My life? Miserable. Miserable. Happy, for 5 minutes. Then, Guess What? Miserable.

I woke up to a major headache. Or was it heartache? Both.

Seeing her, Aria, was not good for my emotional condition. Sure, it was great to see her. If I lived in an alternate universe where my life was nice. But, sadly, I didn't, and seeing Aria, an Aria that couldn't possibly love me — a werewolf — made everything worse.

I felt like crying, again, but my eyes didn't agree with me. They were dry and puffy from the waterworks the night before.

I needed some serious consulting. A psychiatrist would've been nice, but I didn't want the Volturi on my tail for telling a shrink about the whole "werewolf/vampire" thing.

Jake would have to do.

"Hello?" Jake picked up, that was good. At least I wouldn't have to compose myself for Billy.

"Jake, it's me."

"Oh," he could tell that something was wrong from my tone. I wasn't sure what I sounded like right now, but it couldn't be good (maybe a starving, crying, angry, chimpanzee?). "What happened?"

"I… I saw her."

"Her?" he was definitely surprised by this information. "As in—"

"Aria," it hurt to say it. But I loved the way her name sounded. Just saying it after so long sent shivers down my spine. "She checked in yesterday."

"That's great!" I had no idea why he sounded so happy,"You two can finally meet each other! Man, I really don't know how the hell you lived without her for so long. I would've died without Ness!"

"Wait…? This is a good thing?"

"Yeah! Don't you get what is possible now? You can meet her. Get to know her. When you're comfortable, you can tell her about everything. This is a golden opportunity, man!"

"I could meet her?" It was virtually impossible for me to believe that the world could work that perfectly, there hat to be a catch. Give me this freaking horrible life then just pop out with a "golden opportunity" like this one, yeah right.

"Yes! Then you could move back and kick some vampire ass with the pack!" the prospect seemed so great when he explained it.

"Okay. Suuure…. I'll try that... Expect another call soon."

"'Kay. Bye."



"How the heck did you convince me to do that so easily?!" I questioned. I wasn't usually such a pushover. Actually, I was never a pushover at all.

"Um… maybe its 'cuz your subconscious knows that it's um… the right thing to do, so you, um… said ok…?"

"Oh… ok. But, damn. How do you do that?"

"It's in the alpha blood. We always have to explain how we convinced our packs to do things," he answered sarcastically.

"'Kay, bye."

"Bye," he said before I hung up.

So, I had a chance with Aria Ambler. Maybe she'd like — no, love — me too. Or not…

I must have sat there for at least an hour. Debating with myself if I should meet her or not.

In the end I decided to meet her. Not doing something because I might fail was not like me, the old me at least.

During the time space taken up from my debating with myself the headache/heartache seemed to have subsided. I guess hope can do that to you.

I quickly got dressed, running (at wolf speed may I add), throwing mismatched clothes all over the room in my haste.

I sprinted down the stairs in my frenzy — the elevator took too long.

Once I got to the ground floor I stopped. Humans = you need to stay at human speed.

I opened the door and walked over to the set of couches in the lobby.

The couches were arranged in a box-like shape so they were all facing each other. Luckily the particular arrangement allowed for me to see nearly the whole room.

I took my seat and picked up a magazine and pretended to read.

The planets must have realigned or something. For one of the first times in my life, I had good luck — it was only a few minutes until Aria came out of the elevator.

Just seeing her face again made my heart beat faster, and, I swear, my face flush slightly. I could see that this was a "now or never" sort of thing.

It was time to proceed with my plan A — "accidentally" cross paths with her and recognize her from high school. Hey, it was a winner in my book.

I got up and walked towards the reception desk as if I was going to ask the receptionist something. As I planned, our paths met.

"Hey!" I said, as if I was trying to pull back a long-ago memory of her face. "Weren't you in my high school class?"

"Huh?" her gaze shifted to me, and I treasured every nanosecond of it. I started memorizing her features, trying to act nonchalant.

She looked almost exactly the same as when we were in high school. A little older, I'll give, but she hadn't changed as much as I'd expected.

Her large violet-blue eyes still had that warm, understanding look to them. She had grown her hair out a little, and tied it in a ponytail. Her hair was dark brown, almost black. Combined with her lightly tanned skin, it made her look a lot like Kim, but more beautiful.

There wasn't anything out of the ordinary about her clothes — a simple t-shirt and jeans. Her fashion taste hadn't changed much either, a plus. Jeans and a T were fine to me.

Her face had a certain iridescent kindness to it, like she wouldn't even hurt a fly on purpose.

Jake was right, I thought, I may have a chance with her.

Then my pessimistic side woke up.

What if she rejected me as a werewolf? What if she just plain hated me? What if she left right after I told her my name? I was a home-schooled-freak after all…

If this did end badly, I would have more memories of her — of her smile, of her eyes, of her voice — to dwell on in my dejection. Which meant, guess what? More pain.

But, then again, the only way that I could ever break this cycle of misery was to at least try to get to know her.

I swallowed my fear and said, "In La Push, Washington?"

