Tangled Up in You
A/N: Hey everyone! So this is my updated version of my previous story Green-Eyed Monster. As stated in my update, I have upped Claire's age to make the storyline run smoother and make more sense. A lot of scenes will be different now due to the age change, so this won't just be a carbon copy of the old story. Also in my head I'm using Shay Mitchell (Emily from Pretty Little Liars) as Claire, just in case any of you need a visual aid. Hopefully you all enjoy!
Jacob, Quil, Embry: 21
Bella and Kim: 22
Leah. Paul and Jared: 25
Chapter One: Embers
It was a rare sunny day in La Push, the light streaked through the canopy treetops and glimmered on the ocean's surface. Everyone was out enjoying the warm weather, jeans and jackets being exchanged for t-shirts and shorts. Emily Young was out on her porch watering her flower pots when a sudden screeching sound broke through the serene atmosphere, prompting her to turn at the noise. Around the corner came a ruby red Jeep barreling its way down the road. The young woman's eyes widened slightly as the car came rumbling closer, it slamming to a halt so quickly gravel was sprayed in all directions. Willing her heart to stop racing, Emily watched her sister, May, practically leap from the car. "Good lord!"
Next, Claire Young, Emily's niece, hopped out of the driver's seat, a wild grin on her face. "Oh come on Mom, it wasn't that bad."
May pinned her daughter with a look. "Yes young lady it very well was. You cannot drive like that, you will not be getting your driver's license in two weeks if you don't start listening!" The 15-year old sighed heavily as she went to grab her bags from the back seat. While Claire was busy, May made her way up the steps to hug her sister. "Hey little sis."
Emily wrapped her arms around the other woman tightly, it had been far too long since she'd seen her in person. Usually when Claire came to visit, Quil and Sam would go up and get her as well as take her back. It helped the imprint bond between the wolf and teenager with even tiny little things like that. It was interesting to say the least when Claire came to visit two years ago and got imprinted on at age thirteen. May had been less than thrilled at the idea of her young daughter being mythical bound to a boy she didn't have the slightest clue about. Thankfully, she already knew about the wolves' secret, after Emily had been accidentally hurt by Sam, May rushed down to take care of her and noticed the odd level of commitment Sam held for her sister as well as took note how he would shake uncontrollably whenever something set him off emotional. Eventually she put two and two together, asking her sister point blank if the legends were true of the Spirit Warriors. "Hey! It's so great to see you."
"You too. Thankfully I made it here alive." Both women looked over at Claire, tugging her bags free of the back seat, stumbling slightly at the weight of her heaviest one. "I hope you're ready for her to bunk here this summer, she's starting to be a handful."
Emily laughed lightly. "Well she's almost sixteen years old, if I do recall you and I had our wild streaks we reached that age too." Pulling her sister into the house, she poured a glass of tea for her. "Are you and Gavin excited?" Due to the fact that Claire's father wasn't in the picture, May had a hard time opening herself up to the idea of dating again. However, about a year ago a man named Gavin moved to the Makah reservation to take an open position at the clinic May worked at. Long story short, they hit it off and he had asked her to go on holiday with him.
After arguing with Emily for hours on the phone about why she should or shouldn't go, Emily convinced her big sis to go do something for herself and enjoy just being a grown-up woman for a little bit, not a single mother raising a teenage daughter. "You know I really am. I haven't gone a real vacation since Claire was born. I can't thank you enough for letting her stay with you for the summer."
"Oh it's my pleasure, I'm excited to have her here. Before it's always only been a weekend or the rare full week when she had off from school." She didn't say it, but Emily also knew having Claire around this long would really help Quil. The imprint had given in to the reality that Claire lived somewhere else, allowing Quil to be released from the intense pain of being so far from his imprint. However, there was always a dull ache he said that never went away.
Claire made her way into the house, three bags slung over her shoulders, her balance a little off kilter. Once she crossed the threshold, she released her hold on the duffels letting them drop to the floor with a thud. "Lord, you guys could've helped." Both Emily and May laughed a little as she leaned against the wall. "Cause I just learned I am not as in shape as I thought." Ignoring the shared amused look between her mother and aunt, Claire quickly made her way to Emily, launching herself at her. "Thank you so much for letting me stay, I'm beyond excited to be here."
Emily pulled out the hug, smoothing some of her niece's hair from her face. "Of course sweetie, you're welcome anytime. I have your room all ready for you if you want to head on up." Claire cast a weary look at her bags. "Just grab what you need right this second, I'll have Sam bring the rest up once he gets back."
