Chapter 4: Resolution
A/N: Hey folks! Ok for real this time, this is the final and last chapter of 'At the End of the Winding Road'. *gasp* I know, I know, but thank you all so much even if you read and didn't like it, at least you gave it a try and I'm grateful even for that. So without wasting any more of your precious time, here it is: chapter four. Enjoy!
Note: A lot of you reviewed the last chapter asking why Leah was so moody and why she seemed so self-depreciative. Well my answer to that is that she is very unstable. Her two selves, her old, bitchy self and her new sensitive and hurt self, are battling for dominance over her, which explains her mood swings. Also, the reason she became sensitive in the first place was because of her row with Jacob in the forest. I believe in my first or second chapter I mentioned that that incident had broken Leah's spirit, making her depressed and wounded. You'll see more of her mood swings in this chapter, with her old self making a come-back toward the end. There, hope that clears things up for you guys.
One last time I looked at Jacob and when my smarting eyes took in his livid expression, only two words left his lips, "Leave, Leah."
You just fucked yourself over, Leah. He's told you to leave. He never wants to see you again… you'll never see him again… he doesn't love you, he hates you…
Feeling my heart shatter in my chest, I turned and ran, pushing past every obstacle, person or furniture and flew out the front door. The cool air tingled against the moist skin of my face as I did what I did best: running. Leaping into the air I made to phase, however, the rush of heat down my spine failed to come and, horrorstruck, I tumbled face first onto the ground.
I couldn't phase. No matter how hard I tried to will myself to phase, I couldn't. Why? Why couldn't I phase?!
*** BLACKWATER ***
I had never felt more hurt and cheated in my entire life. My wife had cheated on me with another man and even had a child by him not me. Carlisle's paternity test results had proven it. The test had come back negative and it was true; the baby was no relation of mine whatsoever. Leah… All these years, all this fucking time I had shot Leah down time and time again, hurt her and now I owed her a big apology. A fresh surge of fury for Renesmee overwhelmed me, this time not because of her infidelity but because of my Beta.
"I trusted you, Ness," I forced through gritted teeth, my fists like two clenched boulders by my sides as my shoulders shook uncontrollably under my anger, "I trusted you and you do this! How could you, Renesmee? How the fuck could you?! Even though I gave you my all was that still not enough?"
Renesmee's chocolate orbs landed on me and I saw the iciness in them for the first time; the cruelty and the monstrosity that Leah had told me about countless times before that I had refused to believe. You've crushed Leah, Jacob. She stuck by your side and you let her down. I felt real rage for Renesmee, which was new to me and strange considering she was my imprint. As far as I knew, Quil never got uptight with Claire no matter what she did, nor Sam with Emily for that matter. But then again neither of them has a scheming felon for an imprint.
Tears sprung to my eyes as guilt consumed me, "Why, Renesmee? That's what I'd like to know."
"We just weren't meant to be, Jacob. You were a great husband Jacob but-"
For short moment, Renesmee actually looked apologetic, but that went as swiftly as it came and the look of spite returned to fill the gap, "Never mind, no matter. I'm sure your whore of a bitch will take you. It's what she wants after all, to have you all to herself."
Shock flooded me as I registered her staggering words. She had never spoken to me like that before, and neither had I to her. Something had changed between us, I could feel it, and it wasn't the fact that she'd been unfaithful. I no longer felt the constant, burning love for her like I always did and neither did I feel bound to her. And then I exploded.
"DON'T YOU FUCKING CALL HER A WHORE! SHE'S TEN TIMES BETTER THAN YOU'LL EVER BE!"
Renesmee emitted a callous laugh, "Don't lie to yourself Jacob. She is a whore; she's your whore. You used her and you know it. You were torn up over Bella and just needed someone to tide you over until you met someone else; met me."
I began shaking my head in disbelief, still furious, "We've never been like this before, to be able to yell at each other like that."
"We've never been able to. We can now though, since our bond has been broken. That's right, Jacob, the imprint broke the moment you were bitten." She smirked at me like a rich man who had just stumbled upon more gold, "That's why I could stand to be away from you even when you were in the state you were in."
