leah insisted.
Paul looked up at her, squinting in the sunlight. "I know my truck," he repeated.
She pursed her lips at him in a way that said, Trust me.
Paul finally gave up and let Leah reach over to turn the key in the ignition. She turned it once, twice, three times—and then the engine roared to life. Paul stared at her in disbelief.
"Midas touch," she told him with a coy smile.
He pulled out a cigarette from the pack sitting on the dashboard and lit up. He took a long drag before finally turning to her. "You ready, baby girl?"
"You know I'm ready."
He pulled off the side of the empty dirt road, turned up the volume knob on his sound system, and started to head east.
Going 60 miles an hour in the once-pleasant streets of Forks was a chance that Paul and Leah always took. The dinky little town didn't seem so boring once it was blurred out her window, once it had some color painted to it with the hip-hop that Paul bumped through his speakers.
It was fun, swerving around cars and just barely avoiding pedestrians. Nobody could touch Leah—not when she was with Paul. He made her feel invincible. Superhuman. Behind her shades, with the wind blowing her dark hair all over the place, she felt like God.
They continued to drive further east, towards Port Angeles. The open road was wider and more unwavering as they moved closer to Port Angeles. They didn't feel so jarring, so empty. They felt promising. And that made all the difference.
Her gaze fell over her crazy, hot-headed, sandbox days love. He hadn't shaved in a while—his attractive face was stubbly, just the way she liked it. She reached her hand out to his cheek and rubbed her thumb against it tenderly.
Leah didn't mind that Paul's shitty sound system didn't do the music on her phone any type of justice. She was just happy to be with him, on the road. She sang along with the music, her voice silky and soft.
If I didn't ride blade on curb, would you still love me?
If I made up my mind at work, would you still love me?
Keep it a hundred, I'd rather you trust me than to love me
Keep it a whole one hund': don't got you, I got nothing
Paul took her hand from his face and kissed the back of it, holding it tightly. She smiled at him, and he looked to her, smiling back. Even though he was pushing 75 miles per hour, he leaned over to Leah and kissed her. He kissed her deeply, softly, without any fear.
He didn't fear anything, and when she was with him, neither did she.
They ended up at the mall in Port Angeles. Leah didn't come here too often—it was too far, and she never had any money. She wasn't very similar to Paul in that way. He always did things without a plan—he'd buy concert tickets without a ride to the venue, buy an expensive wallet with no money to put in it, and use that lack of money to take his girl to the mall. He was a walking contradiction in that way. So unpredictable.
Just the way Leah liked him.
They aimlessly strolled through the various stores. As erratic as Paul could be, one thing with him was constant: he loved Leah. (Only when they hung out, though; his texting habits were terrible.) He held onto her ostentatiously as they walked around. She thought couples like them were corny, but she still liked it. And she knew for sure that he was genuine because they hadn't even had sex yet.
They entered a store dedicated to cheap and fun accessories, where a pair of large gold hoops caught her eye. The earrings were beautiful, with babygirl inscribed in the center of them in cursive letters. Leah had more than enough pairs of hoops—she was wearing her favorite pair right now—but these were too fucking gorgeous.
"You like those?" he asked her, noticing the earrings that had caught her eye.
She nodded, peering at the plastic tag the earrings were stuck through. They were $7.99. Seven dollars and ninety-nine cents (plus tax) that she didn't have.
"Do you want 'em?" he asked her.
"Yeah," she said. She looked up at him with an interested smile. "You wanna get them for me?"
"I've got you," he told her. Then he peered around the store, making sure nobody was watching him. He took the earrings and stuffed them into his pocket.
Her smile quickly faded away and she rolled her eyes, her trademark.
He grabbed her hand. "Come on, baby girl," he said, hurrying them out of the store.
"You are so annoying!" she said once they were far enough, trying not to laugh.
"Yeah, but at least I got your earrings, right? You like that romantic shit."
"I don't even know why I expected you to buy them," Leah admitted as they began to head to the food court.
He smirked at her—it was the same smirk she'd known her whole life, and it felt like home.
Night had fallen and had stayed fallen for hours by the time Paul parked his truck down the street from Quil Ateara's house, back on outskirts of the rez, just on the inside of Forks territory. Leah and Paul had known Quil—like everyone from around here did—forever. La Push and this general area was too tight. Too close-knit.
