A/N:Aww it's the last chapter...I've been updating this thing for almost 3 months now...it's a sad moment.
Thanks so much to everyone that read/reviewed. You're all amazing! Srsly, to the reg's you guys make my day. I hope that I can improve my writing and produce some Blackwater love in the future for you. The NM teaser trailer has got me beyond excited and I'm glad Taytay looks so damn hot. He's too hot for Bella now, he should be with Leah (says the girl who paired him up with Emily in this bizarro story).
To my girls from the IMDB New Moon board who reviewed like crazy last week thanks so much! Thats UWBJ, Fringebangs, Ginnehh, Minxaay,and Bec. *mwah* love u guys!
Ok, on with the end of the madness ;D
--- --- ---
I stood outside my childhood home finally looking at it with open eyes. Leaving had changed my perspective and I was seeing all the things I had previously taken for granted. I'd learnt how to ride a bike in this driveway. I'd practiced my first reverse park in this very street. I'd kissed Sam for the first time on this very porch. The memories that filled every square inch of this place were too heavy to carry with me. I was glad in a way, glad that so much of my life was here. It tied to me La Push. This was the only place in the world that offered me these feelings and I knew I could always return when I needed them.
Today was about moving forward though. It was about making new memoires. A new start somewhere that no one knew me. No expectations, No responsibilities. The slate would be wiped clean. The feeling was both exhilarating and nauseating. But I was ready.
With my hand on the doorknob I opened the door, finally prepared to say goodbye to my old life.
--- --- ---
The party was amazing, especially on such short notice. Emily had refused to let me in on any part of the organisation choosing instead to exile me to spend time with Sue and Charlie. I was happy to get out of there. She seemed to want to burst into tears every time she attempted eye contact. There were nearly sixty people gathered in the small home. The guest list was filtered down to those who meant the most to me, hand picked between Mom, Emily and Seth no doubt. Childhood friends, extended family. They were all here and all ready to say their goodbyes.
The pack were all in attendance and each had made a special effort to be particularly attentive to me throughout the evening. They'd each seemed genuinely upset at how much they would miss me. Every one of them made a point of pulling me aside and letting me know they were here for me. It was Paul's heartfelt goodbye followed by a bear hug that finally made me realise just how much I would miss all of them. They were my brothers, bound by this curse or not. We had fought along side one another and each was just as responsible for me standing here today as the other. I was glad to be so headstrong or their sad eyes and forced smiles would be enough to make me stay.
Seth and Emily were the worst. Mom had taken it hard but she seemed somewhat prepared for my decision. I was glad she had Charlie to help her through it. Seth had no one. As soon as he heard the news he spent the day following me around like a puppy dog. Although we occasionally fought like normal siblings we both knew that we would give our lives for one another. I would miss him the most but he could also benefit from not having the watchful eye of his overprotective sister on him constantly. As for Emily, well she just needed to figure out her feelings for Jake. He would be there for her regardless but he would be a greater comfort if she would just let him in. Their constant flirting was going to make Seth loose his damn mind if he had to put up with it on his own.
As amazing as the party was the loud music and flowing alcohol did nothing to hide the sadness that filled me. I was dangerously close to changing my mind. I had said my goodbyes over the course of the evening and I was pretty sure I was done. I wanted to sit back for a minute and just take in the sight of all of my loved ones under the one roof for the last time in a long time. Well, almost all of my loved ones. I half hoped Embry would make a guest appearance and sweep me off my feet but I knew that would never happen. I shook him out of my thoughts, something I was used to doing now, and returned my mind to the party.
Seth had found someone to consol him as he sat on the couch working his game. Gabriela Minx was an old classmate of his. Gorgeous and highly unobtainable she had barely said two words to him during high school. A visibly upset Seth seemed to be the key to gaining her attention and he was milking those large, broken hearted eyes for all they were worth. She placed her hand on his knee as a comforting gesture and his face suddenly grew even sadder then before. I smirked at the kid and shook my head. Somehow I knew he'd be fine without me.
Looking around the room one last time I saw Jake leaning up against Emily, his face just inches from hers as he played with a stray strand of hair. She was blushing as he leaned into her further and they now had their foreheads pressed against one another. He was finally going in for the kiss. As much as I wanted this to happen I realised I didn't particularly want to watch my ex making out with my cousin. I glanced around the room one last time. This was how I wanted to remember my friends. Happy, laughing, enjoying one another's company. This would be how I remembered them as I slipped away to my old bedroom.
I had decided to leave undetected when I realised my goodbyes were all said. It wouldn't take much more of this to get me to stay and tear streaked faces were not the last memories I wanted of my loved ones. Gathering the small bag I had left here earlier I chose my window as the best exit choice. Opening it, I was preparing to place one leg on the edge as a large warm hand reached out to me.
"Need help with your ninja like exit?" the voice said mockingly. I looked up to see Jake's pearly whites shinning through the darkness outside. I sighed and grabbed his hand as he helped me through the window.
"I'm starting to suspect you're a mind reader you know." I was annoyed that he ruined my plan.
