Chapter 38

It all came to me one Sunday morning as I was getting out of bed. The temperature was above normal for a Spring morning and I commented to myself that I had not felt this hot since I had phased. Everything, absolutely everything came to me like a ton of bricks falling from the sky. From Sam disappearing for two weeks to Emily's fateful visit, my brother and I phasing, Bella, the Cullens, patrols, Volturi, Renesmee... not a single detail was spared. As I lay there in bed, it felt like my mind had turned to mush. It was like someone had cracked my skull open and tried shoving it full of things, except they had overstuffed it and now the skull wouldn't close.

My head stung, it burned with pain so strong that I had to run to the bathroom and vomit. I went to the kitchen for a glass of water and found that my fingertips tingled and my lips felt numb. Even though I had no idea what was going on and I was scared, I rushed to my room and locked the door behind me. The realization of all that recently happened was too much to take in at once.

I was overcome by anger and by fear. I was indignant, infuriated by everything around me and I was terrified of losing control of my life. The knowledge that I had spent weeks with a blank memory only fueled the fire. The thought of people talking about me, gossiping about god knows what, it filled me with resentment. It killed me that I'd spent sixty-some days without phasing and still had no sign of working ovaries.

The memories from the accident filled my head. I remembered talking to Charlie as I picked a piece of lint from my sweater. There had been no screeching tires, no tell sign or warning of any sort before I heard the loudest sound I'd heard in my life. There was no time to register the sound or where it came from before I was flying inside my own vehicle. I felt like a marble inside a glass jar, bouncing and rolling around without a way to stop. My hands and body were facing in different directions and I could not tell which way was up and which was down. I landed on the space between the dashboard and the front seat, on the floor as glass shattered and rained over my body. I could not move and everything hurt as I lay in a heap. It felt like somebody had tied me up inside a bag and then beat me with a baseball bat. The voice of a paramedic brought me back as he constantly reassured me that I would be alright.

I lay in bed shattered trying to make sense of my life. I had returned from Florida so full of hopes and it had taken a simple flat tire to throw me a mile back from where I'd started. Somehow I had to find the strength to move on but it seemed nothing but futile. It didn't matter what I did or how hard I tried, life was set on kicking me in the ass.

***

I walked to the cliffs using the views as an excuse but I had no idea what I wanted or was searching for exactly. I thought about Jacob and how my feelings for him had been so much stronger than they'd ever been before. It terrified me to feel this way for anyone especially because I had never held so many emotions for one single person. The only guy I had ever fallen in love with was Sam and even though he'd been the love of my life, I'd never felt with him some of the things I now felt for Jacob. Maybe I was so desperate for love and affection that I had become obsessed with him.

Jake had promised not to hurt me but I'd decided to interpret that in so many different ways. Holding so many expectations for one person was unfair to them and it only served to set me up for instant heartbreak. A drop of cold water landed on me and brought me back to reality. I looked up in anger at the heavens and was surprised to find a very wet Jacob hovering over me.

"You were lost again."

"Jake!" I jumped up and into his arms. I didn't care that he was soaking wet or that his hair was dripping on me. I was so happy to see him again and actually remember him.

"You're acting like you haven't seen me since forever. Not that I'm complaining or anything. I'm perfectly happy if you react like this every time you see me." he grinned.

"I haven't seen you since Florida." his hug was crushing but I did not care. "At least... god, you know what I mean!"

"You remember now?"

"Everything." I nodded into his chest and held him tighter.

Standing there while I was being held captive in his arms was like riding a rollercoaster. There was this total fear mixed with wonder and amazement. When our eyes locked I was terrified yet enthralled. All the emotions I was feeling came tied to this person and all these sentiments were overpowering, too strong and too sudden.

What I had felt for him when we patrolled at the Cullens felt like nothing compared to what I was feeling now. I was scared stiff, paralyzed, petrified at the realization that I had allowed myself to fall hopelessly in love with him. My heart cried when I thought about imprinting. He'd eventually imprint and leave me. I knew I would not be able to handle it. I would not survive it this time. Already it was too strong and I couldn't even fathom what would happen if it was even possible for these emotions to get stronger. I had to break up with him, I had to put an end to this before it was too late.

"What's wrong?" he pulled me back and studied my face. "Leah, what is wrong!"

I was crying so hard I could barely see. Whomever had said it was better to have love and lost than never loved at all was an insolent bastard of epic magnitude. Better to have love and lost? No! You can't crave what you've never had, you can't reminisce about what you've never experienced. You can't beat yourself over what went wrong and how to fix it.

Ignorance is a bliss. Now that's a saying you could rely on. Not having any memory had given me the most peaceful days in years. Not being aware of the heartbreak that would ensue, not being aware of the pain that had passed... I longed for that again.

