Disclaimer: I do not own the Twilight Saga.
This is Leah Clearwater's story...
I was a little girl who believed in happy endings, and I grew up to be a young woman whisked away into a true love relationship. But the day my Sam was declared missing ignites the spark that twisted my whole reality into ashes. Now I am a woman trapped between worlds, unable to forget my past, watching the things that could have been dangle before me like some sick game of fates.
I wasn't always a jealous harpy, but if only they'd listen hard enough to see that.
Chapter One: Desertion
His whispered words would make my lips tremble at the sound of his voice.
I shivered again as he planted delicate kisses down my throat, breath hot when it reached my ear to murmur my name. I sighed with my neck titled back, absorbing everything―his scent, his touch, his fingers knotted in my hair, how anything seemed completely insignificant when wrapped in his embrace. "Lee-Lee…" he was calling me now, awaking me from my doze.
A smile crossed my lips, my eyes shut. "Hmm?" I moaned in acknowledgement.
"Did you fall asleep?" Sam asked.
"No," I breathed, brushing my nose against his collarbone. "I was just… mulling in your perfection."
He shifted so that his arms could curl around me, and I snuggled closer to his bare chest. I felt hot and sticky with sweat but wasn't bothered. Sam had always radiated a warm glow. "Well, that's a relief," he laughed; I could imagine his grin as he spoke. "I hate to think I was putting you to sleep when I was actually aiming for the opposite effect. That would be a terrible blow to my ego."
"Puh-lease. Your ego?" I said playfully. "It could use a good smack around. Or, you know, fifty."
"Haha," he muttered. "You have school tomorrow, save your remarks for people who aren't forced to put up with it."
"Urgh, school!" I groaned. "Damn you, why did you have to remind me?"
Sam chuckled. "It's not my fault your education isn't adequate."
"And it's not my fault you're a smart-ass." I resorted.
"Ouch," he lifted a hand to his chest. "That one hurt. Seriously Leah, this can be considered a very abusive relationship on my part. I could go to the authorities. Or better yet, the elders," he grinned. "I'm sure they will right the wrongs with the mystical powers of our ancestors! What with the rituals, and some kind of anti-Sam-insulting charm they can microchip in your brain while you sleep."
I disguised my amusement with a pout. "Look who's talking to who about abuse," I stuck out my neck and tapped it with one finger, grinning. "Tell me I can't pull that off for a good shiner, curtsey of my obnoxious boyfriend. Not to mention I'm sure the elders will believe my Sam-is-a-girl-basher story over your petty Leah-is-a-bitch statement." He glared as I flickered my eyelashes girlishly. "I mean, who wouldn't believe a little angel like me?"
"I think you mean a little minx like you."
"Okay, I confess. I truly lure moronic men into my lair and eat them."
"Wow," he said. "This is bad news for me."
"You would think so, but I think your one moron I'll keep around a bit longer, if you don't mind."
Sam cupped my cheek and brought my forehead to meet his, gently stroking my face.
"I really don't mind, baby," he whispered. He pulled away and sat upright against the headboard, lifting me up with him. "But whether you like it or not," he continued in a lighter tone, "you do have school tomorrow. And I'm not about to have Sue Clearwater hunt me down for your dropping grades just because you can't seem to get me out of your head. She kinda terrifies me."
I laughed. "What makes you think I'm thinking of you?"
His eyebrows rose as he gestured to his bare torso. "Who wouldn't be thinking of me?"
"Jeez, fine!" I cried, defeated. "Goodnight then, Sam. Since my grades mean that much to you."
He jumped off the bed, stumbling out of the tangled covers and snatching his shirt that was clumped on the floor. "Goodnight, my Lee-Lee..." he bent down his tall frame to match my height and lingered at my mouth, I drew back and his face mirrored my uncertainty.
"You still look a little flushed," I explained. "Is that fever from last week still bothering you?"
He grimaced. "A little. Not so much anymore. Don't worry, okay?"