The imprint broke. I was free, no longer bound to Renesmee by invisible wires of steel that influenced every action of mine. I didn't know whether to be happy or to lament. Be happy you idiot. You're free to love whoever you choose to now. Free to love Leah…
"You should go find, Leah." Renesmee remarked nonchalantly, cocking her head to the side as she surveyed my growing anger again toward her attitude, "Angry, I see? Well go hunt Leah down and maybe she'll let you use her as your punching bag like last time."
I saw red at that last sentence. She was right, I knew it. I should never have laid hands on Leah that way. It was rash, brutal and asshole-worthy. And truly, I deserved every ounce of hate that Leah held for me. I would let her hit me the way I hit her if that was what it took to make up for being such an insensitive, cruel bastard, although I didn't think I was worthy of her forgiveness.
In an instant, I had Renesmee backed up against the nearest wall, my hands planted firmly on her shoulders as she winced slightly in pain. Nahuel was crouching low, snarling at me as he prepared to pounce. The Cullens were crouched too, but unlike Nahuel who looked vicious, they looked ready to stop me being rash not attack me.
"You're an unfeeling bitch, Renesmee. I'm sorry I ever met you," Each word that left my mouth was laced with pure revulsion as I glowered at her.
"What're you going to do, Jacob?" She taunted coolly, "Hit me like you hit Leah?"
With a deafening roar my fist hurtled into the wall beside Renesmee's head, splitting my knuckles. Renesmee gasped in shock and her face scrunched up before she whimpered and ducked out from under me and ran to Nahuel's side. However, her shocked expression soon shifted back to mocking and as her lips parted to supposedly continue her verbal taunts, Bella cut her off.
"Be quiet!" Bella barked angrily, her honey-brown eyes blazing with intensity as she pointed at her daughter, "You, you're my daughter, I didn't raise you to be this way! Nor have I ever taught you that adultery is tolerable in any circumstance! My own flesh-and-blood and yet now I'm ashamed to say I know you."
Edward's eyebrows knitted as he frowned at his daughter before replying to her thoughts, "I wouldn't say it, Renesmee."
"No, Edward. I'm sick of all of you treating me like a child!" Renesmee spat. She was spoilt rotten and now that Leah had opened my eyes I saw her for the little ingrate she was.
Renesmee looked Bella straight in the eye, "You're a fine one to speak of adultery and infidelity, mother. Didn't you kiss Jacob whilst you were engaged to Dad before I was born?"
With a loud smack, Bella's stone hand collided with Renesmee's left cheek. She stumbled back a little from the impact, a large bruise already forming on her pearly complexion. "Get out of my sight, Renesmee! I disown you! Get out! I never want to see you again! I will not have a daughter whose respect for me lies at the level of her feet!"
The fuming ingrate glared at her mother before walking over to Rosalie, and wrenched her baby from the blond vampire's arms. Even Rosalie was scowling at her niece now and nothing could beat what she said next, "You know, dear niece, I never liked doggy-boy over there that much, but what you've done and what you've become has just put you miles below him on my blacklist."
"Let's go, Renesmee." Nahuel stated sternly, his eyes still scanning the Cullens and me warily as he backed out of the front door with Renesmee following. However, she halted at the threshold and looked back at me her eyes mocking once more.
"Leah loves you, you know. She always has." Renesmee said, before she smiled maliciously and cackled, "You'll be lucky if she hasn't thrown herself off a cliff in grief by now." With that she turned on heel and that was the last I would ever see of Renesmee Cullen.
As the front door swung shut, ending yet another chapter of my complicated life, a pregnant silence engulfed the Cullens' household once more and guilt flooded my conscience. What had I done? For the past eight years I had hurt Leah, shot her down time and time again without giving her a chance. No amount of apologies would ever be adequate to make up for my wronging of her now.
"Jacob? Esme's voice was calm in contrast to the tension I felt and her pale hand felt like an ice block against the heat of my russet shoulder, "Jacob, maybe you should go and look for Leah. I worry about what she might do, but she's in a fragile state so handle her with care, with love."
I was shaking now, my temper imminent to exploding. The last time I had felt this angry was when Bella had left for Volterra to save Edward all those years ago. I knew I would phase any second now and I didn't care if I wrecked any of the Cullens' beautiful furniture or upholstery. I was angry at myself for allowing myself to be played like a fiddle in Renesmee's orchestrated scheme and as I waited for the familiar surge of fire up my spine, it never came.
