Thank you so much for taking time to read this story and encouraging me to constantly tap my fingers across the keyboard. It was fun while it lasted and those reviews made me smile till my face hurt. And if you just found this story, feel free to drop reviews into my inbox even a year from now. I'm sure I'll enjoy them just as much.
It was in May, when Jake was graduating, that I found out I was pregnant. At first he wouldn't believe me but I took no offense to it since I almost couldn't believe it myself. It had taken a trip to the doctor and a sonogram for me to finally believe it and we'd taken the little printout they gave us at the office and used it to break the news to our parents. Shock is not even the tip of the iceberg, Billy almost walked, Seth had to run outside to phase and my mother almost had a heart attack when we told them but it all worked out in the end.
Labor too came as a complete shock. I was having a hard night and sleeping was not something that came easy during the last stages of pregnancy. The baby slept most of the day but when I lay down, sleep time turned into party time for it. A couple times I swore the child kicked my liver and twisted my intestines. I had to sleep in a semi-upright position or suffer shortness of breath and my feet had to be elevated. Every single night, bedtime was a struggle but towards three in the morning I had finally managed to fall asleep to the sounds of Jake's peaceful snoring.. It wasn't a very peaceful slumber though. I had been dreaming that I was desperately looking for a restroom and every single time I sat down on the toilet, someone would disturb me and I'd have to get up and walk away to begin my search all over.
Towards four in the morning I awoke to wet underpants. Not fun and definitely not funny. I was horrified to find out that I'd wet myself at my age, in my sleep. Slowly, I got out of bed and stepped into the bathroom where I took a warm shower before going back to bed. Once again I fell asleep and awoke to wet underpants. I was beyond mortified at my inability to stay dry and this time when I made it out of bed and stood upright, a steady stream of water trickled down my legs and onto the floor boards. This was definitely not me having an accident.
"Huh?" he rolled onto his other side and took the pillow with him.
"WHAT!" he sat up in bed.
"My water broke!" I didn't need to say a single thing more. There was no talk of contractions, no breathing exercises, nothing. He slipped on a shirt and a pair of shorts, slung my overnight bag on his arm and carried me to the car. We were already on our way when we called the doctor. There was no talking and no words of encouragement on our way to the hospital, only his hand tight around mine and the soft kisses he planted on my palm as he drove. There was only fear and concern in our minds as we made our way to the clinic; my water had broken too early and the due date was still far away.
I lay in bed with nothing but a blue-spotted paper gown and white socks. A fetal monitor was around my swollen abdomen and attached to my finger was a plastic device that kept record of my own heartbeat. The contractions were painful and closer together as time went by but I accepted no medication to stop the pain. I'd been through worse in my life and the only thing I needed was Jake by my side until it was time to push. I was selfish and wanted this moment to myself and had forbidden Jacob from calling anyone and informing them of my labor. When the baby was born, then we'd call and share, not before. I had also very selfishly not wanted Jake in the delivery room with me. This child was something I'd wanted more than life itself and I didn't want to share with anybody, harsh as it seemed.
As the contractions grew closer together, my pain increased and several times I was offered an epidural, at some point, I grew so angry at the offer that I growled and Jacob quickly escorted the anesthesiologist out the room. I wanted this pain. I wanted to feel it and memorize it, I needed the whole birthing experience. For years I'd suffered pain with no rewards but this time all the pain and suffering would be rewarded with a tiny bundle of joy. My cervix was slow to dilate but finally, it was time to push and Jake kissed me as they wheeled me to the birthing room.
It is not easy to push when you're already in pain, especially if the pushing causes even more hurt but I was determined to hold my child and see it's face for the first time. Every time I was instructed to do so, I gripped my knees and pushed like my life depended on it. I pushed and bore down with every single ounce of strength I had in me. I pushed, grunted and swore but no matter what I wanted and no matter how much I tried, the labor was not progressing and the baby wouldn't come.