"Yeah well, giant though you may be, you can still have the weaknesses of us normal people. I mean, look at Superman―a freaking rock, and its all over for him," I teased lightly, my hand rested at his pulse that beat rapidly under my palm. "Rest when you get home, alright?"
"I do feel a bit drained," he confessed with a nod. "But my heart always reacts like this around you."
I blushed as he held his hand over mine. "Just feel better, promise?" I mumbled.
"Promise." He vowed, pecking my lips. "I love you." He told me.
"I love you, too."
"They'll only be of you, so odds are against me." I smiled wirily. The worry returned when I noticed the sweat beaded on his neck. Sure, we'd gotten pretty hot and heavy not long ago, but this was still Washington, and I was already prepared to dive under my electronic blankets any second now. "Hey, did you want me to walk you hom―?"
There was a knock at my bedroom door.
I froze, Sam was at my open window so fast I hadn't even noticed, but paused and ran back to kiss me once more. "See you tomorrow," he breathed, not awaiting my reply as he flipped his legs over the windowsill and disappeared. The door knocked again. I let out a deep breath I didn't realise I was holding, my hands fiddling recklessly to smooth my sexed-up hair.
"Uh, w-who is it?" I tried my best to sound casual, sleepy.
Very I'm-alone-in-my-room, and very not suspicious. I felt like rolling my eyes at myself.
The handle turned and my kid brother, Seth, let himself in. He crinkled his nose in disgust at my flushed appearance. "Mum and Dad just got home," he said, sighing dramatically as he moved to sit beside me on my bed. "Thought I'd warn you in advance before you drag me down with you for the whole 'knowing but not telling' thing. I hate it when they call me on that."
I relaxed instantly, shoulders slumped. "Thanks. I owe you one, little bro."
"Yeah, you really do."
"I'll take you cliff diving on Saturday?" I offered happily.
Seth grinned, shrugging. "I can take myself, but I would appreciate you and Sam for company."
"Deal," I pledged, tossing aside my cover as I embraced him tightly, squishing his cheeks.
"Leah!" he groaned, shoving my face away as I spread playful kisses on his forehead. "Ew, gross! Why do you have to be so weird? Urgh! Why me?" Despite Seth's feeble pushes, he squeezed me back, both mulling secretly in the disguised sibling affection. "If Mum and Dad come in," he muttered into my shoulder. "You caught me in your room, and were battling to the death in hugs. Then we never speak of this moment again."
I squeezed him gently. "Whatever you say, little bro," I said, ruffling his hair. "Whatever you say."
School at the reservation was the same as every other day, the same people and setting I've known all my life, but with one change―no Sam. Of course he graduated last year, but everyday he would wait for me, leaning casually against the school gates. That's usually what made the day bearable. But when the final bell rang and I sprinted out of class, the gate was gut-wrenchingly empty. I forced myself not to look miserable. It's not like he was obligated to meet me. Something had probably come up; maybe his scholarship interview had been moved. He would visit, or call me later.
Seth caught up to me quickly, and we walked home together. He looked confused at my slightly saddened expression, but didn't comment.
I couldn't shake off my strange feeling. When we got home I went directly to my room after mumbling an unenthusiastic greeting to my parents. Sam had been gone longer than twenty hours before, and yet I felt a sense creeping over my head as each minute passed and I sat staring blankly at my text book, fingers twitching beside my phone as I read the same sentence over again for what felt like forever. My mind refused to process the words. Irritated, I slammed the book shut.
"Alright," I settled with myself. "I'll just leave him a message…"
I snatched the phone and dialled quickly, messed it up, then started again. It rang once.
"H-hello?" answered a frantic voice.
"Uh, Mrs. Uley?" I stated, stunned. Why the hell was Sam's mother answering his phone?
"Oh, Leah!" she sounded relieved. "Please, is he with you? Is he safe?"
