She was alert, but overly so. The human part of her brain told her to calm down, to compose herself before she did anything brash. The more instinctive side, her inner shape-shifter, had her prepared for a battle. She was going to fight for him, even if he hadn't fought for her. The memory of how easily he had dismissed her dried her mouth and lined her teeth with a bitter taste that she forced herself to swallow back.
She needed her brain to stop. The rationalizing, the bargaining - she didn't need to be told how stupid this was. Then again, it would make his rejection easier if she was properly prepared for it. So she stood, and she stared at the handle of the door to the Black's home, and she listened to the light murmurs inside, and smelt the scent of Paul in the air, and she jarred her body forward slightly with every intention of storming in there and taking back what was hers. But she returned it just as quickly in cowardice.
Get it together, Leah.
If she walked away now, everything would remain as it was. Shitty, horrible - but life would go on. And there would be no more new pain. It would remain at this level, and she knew this she could handle. She would force her lungs to continue to take in each new breath just as she would force her heavy hands to brush themselves through her hair. The simple, mechanical gestures of a functioning human being.
Even if she would be dead inside.
A part of her knew she was too strong to resign herself to such a fate. All she needed was a push, some support. It wasn't fear holding her back, but the importance of the situation. This was too important for her to lose. He was too important for her to lose. She knew that now, as she swallowed another bitter mouthful, and exhaled in frustration. She was too strong to accept this as her fate, but not strong enough to push through that door.
And with that, came her help in the form of her Alpha. Jacobs hand wrapped itself around her own small trembling one. She had forgotten he was there for a moment, although he was the very reason she stood where she did. After she told him what Sam had confessed, he was the one that gave her the strength to confront Paul once and for all, even if it meant leaving his own sister with nothing. He was a true leader, not like Sam. He was there for her, for guidance, and she let some of her burden shift to him a little, knowing whatever happened, he would be right there. He brushed a hand through her hair, resting it on her back, as he bent down and calmly instructed her.
"Go in there and take back what's yours. Alpha order."
She took a deep breath, wishing she could smile at the boy in some sort of thanks, but before she knew it, her hand had already pushed open the front door and she was halfway in the hallway. Then she was around the corner, and then she was at Rachel's bedroom door. It was opened before her head had a chance to let her bargain with herself, to procrastinate.
And then everything slowed down dramatically.
She saw Rachel grabbing at a sheet, covering her obviously naked form. Her free hand was waving around to emphasized the incoherent yelling that was spewing out of her mouth. As she carried on, she pulled at the sheet that covered her more and more, revealing the taught, golden brown skin that lay to the right of her.
He raised himself onto his elbows, slowly and calmly, while Rachel continued on her verbal tirade, of which Leah heard nothing. She was too busy trying to pretend her heart hadn't just fallen into her legs, the weight of which was causing her knee's to buckle. She wanted to pull her eyes off of his, but she couldn't. She didn't care if they were squinted towards her, highlighted by a scowl. She swore she could see into them, and inside them was sadness.
Then Rachel's shrill assault registered just inches from where Leah stood, and she was forced to acknowledge her existence.
"…anyway? You think you're royalty around here, don't you Clearwater? Well you're not and you're just going to have to deal with the fact that he doesn't WANT you. Get it through your thick skull."
"Fuck. Off." she replied, her eyes not leaving Paul's.
"Excuse me?" Rachel demanded. She was close enough to lose a limb in seconds and Leah could feel Jacob's hands at her side, ready to hold her back if needed. Rachel had taken the sheet with her, wrapped loosly around herself, leaving Paul completely exposed on the bed. But he didn't seem to care, as he lay the way he had when Leah burst in, not moving a single muscle on his beautiful body.
Leah dragged her eyes to meet with Rachel's, "I said, fuck off. You'd be wise to listen carefully this time, as the next time I have to repeat myself, your head will be detached from your body before you have a chance to hear it."