The nurses encouraged me and told me this was normal for first time births but then we lost the baby's heartbeat. For a few seconds the only heartbeat echoing in the room was my own but then the baby's quickly followed suit. The air was thick and tense as I tried pushing a couple more times but nothing seemed to happen. The baby's heartbeat dropped off the monitor again and I winced in pain as the doctor pushed his hand inside me to check for the head. An exchange of glances between the doctor and the nurses sent me into a state of panic.
"What's going on? Why is there no heartbeat?"
"I'm sorry, Leah. The baby can't withstand continued labor."
"WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? WHAT'S GOING ON?!"
"I think the baby has the umbilical cord wrapped around it's neck." he stood up and the nurses began working in a controlled frenzy, "We're losing the baby, we have to do an emergency c-section."
"JAKE! JAKE! GET JACOB IN HERE!" I was sobbing so hard I couldn't breathe and my whole body shook and trembled. "JAKE!"
The anesthesiologist came into the room as they were pulling off my nightgown and wiping my abdomen with sponges soaked in a rusty red liquid. I stared at the baby's heart monitor with the hopes of hearing the tiny heartbeats, but it was silent. The only thing I heard was my own heart muffled between sobs. The last sound I heard was Jacob's muffled voice in the hall as they told him the news. The cold sponges on my abdomen were the last things I felt as they knocked me unconscious.
I awoke feeling nothing but pain and total emptiness. The curtains were drawn closed in the pale green room. A room that reminded me of Emily's when she had miscarried. There were no balloons, no flowers, no cards and no smiling faces. Just me in a semi-upright position and Jacob asleep by my side, his head resting on the hard mattress below me.
My jaw trembled as I took in my surroundings. There was no laughter, no crying child, no warm hugs or kisses. This room was as cold, sterile and barren as my womb. I wept in silence. I didn't have the will or strength to fight anymore. All the suffering I'd done, all the hopes I'd held, all the dreams I'd put together, everything had vanished in a matter of minutes. My entire world had come crashing down.
I thought back to the moment I'd found out I was pregnant, to that very first time I had seen it's tiny heart beating on the monitor. Remembered Billy's face and speech when he'd found out he was going to be a grandfather for the first time. I'd changed my whole life for this baby and lived only for it. All the food in our house had to be organic. I'd stopped using any sort of chemical, thrown out shampoos and lotions, tossed every cleaner in the house. I treated my unborn child like it was god's gift to mankind.
We never missed a doctor's appointment, never skipped a single birthing or parenting class. At the baby shower all the presents had been white, pale green or yellow because I'd refused to find out the baby's sex. I didn't care if it was a boy or a girl or the color of it's eyes and hair. All I wanted was to cradle it in my arms and sing it to sleep and instead, I now I lied in a sterile room with empty arms and aching breasts.
While I was pregnant I didn't stop working or going to school. I had wanted it all and pushed myself to strive for my goals. Maybe if I had relaxed more, I'd have carried the baby to full term. Maybe if I'd spent less time on my feet and more time lying down I'd still be at home trying to sleep while Jake snored besides me. If I hadn't stressed myself the baby wouldn't have got caught in it's own umbilical cord. If I'd learned to be patient maybe none of this would have happened.
I'd come all this way to lose the baby at the very end. We never made it to the finish line, we never made it past GO, we never even made it to Boardwalk or Park Place, we landed on chance and went straight to jail. Where are maternal instincts when you need them? I should have known something was wrong with the baby, I should have felt it. I should have asked for a c-section instead of opting for a vaginal delivery. If I'd gotten the epidural maybe the baby wouldn't have been stressed out.
My being selfish had made us lose everything and now I didn't even know the sex of the child. Had it been a girl with her father's eyes? A boy with his father's smile? Did she have Jacob's russet skin?
A piercing sob broke through my chest and I wailed. The incision in my abdomen sent pain shooting up my body as I sobbed uncontrollably. Next to me, Jacob awoke and pressed the call button as he tried to soothe me but I could not hear him nor did I want to. I wanted to see the baby that had been torn from me. I wanted to cradle it's lifeless body and die with it too. I wanted to crawl into the darkest abyss in the deepest pits on the farthest recess of hell and die there. None of the pain I had ever experienced in my lifetime could come close to what I was feeling at the moment. Nothing.