Claire tipped her head up to the ceiling. "Thank you Taha Aki." With that, she fished out her phone and computer, before hugging her mom tightly. "Have a great time Mom, you deserve it. And tell Gavin hi for me."
May squeezed her daughter to her, despite the challenge Claire liked to present, she was going to miss her baby girl. "I will baby." She pulled back to look into her daughter's eyes. "Be good for your aunt, please."
"I will. Promise." After one last hug, Claire raced up the stairs headed for her designated room. Sam and Emily had two guest bedrooms in their house, but they allowed Claire to decorate the one she always stayed in, so she truly did have a room in La Push.
"Well I guess I should get going. Now are you sure Sam doesn't mind helping her with her driving lessons and taking her to get her license?"
Emily shook her head at her sister. "May, he doesn't mind at all. Just go have fun, I've got it from here."
May hesitated for just a moment before nodding in consent. "Okay, well thank you again and just give me a call if Miss Thing gives you any problems." The sisters shared one last laugh and hug, then May took her leave, jumping in the cab she had called once they'd arrived.
Emily made to go back outside when the sounds of music filtered down from her niece's room. Sam had fixed up an old stereo he found at a garage sell a few months ago and put in Claire's room. The music coupled with Claire's bags on the floor and her Jeep outside, courtesy of her absentee father trying to make him seem like less of a jackass, Emily sighed. "And it starts."
About half an hour later, Sam and Paul phased at the tree line, handing over patrol to Embry and Seth. Wordlessly the two wolves pulled on their cutoffs, both of them feeling the exhaustion of running a double shift. Yesterday had been Jared's two year anniversary with Kim and Quil had to work an extra shift at his parent's store, so Paul and Sam as the Alpha and Beta, stepped up to cover the late night shift as well as run their own regularly scheduled morning one. Knowing Emily would have some food ready for them, the two men began trekking their way up the path. As the house came into view, Paul noticed the Jeep in the drive. "Who's car is that?"
Paul turned to look at his friend a surprised look on his face. "Little Claire-bear's? Damn, is she already almost sixteen?"
Sam nodded, the apprehension clear on his face. "Yep, in two weeks. She's staying for the summer, so I'll be giving her a few driving lessons before I take her up for her test."
The silver wolf smirked. "You have fun with that. I remember trying to teach Rachel to drive, not a fun time."
Chuckling, the two wolves bounded up the porch steps following the aroma of food wafting from the kitchen. Paul popped the front door open with a flourish. "Oh honey, we're home!"
Emily rolled her eyes at his antics as she deadpanned, "Darling, I'm thrilled." Sam bypassed his wolf brother to kiss his imprint hello, both on her lips and scars.
Paul, averting his eyes from the display, settled himself in front of one of the heaping plates of food Emily had set out. Before he could dig in, a squeal from the direction of the living room sounded, prompting him to lift his head.
Claire stood there, a bright grin on her face as she looked at him. "Paul!"
Reading what she was about to do, the wolf quickly moved out of his seat to catch her in his arms as she flew at him. "Hey there Claire." After a quick squeeze, he set the young girl back on her feet holding her at arm's length. "Well look you, all grown up."
Claire flipped her hair over a shoulder and popped out a hip. "I am almost sixteen you know."
"So I've heard, that's a nice ride you got out there."
The teenager's smile dropped a little as she glanced out the window at her car. "Yeah, Daddy sure hopes I think so." It was always taboo to mention anything about Claire's father, while her anger had dissipated over the years, her bitterness about his leaving still stung at times. "You'll have to take me out driving soon."
Paul laughed as he went back to his seat, Claire claiming the one next to him. "I think I'll leave that merry ol' job to Sammy boy."
She scoffed, reaching out to swat at him playfully. "Are you insinuating I'll be a bad driver?"
He flashed her a killer smile. "One hundred percent." Claire made a small noise of protest before shaking her head at him.
Emily watched her niece's exchange with Paul, narrowing her eyes slightly as she did so. The flip of the hair, the twinkle in the young girl's eyes, the flush on her cheeks when Paul smiled at her…it could only mean one thing. Claire is crushing on Paul. She snorted lightly as she went to pull some grapes out the fridge for the boys and Claire to snack on.
Sam heard the noise, tapping her elbow lightly. "What was that about?"
