The ring pierced his dreams. The rain beat heavily against the window pane, and he opened his eyes. The phone still rang, and so he reached for it. Too tired to check for caller ID, he pressed 'talk' and brought the phone to his ear.

Silently, he waited for the person on the other line to talk.

A woman sighed heavily. "Speak to me."

He didn't answer, and he could hear her frustration.

"Do you know what? I don't want it to end like this." Her tone picked up in pitch at the end of the sentence.

He couldn't handle it. He couldn't hear it. He wouldn't. So he hung up. And closed his eyes. And tried to fall back to sleep.

Because he wouldn't answer his phone, she'd gone over there.

"Do you need help?" she murmured quietly, almost as low in volume as the crickets who chirped in the grass.

"No," Jacob snapped. He didn't want her help.

The pain brightened her eyes, and she looked away. He felt his resolve soften.

"You know what will happen," he spoke gently now.

She turned her face back to his. "Jacob, she's three years old. She won't know the difference!"

"Please, just once do what I ask," he begged of her.

She shut her eyes. "Jesus," she breathed in frustration. She stood and stalked over to where he sat in the chair on his porch. She leaned over him, capturing his face in his hands.

"This is killing me Jacob," she admitted tersely. Her tone was filled with passion, and her black eyes seared into his. "Can you imagine what this feels like to me?"

He glared at her, eyes eyes saying it all.

"I don't even like her!" she continued, as if Jacob hadn't said anything, "And you've got me grieving over this leech like I'm in love with her too! I dreamt about kissing her last night! What the hell am I supposed to do with that?"

"Don't do anything," he replied.

"No," she growled, and she gripped his face in her hands with more force.

Jacob worked his jaw beaneath her hands.

Her face was inches from his, and he could taste her breath—thickened with wine and vodka.

"Have you been drinking again?"

With another frustrated growl—though this time wordless—she pulled away and turned her back on him, staring up at the stars.

"Leah." He whispered, "come on."

She didn't speak.

His phone buzzed at his hip, and he picked it up, checking the screen.

1 NEW TEXT MESSAGE.

"Who is it?" she demanded quietly, crossing her arms over herself.

"No one," he told her, reading it over quickly.

"It's her, isn't it?" she guessed.

"Would it hurt to use her name?" he snapped.

"Yes."

He sighed heavily, dropping his face into his hands. "Leah, come on."

She didn't say anything and when he looked up, she was loping across the lawn, toward the trees—tremors shook her body, and her image blurred around the edges. The ripping sound of her transformation echoed in the empty morning.