Hard as I tried, I remained on my own two feet. What the fuck? I wanted to run, run into the woods and search for my Beta but I couldn't. Why the fuck couldn't I phase? The tingling pain in my fist from punching the wall had not faded either and as I looked down at it, I realized it was bleeding profusely. It seemed I wasn't healing either.
Edward cleared his throat, interrupting my thoughts, "If my suspicions are right, Jacob. You're no longer a shape shifter and neither is Leah."
"What?" I asked, dumbstruck.
"I think that's why you or Leah can't phase, because you no longer have the ability to. When your imprint with Renesmee broke I suspect it took your shape shifting abilities with it, and since you're the pack Alpha it only makes sense that Leah loses her shape shifting abilities too or she'd be left without an Alpha."
A pang of worry slapped at my gut as Renesmee's words rang in my ears like a broken record on repeat. What if Leah had thrown herself off a cliff or done something to harm herself? Was she still alive? Leah, my Beta, my friend, my Leah.
Edward dug his hand into his pocket and pulled out his car keys, "Take my Volvo. You'll get to the Clearwaters' much faster that way than on foot."
"The Clearwaters?" I repeated.
"Last thought I heard from Leah was that she was heading on home." Edward replied coolly, "Don't worry, time's on your side. She's not planning on suicide for the moment."
For the moment. With adrenaline pumping in my veins I thanked Edward, took his keys and left with the Clearwaters' residence as my destination.
*** BLACKWATER ***
A lot had taken place in the last hour or so. For one thing, I didn't feel as cut up about everything as I did when I had first left the Cullens' and I was no longer contemplating suicide. My old self was returning at a very rapid pace and I could feel my heartbreak being replaced with anger. I looked at my reflection in my bedroom mirror. Once upon a time my eyes had looked like grey rocks in a stream, cold and lifeless but now I could see the sparks beginning to sizzle in them. The cat was now out of the bag about Renesmee and as much as I told myself that if Jacob wanted to be an idiot and pine over her, he could, a part of me still longed for him.
Gee man, you really are fucked up Leah Clearwater. What kind of man longs for a man who has used her and abused her before?
But it wasn't abuse! My conscience was a right pain in the ass sometimes. I'd asked for it that day in the forest; I shouldn't have hit Renesmee. But that didn't mean he had to hit you. I was bitter about it, I admit that, but for some weird reason I had always felt drawn to Jacob. No matter how stupid he was or how much he hurt me, nothing could change the fact that my heart held a flame for him and it didn't look like that was going to change.
What exactly was bloody fate doing with my life? It had let me have one success now that the truth about Renesmee was out but it hadn't let me reap the rewards of it, if there were any.
Shit. I froze my feet rooted to the spot as Jacob's voice echoed down the corridor of my home. Panic began to engulf me as my mind struggled to come up with reasons as to what he was doing here. My room was just round the corner for the corridor and I knew he would see me the moment he rounded the corner. My legs rushed forward and just as Jacob's face came into view I slammed the door in his face and locked it. Bits of my old self were screaming to run and hide. What if he had come back to finish me off? I pressed my back against the door and sank to my knees. If he's come to finish you off you're not going down without a fight.
"Leah? Lee, please!" Jacob cried from behind the door, "Please open the door. I'm so- I've got some- just p-please-"
Stuttering had never been a habit of Jacob's and with some newfound courage I replied harshly, "What d'you want?"
Silence followed. Oh gee boy, speed it up I don't have all day to wait for you to compose whatever you want to say. My old self growled impatiently within me as I waited for Jacob's response. He hadn't sounded angry, not even a bit. His husky voice had been desperate and pleading. Old Leah snickered, coming further out from the shadows; well at least he's not going to finish you off.
"L-Leah I- I've been such a jerk! I'm w-wrong I know I am, I'm s-sorry! Please Leah let me in?" My Alpha whimpered, his voice cracking as he begged, "I'm so sorry Leah! Open the door! Please? Please!"
Oh so now the boy's begging. After all those years you begged him to give you a chance, now he was begging and expects to be let in the first time? No way, not a chance. But then my wounded spirit spoke out, telling me to seize the opportunity and let Jacob apologise. The two halves of me fought like vicious beasts trying to gain dominance and I didn't know what to do. One half was telling me to open the door and the other half was telling me to make him beg.
