Chapter I.

In which Amelia and Harper go camping.

Amelia's POV

I stepped out of my baby, my Orange Mitsubishi SUV, and stretched. A twenty hour car ride was not very kind to one's butt.

I took in my surroundings. Well, there are trees, and some more trees, oh and some more trees! Wow, that's a lot of friggin' trees, I didn't even know there were this many trees left in the US, but this is Wyoming. Oh look, something besides trees! Dirt. Wonderful. Now I can get filthy and disgusting, just like I always wanted to. Fabulous. I think Harper has lost her mind. Camping, really? I let her decide where to go on vacation and she manages to get me to allow a camping trip. Honestly, it's like she doesn't know me at all. The last time I had been camping was nine years ago, I was thirteen. But even then it had been within civilization! An official camp grounds with a camp store, and a wash house and running water. She dragged me out into the middle of some forest in Wyoming. Oh, this is so not gonna be fun.

I sighed and shook my head. I guess I can try to have a good time. I am on vacation, and I really did need to get away. It's just I am so not a nature person. I like animals. Well mammals, anyway. The fuzzy ones. I'd sooner face a tiger than a spider or a salamander. But I really wasn't too fond of being in nature; I preferred to look at it from afar. Maybe I will just stay in the camper the whole time. It is a very nice one. Luxury and all that. I have to say, I vaguely remember mocking campers like this when I was younger.

I laughed; I really had enjoyed camping when I was younger. I called luxury campers, like the one I now own, to be pointless, hotels on wheels. I remember saying it defeated the purpose of camping to have one of these things. I laughed again looking at the camper. It really was very nice. Two bedrooms, a living area, a fully stocked kitchen, a bathroom. It certainly was like a hotel room on wheels. Really though, I can't be expected to rough it. I'm not very thrifty, and I would have no idea how to survive in the woods. Harper wouldn't be much help either, she doesn't know anymore about outdoor survival than I do.

I realized as I was thinking of her, she had begun waving her hand in front of my face.

"Earth to Mia. Anyone home?"

"What Harper?" I answered.

"You were staring off into space, and then you started laughing. I was worried about your sanity. It's a good thing I'm a psychiatrist, so I can help if you've gone off the deep end."

"You're not a shrink yet. Besides, you are specializing, in what was it again? Oh yeah, reproduction therapy." I said sarcastically. "My sex life is not the issue here."

"You don't have a sex life to be an issue." She said.

"Do you hear water?" I not-so-subtly changed the subject.

"Yeah actually, there's a river just a few feet into the trees there I think. It's on the map." She answered. "Go look and see, while I get everything settled."

"Fine." I said, walking toward the sound of running water. That's a good thing. The only natural thing that I enjoy is water. I'll be able to swim hopefully.

Just a few feet in I saw the trees thinning. Good, there were too many of them. I shook my head. Harper had used some psychiatry talk to get me to agree to this. She said that we both needed a complete change of scenery to get our bearings. That it would be helpful to look at things differently, but that you can't do that surrounded by the familiar. She had pulled out her text book too, as if to prove to me that it was absolutely foolproof, because some professor thought it was a good idea. I had grudgingly agreed, but insisted on buying the camper. Which she agreed to easily, she was no more of a nature person than I was.

I stopped at the edge of the river. A little while up stream was shallow and rapid, but where I was standing it was deep and calm.

I smiled. I decided to see what the water was like. I sat down on the ground, wincing as I did so, thankful that I had worn jeans, at least they were easy to wash. I unlaced my boots, and slid them off my feet, fallowed by my socks. I rolled my pants legs up, and stepped toward the edge of the water. Gingerly I dipped my toes in.

It wasn't too bad. It was august, and the water was about 60 degrees or so. Pretty chilly, not really the best for swimming, but maybe it would warm up. I sighed, and stretched my feet into the water. But these days, relaxing was a big mistake.

The subtle ache in my chest that never fully disappeared doubled in its intensity. If I kept myself busy it remained on a bearable level. But when I wasn't too preoccupied to properly ignore, it came through loud and clear. The same empty feeling I had had for years now. The sense that something was missing. Like the ache was caused by a hole in me that desperately needed to be filled. My breathing became shallow, as though the air was leaking out through the gapping hole where my lungs and heart should be. I hadn't told Harper about this pain. I didn't know how she could help. I normally told her everything, and she me. We had been best friends since we were babies. Our mothers were friends so we had been together a lot. And now we both lived in the same apartment complex in Chicago. There had never been anything I couldn't tell her. But this, I had kept from her for what seemed like an eternity. I really didn't want her shrink evaluation though, this wasn't mental I knew that. It was deeper; it was a pain within my soul. Nothing even the best shrink could do would help. Filling it was the only answer, I surmised, but I had no idea how to fill it. I had hoped that it would eventually go away. I was wrong, it feels as though it will never go away, and thoughts like that only make it all the more painful.