Rachel's jaw dropped, as she let out this squeaky high pitched whine that, to Leah, had the effect of pouring acid down her ear canal's.
"Don't talk to her like that," Paul finally spoke up. "You are a guest in our home and you will not disrespect my future wife in front of me and think I will tolerate it."
She wanted to ask the question but couldn't make her mouth move after her jaw had dropped in shock. No, the voice was coming from behind her. Jacob.
"You heard me, bro."
Now it was her turn to use herself as a shield, holding Jacob back.
"What do you mean, future wi..." Jake's voice trailed off and she turned to see his eyes were resting on Rachel's left hand. On her ring finger sat a small, familiar gold ring with the shimmer of a tiny precious stone. A diamond. It was her engagement ring.
Jacob was livid, "You're an idiot, Rachel. Taking advantage of Paul like this? You're just as bad as Uley."
"Taking advantage of what?" She answered, "He's the one that asked. He's the one that had the ring ready to go."
As they continued to yell at one another, Leah tuned them out. She watched Paul slowly get to his feet and pull on a pair of shorts that he picked up off the floor. It was easy enough to drown out the siblings yelling at one another, over the sound of her heart breaking that was beating through her eardrums.
Jacob had managed to squeeze past her at some point and was right in Rachel's face, or so she gathered from her peripheral. Her eyes were locked on Paul who was standing before her now, his face registering nothing but indifference towards her.
She spoke quietly, "Jake, please, wait out in the living room? I really need to talk to Paul alone."
"Oh no you don't." Rachel stammered back, caught of guard by Leah's solemn tone.
"Move your ass, Rach." Jacob said, grabbing her hand and dragging her from the room. He shot Leah a quick look of reassurance, to let her know he would be only seconds away if she needed him, and then slammed the door closed as soon as he'd managed to pull his protesting sister through it.
"I thought you got rid of the ring?" She asked.
"Oh yeah? Your mistake." He answered flatly.
"I know about Sam."
"You know what?" He spat, unfazed by the admission.
"I know about the alpha command. I know what he asked you to do, and I've seen for myself how easy it was for you to roll over like a bitch and play submissive."
She could hear him grinding his teeth as he spoke with a narrowed eyes. "You know nothing, like usual. Sam helped me find my way back to Rachel, which is all I was using you for in the first place. He helped me back on the path I was destined for, Because of him, I..."
"Oh, please, " She cut him off "You don't even like her, let alone love her, so don't give me this bullshit."
He moved to grab her arm, his fingertips almost at her skin, when his hand jerked back suddenly and he took a few steps backwards. He looked as if he just remembered something.
"He commanded you not to touch me, didn't he?"
His upper body was still rigid, as if he wanted nothing more than to grab her and shake some sense into her. He was trembling slightly, from what she could only assume was rage, when he decided to fight back with his words instead.
"I don't know what you want from me, but if it's sympathy, you're not worth it. You deluded yourself into thinking we were anything more than a fuck or two to pass the time. Rachel is the woman I love, have loved, for years now. She's the only person I can see growing old with me, having my children. You can't even do that. Why would I choose someone like you, when I have a woman who makes me so much happier with just a smile, than you ever could on your knees."
His words had the desired effect. They stripped her raw, leaving only a thin layer of scarred skin, vulnerable, exposed. She wanted to throw up, to cry. She wanted some kind of release. It took all that was in her to raise her head and force herself to breathe evenly before the short bursts of air choked her into an irretrievable hysteria.
She had to remind herself why she didn't turn on her heel and walk herself out of the door then and there. Her Paul was worth fighting for, but she wasn't prepared to fight for someone who was no longer there.
He took another step back, but his face remained unchanged. He was right, he clearly didn't think she deserved any of his sympathy, as his eyes said nothing but 'we're done here'.