"What can I say, you're an open book Leah. It really isn't hard to read you when you let someone in"
"Awww don't go getting all sentimental on me now Jakey, that's the whole reason for my stealthy exit."
He helped me through the window as his face took on an excited grin.
"I have a surprise that you may not be too pleased about. Well actually, I'm pretty sure you will be pleased but you'll try to hide it and pretend you're not."
I raised an eyebrow at him as my tone became sour.
"If it's about u and Emily finally hooking up then, yeah I know. Congrats."
He blushed. It was obviously not about that.
"Ah, no...but I'm glad you're cool with it. Its, ah, it's something else."
"I hate surprises Jake, you know that."
"You'll like this one, trust me. Don't be so pessimistic Clearwater. How about one last race before you go?"
I exhaled an over-exaggerated a sigh to hide the curiosity about my surprise.
"Ahhh Jake, not right now..."
"Hmmm, sounds like you're afraid you'll lose. I'll take that as a head start" and with that he was a blur streaking through the forest. Resisting the urge to yell a stream of profanities and draw unwanted attention I sprinted after him. Head start or not he was dreaming if he thought he was going to beat me.
We tore through the trees crushing branches under our heavy feet. Climbing over rocks, running through shallow streams. Our human bodies handled the rough terrain as well as our wolf forms did. Large strides and quick steps caught me up to Jake finally. We had covered a lot of ground in ten minutes and I was so focused on our little race that I had no idea where we now were. Jake suddenly stopped and I was running so fast I flew past him a few yards. Turning myself around smoothly I ran back.
"I won." He gloated.
"I had no idea where the finish line was buddy so don't get too cocky there. You had an unfair advantage."
He laughed at me, catching his breath in seconds. As I did the same I noticed we were standing outside of a small cottage. It was sturdy and strong. Although it looked reasonably new the actual structure was a less than modern design. It was small and humble, much like something from a less materialistic era. The windows were filled with a golden hue, candle light no doubt. The light was too warm to be artificial. I realised that there was no way this place was set up for electricity as it was so far removed from the rest of the world. The light indicated that there was someone inside though. I started to get suspicious.
"Ahh...what are we doing here Black?"
"This is where I leave you Lee. I think you know who is in there."
My breath caught suddenly.
"He's not coming out. You can choose to leave now and he won't come after you or you can walk through that front door and say a real goodbye to him. He knows you're coming and I can tell you he's hoping you pick the latter option."
I stood with my mouth hanging open like an idiot. This was the surprise I refused to get my hopes up over.
"But...why would you bring me here? I thought you guys hated one another..." I blurted out while trying to jumpstart my brain again.
"Who do you think helped him build this place? If you want anymore answers you'll have to ask him. You know I love you, I'll always love you. I want you to be happy with whomever you choose to be with. I'm only a phone call away. Night or day, anytime. You'll always have your beta position waiting here for you upon your return."
With that he kissed the top of my head and turned to run into the pitch black forest. I stood frozen in place as I stared at the door of the cottage. Before realising it my legs had carried me to that very spot and my hand was balled into a fist ready to knock on the door. Stopping for a second I tried to figure out if this was what I really wanted or if I should cut my losses and run back now. While my brain was taking its time to think that over my heart betrayed me and I heard myself knocking on the door.
The handle turned and I stopped breathing.
There he stood, as beautiful as I remembered. His face was plastered in that glorious smile that had made an appearance in too many of my recent dreams. His eyes were glistening as he stared deeply into mine. They were whole again, as full of want and desire as they used to be pre-imprint. Everything about him was the Embry of before, the Embry I had taken for granted. The same boy who had promised to fight an imprint for me now stood as a man who way beyond happy to see me. He was frozen in place waiting for me to make the first move.
So I did. I punched him in the face.
His head jerked back but he recovered quickly, as if he was expecting it. I walked into the house yelling at him and pushing my finger into his chest to emphasize each word.
"You ass, you ENOURMOUS ASS! You know how many nights I've spent thinking about where you were, who you were with? If you were dead or close to it? I had thoughts of you picking fights on purpose just to get rid of some pent up frustration. You being arrested, you taking your own life, turning to drugs, turning to hookers for some cheap thrills...you haveno idea what has been going through my mind Embry Call and now it turns out you've been this close to La Push the whole time and you...."
He wiped the blood from his lip and pushed me back against the wall. His swollen lips collided with mine and his kiss was full of fire. As his tongue entered my mouth I felt the passion behind it. Raw and undiluted. His hand moved around the back of my neck and through my hair. His other hand was rubbing against my thigh and up towards my waist. It was as if didn't believe I was real. His hand was grazing over my skin for confirmation and each new touch made him want to explore more. I began to get dizzy as my head tried to piece together what was going on. He felt it and pulled back, mistaking my bewilderment as resistance.
"I'm so sorry Lee, if I crossed a line I didn't mean to. Its just that I've been thinking of doing that every minute for the last two months and with you here now, I couldn't help it."