I turned away from my desk, wrapping my unoccupied arm around my middle. "What?" I demanded. "Who? What's wrong?"
"Well, its Sam," Mrs. Uley spoke quickly, her voice quivering. "H-he didn't come home last night. I don't know where he is, and he didn't call, or leave a note. I was just about to call you, Forks is sending Chief Swan over, but if he doesn't want to be found… oh, Leah, did he tell you where he went? Is he angry with me? I just need to know that he's okay!"
My mind froze. "Sam's missing?" I whispered the words; they felt thick on my tongue. "He's gone?"
Mrs. Uley let out an involuntary moan of despair. "H-he isn't with you…"
"I'm coming over." And with that, I hung up the phone.
It was incredibly stupid, considering I barely knew anything about the situation, but I couldn't stop the tears from choking through me. Horrible, graphic images swam about my head, plaguing my rational thoughts with circumstances that could have led to Sam's sudden desertion.
Your fault! Part of me screamed at the other. If only you hadn't asked him to come see you that night!
Selfish, selfish, selfish!
The harsh words sent out a fresh sob, I attempted to silence it, having been sitting broodingly around the corner from Sam's house for ten minutes trying to gather my wits before I spoke to his obviously distraught mother. My overly expressive reaction would only make matters worse.
I heard sirens and scrubbed away my tears in time to see a police cruiser turning into the street.
The noise blocked out the in-my-head voices and, five deep breaths later, I uncrossed my legs and scrambled quickly onto the lawn where Mrs. Uley had stepped out from the porch to meet Fork's Chief of Police. Her nightrobe was wrapped tightly around her, faded mascara running own both her cheeks as she tried desperately to tidy herself. I rubbed under my eyes again, sure to remove any evidence before shoving my hands into the pockets of my jacket.
"Emma," Chief Swan greeted her gently, his lips pursed as he closed the cruisers door.
"Charlie," she whispered back, her voice shaking. "Thank… thank you for coming."
It was then she noticed my approach. Fresh tears coated her eyes as she sidestepped the baffled chief and pulled me into a bone-crushing embrace, shoulders heaving with the velocity of her weeping. Stunned, I stiffened against the dominant urge to cry with her, settling on soothingly patting her back. I hoped it was at least a little comforting.
"Leah…" Mrs. Uley snivelled. "Dear, dear Leah… you're here."
I knew she was secretly thanking me for my company – someone who loved and cared for Sam as much as she did. "Of course," I murmured, blinking away my blurred vision. "Don't worry, we'll find him. It'll be fine. It'll be fine…" I repeated the statement for both our sakes, branding it to my memory.
He's fine, Sam's fine. He has to be.
"Leah Clearwater?" the chief watched our emotional display uncomfortably. "My, you've grown."
Chief Charlie Swan was a close friend of my father; they went fishing a lot with Billy Black, and he use to be a frequent visitor in my younger years. Twice with his estrange daughter, tossing us together with Rebecca and Rachel, Billy's girls, so they could sneak away without a guilty conscience. I'd always known Charlie was a bit uncertain how to deal with emotional women, ever since he babysat me and the twins. We'd force ourselves to cry just to see him get all flustered.
I nodded awkwardly in his direction, my expression blank.
"Emma?" he questioned hesitantly, clearly unsure whether he should interrupt such a delicate moment between females. "When you're ready, would you mind answering a few questions?" Mrs. Uley gazed up quickly from my shoulder, clearly embarrassed. "Sorry, just standard procedure. When you saw him last, what he was wearing, his current emotional state…"
My eyes narrowed. "Sam is not suicidal if that's what you're suggesting," I spat, creasing my brow in a deep glower.
Both adults were startled by my outburst. Charlie studied me carefully. "Um, p-please," Mrs. Uley said, walking back towards the porch with a motioning hand. "Please, come inside and make yourselves comfortable. I'll… I'll go grab some drinks."