He didn't just hurt you, Leah, he broke you! You deserve better than him! But I love him…
"Go away, Jacob!" Eventually, my old self won that battle and the words left my mouth like burning flames of fury, "Why the fuck did you tell me to leave if you were just going to come back and beg?"
"No, L-Leah please! I told you to l-leave because I d-didn't want you to see me lose my temper. Please, Leah! I'm so sorry for everything I've done to you!" Jacob entreated his voice fraught as he repeatedly tried to open the door by twisting on the locked doorknob. His voice broke and what sounded like a gurgled sob escaped him as I heard a thump on the ground outside, "P-Please let m-me in, Lee! Believe me, I'm so sorry, I know I'm w-wrong and I s-should've listened to y-you, gave you a c-chance. I was an i-idiot just p-please let me a-apologise! I n-need to s-see your face. I'm on my knees, please!"
His voice ate into me like acid, melting away the flames of anger that burned so voraciously in my soul. My bottom lip trembled and as the lump in my throat increased in size, I knew I was crumbling again. The first fat teardrop fell and after that one more followed suit. I shook my head and subconsciously my hand rested on my stomach, feeling the horrible scars on my front and the pain I had experienced getting them.
"YOU HURT ME, JACOB!" I screamed agitatedly, not bothering to wipe my tears away, "I told you so many times, over and over, and what did you do? You chucked me aside and ignored me. Do you know how much that hurt me? Do you know what it feels like to have the man you gave your heart to treat you like dirt?"
It didn't matter that I had just told him I loved him. All I wanted then was to tell him what I had endured to get to where I was. A sniff and a sob sounded from behind the door and I knew he was crying now. Men don't cry for nothing, Leah.
"WHY ARE YOU CRYING? YOU'RE NOT THE ONE WHO SUFFERED!"
Jacob sniffed his voice hoarse, "I'm begging you Leah, p-please. I was n-naïve and s-stupid! I was w-weak! Don't make m-me go through this L-Leah-"
Old Leah exploded at that point. How dare he beg me to put an end to his agony? How dare he? Getting to me feet and I wrenched open my bedroom door with my hand pulled back, and when I saw him knelt on the ground I struck. With a deafening slap my hand met his cheek and I saw him wince in pain. His head hung low in shame as tears rolled down his russet cheeks.
"How can you ask me to fucking spare you your pain when for eight fucking years I wallowed in mine without you or anyone else giving a shit!"
His shoulders shook as he raised his head to face me, "I don't k-know what e-else to do. Tell me L-Leah how c-can I make it u-up to y-you?"
He's genuinely sorry, Leah. You know what it's like to be ignored. Don't make him suffer that pain. Don't. The tingling in my heart wanted me to reach out to him, chastise him seriously but forgive him after that. My old self on the other hand was screaming for vengeance and justice. I towered over him as he remained on his knees, his dark, shining eyes searching my face for any clue. I just stood with my own tears like rivers of sorrow down my face, shaking my head grievously at him.
Comfort him Leah, he's already apologized, what more can he do? He's a victim too.
"I did so much for you," I choked out, before swallowing hard and continuing, "When you were lying on that bed, I stayed there the whole time. I sponged your forehead and whispered to you in hope that maybe, just maybe you were listening and would know I was there with you. But no, the entire time all you dreamt of was her, you moaned her name over and over and…"
Life was so ironic. For the past eight years I had dreamt of this day; the day when Jacob had seen the light and he would come to me, yet here I was scolding him. But I didn't want to give in as easily as my sensitive self was tempting me too. Yes, I loved him very dearly and I wanted him, but he had wronged me many times and he needed to learn from it.
"No, I dreamt of you too," Jacob said, hesitantly getting to his feet and when I didn't react, stood to full height. His cheeks were flushed and he was clad in the same plain white shirt and jeans he'd been wearing from earlier. Eight years had passed. He was twenty-five now. Gone was the arrogant and smart-ass sixteen-year-old that was now replaced with a grown man who had realized his mistakes and was apologizing for them.
He dreamt of me?