Regardless, though, Leah could never say no to a good party.
Quil was such a character. He was the kind of guy who had watched Project X back when it first came out and promised to throw a rager of the same magnitude… except it wasn't 2012 anymore and he was still obsessed with the movie. Subsequently, he threw a lot of parties. He and his roommates—Embry Call and Jacob Black—thought they were the shit.
Their house, locally referred to as the Blue Mansion, wasn't actually painted blue; it was actually white. The name was just cool, blue lights illuminated the front sometimes, and allegedly, somebody had gone into cardiac arrest at a party there once. (Leah really didn't like how the "code blue" part had stuck.) The Blue Mansion was the party house, but Quil frequently used it to promote his music. He was a budding rapper (and not that good, in all honesty), but Leah and Paul got lucky tonight—they arrived well after Quil performed.
Leah stuck the babygirl earrings into her ears as Paul prepared some lines of coke. He chopped at the powder with a straight razor like the badass that Leah idolized him to be. She'd only done coke once before—the high had been too short, and she was too broke and too smart make a habit out of it.
"Shouldn't we have smoked first?" she inquired, her voice low.
"Nah, I wouldn't worry about it," he told her.
"I'm gonna send you flying regardless," he promised.
And within minutes, she was.
The rest of the night was a blur. An omniscient trap music-filled, dizzy-dizzy-high blur. The kind of blur where all the music and the cocaine and the tequila kisses and the emotions and the Paul and the Leah and the them all became one incoherent dream. Leah was soaring.
Somehow, she and Paul ended up on the battered roof of the Blue Mansion. She could feel the bass from the house pulsating through her body as she stared up at the stars. Everything could be a simulation—her high, Paul, her entire sense of self—but the music was always real. So she was real. It was all she knew.
"What do you feel?" he asked her, his rough voice just above a whisper.
"Everything," she assured him. In this moment, life wasn't so bad. When she really considered it, it was almost sweet. Purely sweet, like honey. Her high was started to fade away, but even then, the sweetness wasn't artificial. It was all real, like her and the music.
She couldn't recall Paul moving towards her but suddenly, his lips were on hers and she couldn't complain.
Everything with Paul was usually so rough—he lived rough. But in this moment, he was finally soft. He wasn't usually soft when he was drunk and high, so maybe, in some form of reality, he wasn't actually this soft. But he felt that way to her. Soft, warm heaven on top of the Blue Mansion.
He wasn't shy with his tongue, his most dangerous weapon. It moved confidently with hers, tracing the curves of her mouth.
He knew her and what she wanted the most. It was almost embarrassing how much he was so in tune with her.
With Leah under Paul, and the bass under them, they remained on the same wavelength, kissing and pretending like there was nothing wrong in the world.
They couldn't pretend forever, though.
The police sirens jolted Leah, making her disconnect from Paul's body entirely. The bass underneath them paused, and the house was suddenly quiet. The two of them looked down at the ground, where three cop cars had pulled up to the house. One of them was nearly in the front lawn. The officers got out and started to walk to the front door, ignoring Leah and Paul.
They carefully and quickly moved to get down from the roof. Leah went first to scale down a ladder on the side of the house.
Huh, I guess this is how we got up here, she thought.
"Could you hurry up?" he asked her as he climbed down above her, his voice too close to giving them away.
"Could you shut up?" she snapped back, her voice just above a whisper. "I'm almost down." She was still drunk, which explained why she was moving so slowly.
They made it down and snuck around to the back of the house. Oddly enough, they were the only ones hiding outside from the police. Leah briefly peered through the glass door. Only Quil, Jacob, and Embry were there—surrounded by empty plastic cups and other garbage, of course—talking to a few officers as they usually did every time they had a party.
Leah focused a little more, and that was when she realized that one of the officers they were talking to was Charlie Swan, the chief of the Forks Police Department.
And her mom's boyfriend.
She felt even dizzier.
Leah turned back to Paul. "We've gotta get out of here," she whispered to him urgently.
"Alright, let's go," he said.
They stealthily moved to the front of the house and started to walk down the street towards Paul's truck when he suddenly stopped in his tracks to pat down his own pockets. "Shit," he muttered to himself. "Shit, shit, shit."
"Please tell me you didn't lose your keys," she said.
