The car pulled up to Kai's parent's house and as soon as we stopped I jumped out.
"Woah Em, what's the rush?!" Shay called from the car. Kai climbed out behind me and gave me a confused look. I so badly wanted to run up to her and embrace her and tell her I love her and I need her and I want to spend my life with her… then Shay walked around from the other side of the car and shot me the same look Kai was, but I didn't feel the same thing about her as I did about Kai. Guilt wracked my body, I felt sweat drip down my neck and my heartbeat racing, a giant lead ball had formed in my stomach and I needed to get out of here before I exploded.
"Sorry guys, I want to stay but Sam texted me that he needs me for a meeting! I'll be back later! Bye!" Before they gathered their thoughts to ask me any questions I ran off into the tree line. I immediately phased and felt a presence nearby.
"Embry what's wrong, I thought you were going to be with Shay and Kai all day?" Jared. He was taking over my patrol today since Kai was coming in and I wanted to spend the day with her and Shay…
"Meet me at Sam and Emily's, it's urgent!" I sensed him change direction and head in the same direction as me.
When we got to Sam's we phased back and I sprinted in the back door. I was met with the entire pack giving me weird looks. Sam came into the room from the kitchen with Emily, both looking worried.
"Embry what's wrong?" My eyes whizzed around the room and met the eyes of my pack and their imprints. My family. The ones I'm hoping can help me solve my problem.
"Okay, all of you have imprinted or have been imprinted on, is there a way to… break… an imprint bond?" Confused stares, silence, and one person looking at me with pity.
"Kai?" Sam only had to mention her name for her face to pop into my mind and guilt to rush through my body. I looked at him to see that I didn't have to answer, he already knew.
"What about Kai?!" Paul was the one to speak up. The rest of the pack was still giving me confused looks.
"I…. I imprinted on Kai… today, at the airport… what do I do?" Immediately there was a happier mood in the room.
"Embry, this is great! You've finally found your imprint! Oh I'm so happy for you!" Kim squealed. My temper flared a bit and I couldn't help but snap at her.
"This is NOT great Kim! I LOVE SHAY! Why the HELL would the spirits pair me with Kai?! I DON'T WANT THIS!" No one really spoke up again after that. They all gave me the same look though.
Sam left Emily's side and walked over to me. He placed a hand on my shoulder and led me outside to the back porch. He sat down on one of the patio chairs and motioned for me to follow. Once I did, he sighed deeply and rubbed his face with his hands.
"Embry, I know you want to break the imprint bond. I know this doesn't seem very fair, and I know you care for Shay VERY much… but the spirits picked Kai specifically for you."
"Yeah but it doesn't make any sense! Shay is perfect for me! Kai is just… she's KAI! She's my friend. How could she be my other half, it doesn't make sense!" He sighed and sat back to look at me.
"When you were kids she always pushed you outside of your comfort zone. She noticed you playing in your yard every day by yourself, and because I've seen you replay parts of your childhood while we're phased I know you always secretly wanted to play with her and Shay but you were too shy. She decided to march over to you and pull you over to where her toys were and forced you to play," Sam paused and gave me a look. I shrugged so he rolled his eyes and continued.
"Kai taught you how to come out of your shell, she helped you learn to speak up and build confidence, she helped you pick up your now favorite hobby, and she was there for you when some of the kids made you feel bad about not having a dad around." That was something I didn't want to remember, but once he mentioned it I couldn't help but think about it.
I begged my mom to stay home from school that day. A few days before we had an entire class on making Father's Day gifts… only I didn't have a father to make a gift for. Kai sat next to me and noticed I hadn't started working on anything. She scooted closer to me and tapped me on the shoulder.
"Are you okay Em?" We'd only been friends for a year, but I felt so comfortable with her. I wanted to share my struggle with her, but I was afraid she would treat me differently. The look she gave me though, made me want to tell her everything.
"I don't know who my dad is… he left before I was born."
It was silent. She kept staring at me but she wasn't saying anything. I began to panic… what if she didn't want to be my friend anymore? What if she thought I was a loser? What if sh—
"Embry, let's make a card for your mom." She slid some paper over to me and smiled. I was shocked. That wasn't quite what I expected.
Later on when I asked her about it she told me that just because I didn't have a dad didn't mean I should be excluded or feel left out, she said plenty of people don't have dads or moms, but I was lucky because my mom loved me more than two parents could.
Unfortunately that day some kids nearby heard us talking. Rumor quickly spread through the class that I was fatherless and for some reason they didn't have as much empathy as Kai did. I was teased mercilessly for having one less parent. That's why I had asked to stay home.
I remember my mom trying to ask me what was wrong, but I couldn't tell her… I didn't know how to tell her. I didn't want her to be sad, or worse, go to the school about it.
Around 3:30 that afternoon as I was sulking in my room there was a knock at the door. I jumped up to answer it and when I did my jaw dropped.
Kai stood there with a black eye, a fat lip, and dirt all over her new jacket that she adored… despite all that she was smiling brightly.
"Hi Em! I brought you something!" She pulled out a chunk of wood and some small carving tools. I took them from her and gave her a confused look.
"Kai what happened to you?! And what are these for?!"
She just smiled.
"Whenever you're feeling upset I want you to picture something you like and try to carve it out of wood. It doesn't have to be perfect. When you're done bring them to me!"
With that she started walking back to her house. I stood in the doorway watching her go. Suddenly she stopped and spun around on her heel.
"Also! Those kids won't be bothering you anymore! See ya later!"
And that day was the day I knew Kai and I would be friends for life.
"Alright Sam I get that. She has been with me forever.. but so has Shay! I just don't understand!" I buried my face into my hands and groaned. I heard the chair squeak as he leaned over to put a comforting hand on my shoulder.
"I know it's hard Embry, hell I went through it when I met Emily," oh my God that's right! He was engaged to Leah when he met Emily… "All I'm asking is that you give the imprint a chance. The spirits know what we need, and it's wise to trust them. Maybe spend some one on one time with Kai and just see how it feels. You're already best friends so it won't be weird. If you both start feeling the connection then you need to have a serious talk with Shay." I knew he was right.. I love Shay, but I've never heard of an imprint bond being broken.
Maybe Kai will just see me as a good friend… maybe this bond can be one of friendship and I can still marry Shay! Win-win! Let's just hope that's how it goes.
For know though, I need to see Kai.