"Leah?"

"We have to stop, Jake."

"What? Stop what?"

"This. We can't see each other anymore."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"I can't handle it. It's too much, too strong. I've never felt this way before..."

"So you want to kick me away?!" his eyes turned wild with indignation. "Do you hear yourself when you talk?!"

"I WON'T BE ABLE TO SURVIVE THIS WHEN YOU IMPRINT! Can't you understand? I can't go through this heartbreak again. I'm in over my head. You're always in my fucking head. I can't stop thinking about you, ever. You'll imprint and you'll leave me and then what? What am I supposed to do with this? Do I shrug my shoulders and move on? Will I be a bridesmaid at your wedding too? What? WHAT THEN?!"

"I already imprinted, Lee." his voice was deep and scratchy.

I felt like the rug had been taken from under my feet. I wanted to walk away but the ground below me moved like the floor at a fun house. Air would not fill my lungs because my throat had glued itself shut.

He had imprinted while I was away. He wasn't mine. I'd lost him. He would only be my friend now...

"I imprinted on YOU."

My knees went cold and numb as he held me in place. This was a cruel game he was playing and I wanted to phase and tear his heart from his chest. I was trembling in his hands and thought I would vomit.

"Lee, listen to me. You remember. You were sitting on the backstairs of your house, you were humming, you called me Quil..."

I did remember. He had stared at me like an idiot. He hadn't moved. Not even blinked.

"Oh god!" I sobbed. My knees wouldn't hold me up and he held me in place. It was so painfully obvious from the beginning, how could I have missed all the fucking signs. He managed to always know what I needed, he seemed to mysteriously appear when I was lonely or sad, he knew the precise moment to hug me, knew my every thought, hung to my every word... an imprint became exactly what that person needed and for some time now, he'd been practically on his knees at my beg and call.

"It doesn't make sense, Jake! Imprinting is love at first sight, you've known me your whole life. We've been around each other since you phased, since I phased..."

"You were a wolf and so was I. Maybe two wolves can't imprint on each other, Lee. Think about it. When I phased for the first time it was in February. You phased for the first time in March and I hadn't seen you since the spaghetti dinner in January. We were both wolves then, it wouldn't have happened."

I thought back to my first day out of the hospital when I had been in a comma. I hadn't phased in over seventeen days and when I first saw him... that pull. I had attributed it to medications and exhaustion, maybe it hadn't been. Maybe nature had been trying to give me a signal.

"But imprinting is about procreation! It's about who's better suited to make stronger children. I can't have children, Jacob. I'm barren. I'm dead inside. My organs don't work."

"How do you know? Have you been checked? How do you know imprinting is about children? How do you know it's not about companionship?"

No matter which way we argued, him imprinting on me did not seem possible. It seemed wrong and I was reluctant to accept it. I didn't want him to turn into a stupid slave like Sam behaved around Emily. Jacob had never wanted to imprint.

"This is wrong. This is so wrong. You never wanted to imprint. You were adamant about it. You said it yourself that imprinting was just another way of having your choices taken away from you." I wiped the tears from my face but they wouldn't stop coming. "I'll phase back. I'll release you, if two wolves can't imprint..."

"What are you talking about! Did you lose your sanity when you regained your memory?" he took my hand and traced circles on my palm, "I had chosen you already before I imprinted. I'd been thinking about you more and more at the Cullen's. Back then we were phasing daily. Sometimes we spent days phased, remember? What you did at the lake crushed me and I had plenty time to think things over when you were in a comma. I was there every single day. Nobody asked me to be there in the first place. I was there because I wanted to be. I chose you, Leah. And you had already chosen me."

I was lost, confused. It was too much for a single day. My head throbbed, my throat hurt and my eyes stung.

.:


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Why couldn't I just be enough for anyone? What the hell! Bella chose a walking corpse and death over me. Leah would rather remain with nothing than be with me. What the hell could be so absolutely wrong with me that I could even get rejected by an imprint?

I held her firmly in place and softly turned her head to face me. Her face was tearstained, her eyes were bloodshot and though I wasn't crying, it didn't mean I wasn't hurting as much as her.

"I promised I would never hurt you. I thought you could be happy with me but instead, here you are bawling. Tell me what you want from me. Tell me what you need! I'll be your friend, your lover, your confidant. Tell me what you want, Leah! I'll fight it. It might kill me but I'll fight it if that's what you want. I'll even leave the country if that's what it takes. Tell me what to do, Lee!"

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Great, the alerts thing is broken again. I swear it aggravates me to hell and back.

Ok guys, I tabulated the score and this story ends tomorrow with two chapters at once. It will be a definite end. No cliffhangers, no open ending, nothing of the sort.

Please review. Don't give up now!