"Ooh!" she answered, her smile getting wider, "Now I remember! Sorry! I didn't recognize you at first. I don't have the best memory ever," she laughed a sweet, beautifully innocent laugh, "You look exactly the same, Embry!"

I was stunned. She actually knew my name! There was a second of silence, and she blushed, her cheeks turning red.


"No. It's not a problem…" I cut her off, amazed and thankful, "I'm just amazed you remembered my name!"

"Well… um…"

"Don't worry, I remember yours too, Aria, right?"

"Yeah. Wow, I didn't know you had such a good memory… I mean, because you were ho— never mind!" she thought she said something wrong, bringing up my home schooling.

"It's okay," I smiled, "My parents were overprotective. One fight and 'boom!' you're home schooled!"

"Oh. Okay then," she seemed relieved that she hadn't accidentally insulted me. It was quite contrary to anyone I met on a normal day. I liked it.

"So are you staying in this building? I just moved here…" she said, frightened.

"Yeah, penthouse. You just moved here?"

She nodded.

"Then do you know the best place in all of N.Y.C. to eat?"

She shook her head, that same innocent smile and blush creeping back onto her face.

"But I'd like to learn," she spoke. "Are you free for lunch?"

"Yeah. Want me to take you there now?" I asked.

"Sure," she smiled at me again.

Then something rather important came to me.

While we were walking out the door I told her, "Aria, do me a favor, please? Be careful. You shouldn't be so trusting of everyone in this particular city. Actually, any city. People that you're sure you know are fine, most of the time. But anyone who you don't know, be very careful around," my voice sounded a little more serious than I had hoped. But this was a serious matter.

Once I thought about what I had said, I figured that this would be a kind of test. An idiotic test. A stupid, freakin' insane, kind of test. But, hey, I had nothing better.

If she got too scared and left, like a normal person, and became scared of me forever, then I'd leave her alone.

If she said something like "okay" and stuck with me, then I'd keep an eye on her and go along with Jake's plan.

"Oh… thanks for the advice. I can be too trusting sometimes…" she grinned sheepishly. "But I know I can trust you."

"How?" I asked as we stepped out of the apartment building's main door and started the walk to the subway entrance.

"I can just feel it," she smiled wider, which made my heart skip a beat, yet again, and we continued walking.

I somehow managed to keep Aria talking the whole time. Asking her questions about how her life has been since high school and such.

One of the best things I learned about her was that she was looking for a job in the wonderful N.Y.C. "Help Wanted" sign, welcome to Posto Dell' Aria.

The walk from the subway to the restaurant was as short as it always was, and, for the first time, I wished it was longer.

I stopped Aria in front of the door.

"Posto Dell' Aria," I told her a second later.

"Posto Dell'… Aria?" she sounded surprised.

"Yeah… I thought it would be… appropriate."


I quickly texted Kevin before we went in, telling Aria that it was just some last minute business. I told him to make sure no one greeted me, or did anything to let Aria know that I owned the place. I was just a regular customer. I made sure to mention the word "date" so he would be inclined to listen.

Laura seated us in the corner of the restaurant, in the booth that she called the "love seat". Stupid right?

While Aria looked through the menu — I had designed most of it so it was memorized by heart — I remembered my life, and worse, my luck, again.

I didn't live in a freaking fairy tale. Sure, I met the girl I loved. And, maybe, she might love me too. But what were the chances of that? She's beautiful, smart, funny, wonderful, perfect, and kind. Oh, and did I mention perfect?

There was no way that she would love me, especially when I told her that I was a mutant werewolf freak.

How could I have been so damn stupid! To think that she'd even accept me after I told her that I wasn't human!

Sure, it worked for Jake, but Ness wasn't human either! Sam? Emily almost died! Quil? Claire was two, not exactly the smartest being on earth. Paul? Rachel already knew about wolves. Jared? Kim had a crush on him during high school, and he knew her!

My situation? I didn't know the girl, she didn't know about the pack, she was in her twenties (very good decision making abilities already developed), I haven't accidentally phased in front of her (thank God) and she was very human. Her wonderfully fresh, untainted aroma told me that much.

This had to be a dream. A messed up, insanely impossible, wonderful, dream.

"Um… why are you staring at me?" Aria asked — her face flushed. She captivated my every sense, to the extent where I — with my werewolf senses — didn't notice her put the menu down.

"Huh?" I snapped out of my trance, a slight frown on my face. "Sorry. You're just… never mind."

"Oh… okay," her tone told me she knew what I was going to say instead of "never mind". So, aren't you going to say something, you know, small talk?"

"Well… um… what's your favorite animal?" I asked. Kill two birds with one stone, as people would say. She would have her small talk, and I could get a preview into the bomb that I would have to drop, later.

"Um… Penguin. I know, weird. Not "dog" or "cat"…" she paused with a sad look on her face.

Her frown was one of the last things on earth that I wanted to see.

Only then did I realize how utterly controlled by this girl I was. If she was happy, I was happy. If she was sad, I would make her happy. That's how the world was going to work.

"No, not weird. Interesting," I assured with a smile.

She nodded, and that amazing smile returned to her face.

"Thanks. Next question?"

"Least favorite animal?"

Her face became serious, the smile fading, "Wolf."