"They were strange dreams. Your face kept morphing between Renesmee's and yours, and at first I saw you as the villain but at the end Renesmee was." He continued, frowning, "She was holding a dagger of some sort and you were trying to escape but couldn't. Then she stabbed you with it right in the heart over here…"
Jacob halted as his hand placed itself over my heart. I gasped too, my eyes sliding shut and forcing fresh tears to spill forth. I knew what he had seen on my chest just peaking above the v-neck shirt I wore: the beginnings of my scars. The scars he had put there in his violent tirade. I could see the horror on his face as he slowly lifted the hem of my shirt, his eyes following the three long scars up my torso.
Pain spread across his handsome face as his eyes watered, "Oh God Lee, I'm such a monster. What have I done to you?!"
I remained silent as tears streamed down my face. Words were evading me as I began walking backward away from him further into my room, shaking my head as I wrapped my arms around myself. My back hit the wall behind me and my gaze fell to my feet.
Jacob must have taken my silence as rejection as he began nodding his head and backing away, "It's a-alright. I understand. What I've d-done is u-unforgivable. I don't even deserve to be alive."
Panic flew through me as he turned and started to jog away, both sides of myself, the old and the new, recognizing that, despite my anger, if I didn't take this chance I would lose him forever. NOW, LEAH!
My legs felt like dead weights but I forced them forward nonetheless, striding after him before flinging my arms around his waist from behind and burying my face into his back. I broke down instantly as a bunch of emotions exploded inside me. I couldn't describe the soaring feeling I felt as I held him in my arms after so long.
Jacob turned around shortly after and embraced me tight, nestling his head into the side of my face as we cried together. I didn't think he was weak at all for crying. Right now my anger was put aside. I would deal with that later. I was not going to let him back into my life just like that. He was going to have to work for it, but for now just being in Jacob's arms was a dream come true and I was going to savour every minute of it.
"You a bastard, Jake," I mumbled after a while, snickering slightly as my old self leapt about in celebration of my triumph, "Don't think I've forgiven you yet."
We released our hold on each other and my Alpha looked at me sincerely, "I really am sorry, Lee. I understand you'll take time but promise you will forgive me one day. I'll do anything. If you want me to stay away I will, just tell me what to do."
No, I didn't want him to stay away, that was the last thing I wanted right then. I was still angry with him but I knew that telling him to 'go kill himself' or something of that sort was not going to heal my wounded heart.
My old self was in full swing now and I knew that she was here to stay now that my sorrows and woes were finished. "Oh I'll forgive you, just maybe after a bit more begging and a few more tears. After all, you look pretty cute after you've been blubbering, almighty Alpha, your nose turns bright red."
Jacob grinned and chuckled, sniffing, "I'm not your Alpha anymore, I don't think."
"Edward thinks we've lost our shape shifting abilities." Jacob explained, lifting his fist to show me the gauze bandage, "My imprint with Renesmee broke when I was bitten. That's why I had those dreams about you. My mind was probably clearing the filter that Renesmee had pulled over my eyes and I was becoming aware of the truth. We're fully human now apparently."
I knitted my eyebrows. That would explain why I couldn't phase. "The imprint broke?"
"Yeah, the bitch has gone off with Nahuel. Bella slapped her then disowned her," Jacob stated with snicker, before his face became reproachful again, "So what do I have to do to redeem myself?"
I crossed my arms over my chest, "I'm still planning your punishment."
*** BLACKWATER ***
2 months later
I realized about a week after that day that I was in love with Leah. I lived with her at her home now. Sometimes she'd be sitting on the couch watching television and I'd be sitting on the armchair adjacent to her, and whenever she smiled or laughed I felt my heart go aflutter.
However, as she had said, she had planned punishment for me and it was harsh, but I learnt my lesson. This was how I'd treated her and she was making me experience it. After that day in her home when we had held each other, she hadn't let me touch her at all. Not even so much as grazing her hand with mine. She starved me of any physical contact whatsoever and she hardly ever spoke to me. Whenever we did speak it was because it was necessary.
Seth, Quil and Embry had called the night after, frantically yelling that something was wrong and that none of them seemed to be able to phase. Leah had not let me talk to them. She said it was part of my punishment, and as she slowly retold her tale my heart broke all over again. And it killed me that I wasn't allowed to go to her, wrap her in my arms and apologise repeatedly. However, it comforted me to know that I was safe from the wrath of Seth as Leah had ordered him not to hurt me. Leah didn't look at me even for the rest of the night.