The chief and I shared one long look before following behind and closing the door, taking seats in the lounge room to our left. Instinctively I shied away from the side of the canary-yellow couch Sam usually inhabited, recoiling at the unintentional blow when Charlie took a seat there instead.
Cupboards opening and the trickle of water sounded from the kitchen, the muffle of Mrs. Uley's slippers against the faded lino as she shuffled the small distances of the counters back and forth. I gripped my fists tightly and stared blankly ahead, only vaguely aware of the throbbing where my nails punctured my flesh. "Uh, so Leah," Charlie said conversationally. "How do you know Sam?"
I looked up and stared at him suspiciously.
"Sam and Leah have been dating for quite a while now," Mrs. Uley answered for me, carrying in a plastic tray of different sized glasses filled with water, handing us each one. I muttered my thanks and took a reluctant sip at the chilled liquid.
Charlie raised an eyebrow. "Really?" I had a feeling that his interest was not strictly personal.
"Oh yes," continued Mrs. Uley. "Since Leah's freshman year."
"And have things been working out well with them?"
"They are quite smitten with each other."
I hated it. Them talking about us like I wasn't even here. I might as well blend into the stupid couch.
Charlie reverted his attention back at me, leaning in a little closer as if I might whisper a secret. "Do you know where Sam has gone, Leah?" he questioned hesitantly. Yeah, he should know I was a ticking timebomb, I'm sure my Dad has informed him more than once of my infamous temper.
I scowled and returned my full glass back to the tray. The clunk of colliding items seemed unusually loud to my ears. "Obviously not or I wouldn't be wasting my time sitting around here." I knew I was being rude. I didn't care.
For whatever reason, neither appeared offended by my tone. The chief wasn't even surprised. Mrs. Uley followed my action in putting down her drink, cupping my fist that still remained clenched on my lap. Wisely, Charlie remained silent as Mrs. Uley eyed me anxiously, a desperate expression only a mother could muster smouldering in her stare, gnawing at my guilt.
"Leah," she breathed. "When did you last see him?"
My heart sank, the accusations reawakened. "Last night," I confessed grimly. "He was at my house."
Oh, dammit. I hate my freaking conscience.
I could barely breathe.
There was the sound of pen scratching against paper as Charlie took notes; it was as if it added to the raking against my lungs, the pain almost unbearable. The noise so loud. I needed Sam. My Sam, I wanted to hold him, kiss him, to know that he's safe. I broke into gasps, seeing blood and splattered gore of a mangled, unidentifiable corpse...
He's not dead, my mind pleaded. He's not dead… oh God, Sam… please…
"Leah," Mrs. Uley took my other hand. "Leah, dear, are you alright? Please, Leah, where did he go after he left your house? Was he acting strange?"
"Which way does he go?" Charlie inquired.
"Sam…" I choked out his name. "He… he takes the forest route, back here, after…" I trailed off, my breathing shallow. "Y-you…" my voice broke, I swallowed quickly. "You don't think he could have gotten into an accident, in the woods?" Before I could fully comprehend the new revelation, Charlie was on the phone, hissing orders for back-up and rangers that knew the area.
My heart stuttered.
I was too ashamed to face his mother, afraid to find hate in her eyes as she would recognised it was my fault for her son's disappearance. My fault. My Sam could be lost―frantic, hungry. He could be hurt, desperately hurt and needing me while I foolishly sit by, answering stupid questions and sipping at water. Sam needed me.
I was suddenly on my feet, trembling and wheezing out air. I ignored Mrs. Uley's worried expression as she called my name when I bolted and slammed the screen door shut behind me. And then I was running, racing, praying to find him. Desperate to find him. Sam, Sam, Sam. Each time my feet hit the ground I saw his face. Shoving my way passed a crowded group of boys in my path; someone jerked me back, holding onto my arm.
"Leah?" Jared demanded. "What's the matter? Why are you crying?"
I hadn't realised I was crying.
I gritted my teeth, my scowl locked. "Let me go!"
