Late in the night, he tossed again. His dark hair sticking to his sweaty, matted face. The woman lying next to him tentatively brushed aside the black hair that was clinging to his tanned cheek. It was flushed pink from the heat. He so naturally radiated heat, but when something caused him to sweat like a dog, it always had her concerned.
Emily watched Sam's body twist and turn. His large silhouette thrashed around uncontrollably. She hated the feeling of being so powerless. Sam had only ever helped her, she sat there again watching Sam move in pain, reassuring herself that he would always, just before the still of the morning, stop. He would stop the thrashing and the pain, he would stop the incontrollable muscle spasms and sleep, sleep in the most peaceful state of mind that she had ever seen him. It was a rare moment when Emily had ever seen Sam let his guard down, the cool facade he wore trying to control his emotions, was never the Sam she wanted to see, but it was the Sam she loved.
Emily watched him helplessly again, as she wondered what dream could cause him so much pain.
In actuality, it was no dream that haunted the mind of Sam Ulley, but it was the harsh reality of his life.
He had no time to choose, only the split second to jump. The earth beneath him cracked in two, and he had only enough time to make a leap before he was swallowed into the abyss. He saw one person at each side of the gorge, but before he had a time to choose, he needed to jump before his impending demise. He jumped to his left and landed safely into the arms of Emily. He looked across the massive gap in the earth, and saw the torn face of Leah Clearwater. His Lee-Lee. He had no time to jump back; the gap was pushing the two farther and farther apart. He reached out his arm, trying to grab her, to get her back, but it was too late. It was too far gone. She was too far gone from him.
The dream morphed.
He was being ripped in half. A rope was tied around each of his wrists, his legs, pulling his body apart farther. In the insurmountable pain, he saw only those pulling the ropes, pulling him apart farther. The cousins, the friends, the two women in his life: Emily and Leah. They were ripping him apart further. He couldn't choose between the two, but it was the woman who vied his attention, his love more than the other. They pulled and pulled, and he thrashed as his body was put into torturous pain. They each owned half of him. Each part of him they owned was the part of him that they controlled; they each made him a better man, a better wolf. But he couldn't have both of him, just as both of them could not have all of him. He only wished life was as easy.
The dream morphed again. It was not a dream, but a memory.
He felt only hatred rushing through his blood as he looked at her. Emily. She took Leah away from him, Leah couldn't, wouldn't, look at him straight, she would only ever look away. And it was all because of her, this girl, Emily. Before he knew if the feeling of anger had changed him, he was animalistic, a wolf. He scratched her face, leaving deep, ragged scars down her face. He felt the remorse just then, he had hurt her. He had hurt her, when for a burden that was not hers to bear. He'd hurt her for the loss of Leah, but hurting her would not bring Leah back. Nothing would.
The memory morphed into yet another.
He looked into her face and said goodbye. I'm sorry Lee-Lee. She looked away; he had no right to call her that anymore. I love you, I swear, if there was any other way, Lee—Leah I would be off with you, but there isn't. He couldn't even explain to her what had happened. The damn Cullen's triggering the gene that turned him into this animal. She was crying; Leah was tough, she so rarely cried, but the tears were streaming down her face. She was shaking with anger, and pain, and guilt. One single word slipped from her lips as she walked away from him. Fine. The sour tone made him cringe word echoed through the forest, and began ringing in his ears.
From this memory, emerged a dream.
No. He wouldn't have it. Before her body was too far away from him, too far to jump the gorge, He reached out and held her. For the moment, in the perfect state of bliss he was in, there was no Emily. He had no choice. Just Leah. There was no wolfy claim to Emily, as far as he cared here was no Emily. He pulled Leah back and held her body close to his own form. Lee-Lee? She nodded. I love you. So, so, much. Those simple three words slipped from her mouth. I love you too Sam. The words from her, the words of love and adoration and of forgiveness were all that mattered to Sam Ulley at that second. He stroked her hair and held her closer.
Three words slipped from his mouth into the open. I. Love. You.
Emily watched him now, smiling as she saw that he was finally content. The sweat had been wiped from his face and the hair that clung so tightly to his moist skin was loose and frayed. In the rising light of the morning she saw he was peaceful. She heard him speak again. I Love you. She kissed his forehead and watched him sleep in peace for a moment longer, letting him soak in his moment of happiness.
Sam knew he was with Emily, but in his heart and in his dreams he saw only Leah.