My brain was unable to form words yet as I stood staring at him. I was flushed, hotter then usual. I was almost prepared to let him get away with not explaining himself but my silence had led him to think he needed to.
"I know I have a lot of explaining to do. Basically I took off completely heartbroken. I ran as a wolf for six weeks straight, further then I had ever been in my life. I tried to come to terms with Emily's rejection as well as the feelings I had for you. Finally I decided I was prepared to fight the imprint so I came to the one person I knew had beaten it. Jake. At first he didn't want to hear from me, especially as you two were still technically an item at the time. I could tell even then that he was happy about my choice to give up on Emily and he agreed to help. He got all of the guys to involved; they were the ones who built this place with me..."
"Whoa, hold on..." I interrupted. "You mean to tell me they all knew about this? Even Seth?" my tone was angrier then I meant for it to be.
"Don't blame them Lee's, I asked them not to tell you. I didn't want to confuse you until I was sure I was able to offer myself to you completely. Jake has spent this whole time helping me through the worst of it. He's been really great, honestly. I didn't know if I was ready until he stopped by today and told me about your decision to leave. When he did I knew it. I knew that I couldn't live without you Lee. I wasn't sure how you felt about me and Jake didn't feel comfortable bringing it up so we left it up to you. And you chose the right option by the way." His face broke into a larger smile then before, he was clearly having trouble suppressing his good mood.
"So, are you telling me that you're not in love with Emily anymore? That you're over it. Forgive me if I sound bitter Em but I've been down this road before and it's hard for me to believe that you really know how strong this thing is."
"Trust me Lee, I know. I'm not sure if I'm ready to face her yet, Jake hasn't seen his imprintee since, well, you know, but he thinks it takes around a year before you're able to be near them again. I think he might be right. I know those feelings I had before were superficial and I don't want to go back there again but I'm confident that I'm ready to move on. I know this. For the last two months my every thought has been about you. About us. Everyday I fought the urge to come back to La Push. Had it not been for Jake and the other guys I don't know if I would have had the strength. Seeing Emily again could ruin everything, I'm glad they were there to stop me."
I moved towards the chair that sat in his living room. I needed to sit down. He followed closely behind, getting to his knees in front of me. He sat his hands on my thighs and rubbed them in an attempt to comfort me. I was overwhelmed, trying to take it all in.
"So you're telling me you're not in love with Emily but you can't be near her yet because you're not sure what will happen if you are."
"And that you, Jake, and the other guys have been secretly bonding over the last seven months while you've attempted to fight this thing."
"And that you're sure you're in love with me."
"Without a doubt. Yes."
"You're going to have to give me a minute her Em. This is a fair bit to take in. An hour ago I was ready to leave you behind and now you're confessing you've spent the last few months preparing yourself for me?I just, I'm going to need some time."
"I know you do Lee....but before you think for too long I want to propose something to you. I know you're leaving and, well, I want to come with you."
My breath started to catch again.
"That's not 'giving me a minute' you know..."
"Sorry." He winced a little "but I don't want you to make any major decisions without hearing me out. I've been working for this whole time, landscape stuff mostly. Combined with my previous savings I have a enough for us to start a new life somewhere. We can travel or we can move to the city and look into study options. I should have enough to get us both through college if we take up part time jobs. Then again, seeing the world with you is something that I've wanted for a long time too. If we were to study, get that out of the way, we could look at taking things from there..."
"Slow down Em, I've just left. I was kinda hoping to just follow this path and see where it takes me. Leave it up to fate, you know?"
"Well it brought you here." He added quietly.
I sat for a few minutes as his words finally settled into the chaos that was currently my head. He was offering me a new life. A life with him.
"Are you upset?" he asked, his tone somber.
"Upset about what?"
"That fate brought you here. You don't have to say yes Lee, I know this is a lot to take in. I wouldn't blame you if you walked out of here and forgot about me completely."
His eyes were full of hurt, much like they used to be. Only this time I cared. I truly cared. I didn't want him to be so upset. I didn't want to be responsible for that look ever again. I wasn't ready to tell him just how much I loved him yet. I never wanted to loose him again. I was done with those games and ready for my new life. Now that I knew it involved him it finally felt like everything made sense.
I stood up as he jumped to his own feet instantly. Those sad eyes of before flashed with a glimmer of hope before fading back. He lowered his head in an attempt to keep them from me and I brushed my hand over his cheek.
"I hope you know what you're getting yourself into her Call. I'm not going to make it easy for you."
His face lit up in an instant. It was his turn to be left speechless now. I grabbed his arm and swung down onto the chair below me. Moving to sit in his lap, I was now straddling his waist. Grabbing a fist full of his shirt I pulled his face towards mine and with a deep breath, took in the familiar musky scent of his skin.
"We'll sort out the details later. For now we need to get reacquainted properly."
And with that our lips were on one another again. As the fire ripped through me all thoughts of our future plans were lost to the present. For now I wanted nothing more then to be with Embry, my Embry, once again. Whatever happened next would be something we faced together. A choice made by fate that I finally agreed with.