His fiancée tipped her head in the direction of the kitchen table. "Take a look for yourself."
Doing as she asked, Sam turned to watch his Beta and the 15-year old. While Paul wasn't acting any out of the ordinary, he noticed how Claire had pulled her chair a little closer to the wolf, turned with her body facing his, legs crossed. He also saw how she made a point to touch Paul's arm when she laughed at something he said, the blush staining her cheeks. It also caught his notice how she was dressed in what he deemed a far too small pair of white shorts to show off her tan legs, as well as an off the shoulder top, her hot pink bra strap on display. "Oh hell." He whipped his gaze back to his imprint. "Does she…" He trailed off, but Emily nodded in confirmation anyway, knowing what he was trying to ask. "Quil is not going to like this."
She lightly popped him with a towel. "Oh relax, it's harmless. She's been around the pack since she was thirteen, all of these beautiful men when a girl starts hitting the stage where boys aren't so gross anymore. I was just wondering who it was going to be."
The Alpha discreetly moved the two of them to the back porch and kept his voice low to try and keep the other wolf from hearing. "But shouldn't her and Quil's imprint kind of pull her in his direction? If Claire is looking for an object of her affections, the imprint is supposed to pick up on that."
Emily shook her head is disagreement. "That's not one hundred percent what the imprint means. The imprint picks up on what Claire needs from Quil, specifically. For her, Quil is a great brother figure in her life because she doesn't have one at home. But Paul, Paul is a whole other story."
Sam sighed heavily. "He still won't like it. The wolf won't let him."
"Like I said, the crush is harmless. It'll be fine."
Quil sprinted his way across the rez, eager to reach Sam and Emily's house. He felt the instant Claire stepped foot on the reservation, the dull ache in his chest lessened, his bond with her less taut. His imprint had always been a little hard to navigate. He's only five years older than Claire, but at the same time she's still very young. When the imprint happened with her at thirteen and him at eighteen, she was just a kid. But a lot can change in three years and his wolf isn't entirely sure how to feel about her now. He knows that for her, she pretty easily slammed him into the big brother role once the imprint happened and has pretty much kept him there since. Now that she was getting older, he was curious to see what might happen now that she was almost sixteen years old.
Once the house came into view, the pull for him to enter was intense. It'd been about three months since Claire was last on the rez and his wolf was adamant about getting to her. He walks in without knocking, Emily made it clear the pack never had to knock or even give notice they were coming over. "Hey guys!"
"In the living room Quil." The chocolate wolf made his through the kitchen to enter the aforementioned room, only to stop short at the sight before him. Paul was seated in the oversized armchair, his eyes intently focused on the TV, game controller in hand. Nothing new there. What stalled him was his imprint perched atop the arm of the chair, leaning a little bit against his wolf brother, a controller clasped as well. Quil flicked his eyes to the screen, seeing they were playing Mario Kart, before jumping back to the lack of distance between Claire and the other wolf. Paul gave him a quick nod of acknowledgement. "Hey man what's up?"
Sam watched the younger man closely, he could read the anger that was starting to take hold. With a quick look at Emily, the Alpha strode over to his packmate, steering him back out the front door. The second they'd passed through Quil blew up. "What the hell, Sam?"
"Hey, I didn't do anything!" The other man went to continue yelling, but the black wolf shut that down. "And neither did Paul! He hasn't encouraged her in any way!"
Quil slightly marveled at how his Alpha already knew what he was about to say, but he'd always had the inkling that even in human form the pack was still linked in some way. Not telepathically of course, but emotions could be felt on some degree he figured. "You don't call that encouraging? She's practically in his lap!"
Sam took in a deep breath, raising his voice too was only going to draw Paul's attention. "She didn't start there, she moved after the game got going." Quil opened his mouth to retort but was cut off. "Trust me, Paul looked at her a little bit funny, but he honestly doesn't think much of it."
"How could you not? She dressed in next to nothing, hanging all over him! A blind man could figure it out!" Quil knew his anger at Paul was misplaced, he'd been in the guy's mind, he held nothing but platonic affection for Claire and he's one of the wolves who placed the most stock in an imprint bond. "Why does she like Paul, we have the bond."