"Fine. I'm walking away from this before I let it consume me like I did with Sam. I don't know what Sam's exact orders were, but those words were your own, and I hope you can live with them for the rest of your life, knowing you ended it this way. Knowing that you ended something this special, by trying to destroy the only woman you had ever really loved. And I don't mean the artificial kind. You know you loved me with everything inside of you, because I loved you the exact same way."
She stared into his eyes, looking for any trace of her Paul, but he wasn't there. Instead, he broke her gaze by rolling his eyes and letting out an exasperated sigh.
"You can stare at me all day, but I'm not going to change my mind. This is what I wanted from the start, you knew about the plan. I'm sorry if you let yourself get attached, but nothing is going to come from this little 'intervention'. I've got everything I could possibly want, you're the one that needs to move on Leah. Please, stop embarrassing yourself, for everyone's sake."
And with that she was done.
"Fine, but Paul, you're the one embarrassing yourself, and I can tell that you already it."
She gave him a long look over, from his eyes down to his feet. She intended to leave him with nothing from her, other than a look of disgust, when she smelled it in the air. Blood. Not that pungent, metallic type that a human gave off. No, it was sweeter, familiar. The scent of a brother. And it was close.
Her eyes continued to trail over his body, but this time they were looking for something. He must have noticed as he became rigid, holding his balled up fists tightly at his side. She closed the gap between them before he had a chance to react and grabbed one of his hands in hers. It was closed so tightly that his knuckles were a stark white next to the deep red between his fingers. She tried to force his hand open, holding on to it even as he jerked his arm away, but he refused to let her. When she managed to force her thumb in just enough to pry it open she looked up at his face to see the old Paul, her Paul, there once again.
"Please, don't." He whispered softly. Disappointment filled his face with shame accenting the red notes in his skin.
She ignored him and opened his fist while he continued to struggle against her. When she finally managed to see his palm a burst of colour flooded through to his fingertips as she watched the small cresent shaped wounds heal before her eyes. The marks of fingernails that were barley there, pressed with such force against his almost impenetrable skin.
"What...what is...?" She started to ask but she knew the answer before the words left her lips. She needed it to sink in though, for the thought to make itself clearer, but she was full of so much hope that she couldn't concentrate.
"Paul?" She asked, her hands running up his arms, his neck. That familiar currently flowing as strong as ever between them. Her voice was pleading as she begged for him, for her Paul, to make an appearance, trying to control herself, greedily clutching at the hopefulness for even a few seconds.
The pleasure in his face from her touch was undeniable. She could see he tried to compose himself as he struggled out of her grasp, but as the effort was so weak, she knew he wanted nothing more than to be in her arms again.
"You can fight, this." She said.
He dropped to his knees before her, "I can't. I can't fight what I can't admit too. I tried so hard but you, you had to be...you. Why couldn't you just make this easy for me?"
She slapped him across the face, and then slapped him again for good measure.
"This is no time for self-pity. This is time for you to fight. You have a warrior inside of you, I've seen it plenty of times before. I know you have the strength Paul. Fight. It."
She slapped him again and his head snapped back as he rubbed at the already tender area. She wasn't holding back.
"I told you I can't. Do you need me to spell it out for you? I can't just..."
She punched him this time and jumped to her feet quickly, coaxing him to his own.
"God damn it, Leah! I was in the middle of a sentence."
"No, you were in the middle of a pity party." She was bouncing quickly from foot to foot like a boxer, hands raised to shield her face.
"No, I was trying to say something, Mohammed Ali. Chill for a few seconds, Jesus."
She ignored him of course and continued to bounce lightly on the balls of her feet. This renewed hope had filled her with adrenalin from her toes to the follicles on her head. When she moved to connect her fist with his face this time he stopped her, ducking swiftly and letting her hand connect with the drywall behind.
"I can't fight it because I'm not Jacob. Jacob fought an alpha command because he was the rightful alpha heir. Me? I'm nothing."