Retching myself free, I stumbled and slid across the gravel, quick to disregard those who made a move to help me. I didn't need help. The oozing blood couldn't stop me, even with my scraps I easily managed to outrun the footsteps I could hear distancing behind me. I was the rez schools best runner. I approached the woods without wavering. I knew the short-cut well, the forest extended outward just near my house before meeting the road, and Sam's path may be traceable.
I stumbled through the trees, screaming his name. No one replied.
"Sam? Please, can you hear me? SAM!" I cried, and without warning my legs caved in so I was left kneeling in the soft earth, clutching at my splintering stomach.
I couldn't breathe, but I couldn't stop screaming.
My calls didn't affect the silent forest, but I numbly felt a hand place itself on my shoulder. Half hopeful, I gazed upward, only to be unbearably disappointed to find Jared standing at my side, defiled by debris of the woods, and several other young men panting from the run and eyeing me with concern behind him. "I'm going to take you home, Leah." He whispered, face grave.
And I was too far-gone to argue.
Two days had passed when the authorities finally had the decency to confirm Sam's trail had been intercepted with large, unknown animal prints, bleakly stating that this missing person's investigation had turned into a body search. Mrs. Uley had been admitted to hospital after she broke down, crying through the trauma. I didn't cry. Some said it was heartless of me; others took pity that the news hadn't hit yet.
But I know Sam is alive, and I'm going to find him.
I didn't go to school. I spent most my time mapping out the forest, hiking through a section everyday, occasionally accompanied by my parents, and constantly accompanied by Seth in his attempts to be the protective brother in case I 'ran into something that could eat me'. He was always trying to make me smile, and I appreciated his efforts, wasted though they were. We only came across the marks of the strange, unidentifiable creature once, and it forced us to turn since the deranged beast had crossed a mere hour before us, leaving blind destruction in its wake.
I convinced Charlie to send over everyone in the station he could spare, made phone calls at all hours demanding forest rangers drop whatever stupid bird they were watching and assist in the field. They were wise enough to abide me; the hysterical tone in my voice was obvious as they provided information the police found unfamiliar.
The two days slowly sunk into two weeks, with no new information. No traces, no luck. My sanity dangling dangerously on its last tether. My family was increasingly troubled by my lack of appetite, but I was never hungry. If anything, I felt sick.
"Leah," my father sat beside me, speaking cautiously. "Maybe, sweetheart, its time for you to admit―"
"No!" I covered my ears, my hair swirling wildly as I shook my head. "Please, Dad!" I hissed. "No, you can't say things like that, because Sam is fine. He's okay, and when he comes home it's just going to make you feel bad for even suggesting…" I continued mutely, unable to finish the thought, my tether jerked glaringly. "Just…" my voice was barely a whisper. "Just go away."
He did, and I was alone.
The next day the search was dismissed.
Curling up beside the woods was the closest to comfort I could get, because it was the closest I could possibly be to Sam.
To my disgust, I still didn't feel like crying. Was something fucking wrong with me? I wouldn't be surprised. There was nothing but the radiating numbness that seemed to dull everything I touched, everything I thought of. Everything but Sam, and his smile and his laugh. I wasn't ready to let anything go, holding on to the memories as tight as I could, and every time I did they seemed to slip further and further away. But nothing could affect me when I thought of him.
The forest drooped with the pounding rain; pouring down on me as I rolled onto my back to watch the grey clouds churn in dark patterns. My hair stuck to my face. Pressed against the mud I could feel the subdued vibrations of fast-approaching footsteps. Annoyed, I sat up, unemotionally squinting through the rain as a panting figure burst through the trees line.
There, standing meters away―ragged and completely naked―was Sam.
Well, this is sort of the first chapter and the prologue squished together, that's why it seems so rushed. I wanted to give you all a taste of what Leah was like before everything got all warped, while at the same time I'm trying not to linger and actually get to the good stuff. I hope you enjoyed this, let me know what you think!
Please read and review!