I was tired. No doubt about it. In fact, I was absolutely exhausted. Every muscle in my body was prepared to shut down. But my mind adamantly refused to let my body overpower it.
I hadn't stayed out this late for a few weeks. I knew that at some point, all the tire would come crashing down on me. I kind of wondered if I'd be able to wake up then, when I finally did decide to fall asleep.
Breathing in slowly, I took in all the scents of the forest around me... the fresh, alive smell of the grass... the rich, thick aroma of the earth... the scent of lilac... even the revitalizing scent of a clean stream nearby...
That reminded me. I was kind of thirsty.
I stood up carefully and walked over to the stream. I peered into the clean, pure sheet of living glass. I smelt towards the water again, attempting to catch the scent of any kind of impurity. Sensing none, I knelt down and cupped my hands, filling them with cold stream water. I drank some, just enough to quench a little of the thirst. Didn't need to take too many risks with mountain stream water.
I walked slowly and wearily back to my sitting place, putting my back against an oak.
I was tired.
No doubt about it.
I looked around. I was lucky I got here before any of the others had phased. Before any of them could hear my thoughts...
This was one of the only places I knew of that I could really be me... Where I could really be Seth Clearwater... What I wouldn't give just to be able to sit here forever.
I shuddered involuntarily at that thought... what wouldn't I give?
Well, it was better than hanging out with my sister, that's for sure. Even though Leah was doing much better now than she had before, she was still a little uncomfortable to be around sometimes.
There had never been a day in my life where I had wanted sleep this badly, but my mind was too lost in contemplation, frozen in contemplation.
Frozen on one singular image: dark brown eyes, long shiny black hair, an almost paralyzed expression-
My thoughts were interrupted abruptly by a sound in the nearby thicket.
Within seconds, I had my clothes tied to the leather cord around my left leg, and exploded into a mass of sandy-colored fur. I snarled warningly towards the sound.
Relax, Seth, it's just me.
My best friend in the entire world.
Oh, I thought back. Hey Jake.
The russet colored wolf form of Jacob Black appeared. Even as a wolf, he seemed a little tired.
It's getting late, Jacob's voice rang through my mind. What are you doing way out here?
I blinked uncertainly for a few seconds, before I remembered where I was: A few miles south of Seattle.
Just came here to think,I replied, forcing the image from earlier out of my mind.
It's pretty dark, man, he thought, looking around at the dark forest. You should probably be getting home soon.
I thought about that for a moment... I really didn't want to leave. I didn't have a good reason. I didn't want to face Leah when I got there... but I really didn't want my mom to worry.
Yeah, your mom doesn't need to be worrying now. How about you stay over at my place? I'm sure my dad wouldn't mind.
I was a little slow on the rebound. For a sec., I had forgotten that Jacob could hear my thoughts.
Yeah! I said. That would be awesome!
Great,Jacob said. Let's get going, so we can be home before midnight.
Jacob turned swiftly and darted back through the thicket. I followed right after, eager to get to run again. I laughed (mentally) as we started back south.
What's so funny? Jacob asked, slowing down the smallest bit.
Haha, no real reason, I just like to run, I replied, picking up the pace a bit.
Jacob laughed in his head too. Then the laughed turned kind of competitive. I was running at a faster pace, easily a few feet ahead. I heard the sound of his paws become more rapid as we shot through the trees. I attempted to accelerate but Jacob was too fast for me.
Oh, no, you don't! he yelled. Within seconds, he took the lead.
Oh, I think I do! I replied, speeding up until we were neck-to-neck.
Then think again!
And Jacob suddenly darted in front of me, running in a way that I was scared to even wonder if I could match.
I pushed my legs harder, and they cooperated, but I doubted that I could catch up with Jacob now. I looked ahead towards him, and he was moving like I'd never seen him move! My mouth curled up in marvel as he leapt from the ground into the trees. Jacob was vaulting from tree to tree, and I couldn't tell if it was my imagination or if he really was getting higher every second!
A surge like electricity pulsed under my skin, and without knowing what I was doing, I flew up into the trees and deftly jumped from limb to limb, imagining that I was being as graceful as Jacob was. The feeling was amazing! I could sense everything around me as I launched myself through the treetops, never looking down.
For a few seconds, I forgot about any kind of trouble that I might have had, and I was soaring!
Then I remembered I wasn't alone. I glanced swiftly upwards. Jacob was right in front of me, but a few yards above me.
He was higher than I could reach with my paws, but not so high that I couldn't get to him soon! Thoughtlessly, I calculated the angle of the branches, where we both were, and I jumped!
So did Jacob.
With one nearly unseen movement, he dived from the branches!
Holy crap! was all I could think before I heard Jacob's playful howl echo inside my head. I stopped to perch on a branch lower to the ground immediately, and watched Jake's plummet. There were no worries. It's not like he would get hurt! Dogs always land on their feet, right? Or is that cats...
I cut that thought short as Jacob flawlessly landed on a branch about 20 feet above the forest floor. I let myself breath again as Jake bounded down the last few branches, landing on the ground with a dull thud and a rustle of tree leaves.