"I don't think they're lost," he countered, still checking all of his pockets. "They're probably back at the house."
She crossed her arms, trying to ignore her churning stomach. "So they're lost," she concluded.
"That's not what I fuckin' said," he replied, his voice growing more annoyed and angry.
Paul just gave up and turned around, cutting through trees and neighbors' backyards to get back to the house. And naturally, she waited for him.
"Leah?" a new voice suddenly piped up from behind her.
She sighed deeply as she turned around to face Chief Swan. "Hi, Charlie," she said curtly, trying not to act as drunk as she was while also trying to ignore her stomach, which grew more and more upset as the time passed.
"What the hell are you doing here?"
"I'm minding my business. You should try it," she retorted. She took a step back, stumbling on the sidewalk pavement and just barely avoiding cracking her head open.
"Okay, Leah, we've got to get you home," Charlie said, keeping his cool and approaching her with his arms out. "You're drunk."
"Don't fucking touch me!" she slurred.
"We've got to get you home," he repeated.
There it was. The vomit. It was coming up. Right now.
"Fuck you, bitch," she got out before the vomit came spilling right onto his shoes.
Leah's next memory was waking up in her bed at her mother's house. Her head pounded violently and while she didn't remember much of last night, she could feel the impending regrets.
She sat up and glanced over at her windowsill, where a glass of water sat on it. She realized just how parched her throat was and reached for it. After downing the glass instantly, she still felt like shit, just less dehydrated.
Her mother—like an all-knowing omen—called her name from the kitchen, and that was when she was in trouble.
She hopped out of her bed, stepping on the sneakers she wore the night before. "Fuck," she mumbled. She padded her way off to the kitchen, being carried by the scent of bacon and, of course, more regrets.
Thankfully, it was just her mother Sue and her sixteen-year-old brother Seth in the kitchen. Seth sat at the table, his eyes down at his cell phone as he played a video game. Sue was in her general mood: pissed.
"Hey…" Leah greeted them uneasily.
"Before I get to your punishment, you wanna try and explain yourself?" Sue asked from behind the breakfast bar, her voice sharp.
"I guess there isn't much to explain," Leah admitted, standing on the other side of the kitchen. "I mean, I've already been caught."
"I told you to stay away from that house," Sue said as she diced up potatoes. "Shit, I told you to stay away from Paul."
Leah had already given up, but it didn't matter. Nothing really did, anyway. "How do you know it was Paul?"
Sue threw the potatoes in the saucepan and then glanced up at her. "It's not that hard to figure out."
"I mean, that's valid." Leah's voice was blunt.
"Do you not care at all that you called Charlie a bitch?"
Leah shrugged. "I personally thought was a power move."
"This is the fifth time this summer that you've acted up like this, Leah. It's July. I don't know what the fuck to do with you."
"You could've just let Charlie arrest her," Seth piped up.
Sue just sighed. "I could've," she admitted. "Underage drinking is serious. Leah, honey, I just want you to be okay, you know? Make some good decisions. Do something with your life."
"Okay, High School Musical," Leah said breezily.
"That's exactly the shit I'm talking about," Sue said, her voice stern. "You've been so disrespectful lately. What is your problem? Please enlighten me."
"Honestly, Mom," Leah began slowly with her brown eyes wide, "I think I need therapy."
Sue and Seth erupted into a fit of snickers, and that was Leah's cue to return to her room. That was the closest she'd ever gotten to saying, No, I'm still not okay with you dating Charlie literally a year after Dad died. But she didn't want to fight anymore; she had enough pent-up anger already. She really did need therapy, and this wasn't helping.
So she went to her room, shut the door, fell into bed, and went to the only therapy she knew: Twitter.
She scrolled through the blue hellsite, retweeting harmless jokes about famous singers and just liking the more cruel ones so she would be less likely to be exposed by her followers.
Leah could spend hours here on her timeline (and she frequently did). It was the only place that could make her laugh consistently, and it was also the only place where she truly felt noticed. She didn't find herself to be pretty enough for Instagram, but her 25,000 Twitter followers didn't care if she was pretty or not. (They also didn't really pay any attention to her selfies, which honestly weren't that bad, but whatever.) They didn't even care that she was a poor Quileute girl who lived on a reservation. They just liked her jokes about vapid, air-headed pop stars. They liked her for her.