At present I was seated on the couch reading the newspaper and I looked up when I heard Leah approach with lunch. I mumbled a word of thanks as I accepted the plate of food. Yum, steak with carrots and peas in barbeque sauce. I always thought she'd been lying when she said she couldn't cook. However, as she walked back to the kitchen counter to eat her own lunch, a red stain on the back of her track pants caught my eye. I squinted and the stain seemed to be getting larger if I looked hard enough.
"Leah," I called, knowing that she'd ignore me anyway, "Lee, you're bleeding,"
That earned a response from her, "What? Where?"
I pointed downward and she gasped when she realized what I was talking about. I saw her fly up the stairs and up into the bathroom and heard the bathroom door click shut. Worry nagged at me as I pondered why she was bleeding. Her periods had stopped when she began phasing but we'd stopped now so did that mean…
"Jake, I need to go to the Cullens'." She stated rather tonelessly. She had changed into a white muscle-back sports singlet and was also sporting a different pair of track pants. I nodded immediately and put my food down, grabbed my car keys and out the door we went.
Although I was shooting her worried glances the entire journey as we drove in my Rabbit to the Cullens', she ignored me nonetheless. I could tell she was anxious too from the way she was constantly worrying her bottom lip and wringing her hands. I pulled into the Cullens' driveway and Edward greeted us both at the door. Esme hugged Leah and I saw one of Leah's rare smiles as they embraced.
"Is Carlisle around?" Leah asked, glancing around the living room for any sign of the Doctor Cullen.
"Yes, he's coming down right now," Edward replied immediately, smiling at Leah before acknowledging my presence and gesturing for me to sit.
Carlisle descended the last flight of stairs, "Leah, what can I do for you?"
The rest of the conversation was inaudible to me as Leah followed Carlisle back up the stairs to his study, I supposed. It was strange now, not being able to hear the intricate sounds of things I'd been able to hear before as a shape shifter. What I did hear however, was Emmett's booming laughter as he approached me and slapped me on the back, hard.
"Hey Jake," The biggest Cullen greeted jovially, plonking himself down on the couch beside me, much to the displeasure of his wife. "How're things going with you and the lady? Is she still ignoring you?"
I sighed and shrugged, "Yep." My attention immediately drawn to the plate of blueberry muffins Esme had just set down on the coffee table in front of me. One upside of being human again was the absence of the vampire stench. Their scent wasn't unbearable anymore like it had been before, now it was just like a strong floral scent that could give you a bit of a headache if you inhaled it too much. "Thanks Esme."
"Don't worry, Jake," Esme comforted, her caring eyes beaming at me, "You've learnt your lesson, I see. She'll reward you soon."
"What's wrong with her?" Rosalie asked curtly out of the blue, her honey-coloured eyes blazing as she eyed me in annoyance.
"She's bleeding, maybe internally, but we don't know."
Much to my utmost surprise, her pursed lips broke into a sly smile as she glanced at Emmett, "I'm going to win this bet, Em."
"I wouldn't be so sure yet, dearest wife," Emmett teased, "Alice's visions don't always come true."
"They do majority of the time."
I looked around confusedly, looking to Esme for an explanation. What the hell were they betting about?
"Alice had a vision about you and Leah last week, and someone else." Esme replied, chuckling, to my confused face, "She saw the both of you, married, in her little house, with a baby daughter."
My eyebrows leapt up onto my forehead, "Really?"
Alice skipped out of the corridor, smiling widely at me, "Yeah. She was very cute, looked just like you."
"So that's what you're betting about?" I asked incredulously. The thought of Leah and I getting married seemed far-fetched enough with the way things were between us at the moment, much less having a child with each other.
"You'll owe Rosalie and me five hundred grand when it happens, Emmett." Alice sang happily, twirling around and clapping in delight.
Five hundred grand? Shit that was more money than Leah and I had put together! The details of Alice's vision swam around in my mind as I thought about it. Was Alice's vision truly an insight to my future with Leah? Would things actually turn out that way for the both of us? I liked to think so. I cared for Leah and with each passing day my feelings for her only seemed to intensify. I could only wish for my punishment to end soon so I could hug Leah tight and hold her in my arms.