With a bound similar to Jacob's, I leaped downwards from limb to limb, and within 10 seconds, I was on the ground with Jake.
That was fun, Jacob laughed.
I laughed too (mentally, of course), and was still laughing when, a few seconds later, Jacob and I shot off toward home.
It was close to midnight when we neared First Beach. Before we got onto the beach, Jacob and I both phased into human form and dressed. We certainly didn't need any more wolf rumors running around.
The beach was brighter tonight, and the wet sand seemed to glow in the almost-metallic blue moonlight. The tide was strong, and it pulled a lot of sand with it. Jacob and I speed walked at the very edge of the water. Once when the tide was immensely strong, I had to jump out of the way to avoid getting sucked in. Jacob laughed at that.
When we got to Billy's, the lights were all still on, and I guessed that Billy would still have supper of some kind on the table, probably still warm.
"Hey Seth," said Billy when we got in. "Your mom called a minute ago, asking if you were staying here for the night."
Jacob nodded to Billy, and Billy smiled, and began to wheel his wheelchair towards the phone.
"Supper's on the table, boys," he added. "Help yourself, I've already eaten."
I smiled and followed Jacob into the kitchen/dining room.
Jacob and Billy's house always made me feel at home. It was a second home to me.
The kitchen was warm, filled with the smell of fresh tomato and pesto. I smiled. The warmth was a very welcoming thing, especially because of the hectically spiraling temperature outside.
"So I guess your dad was expecting me?" I asked as we ate some of Billy's "world famous" spaghetti.
"Yeah," said Jacob, twirling his fork into the steaming noodles. "Your mom wanted to know where you were, so I went to find you."
I thought about this for a second, staring at the delicious red pasta sauce.
"Wait, how did you find me?"
"Well, it wasn't easy," he began. "I got kind of irritated when I knew you weren't in wolf form. I punched a few trees." We both laughed. "Then I thought about where you usually go when you go off on your own. I checked the beaches first. Then I went through Forks, in human form. Then I phased back so that I could see if you had phased. Of course, you hadn't, but I heard a little bit of Leah's thoughts. She was mumbling something about running off to Seattle. I think she called you a pocket-sized gremlin."
"Hmm," I said, trying not to choke on the nearly scalding hot noodles. "I'll remember that."
He flashed a grin and then continued.
"So I went off towards Seattle, checking around the water sources, because Leah said you were whining about being thirsty before you left."
I smiled, remembering the cold stream in the forest, and kind of wanting to punch Leah in the face.
"And then, I just sort of found you."
I nodded incoherently.
"Seth, what the hell were you doing there anyways?"
I stumbled for a moment before answering.
"Oh, just enjoying nature." Wrong. It came out like this:
"Um... uh, just... enjoying nature?"
"Ok then," he said, sitting back a little bit. I was sure I hadn't heard that last of that.
Billy went to bed while we were still eating. It was only a little past midnight when Jake and I finished downing the spaghetti, and from what I could tell, Jacob wasn't planning on going to sleep anytime soon. That was absolutely fine with me. Sleep meant dreams, dreams meant nightmares, nightmares means that on the chance that I might remember one while I'm a wolf, the whole pack would know about my dreams... not a good thing.
Jake and I settled for watching an old Family Guy rerun. It was funny enough to get my mind off my troubles, and Jake laughed until he snorted and shot Coke out his nose, which made us laugh even more. After some of the ridiculous laughter began to subside, I got up to fix some popcorn.
Sitting on the couch for so long had made me a little tense. I walked into the warm and welcoming kitchen, popping my neck as I walked. The sound made Jacob snicker a little more. After finding the popcorn, I put it in the microwave. I got out a large clear glass bowl to put the popcorn in. As the popcorn cooked in the glossy black microwave, I looked out of the window, looking off into the sky.
The night sky was as black as pitch, maybe darker. The stars were brilliantly exposed from the usual cover of clouds. It was mesmerizing. I could recognize many of the constellations just by glancing. But it was the moon that really caught my eye. It was brighter than I had seen it in months. I supposed that it was a full moon tonight. The light emitting from the bright orb was so dazzling, I could barely pull my eyes away when I saw the girl.
Just behind the edge of the trees stood a girl, maybe ten, probably younger. If I had just glanced, I would have said it was Renesmee Cullen, Bella and Edward's daughter. It wasn't, not even close. This girl was whiter than white, whiter than the moon, and more entrancing. It took me too long to realize what the smell was. The sickly sweet scent of a vampire drifted in through the window. I had been around the Cullen family so much; the smell didn't have a repellent effect on me. It almost drew me in. The little vampire girl's eyes were brilliant red. She was dressed in ragged clothes, and her hair was the strangest shade of blonde, almost gray, despite her obvious youth. I didn't even realize that I was in danger.
The girl was staring at me, had been staring at me before I even noticed her.
The sound of glass shattering and a sudden sharp pain in my foot was all it took to distract me. I had dropped the glass bowl I was holding, breaking it into ten, twenty large, wicked-looking shards.