Unhelpfully, the Alpha just shrugged. "We still don't know everything about imprinting. Your and Paul's imprints are more uncommon, less clear." Paul had imprinted on Rachel, Jacob's older sister, when she moved back to help out with Billy's health. Jake being part of the pack and still trying to muddle his way through getting a GED since he had to effectively drop out of high school because of the vampire activity courtesy of the Cullen's and Victoria, had him spread out enough. Shockingly for all involved, Paul holds no romantic notions toward her or vice versa. The silver wolf said when he looked into her eyes, he did feel the link connect and he would protect her with his life, but gravity didn't shift, and the world didn't fall away. She holds a place in his heart, he said he loves her, but he's not in love with her. "With him he's the first wolf since the fourth pack ever to have a non-romantic imprint. And yours has never happened."
The logic was there, but neither Quil or his wolf were having it. "Still, the imprint is there to be whatever the imprintee needs. If she's looking for a relationship, that's what I'll be." Sam didn't say anything, replaying Emily's theory in his mind. "No input?"
Sam once more mentally cursed the Spirits for making him phase first and take up the mantle of Alpha. He couldn't wait for Jake to finally feel ready for the title. Then all the wolves would look to him for advice and help. "I'm not sure I agree with her, but Emily thinks your imprint works different. She said you will be what Claire needs or wants you to be, but what she wants or needs in a broader sense doesn't necessarily apply to you." Quil just quirked an eyebrow. "Ergo, if she wants a relationship, she picks who she wants it with, while you remain in whatever category she needs to you be."
The younger wolf's eye began to twitch. "Are you telling me, that as Claire continues to get older and decides she wants to start dating, that I just get sit back and watch?"
When he put it like that even Sam had admit it sounded shitty. "Kind of." Instantly Quil exploded into his wolf. Although neither man could see it, inside Paul perked up, alerted to the sound of a phase. Neither of the girls had heard, but Paul could tell something had set Quil off. Back outside, Sam shimmered into his wolf as well to continue his and Quil's conversation. Look, you just need to process this. I mean look at Paul and Rachel, she's engaged and Paul's cool.
Paul and Rachel agreed to be cool! Claire and I haven't had that kind of conversation, so I don't really give a damn.
Okay then maybe you and her should have that conversation.
Even in wolf form, Quil shot his Alpha a glare. She's fifteen years old.
It took everything in the 18-year old to not lunge at him. Either way, she's too young. Rachel is twenty-four, her and Paul could have that conversation, but I can't sit Claire down and tell her we need to talk about it our imprint status.
You might not have a choice, your wolf is bothered by this. You need to fix it, no one else can.
Paul could back the fuck off my imprint.
Sam growled at the other wolf. He knew this was a messed up situation, but he wasn't going to let Paul get villainized here. Hey, Claire is the one putting the moves on him. So maybe you should tell her to back off your brother if you don't like it.
Quil snarled lowly at the comment, but Sam ignored him shifting back. Quil had just followed suit, when Paul emerged from the house, Claire close behind. "Everything alright boys?
Sam nodded tersely at his Beta, as Claire stepped around the 25-year old to run up to Quil. "Hey Coco!" Instantly the anger in the young wolf dissipated as his arms wrapped around her. Even as Claire had gotten older, the nickname she had for him had stuck. "I missed you!"
"You too pretty girl." He released her, taking a step back to get a good look at her. "You're getting grown on me, Claire-bear."
Claire playfully punched him in the arm. "I turn sixteen in two weeks, I think it's time we retired that nickname."
Quil merely shook his head. "Not a chance, I'm still Coco, you're still Claire-bear."
She scrunched up her nose cutely at the comment, before widening her eyes at the look on her wolf's face. "Oh no, don't you dare." Before she could escape, Quil snagged her around the waist and tossing her over his shoulder heading for the water. "Quil put me down!" She banged on his back with her fists, but he didn't even feel it. As he waded into the water she once more screeched, "Quil, down!"
"As you wish." With that he dumped her into the water fully clothed.
Sam knew what the chocolate wolf was up to. This was a very flirtatious moment he had created with Claire, he's testing on the waters on where she stands and if this attraction to Paul is only misdirected. Just out of curiosity, the Alpha turned to look at his Beta, who was cracking up at Claire now chasing Quil around the beach, obscenities streaming from her mouth. "Hey Paul?"
Doing his best to get his laughter in check Paul turned his attention to Sam. "Yeah?"
"Does that bother you at all?" Sam tipped his head in the direction of the imprint pair.
From the look on Paul's face, the 30 year old could tell his pack brother was wondering about the state of his mental health. "No. Should it?"
The Alpha shook his head. "No, I was just curious."