Leah Clearwater spun the invitation around in her hands over and over again, not knowing what to make of it


I spun the invitation around in my hands over and over again, not knowing what to make of it. In the tree above me, birds chirped happily, probably laughing at my pain. That seemed to be a common pastime around these parts lately.

I thought that I had come to turn with the fact that Sam was marrying Emily, but somehow the thought of actually going to their wedding was bothering me. I imagined sitting in one of the pews, watching as they looked at each other with those long, mushy glances, practically drooling over each other and spewing out a bunch of bull shit about ''til death do us part' and 'happily ever after'.

I felt heat rising inside of me. Was it envy that I was feeling or what? No, I'm not jealous of that. All that mush – I'm over that. I don't need that in my life, and I'll never have it in my life.

This was better for Sam, anyway. Emily didn't have anger management problems. She was friendly to everyone, accepting of werewolves, and could actually cook without setting the kitchen on fire. He could raise a family with her. If he were with me, on the other hand, it would be impossible to have children. Not that I wanted them, of course. I had already decided that I didn't need all that junk in my life. I was fine by myself. I was independent.

Still, could I actually go to the wedding, whether I wanted to or not? I had just left the pack and run off with Jake and Seth. I was sure that Jared and the others would start interrogating us at the reception. Maybe I could leave right after the wedding. That is, if I decided to go at all.

I didn't hear him come up behind me, so his voice made me jump when he asked, "Hey, Leah. Is that the wedding invitation?"

I quickly shoved it in my pocket. Seriously, Jacob Black was the last person I wanted to talk to right now. As if it wasn't bad enough having him in my head all the time. Even when I took my human form he wouldn't give me any privacy. "What difference does it make to you?"

Jake rolled his eyes as he walked around the tree I was sitting in front of and took a seat next to me. "Snippy as ever, I see. I had a feeling that this wedding would put you in an even worse mood than usual. And that's saying something."

"Thanks for the sympathy, Leech Lover. I knew I could count on you."

Jake crinkled his nose. "Leech Lover? What's that supposed to mean?"

I laughed coldly. "You practically live in that house now. You talk to Cullen as if you're old buddies that grew up together. You practically worship the doctor. You're even getting friendly to that fortune teller."

"You're misinterpreting whatever you read in my mind," he told me sourly, as if he were upset that I was reading his mind. Ha, talk about giving him a taste of his own medicine. "I doing this for Bella, not Edward."

It was as if he was trying to piss me off. Adding gas to my fire. "Bella, your princess who happens to be carrying one of them inside of her! And since when do you call the bloodsucker by his first name?"

"You know," Jake muttered in a smaller voice, "he's not so bad lately, now that's his ego has died down."

That was it. I jumped to my feet and began storming in the other direction. This conversation wasn't helping me at all. Hell, it was just making things a hundred times worse. "I hope Cullen bites your head off with his fangs, Leech Lover!"

I felt anger welling up inside of me, getting worse and worse every second. I began trembling, but did my best to stay cool. The last thing I needed was to ruin the last outfit I had. As if I hadn't gone through enough trouble convincing Seth to go buy it for me after I refused to wear the vamp clothes.

I slumped up against another tree, as far away from Jake as I could get. My stomach growled noisily. I knew I had to hunt, but it had been so long since I had taken my human form, and I wasn't ready to phase back yet. Besides, I still had to decide whether or not I was going to the wedding or not.

I pulled the invitation out of my pocket again and reread it for the hundredth time. Of course, I had it practically memorized by now. That didn't stop me, though. Staring at their names in the fancy print on the page, I debated again on whether or not to go. I was sure Seth and Jake would go. I was sure it would make Sam feel better if I went. He'd probably feel guilty if I didn't show up, and the last thing I needed to do was ruin his day.

Man, imprinting sucked. It really messed things up. It was unnatural, and a little sickening in my opinion. It didn't seem particularly healthy to me. Wasn't love about building a relationship? Wasn't it about working towards something? The perfect, ideal, happily after ever after, conflict free, just didn't seem right. That wasn't what love was about. Wasn't fighting for what you cared about what made a relationship strong? Imprinting just seemed like the easy way out. Besides, it hurt a lot of people in the process. It hurt me, at least. Not that how I feel matters. I'd never imprint. I was the dead end of the werewolf gene. I could never reproduce, so it didn't matter if I had a happily ever after or not. I was a mistake. Simple as that.