Jacob held and kissed me, he whispered in my ear but I paid no attention. I had lost his baby and I would never forgive myself. I heard him rush out the room before he ran back in and held me tight. Over and over he whispered in my ear but I could not understand. In between sobs I could hear steps approaching up the hall preceded by the squeaking wheels of a cart. They were coming to sedate me, to knock me unconscious again and I wondered what else I'd find out I'd lost the next time I awoke.
I closed my eyes and waited for the tug at the I.V. line attached to my arm. I waited for the numbing sensation to take over me but it didn't happen. Instead I felt a new heaviness on my chest. A warmth I had never felt before, a smell I had never sensed.
"Lee?" Jacob's voice faltered before he softly called out my name again, "Lee?"
I opened my eyes to be greeted with a tiny white cocoon, from its top a tiny pink face peeked out, a blue beanie on it's head. His eyes were swollen and his mouth was neatly pressed into a fleshy triangle as he tried to squirm inside his blanket encasing.
I sobbed with my son in my arms. I let go of all the pain and frustration, I kicked away the grief as I held him close to my chest, brought my face down and breathed him in. He was beautiful, a split image of his father, perfect in every way and form.
Never had I known such love for anything in the world. Never had I held such high hopes. I bawled and blubbered as Jacob softly planted kisses all over my face. I cried and laughed at the same time and nearly died when my son opened his tiny mouth and yawned.
"What are you going to name our son?" he asked while cradling him. "We have to name him before they get here."
"I don't have any baby names." I told him. "I wanted you to name him."
I nodded and smiled with swollen eyes from crying.
"Ok then." he stared at his son for a while with a furrowed brow. "You know, from experience, no matter what you name a kid, someone will find a way to shorten it. How about we forgo all of it and just call him Jake?"
"Dad?" Four year old Jake walked down the hall into the living room where his dad was working on something he had spread out over the coffee table, tiny screws and washers in neat piles on top of paper.
"Hmm? I thought I told you to go to bed."
"I can't sleep!" Jake walked closer and stared at his father's homework project.
"Have you tried lying down and keeping your eyes closed?" Jacob narrowed his eyes as he looked at his son.
"Tell me that story again."
"The one about the three wives."
"You mean the legend of Taha Aki and the third wife." Jacob put down his project, lifted his son off the ground and carried him back to the room where he put him back in bed.
"Sure, sure. That one. When I grow up I'm going to have three wives and all three of them are going to be my soul mates."
"Well, when I grow up," Lily burst into the room and climbed onto her older brother's bed, "I'm going to have four husbands and all of them will be my soul mates."
"What?!" Jacob was genuinely shocked.
"Well if he can have three wives why can't I have four husbands?"
"Have fun explaining that to her." Leah walked into the room and kissed her husband.
"What about me, mom. Where's my kiss?" Jake sat up in bed and furrowed his brow.
"Me too, mommy! Kiss me too! But I want two kisses!"
"Who loves you more than anything?" Leah asked as she gave each child a kiss.
"Wow, so much for that..." Leah gave Lily an extra kiss. "Your dad spoils them rotten, Jacob."
"Grandpa Billy rammed Jake on the shins yesterday!" Lily tattled on her brother.
"Probably served him right too." Jacob laughed and pulled Leah close. "And where are you off to?"
"Patrol tonight, remember? You put me on the schedule with Jared."
"Hmm, I'm going to have to rethink that schedule." he playfully nipped at Leah's waist. "Want to do something tomorrow. Just the two of us?
"I have two patients before noon."
"Aw come on Lee, it's Saturday!"
"She's not Lee, daddy! I'm Lee!" the youngest child pulled at her father's t-shirt sleeves.
"You're Lily, sweetheart. Mommy's Lee."
"But grandpa calls me Lee and he calls him Jay." she crossed her arms over her chest and furrowed her brow.
"I told you to rethink those names, right?" Leah ran her fingers through Jacob's hair as he pulled her closer in.
