I couldn't get it out of my head. Sam wanted me to be Alpha. He wanted me to lead a pack that continues to grow, the pack that he has run so perfectly thus far. The thought was causing me serious stress and to be honest it was one of the reasons I said no to Nessie last night. The other was because what I told her was completely true. We had our whole lives to be together. As much as I wanted to take our relationship to that level, I was too distracted to even contemplate doing it right then and there. And as cheesy as it sounds I want it to be special, especially for her. She might not realize it now but she will thank me for it later.

Besides, if I do choose to take on the role as leader of the pack, I need to get a firm grip on my priorities before anything too serious happens in my love life. Don't get me wrong, if I had to choose between being Alpha and being with Nessie, there is no deliberation needed, it would be absolutely be her. But the fact is that I would be able to have both, with the cost of a little less time spent with Nessie. Is that really so much to give up? I've been spoiled with the time we have spent together; when she is at school I am bored as hell. Would it be so wrong to want to do something for myself while she's not around?

She never prevented me from doing what I want. I have to be grateful for that. And if I could spend every second of my life with her I would, but that just isn't going to happen, at least not now. Emily was right. She will stay young potentially forever, so I'll need a guarantee that I will as well. Was I really considering doing this? Being the Alpha? Damn it.

I didn't want to mention anything to Nessie yet until I was sure. Her reaction will determine whether or not I can actually go through with it. Knowing how generous she is I could see her being very supportive of me stepping up to be a leader, especially if it is so Sam can spend more time with his family.

All of this was flying through my head as I lay down on the Cullen's couch, watching reruns of last night's game. I was anxious to see Nessie this morning before she went off to school. I knew I upset her badly last night and for that reason I haven't been able to sleep all night. But I stand by my decision. I think I may actually be maturing, Bella would be impressed, not that I would ever, ever mention this to her.

"Good morning Jacob. How did you sleep?" Bella asked as she walked through the back door and into the living room. If she was here that means Nessie shouldn't be too far behind.

"Not too well."

"Is something wrong?"

"Nothing you have to worry yourself about Bella" Of course being Bella she was going to concern herself anyway. I should have just kept my big mouth shut. She shoved my feet off the couch and sat down next to me, her face looking extremely concerned over something so trivial as my sleep.

"Tell me about."

"I'd rather not actually. It's personal." She lightly slapped my leg.

"Oh come on Jake! We share everything you know that, now tell me what's bothering you?"

I stared at her for a few seconds, figuring out how to say it without going into too much detail that would lead her to tear my arms off.

"Nessie and I just got into a little argument."


"Last night."

"When last night? I was with her right before she went to sleep. She seemed fine." Oh shit. I tried to think of a way to backtrack but she was on to me too quickly. I looked over at her face, which had quickly changed to one of admonition and disapproval.

"Jacob Black…"

"Relax Bella! I went to tuck her that's all!" This time she slapped my leg much harder. And she didn't stop there. She began to whack me on my arms and even hit my face pretty good. In between the hits she managed to get some of her anger out,


"Bella stop! Relax okay! I told you noting happened!" She scoffed and rolled her eyes.

"Jake I swear if I find out you are lying to me…"

"Lying to you about what?" My body froze. As much as I hate to admit it, Edward has become more of a threat to me now than before, ever since I have been officially dating Nessie. Damn it he probably heard that…I filled my head with a repeat of random sounds so that he wouldn't hear any glimpses of our conversation. But to my surprise he wasn't glaring at me he was glaring at Bella.

"Bella what are doing?" What was he talking about? I looked back and forth between the two of them, both staring at the other intensely.

"What are you hiding from me?" He said very quietly and in an almost despairing manner. Like he was really offended and also ticked off.

"Don't worry about it Edward." She got up and that's when I realized what the problem was. Bella was blocking my thoughts from Edward. She put up a shield. But why? I thought for sure she would be so ticked off at me that she would look to Edward to really teach me a lesson for sneaking into his daughter's room at night.

Bella walked out of the living room towards the kitchen, Edward not too far behind. I couldn't imagine that was going to be a pleasant conversation but I couldn't help but be curious as to what she was going to say. I walked as quietly as I could towards the kitchen and peeked my head around the corner. Suddenly I was face to face with Edward. Stupid vampire hearing. It was clear he wanted to keep his and Bella's conversation private.

"Alright alright. Damn." I walked back to couch and stretched myself across it, hoping to possibly get a little rest once I spoke to Nessie.

About 2 minutes later Nessie came strolling into the living room but before I could say anything to her she went straight to the foyer and out the door. I looked after her, stunned. Did she really just completely ignore me? She had to have seen me, I'm pretty hard to miss. I guess I underestimated how angry she really was at me for last night.