Time passed so slowly nowadays, especially during moments like these as I lay in the grass, vampire stench all around me, wallowing in self-pity. I guess it's been like this for a while, though.


I cringed, sitting up with a jolt. "I thought I told you to get lost?"

"Sorry, I must have forgotten."

I turned around, glaring as menacingly as I could manage at Jake. "What the hell do you want? Have you taken up annoying the hell out of me as a hobby, just like everyone else?"

"Here," he barked in a coarse voice, shoving a plate of food under my nose. "You haven't eaten all day. Eat it."

I pushed the plate back at him. "I'm not eating something that smells like a bloodsucker."

"Eat it."

"You can eat it. You seem to have fallen in love with them, anyway."

Jake groaned, placing the plate next to me in the grass. He leaned forward, taking my face in-between his burning hands and turning it so I was facing him. "Listen, Leah, I don't love any one of them. I just-"

"-Love Bella," I finished for him in a calm tone, prying his hands off of my face. "I know. You've made it pretty obvious."

Jake groaned, brushing a hand through his hair, aggravated. "Get out of my head!"

"Get out of my way!" I retorted, jumping to my feet and stomping away. For once, he was too fast for me, though. He caught up to me in less than a second a grabbed me by the arm, pulling me back.

"I'm – not – eating – it!" I cried, spinning around to face him. He held up a hand in front of himself defensively, looking down at me with his eyebrows raised. Why did he always have to smirk like that? He must be like those birds. Laughing at me and my emotional outbursts. Damn Leech Lover.

"I don't care if you eat it or not. I just wanted to know if you were going to the wedding or not."

I was surprised at how quickly I cooled down. As he mentioned the wedding, I felt a cool breeze passing through me, freezing me inside. "Are you?" I asked in a weak voice.

Jake seemed a little taken aback in my sudden change of tone, but I was sure he was used to my mood swings by now because he responded quickly with, "Yeah, I am. So is Seth. We know it's going to be weird, now that we're in a new pack and everything, but we owe this to both of them. I'd feel terrible if I looked back one day and wished I had gone."

I looked down at my feet. "I try not to think that far ahead. It's overwhelming."

He was quiet for a moment, waiting for me to continue, so when I remained silent, he added, "Well? Will you go?"

I avoided his question again by asking another one of my own. "You're not staying for the reception, are you? The other pack members are going to be all over us."

He shrugged, smirking. "Who cares? Maybe if I'm lucky, I'll get an excuse to punch Paul, right?"

I rolled my eyes. "Happy to see you're looking forward to this suckfest."

"Come on, Leah. You've been sitting around thinking all day; you must know by now. Are you doing it or aren't you?"

"I-I don't know."

Jake groaned. I looked up to see him looking away, up at the sky, as if he were bothered by something. Could it be that he wanted me to go? No, of course not. No one cares where I go.

"Leah," he said in a stern, slightly annoyed voice that I hadn't heard him use before. He looked back down at me, his smirk wiped entirely from his face. For once, I missed it. "You have to fight back against the imprint."

I laughed out loud at that, and it felt strange for a moment, seeing as I hadn't laughed in so long. "Do you hear yourself, Jake? What the hell are you talking about?"

"Just listen!" he shot back, his lopsided smile creeping slowly back across his face, amused at my reaction. "If you go, it's like showing that you've moved on. Don't let the imprint crush you like that! Fight back!"

I was still laughing. "Are you telling me that you're not part of the imprint fan club?"

"No way in hell." He finally gave in to laughter, shoving his hands in his pockets. "It creeps me out a bit. Besides, I doubt it will ever happen to me."

"I know it won't happen to me," I responded, trying to keep the bitter edge out of my tone.

"Will you go, then?" he asked again, sounding sure of my answer.

I shrugged. "I like that way that you put it. I guess after you say it like that, I don't have any choice."

Just because I agreed to go doesn't mean I necessarily wanted to. This should be interesting, at least.