She faked a slap with her free hand then connected with his face when his guard was down. He snapped back, that snarl that showed his teeth, stretched across his face.
"That one," she stated with a cocked eyebrow, "was for stupidity. That lump, three feet above your ass, houses your brain. If you weren't so busy resigning yourself to a life of submission and degradation, you may have realised by now that you don't have to deny an alpha order when there are multiple alphas."
"If you're done being self-righteous for a moment," he replied "I have thought of that. I've thought of everything. Believe me when I say I've tried to break free from Sam's pack, I just can't."
"Why? Because it's too hard? Because you don't care enough about me to break out of it? What?"
"No, Leah, that's not..."
"No, that is exactly it. I managed to do it. With the right motivation, you can do anything. I just must not be enough motivation for you."
"You're not exactly making it easy for me to want to fight for you." He growled.
She laughed in a burst of nervous energy and desperation. "After the shit you said to me before? You don't get to complain, sunshine. Just focus."
"You need to sever the hold Sam has to you."
"Leah, I've tried. I've tried and I've tried, and I just...it hurts."
"I know it does."
"No," He stopped her "thinking about failing hurts. Thinking about losing what we had for good, hurts. If I try and I really can't do this, I don't know what I'll do."
She ran her hands up his chest and gripped hold of his t-shirt in her clenched fists, swinging him around, his back crashing against the wall.
"Did he command you to forget about me?" She asked in a low, breathy whisper. The question was rhetorical as she knew he couldn't answer, the answer was obviously a no. She raised his arms above his head, holding them in her hands, her body pressed against his.
"Then I want you to use those memories, and try and think of all the times I've touched you where my hands are travelling to." she used one hand to pin his wrists together above his head and the other to run slowly down the side of his face, his neck, over his chest and then sit with her palm pressed against his stomach.
His eyes were locked on hers but they were full of a heavy type of concentration. One rich in determination as well as lust. She leaned into him further, kissing her way lightly up his chest. Remembering herself the first time she tasted the salt of his skin, and knowing that there was no way she could live without this.
He just needed to remember that he felt the same.
She could hear from the frustration in his short breaths, and the occasional grunt he released, that he was struggling, but she ignored him. This was something he had to find within himself, but she could help the process along. She continued her trail of kisses up his body, gently running her tongue along the nape of his neck and blowing lightly on it, smiling to herself as she kissed along his neck and didn't stop until she had reached his earlobe.
His hands were struggling to push her away but she ignored them. She ignored the resistance, the concentration he was trying to find within himself. He felt too good pressed against her, but she was growing impatient. She needed to move things along.
"Remember the first time I touched you..." her hand moved down to his cock as she gave it a light squeeze "here?"
She jumped half a foot into the air as he slid down and out of her hold.
"Leah, I need to concentrate!" he pleaded, walking quickly away from her.
"I'm just helping things along." She replied with a seductive grin. She wasn't feeling nearly as confident as she let on, but she hoped seeing the old Leah in her would help bring him around. She closed in on him, pinning him against a wall yet again.
"No," He replied, sliding out of her arms, "You are distracting me. Just, go sit in the corner and behave or something."
"Nope." She backed him onto the bed, holding him down with her thighs as she straddled his hips. "Now I know you remember the many times I've been in this position."
He let out a groan of pain "Not helping, Leah!"
She began to grind herself into him slowly, teasingly, getting off a little on how much pain he was in. At one point he looked like he was about to explode.
"No seriously, get off." He demanded.
"Make me." She replied, enjoying the torture she was inflicting a little too much.
He grabbed her by the waist and threw her down on her back, reversing their positions of before.
"Ha!" He laughed "Now shut up and let me concentrate."
Her eyes grew wide "Paul..."
"No, I'm serious. Shut up, Leah. No gyrating of hips, or lusty glances or turning me on to the point I can't think. I need to concentrate on what I'm doing."
"Paul!" She began to exclaim, when he held his hand over her mouth, effectively shutting her up.