I was tempted to go after her but part of me knew that she was just like her mother and that she just needed some space. Hopefully by the time she gets home she will have forgiven me or at least want to talk it over. Still, it's the worst feeling in the world knowing that she's mad at me. And for something I did right for once.

Bella and Edward came out of the kitchen and walked right by me without looking in my direction. Directly after them came the rest of the clan, with Alice being the last one, skipping lightly down the stairs and saying a quick goodbye to me before she shut the door.

I needed to get out of here.

Too much of my time has been spent cooped up in this house. I needed to hunt. I needed to get away and really really think about this Alpha thing. Unfortunately if I did that it would mean that I couldn't phase into my wolf form since no one can know about my possible promotion. Looks like I'll be going the old natural way today.

I started out slow, really trying to enjoy my run and pace myself, but the more I thought about the stress of my situation, the faster I went and the more power I put into each stride. I was heading towards La Push, but deep within the areas that my brother's usually avoid because of the uneven ground and abundance of trees. I didn't mind, it was a challenge and I liked it. Plus I wasn't really in the mood to talk at the moment.

After about a half hour of running I decided to slow down and look for food. I was craving a fresh piece of deer meat. Quietly placing my feet on the ground with each step, I surveyed the area. It looked like a good place to start. However, before I even had a chance to sniff out any prey I heard a cracking from a small distance away. No chance that it was going to be this easy. Was I really that lucky to have stumbled upon a deer so soon?

Every inch forward I moved I had to be conscious of where I was stepping to avoid crunching down on a leaf or snapping a twig. Slowly I crept towards the noise, trying to figure out by the loudness of its motions if it really was a deer or something else completely. As I peered around a nearby tree I found myself facing not a deer but a wolf. Leah to be exact.

However, she didn't see me. She was facing in the other direction, head held high like she was scouting out something in the woods. I didn't want to startle her for fear that she would attack me not realizing who it was. So I stood behind the tree and watched her, waiting for her to let her guard down so that I could show myself.

The more I looked at her expression the less at ease I became. There was something about her face and her stance that made me think she was scared and feeling threatened. But by what? Leah is rarely ever scared. She began to move slowly away from me towards a more heavily wooded area. If I was going to reveal myself now was the time.

Stepping out from the tree I immediately made the mistake of not watching where I was stepping and my foot snapped a twig. Leah's body was instantly heading towards mine and in two seconds I was on the ground with her paws digging into my skin.

"Leah" I chocked out.

Her expression softened after a few seconds and backed off into the woods. I brushed myself off, inspecting the cuts that her nails made on my skin. Obviously not a big deal but still an avoidable attack.

I looked up and Leah was now in human form walking out of the woods with a pair of running shorts and a cut up t-shirt. She didn't look too pleased to see me.

"What the hell are you doing here Jacob?"

"I should ask you the same."

She eyed me up angrily and then sighed, "Sam has been sending everyone on trips to inspect the area for any signs of that missing girl. For some reason he feels the need to concern himself with her safety."

"He concerns himself with her safety because he's smart. He knows that whoever is behind her disappearance is a threat to everyone in this area. We need to find out who or what is responsible."


"What did you see?" Her eyes lit up for a moment.


"You're lying. What did you see Leah? I was watching you; you were tense so obviously something is out there that made you that way. What was it?"

"I told you it was nothing Jacob!" But I knew she wasn't telling me the truth. Her eyes were turning glassy; something really freaked her out. I moved towards her, preventing her from backing away from me. The more I looked at her the more I realized it wasn't only fear, it was grief as well.

"Leah…hey Leah look at me." I moved her head so that she was looking at me but she was still avoiding eye contact. She didn't want me to see her crying, for me to see her weak.

"Jake…I…I don't want…it's just the heat" Eventually I got her to look at me and my heart sank. Something was really wrong.

"Leah you can tell me. You can trust me."

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you."

"Try me." It took her a minute before she could speak

"I…I saw someone out here…"

"Who?" She shook her head.

"Leah who was it?"

"I know it's crazy but…Jake I swear I saw…I saw my father." I looked at her and for the first time I really saw her break down. She leaned into me and sobbed into my shoulder. I rubbed her back and tried to calm her down. I wasn't sure what to say. She saw Harry. Who has been dead for years now. I wanted to believe, her, hell I wish it were true. That he had somehow come back to life, or that he was never dead in the first place. But that's not how things work.

"It's going to be okay Leah."

"No. No it's not Jacob. Don't you get it? I saw my dead father in the words! Either I'm going crazy or he's actually alive."

She continued to cry for a little and then slowly she backed away.

"I know what I saw. You don't have to believe me but I have to go look. I have to find him!" She turned her back towards me and started to run off but I caught her before she got too far and spun her around.

"Stop! Leah stop! Listen to me!"

"No Jacob just let me go!"

"I'm not letting you go out here alone!"