So she was definitely attached to the app. It was depressing, but it was what she needed, especially since therapy wasn't an option.
An hour had passed by the time Leah got out of bed and headed to the bathroom, all in an effort to feel like a human being again. She got ready to hop in the shower, and she was almost fully stripped before she realized she needed to queue up a playlist. Her Bluetooth speaker was four years old and albeit shitty, but it accomplished what it was meant to do, which was to be her sweet escape. And, anyway, her father had bought it for her.
Leah quickly queued songs that matched her current mood. All she knew was that she was hungover and moderately upset.
Fully stripped and under the hot water, Leah cranked up the music and could actually let go.
Why is it so hard to accept the party is over?
You came with your new friends
And her mom jeans and her new Vans
And she's perfect and I hate it, oh so glad you made it
I'm so glad you could come by...
Her rich tone complemented SZA's emotional crooning. Leah had heard the alleged story behind this song once before—it was awful. The single saddest thing she'd ever heard. And the more Leah listened to this depressing song, the more she felt like she resonated with the story. It was almost like she had been there. She thought of it as Scorpio solidarity.
Sorry, I just need to see you
I'm sorry I'm so clingy, I don't mean to be a lot
Do you really wanna love me down like you say you do?
Give it to me like you say you do?
'Cause it's hard enough you got to treat me like this
Lonely enough to let you treat me like this
Do you really love me
Or just wanna love me down, down, down, down?
Through the anguish of it all, Leah washed off the past. She washed off yesterday in its entirety. The heat, the drugs, the embarrassment. The fact that she knew damn well that Paul was awake, but he hadn't texted her all morning. Did he care about what happened to her last night? Did he even want to know? No matter how loved he made her feel when they were together, his absence and lack of communication killed her spirit in its entirety.
Why am I thinking of him so much? she asked herself, idly singing along to her sad shower playlist as she deep conditioned her hair. He's not thinking of me. Or maybe he is.
She battled with herself over this for the duration of her shower. She eventually felt like a human being again by the time she got out and brushed her teeth, but it didn't even matter once she checked her phone.
No texts from Paul. No calls. No nothing.
Leah double texted him, deleted the conversation, crawled back into bed, and logged into Twitter to numb the pain.
Because it was Sunday and Sue didn't care how embarrassed Leah was, Charlie still came over for dinner. Leah could tell they were trying to make a tradition, but she wasn't here for it. It was bad enough that Charlie frequently made a point that he was trying to ease his way into the family, but it was worse because he had a daughter who was Leah's age, and she frequently joined them for Sunday dinner. She was just as uncomfortable about it as Leah and Seth.
Bella Swan was a good girl. Leah thought she was a little boring, but at least she was decent for a stepsister-in-training. She got along well with Seth, who generally wasn't that hard to get along with, anyway. Sue even had told Leah she should be more like Bella a few times.
(It was that bad.)
Leah just didn't see it, though. All she saw was a boring white girl. No, she hadn't made much of an effort to get to know her, but what was there to know? She had the basics down: her dad was a police officer trying to infiltrate her family, and she didn't season the food she cooked for Sunday dinner.
At the dinner table, in front of Bella's unseasoned baked potatoes and Sue's steak, Leah silently tried to figure Bella out. Sue, Charlie, and Seth engaged in conversation over sports or something, and Leah just stared at Bella, whose gaze was subtly down in her lap, toward her cell phone. She typed at lightning speed.
Must be important, Leah thought.
"So what do you girls think?" Sue asked, snapping Leah and Bella back to attention.
"Think about what?" Bella replied.
"All of us moving in together," Sue told her, like it was the simplest thing in the world. "We found a cute little place right outside Forks. Four bedrooms and in our price range, too."
"Huh?" Leah asked incredulously. "Are you serious? Like, for real?"
Sue nodded, taking a bite of her steak. "For real. Charlie's place needs to get some work done, anyway."
Leah just furrowed her brows. "I don't think that qualifies buying a house."
"I don't think you know much about buying houses," Sue retorted.
"So you two are moving in together regardless?" Bella asked Charlie and Sue for clarification.
"Yes," Charlie said. "We're trying to take the next step, and our house is just too old. You're not obligated to stay, but there'll still be room for you." He turned to his stepchildren-in-training. "There's room for all of you."