"I'll remove this once I'm done."
It took him only seconds before he registered what he had said, what he had done.
"I'll remove...my hand is on your...my hand is on your mouth! I picked you up. I was under an Alpha command, ordered by Sam Uley. I can admit to it!"
She let herself be a girl for just a few seconds, as a squeal escaped her lips from under his hand. He pulled it away and rolled on to his back with her firmly on top of him as he continued to list that which he knew.
"I have broken away from Sam's pack. My engagement to Rachel was a lie. I do not love her, I love you. I love Leah Clearwater, and not the starfish."
She leant down to kiss him when he stopped her suddenly.
"And I'm so sorry for what I said to you." He confessed "You have no idea how much those words hurt me, but I really thought it was the only way. Please know, that I will never, ever, speak to you like that again, for as long as we live. And that will be a long, long time- and it will be together."
She was so happy it was confusing. This kind of happiness was foreign to her. It was pure. The kind of pure that comes from regaining something you thought was lost forever. And from knowing the person you shared that love with, feels the same way.
He moved his lips down towards hers when she stopped him. "Not here, not on this bed."
He looked if he was just remembering where they were, seeing Rachel's bed below them.
"Sorry, I've fallen back into that thing you make me do."
"What thing?" She asked with a soft smile.
"Only ever seeing you. I forget where I am, what time of day it is...I just see you. All the time. I've missed it."
She could've melted into him right then, but he scooped her up in his arms and ran out into the hall, stopping at a still bickering Rachel and Jacob. Jacobs face lit up as he saw Leah in Pauls arms.
"Welcome to the pack, bro." He grinned.
"Thanks Jake, for everything, really. That's from both Leah and I."
Rachel rolled her eyes and folded her hands across her chest. "Ugh, whatever."
She stormed off to her room as Paul gently set Leah on her feet at the doorway.
"Wait here." He instructed, following Rachel into her room for a second. There were a squeaky stream of expletives, followed by Paul remerging from the bedroom. He placed something in the pocket of his shorts and swept Leah literally off her feet.
"Now, your place or mine?" She laughed and even he grinned at the cheesyness of his offer, but she could tell he was just as ready to rip her clothes off of her as he was, and she didn't delay in her response.
With a quick 'See ya' to Jake, he was out the door and at his own in what seemed like hours, but was only seconds. As he entered his home, they found both Embry and Quil sitting on the couch in the living room, playing some sort of game consol.
"Hey guys!" Quil exclaimed.
"Hey," Paul answered with a smile, "Get out."
"What?" Embry asked.
"You heard me. Get out. Great seeing you guys."
"But..." Quil began to protest.
"No, Um, I think we should head back to your place Quil." Embry replied. "Trust me."
Quil looked at the lovers, Pauls arms wrapped tightly around Leah. "Gross. 'Kay, let's roll."
As they left the room, Quil took advantage of Paul's arms being full.
"Have fun, tiger." He added with a slap of Paul's ass.
Paul snarled at him and he let out a squeak so high-pitched it could rival one of Rachel's ones. He tried to cover it up with a manly clearing of his throat, but Embry was laughing too hard to let it slide. They both left the home, closing the door behind them. Leah cold still hear Embry's teasing through the closed door "way to go, tiger".
But her concern was elsewhere. They were alone. Finally, alone. And they were together.
Paul placed her softly on the bed. "Are you ready?"
She raised herself on her elbows, leaning into him, "Of course I am."
"No," he returned her head to the soft bedding below, "this time I want it to be different."
She nodded as he removed his shorts slowly, before leaning down to remove her own, with his teeth.
AN: Lets be honest, I haven't touched this story in almost 5 years so it's safe to say this is the end. It's an abrupt ending, yes, but the end nonetheless. Thanks for all the support on such an obscure, non-canon couple. The reviews were always so supportive so thanks again, guys xox