"She does love you, Jacob, never doubt that." Esme interrupted my thoughts, surveying my face. She obviously knew what it was thinking about. Gee was I that transparent? "And she'll come round soon enough."
I could hear footsteps descending the stairs and I saw Carlisle approaching. Where was Leah? She wasn't ill, was she? The image of Leah lying on one of the beds upstairs with wires and lines running all over played through my head and worry egged at me. "Is Leah alright? She's not sick or anything is she?"
Edward just laughed as he read Carlisle's words before he could say them, "No, quite the contrary! She's never been better I think."
Carlisle nodded in agreement, "Leah's fine, Jacob. She's just getting dressed."
Relief consumed me and I felt as if a giant boulder had been lifted off my back. Leah came down the stairs a minute later and she was smiling at me. I kept my lips zipped as she approached me. A thousand words wanted to spill forth and I wanted to fire many questions at her, but I remember that my punishment had not been lifted and I didn't want to upset her.
"Guess what?" Leah said her eyes bright with excitement as she stood just less than thirty centimeters from me.
The most brilliant smile spread across her face as she revealed the good news, "I got my period back, Jake. I'm normal again."
I wanted to say she had always been normal to me regardless of whether she got her period or not but Leah had thrown her arms around my neck then, and I instinctively wrapped mine around her slim waist. The dam of emotions burst inside me and my own smile danced across my lips. I lifted her off her feet and twirled her around in joy. Her joy was my joy and I had not seen her this happy in years.
"Look." Leah began before lifting the hem of her shirt a little. My mouth popped open in surprise. I could hardly even make out the scars on her stomach now.
Leah grinned, "Yeah, they started fading recently."
"So, is my punishment over?" I asked hesitantly, almost waiting for her to scowl and push herself from my embrace, but her scowl never made an appearance.
Leah simply laughed and stroked my cheek, "I think you've been tortured long enough. Now don't remind of the past ever again, I'm in a good mood so don't spoil it."
And then the moment I'd been waiting for happened. Her face inched forward and I tilted my head to the right, my eyelids sliding shut and our lips met. I was only vaguely aware of Emmett cheering loudly in the background but everything else in my body, my nerves; my cells were focused on Leah. Then like a gleaming light our connection was complete.
We broke apart and she smiled at me with tears in her eyes, and I think we both understood everything now. Everything that had happened was all part of fate's big plan for us. Fate had led us on a winding road but if none of that had happened, my imprint wouldn't have been broken and Leah and I wouldn't have wound up together. Now, as we stood at the end of the winding road I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, and as I entwined my fingers with Leah's I knew that we'd both be walking the journey to that light together.
*** BLACKWATER ***
Rosalie and Alice did win the bet against Emmett in the end, though he wasn't too upset about it since our little daughter, Dinah, seemed to adore him. It was the happiest day of my life when Dinah was born to Leah and I a year after our marriage. She was so beautiful. She had Leah's stubborn nature but looked like me.
It was father's day and naturally, Esme had decided to throw a celebration for me (and Edward though he didn't seem to keen to think about Renesmee). Alice had dragged Leah and Dinah into her bedroom, insisting that they wear a set of outfits she had bought recently specially for them on today's occasion.
"Wait until you see," Bella said excitedly, as she clapped me on the shoulder, "You'll love it!" Obviously Alice had begun to rub off on her.
And Bella was right, I did love it. I burst into laughter when Leah came out of the room wearing a tight pink t-shirt and shorts with the words 'Daddy's Big Girl' printed in white across it, with Dinah wearing exactly the same ensemble but with the words 'Daddy's Little Girl' printed on instead. Leah just laughed along with me, whilst little Dinah just looked perplexedly at all of us with a cute frown etched into her chubby face.
Ah yes, life was good at the end of the winding road.
*** BLACKWATER ***
A/N: That's the end everyone! I hope all of you enjoyed all four chapters in this story, because I certainly spent a lot of time and hard work on them all. I had to have a happy-ending, because I felt it'd be too cruel to Leah if after all she went through she didn't get her man. :P Anyway, thank you so very, very much to all my supporters and of course, to you readers for giving my story a chance.
If you feel like sharing your thoughts, go right ahead. I'm keen to listen. Thank you again.