"Then come with me…help me find…" Suddenly her eyes widened as she stared off over my shoulder. I felt my heart drop as I took in her stunned face and slowly turned around to see what she was looking at. I thought for sure it was going to be her father again. That she wasn't going crazy after all. But it wasn't him.

It was Danielle.

She was standing there, her blond hair straight and clean looking. Like she just got out of a shower. Her face wasn't bruised up either, as one would expect after being missing for a few days. But the most disturbing part of this wasn't her appearance, it was how she was standing there, staring at the two of us. Her expression was unreadable. She didn't look relieved to see us, nor did she look angry. She was just there.

I continued to hold onto Leah's arm as I took a step forward, curious to see if this would produce some kind of change in her expression. But it didn't. Taking a couple more steps forward…still no change. It was in all honesty freaking me out. It became clear that Leah felt uneasy as well since she clinged onto my one arm, ready to pull me away if Danielle made any sudden movements.

"Jake." Leah whispered, "Jake I think we should just go."

"Leah this is Danielle. You know the one we've been looking for. We can't just leave her out here."

I looked Danielle up and down and she seemed perfectly harmless.

"Danielle. I'm not sure if you recognize me at all but I'm here to help you. We both are." I pointed behind me but Leah's expression would suggest otherwise. She was on guard, prepared for an attack.

"Leah will you relax. You aren't helping." I whispered back at her. She relaxed her stance slightly.

We were only a couple feet from Danielle now. She appeared to be in some kind of shock. I slowly reached out for her hand to show her I meant no harm. Surprisingly she let me grab it. At last she moved, taking me as well as Leah in, now looking more alert.

"Trust me. Danielle I promise you can trust me. If you don't mind I would like to take you back to the Cullen's house. Nessie's family's house. They've been looking for you." The moment I said Cullen her eyes lit up and she nodded. I wrapped my arm around her and then looked back at Leah. She still seemed unsure, eyeing Danielle up with suspicion.

"Leah come on. I'll take you home after I get her to the Cullen's." But Leah only shook her head.

"Jacob I don't trust her." I widened my eyes and nodded towards Danielle. She obviously heard that and it wasn't helping my attempts to get her to come with me.

"No Jacob I'm serious. Something's wrong…"

"Stop being ridiculous Leah now let's go!" She still didn't move.

"Fine! Suit yourself. I'm leaving!" I stormed off with Danielle keeping pace by my side. I turned my head around one last time to see Leah still standing there, not too pleased but more concerned then anything. I didn't get it. This is Danielle. The girl barely weighed 100 pounds. She wasn't a threat against a wolf, let alone two.

She was silent the whole way there, even when I tried to ask her questions. She just looked straight ahead. But one thing I did take notice of was that whenever I mentioned Nessie or the Cullen's a small smirk would form on her mouth, which I found to be a little strange. Then again Nessie was her friend and I'm sure after being kidnapped for 3 days the sound of a familiar name was extremely welcoming to hear.

When we reached the house it was empty with the exception of Esme who was upstairs. I called her down telling her that I had good news. She raced down the steps and it took her only a brief second to realize who the blond girl next to me was. And Esme being Esme, she immediately went in for a hug, which I was shocked to see Danielle take with a big smile on her face, as if she had known her for years.

"Oh I'm so glad you are okay! Everyone should be home shortly and they will be so happy to see you!"

"I'll be very happy to see them too." Danielle said with the smile still spread across her face.

"Here I'll show you where the phone is so you can call your parent's! They will be so happy to hear from you…"

"No!" Both Esme and I stared at her stunned. What was with the outburst and why the hell wouldn't she want to talk to her parents?

"I mean I would rather not bother them at work. They hate that."

"Oh sweetie but I'm sure they would want…"

"Really Esme it can wait. I'd really rather not right now." Esme glanced over and me and then shrugged.

"Okay. If you think that's best. Can I get you something to eat you must be starving!"

"Oh no I'm fine." I exchanged a look with a baffled Esme and then watched her turn towards the kitchen, her brows furrowed in confusion much like mine. How is she not starving right now?

"You can have a seat while you wait for them to get home. It should be any minute now." I told her and I was spot on. The cars pulled up and out came everyone except Nessie, who I had just remembered was visiting Tara. I was tempted to text her and share the good news but I also wanted it to be a surprise.

Everyone walked in apparently knowing that someone unfamiliar was in the house, I'm guessing they smelled her. All of them sighed in relief and then really let what they were seeing sink in. Her clean and well-put appearance was a shock to them as well. No one really knew what to say. The one person who I had expected to come forward and be her usual bubbly self t stood in the back. Alice. I caught a glimpse of her face, zoned out, brows pushed close together in frustration. I recognized that look. It's the one she gets when she can't get a reading of someone's future. When they are blocked from her powers…

She looked up at Danielle who smiled warmly at everyone. I could see it there in her eyes, something wasn't right.