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Thanks to Forks and shabbyapple for the beta on this chapter!

Given a Choice by Heartbroken1

Leah Clearwater

Jacob was still seething as he turned his back on Sam and disappeared into the trees, leaving us all in a state of shock and some dealing with extreme anger.

Paul was the first to break the silence. Who does he think he is?

What is he doing? Jared chimed in. Is he going to be a lap dog to those leeches now?

Sam circled the perimeter, keeping us close, trying to calm the negativity flowing through his thoughts and his bloodstream. The hair on the back of his neck was standing on end and his low snarl was putting us all on edge.

Stop it! Seth defended Jacob -- and those bloodsucking monsters. The Cullens are good people.

People? Paul laughed. They're hardly people, little boy.

Seth bared his teeth and let out a snarl. I am not little nor am I a boy. I'm nearly as big as the rest of you and just as capable.

Paul and Jared broke out into near hysterics that caused them to start rolling in the dirt around us. Even Quil and Embry, who had remained impartial and quiet, snickered at my younger brother. Colin and Brady held their reactions to themselves, probably because they weren't any bigger or older than Seth.

I don't need this crap from you guys. There's another option now…and I choose Jacob. With that, Seth whirled around and disappeared on the same path as Jacob.

Seth, don't… I called just before his thoughts were no longer audible.

Worry, fear and remorse coursed through my veins. What the hell have you idiots done? My mother is going to be furious when she finds out that Seth has left the pack…all because you had to provoke him.

Stop being such a bitch, Leah, Paul growled. It's not my fault that your little brother can't take a joke.

Up until a few minutes ago, Paul, he was your little brother too. Or did you forget that, brother, I sneered the last word.

That's enough, Sam snarled.

We both stopped and turned to look at our Alpha.

Sure, defend her, you always do.

I said, that's enough, Sam repeated the command, bordering on an Alpha order. We have more important things to discuss. His mind reviewed the last few minutes and what had happened between him and Jacob, then everything with Seth. The fact that we could no longer hear their thoughts bothered all of us, but especially Sam. His feelings ran through my system just as easily as if I were feeling them myself. He was worried and angry, but the most prominent emotion was guilt. He had forced Jacob's hand.

Jacob had finally stood up and took what was rightfully his. I felt it, my brothers felt it and Sam sure as hell felt it. There were two Alphas now.

Two Alphas.

I made myself stop that line of thinking right there. It was too dangerous to think while still linked to the annoying minds that were around me.

Paul, Jared, you two take some time to cool off.

I have to get back to Claire, Quil whispered. Just long enough to make sure she's okay.

It'd probably be best if I'm the one to fill my mother in, I volunteered.

Fine, Quil and Leah, you go. Leah, don't give her more information than she needs. She's going to be upset enough without you putting an unfair spin on things.

It was difficult to control the string of disrespect in the form of profanity that was itching to make its way into my thoughts. Somehow, though, I managed it by excusing myself without another word.

As soon as the rest of the pack was out of sight, I made the change into the form I preferred -- my human self -- and finished the short run back to the only home I'd ever known.

The small cottage-looking house came into view. I stopped at the edge of the forest and spent a few seconds admiring the quaint sight. It looked like something that belonged in a painting rather than on a Native American reservation in the middle of nowhere.

Rocks crunched under my feet as they moved slowly toward the house. Speaking to my mother was only an excuse to get away from the pack, it was not something I really wanted to do. When the door opened with a soft squeak, but no other sounds were heard, I breathed a sigh of relief and headed toward my room.

Soft pink curtains were blowing in the light breeze that was coming in the window. My eyes roamed over the familiar comforts that were mine. On the dresser sat the picture of the man who still held my heart. I took three steps to my left, and my fingers wrapped around the frame. His smiling face tore my heart in two.

A single tear rolled down my cheek and I roughly wiped it away with the back of my hand. I wasn't going to remain heartbroken with everyone knowing how pitifully obsessed I was with a man who didn't love me.

My decision was made.

I would never have to look into the face of the man that I loved more than anything and see pity looking back at me… Or anger, or pain, or hear his hurtful thoughts as he wished that I would just go away and finally give him the peace of loving the woman he was destined to be with.

This was what had to happen to give both of us the chance to move on.

As much as Jacob Black irritated the hell out of me, he would now be my Alpha, my leader, the only man on earth that could ever control me in any way. The thought of this made my stomach clench into knots, sending vomit racing up my throat, which I forced back down where it came from. The other option was to stay with Sam.

In other words, there was no other option.

Knowing that Sam loved Emily was hard enough, but after becoming a member of his pack and seeing, feeling, understanding the depth of his feelings for her -- that they eclipsed the feelings he'd had for me so tremendously -- was enough to make me want to put a bullet in my head.

I laid down on the soft, plush comforter and hugged my pillow tight against my chest. If things went how I was planning, this would be the last time I'd be in this bed -- for a while anyway. With a deep breath and a sigh, I forced myself off the bed and headed out the door.

It felt good to run, really let loose and run on two legs. My thighs burned as my feet ate up the distance between La Push and the bloodsucker's refuge. Seth would have caught up with Jacob by now, and the fact that he hadn't returned was a good sign.

Pausing, I leaned up against a tree and tried not to think about the possibility of Jacob's rejection. Jake couldn't turn me away, because I wouldn't leave, I wouldn't -- I couldn't return to living in Sam's head anymore.

I took a deep breath and could smell the stench of the Cullens. Now or never, I thought before making the change.

The near silence was eerie, a little bit scary, but so comforting. For the first time, in a long time, I couldn't hear Sam. It was a relief to not have him in my mind. I felt free and, in that moment, vowed that I would never go back to being ruled by the man that used to hold my heart.

Jacob was a thorn in my side, a huge pain in the ass; but I'd gladly take that over forever dealing with the firsthand knowledge of Sam's pity.

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