Jacob was at my side within seconds.
"Oh, crap," he said, dropping to a crouch on the balls of his feet.
One of the shards had lodged itself into my shoeless foot. I looked down at it with the same mesmerized look I had worn when I saw the vampire girl. Jacob grabbed the piece of glass and gently slid it out of the wound. It didn't bleed as much as I expected.
"Ouch," I said, about ten seconds late.
"Nice reaction," Jake said sarcastically, putting a red hand towel over the wound. Smart.
"Jake, clean up the glass, I can take care of my foot," I said, tying the towel around my foot. Jake swept the shards and bits of glass into a dustpan and then walked to the trash to dispose of them.
I wondered silently if he had noticed the vampire's scent. If he had, he kept quiet about it.
"Well, that was fun," said Jacob, turning to me with a slightly smug look. The microwave beeped.
"I think we'll need a new bowl for that," I mused, being a little sarcastic.
He smirked at me, and got a new bowl.
I forgot about the strange little girl almost completely, and my foot healed within minutes. The popcorn wasn't overdone, though I had expected it to be, and Billy had remained asleep throughout the whole ordeal. We sat down again on the couch, this time watching a new movie, some kind of action-adventure flick. It was a good movie, filled with all sorts of magical and mythical stuff, even a passing mention of werewolves. Jake laughed bemusedly when the characters were frightened on the night of a full moon when they heard howling in the forest.
Somewhere around a troll ambush and a meeting of an Elven council, I drifted into a dreamlike trance.
It was like someone had brought down heaven and poured a little of hell into it. Cloudy, very cloudy, and cold too. Through the mist of my trance-world came a red hot light, so bright that I could feel the heat pulsing from it. Like someone had poured hell into a cold, cold heaven. I was alone here, the solitary prisoner in this purgatory. And then above me, a door seemed to open, and standing there, saving me from purgatory was an angel. He was very tall, with red-brown skin, dark eyes, and long satiny black hair. All I could do was blink against the pulsating red light radiating from all around me, and the second light, white and brighter than the other. The angel extended his hand. My reaction was instant, and I reached for his hand. The distance between us disappeared, and I was alone with this angel. I was holding his hand. His hand felt like holding my hand close to a flame... I looked up into the face of my rescuer.
Then my trance broke abruptly, broken by a warm hand shaking my knee.
I opened my eyes.
And I looked into the dark eyes of the angel.
Into the face of Jacob Black.
It took me all of fifteen seconds to realize who I was looking at. It was almost like my mind was blocking out everything but his face and his eyes, those dark, alluring eyes. I was too entranced to realize that I was staring, something I always avoided. Then I looked away from his eyes and took in his expression. He was confused; disturbed even, by my expression.
I thought in silence, never looking away from his face. It had been a dream. I wasn't stuck in some kind of bizarre mixture of heaven and hell. I was in Billy and Jacob's small square living room, on the couch. Jake was staring at me as if I had just told him that I had seen an alien, even though I had said nothing. I was wide awake, sweating, even though I had just been asleep.
It took me all of two seconds to think all this, and then I tore my eyes away from his face and towards the TV, preparing to deflect any kind of question Jacob might shoot at me. I stared blankly at the television set, which seemed to be at the same part of the movie that I had fallen asleep at. How long had I been asleep?
"Seth?" said Jacob, warily. He hadn't looked away from me, although I had looked away from him.
I didn't respond, pretending to yawn. I didn't even look back at him, and instead, settled for fiddling with a strand of my messy brown hair.
"Seth," he repeated, not a question this time.
I attempted to make an intelligent response this time, but all that came out was "Mmhmm?"
Then I noticed that his hand was still on my knee, because he shook it again, more violently this time.
"What?" I said, snapping my head towards him.
"Are you okay?" he asked, more cautiously than before.
I stumbled internally to find the right answer.
"Why wouldn't I be?" tripped out of my lips before I had time to think.
Jake was silent for a moment.
"You were talking in your sleep," he said.
Oh crap. What had I said?!
"What did I say?" I asked, forcing back the blood that was trying to rush to my face.
He deliberated before answering.
"Something about heaven. I couldn't understand most of it. But right before I woke you up, I thought I heard you say 'my angel'."
Wow, I really dodged the bullet this time.
"I'm fine," I whispered, much quieter than I meant to be. "You just... scared the crap outta me."
I pushed his shoulder like a brother would, trying to act at least a little normal, crossing my fingers he wouldn't see through me.
"Okay," he said, relieved that I hadn't been having a seizure or something.
It was silent for a little too long.
"What time is it?" I asked.
"Around 1:30," replied Jacob. "You were only out for like five minutes."
Oh, wow! Thank God. That means that the dream was only at the beginning... I wonder how bad it could've gotten. Well, it had gotten bad enough for me to talk in my sleep.
"Really?" I asked, innocently. "It seemed like longer."
I glanced back to the TV.
Jacob didn't say anything else for a long while, and I thought in silence.
But I couldn't let my eyes look back at Jacob.
The boy I loved.