"I guess I better start looking at apartments, then," Bella said dismissively.
"Me, too," Leah added, suddenly surprised that she was actually agreeing with this girl. "Can I be excused?"
"You didn't even touch your baked potato," Sue pointed out.
"I guess I'm not that hungry," Leah replied, getting up from her chair. She quickly made her way to her bedroom. She didn't know what she had to do to cope with this bullshit—all she knew was that she had to get away.
As she angrily scrolled through Twitter with her stomach grumbling, Leah's mind was racing. She didn't know how to process all of this. It felt like a sick dream.
What the fuck?!
Mom might as well dig Dad's body up herself and tell the corpse she hates him to his face.
THE AUDACITY OF IT ALL.
Sure, Leah was prone to never getting over anything (as it was in her Scorpio nature), but her father, Harry, had passed away from a heart attack only a year ago. Sue was moving on and acting like nothing had happened, and so was Seth. It just didn't make sense.
All of these thoughts made Leah's stomach hurt. She supposed she could actually start looking for apartments, but who would she live with? Bella? Paul, if he decided to answer his phone? She didn't even have a fucking job.
As much as Leah knew she didn't really need anybody, she really needed a best friend right now. Her 25,000 followers just weren't the same.
And as much as she had hated the bit of high school she'd attended before she had dropped out because of its boring, repetitive nature, she really fucking missed Kim right now.
Kim Conweller had been Leah's best friend from middle school to their junior year of high school. She had always been Leah's better half: thoughtful, charming, pretty (like, Instagram pretty), not an asshole. They had been super close up until Leah had dropped out, and their true differences were revealed. Kim's parents were really stuck-up—they hadn't approved of their straight-A daughter being associated with a dropout.
Leah had assumed that Kim just hadn't cared enough to keep up the friendship, and it was unfortunate, but that was life. Leah didn't need anybody.
She just really wanted somebody to talk to.
But instead, she had Twitter and R&B, and that was what she had to work with.
Sometime later in the evening, Leah heard a loud knock on her bedroom door. She removed her earbud and said, "Come in."
Her mother entered the room while simultaneously lugging a large rectangular box. The box seemed heavy, seeing as Sue had to drag it in. Before she could set it down, Leah already saw what it was.
"A keyboard?" she asked, sitting up in her bed. "What for?"
"It's a digital piano, technically," Sue corrected her.
"Still, though," Leah replied. "What for?"
"Listen, Leah," Sue began once she set the box down on the carpet. She put her hands on her hips, a stance that the Clearwater women were both fond of doing. "I know you've got an attitude about everything, and I know damn well you can sing."
Leah's tone was nonchalant. "Okay."
"So with this keyboard, you better suck it up and get creative."
Before Leah could say anything else, Sue left her bedroom.
Leah got out of bed to inspect the box. It was super fucking heavy, and it had the tape and everything on it—it was brand new.
Charlie probably put her up to this, she decided. I know we don't have the money to be wasting it on keyboards.
Upon further inspection, she realized that it wasn't just a keyboard—digital piano—either. It came with a stand, headphones, microphone, and empty notebook. Sue (and probably Charlie) didn't just want her to sing songs. They wanted her to write and record songs, too.
Leah, alone in her bedroom, just laughed to herself. She was going to tweet about it until, when she unlocked her phone, she saw she had a text from Paul.
After all this fucking time, she thought.
She quickly opened the message. She wasn't sure why she was waiting for something romantic.
Was knocked out all day lmao anyway wyd?
She just left him on "read" and started to set up the keyboard.
Author's Note: Welcome to Girl Gang. This story is just a fun little project that I'm really writing for my best friend LadyBlackwater. It's not that groundbreaking and it's not that serious, especially since the Twilight fandom on here is basically dead. Here are some things to know about this fic:
-It's an all-human AU (obviously).
-Rated M for language, drug use, alcohol, sex, and the like. Trigger warnings will be added when appropriate.
-I don't know how long this is gonna be or how often I'll update and y'all are not gonna pester me about it.
-There will be plenty of nods toward my old fics because I can. Gang gang.
-It's not that serious, seeing as there's Twitter and general millennial lingo here because I'm 20 and I wanna have fun with this story.
That being said... let's roll, girls.