I suddenly felt cold. That was odd; it was like 77 degrees, why would I be cold? I live in Chicago for god's sake! The windy city. I was used to much colder temperatures than this. Oh well. I sighed again and pulled my feet from the water, waving them to dry them, before putting my socks and boots back on. I walked back to the camper, hugging myself to keep warm. It wasn't helping. I was certain I had packed a hoodie. I ran into the camper and pulled open the drawers I had packed with my clothes. I found my Chicago Theater district hoodie, and put it on. It helped a little, but not much. What the hell? I was never cold. Maybe I'm coming down with something. Wonderful, just what I needed to add to my joyous mood.

"Hey you're shaking, are you ok?" Harper asked in a concerned voice.

"I'm absolutely freezing."

"Well what are you going to do about that?" Harper asked, pulling out my pajamas from the drawer, an admittedly skimpy, green satin nightgown. She waved the night gown in front of me tauntingly. "You didn't really pack anything to keep warm at night." I snatched the night gown from her, glaring. She just laughed and went to make a sandwich. I didn't feel like eating, but I couldn't just sit around I needed to move. Work up some more body heat. As the Cold started to ebb the pain became more intense to fill its place. As though someone was determined I be as miserable as possible. I ate a sandwich Harper handed me, but I really didn't taste it. I was rather irritated that I couldn't shake this feeling.

"How long are we gonna be out here Harp." I asked.

"Mia, I told you. Since we both have the next two months off we can stay up to that long. When we think we've gotten all we could from this place we'll leave. If we have time, we might go somewhere else. Somewhere less remote though" She answered.

I sighed. This was going to be a very long unpleasant trip, I could feel it. But oddly enough, through all of the pain, and misery I was feeling, I had the sense that something was going to come of this. That I needed to be out here, and whether good or bad, it was fated to happen and I was stuck for it. Odd. Oh well, I guess I'm gonna be here for a while. I told Harper I was tired from the trip, and I went and pulled on my nightgown. I really wasn't thinking when I packed this. My other pajamas were along the same lines. Little shorts and tank sets or some even skimpier night dresses. I shook my head at my own stupidity, but I was thankful for the large down comforter on the bed. I laid down and tried to sleep. When I finally fell asleep, I dreamed of large, furry masses, running faster and faster, never seeming to reach a destination. I dreamed of a pair of eyes, familiar, beautiful, dark, deep, eyes. I wished I knew who they belonged to.

Chapter II.

In which Jacob and Embry race and werewolves hold an internal conversation.

Jacob's POV

Embry and I were in a heated competition. We were racing to see who had the most endurance. Running for as long as we could without stopping, because the first one to stop lost. I'm winning, of course. Embry just hasn't figured that out yet.

HEY!

We had actually gone pretty far. We had crossed the Wyoming state border a few miles back. I've never been to Wyoming before. It's supposed to be very beautiful, forest preserves and national parks galore. Maybe when Embry finally gives up, we can have a look around.

I am not gonna give up, at least not before you do. I OWN YOU! HA!

My musings, though interrupted by Embry before, where now interrupted by everyone else. Wonderful.

You two have been at this for 4 days! Just give it up already! Geeze, boys are so stupid sometimes…Leah's voice sounded in my head.

We are not stupid. Both Embry and I thought at the same time.

Oh shush, Leah. Come on Jake! Don't give up! I have 20 bucks riding on your ass to win! Jared's voice said.

I'm telling you Embry's gonna win, Seth's voice came now, Jacob's bigger, more weight to carry, he'll get tired long before Embry does. Your 20 bucks is as good as mine.

Ridiculous. Leah thought.

Now Leah, let them have their fun. We worked real hard lately dealing with that new coven that came through here. The Bloodsuckers are gone, there's nothing to worry about. Besides I bet Quil 30 bucks that Jake would win. Sam's voice now entered my mind.

Leah's voice disappeared in an irritated "humph".

Awe, Leah's agitated again, thanks Sam. You know I have to deal with her even more than you guys do. I would appreciate a little support. Seth thought disgruntled as his voice too disappeared.

She's not that bad. Sam thought.

Ha! She's a harpy and you know it. Now get out all of you! I have a race to win. I thought.

Really what race is that? Cause it certainly isn't this one. Embry interjected.

We're leaving, we're leaving. Wait hold on I have to rub it in your faces that Emily is making her Barbeque ribs, and you two are gonna miss them! Neh Neh Neh Neh Boo Boo…Did I just do that? Came Sam's voice.

Yes you did. Our Fearless leader just Neh neh'd! Ha! You will never live this down you big two year old. Quil's delighted voice came. I'm watching Claire tonight; I think that maybe we'll drop by for ribs. Tell Emily.

Fine. I will. See you later. Oh and Quil, you don't have to take "watching" Claire quite so literally. You can do more than stare at her. Ha!

I was not staring at her! But even if I was, who could blame me? She's just so cute.

She's 8 now. She's past cute. Now go! You're distracting us! Embry said.

Fine, we're going Jesus. And with that both Quil's and Sam's thoughts became silent.

Thank you! Now where were we? Oh that's right; I was kicking your ass! Is that the best you got Embry old pal? I thought to him.

You're only a month younger than me Jacob! Besides I believe it was me who has been kicking your ass.

Yeah Right.

AN: Well what do you think? Got any questions, comments, queries, or suggestions, feel free to ask or whatever. I'm open to any advice, I'm new at this... lol

Much Love, Bridget