"They'll survive. Now, about you working Saturday when I specifically asked you not to..."
"Oh, come on, Jacob. It's only till noon."
Jacob forced her down onto his lap and tickled her as he whispered something into her ear.
"Wow kids, look at the time!" Leah piped up between laughs. "You have to go to sleep NOW. You're going to grandma's house bright and early tomorrow morning..."
"But dad hasn't told me my story!" Jake piped up.
"Alright, but afterwards, nobody gets up from this bed till morning, got it?" Jacob tucked the children in bed and began telling them the legend of Taha Aki and the third wife.
Ok guys, in case you've remained confuzzled. Jacob and Leah did imprint and Leah accepted the imprint. They had a child, got married and had another one. Leah has an education and a career. Jacob has a career and is furthering his education. Leah returned to phasing after having her children, meaning that the imprint is broken but they chose each other before the imprinting, meaning that imprint or not, they love each other and have chosen to stay together.
I wrote this story out of frustration with S.M. She took her best characters and screwed them over. (Jake/Nessie FAIL, Leah runs into woods and her story is over FAIL.) I was also frustrated with other fics where everything happens in two days time and there's no reasoning behind anything. Stories where Leah turns into this forgiving, forgetful and accepting thing who's world is instantly perfect and happy the moment Jacob bangs her or other stories where Jacob has to chose between Renesmee and Leah and he chooses Leah only after he's used her and she's gone through hell and back.
I wanted a story where Leah and Jacob end up together but only because they wanted to be together. I also wanted a story where Leah grows as a person and gains all the things S.M denied her, but still manages to remain Leah. Since nobody wanted to write it for me, I had to write it myself which is horrible considering (a) I am no writer (b) I've never written anything outside of book reports on stuff I've read at the very last minute.
S.M. hasn't given the full explanation of the mechanics behind imprinting. She said that Jacob and Leah never imprinted because they had already seen each other after phasing and having them imprint would have been too complicated. Then she makes Jacob imprint on Renesmee when she's half vampire, half his mortal enemy and a newborn baby of a different species... and that wasn't complicated? Edward who is dead got Bella pregnant with what sperm? Dead sperm? Venom sperm? And that wasn't complicated? FAIL.
I worked around the imprinting by stating that two wolves can't imprint on each other and one of the pair had to be human. So I decided that to keep Leah's mind at ease, since with the wolves the possibility of imprinting is always there, she and Jacob would have to imprint. To accept the imprint or not, would be her choice. To remain with him or not, would be her choice. Yeah, Leah and Jacob had seen each other, but both had phased, so no go. When she had stopped being a wolf for seventeen days straight, imprint try but no go. When she stopped being a wolf for three months and was back to human, imprint BAM.
In the book nobody seems to understand Leah's frustration and only see her as a bitch. I decided everyone needed a rude awakening. Nothing is more of a rude awakening than death, so I used it to give them all a kick in the ass and grant Leah a new beginning with new attitudes and a new look on life. When you have nothing to lose, nothing holds you back and when you almost lose something you loved, you reevaluate your life.
In this story Leah and Sam get closure, her relationship with Emily stands on a different place, Leah gains friends outside the pack circle and a life outside of La Push. She chooses to get an education, a career and husband. She remains close to her family and even manages to make a family of her own. All of it, all of them, her choices.
I tried to keep the story a mix of emotions with one angsty chapter getting followed by a lot of drama and then getting slammed with humor before getting slapped by angst once more. While keeping the original character's essence, I tried to give them a twist and make the characters my own. I hope I managed to keep things realistic and in a believable time frame considering it's a story about shape shifters, vampires and wolves.
The protagonist of this story was Leah and everything and everybody else was a mere accessory, hence why most of it is told through her point of view. Still, I tried to give more members of the pack and the people in Leah's life a voice even though they weren't protagonists.
This was my first and last story. No, there will be no sequels and all probability points to no more stories from me. I will now catch up on all the stories I stopped reading in order to write my own and will also be back to lurking on all those livejournal sites I haven't had time to browse since I started this story.
See you around and thanks for reading!