As I began my second loop around the eastern part of La Push I reflected on how this had to be the worst week of my life. I'm not trying to be melodramatic, but it's been one of those "when it rains, it pours" kind of weeks, and I feel like I've got my own little rain cloud following me.
It started out with me feeling sick, flu-like, achy, high fever, the works. My dad had told me to lie down and just sweat it out. Sweat was something I was sure I could do. I felt like I was burning up. Then Leah starts coming down with it, too. Next thing I know, Sam Uley, who I had alternately referred to in the privacy of my own mind as "the creepy cult leader of La Push" and "that asshole who broke my sister's heart" was leaning over my sick bed looking at me like I was some sort of monster to his Doctor Frankenstein.
That was all it took. I busted out of my skin and next thing I knew I was an enormous sandy-coloured wolf and there were snarls where my words should have been. "Sick" Leah staggered into the room to find out what all the commotion was, laid eyes on my oversized wolf form staring down her slimy ex-boyfriend and burst out into her own wolf- the first female wolf ever in the long history of the Quileutte tribe.
Upon seeing her unexpected transformation, my father was so shocked he had a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital. Leah and I both were so freaked out by both phasing into wolves for the first time and by our dad's sudden medical condition that neither one of us could calm down enough for us to phase back human. Neither one of us could accompany our mother on the ride to the hospital where she sat for hours only to hear the news that our dad didn't pull through.
Leah's emotions were a complete cluster-fuck. It was one thing to be suddenly dumped by the man you loved for your cousin, which really sucked. It was another thing entirely to be forced to share brain space with said ex-boyfriend where the imprinting compulsion warranted that sweet cousin Emily took up 98% of his waking wolfy thoughts. For Leah, it was excruciating, even more so when she realized that Sam in fact does still love her, but that his love for Leah really doesn't matter when it compares to what the mystical Fates pushed on us by our Wolf Ancestors. It would appear that to a werewolf, sometimes love just isn't enough.
On top of the pain of having to share a mind with Sam, Leah was also beginning to blame herself for our dad's heart attack. She was convinced that it was seeing her that had ended his life. Maybe that was true, but it's not like Leah chose this life. It was our dad's fucked up blood line that made us this way in the first place, well that and those damned leeches. It was all shades of fucked up realizing that all the stories are true. And there were all fucking scary as hell.
The upside to this mess is gaining a new set of brothers through the pack. I'd always been a bit of a loner. Most of the guys were into cars and football. I surfed. It might sound cheesy or zen, but surfing made me feel centered and a part of something bigger than myself. It was just about me and the waves. I could think or zone out and just be. Getting used to the noise of seven other people in my head was something that would take some time, but having a group of brothers was actually kind of cool. Being the youngest sucks, and some of the guys are new to me, but I've always gotten to hang out with Jacob a bit since our dad's are so close. Were so close. It will never feel right to think of my dad in the past tense.
Jacob had always been sort of like a cooler older brother to me, someone who didn't mind me hanging around even if I was a little younger. He treated me like one of the guys, and I tried to rein in my more immature qualities without seeming like I was trying too hard to be cool. Even when our families had all been together and he was hanging out with Bella Swan, his best friend and dream-girl extraordinaire, he still found time to talk to me which was very cool. Bella's dad, Charlie had been the third musketeer when it came to our dad's fishing trips and other old guy escapades. It was no surprise how Bella just seemed to fit here with us, pale-face or not. Her dad was good people, and she seemed to be a lot like him. Being really hot didn't hurt her case either. I could totally understand why Jacob had been in love with the girl since diapers. Too bad she didn't have a younger sister because I would have been all over that one. Add to that the fact that Bella wasn't scared of anything.
When I saw through the pack's mind connection how Bella had knowingly dated a vampire and become a member of their family, only to be completely abandoned by said vampire family and adopted into a werewolf pack, Bella's cool factor skyrocketed in my book. She was like the fucking supernatural pied piper or something. Except in that story none of the rats were trying to kill the pied piper, unlike with Bella who was still being stalked by a psychopathic red-headed leech who was hell-bent on avenging her lost mate. That part was down-right disturbing. I noticed during the time of my first phase when I was having trouble calming down enough to go human again that a lot of the pack's thoughts seemed to revolve around Bella in some form or another. She was a tiny slip of a thing and had been jerked around enough by those leeches to make the whole pack protective of her.
Jacob of course was completely obsessed with her to the point where other pack members wondered if he hadn't somehow partially imprinted on her. Screw the imprint! After what it did to my sister I am not a huge fan of the whole phenomenon. If Jacob loves her, he loves her. The imprint shouldn't mean a thing. I watched through my wolf-o-vision as Jacob remembered pulling a nearly drowned Bella from stormy ocean waters while Victoria swam dangerously nearby.
I had been so busy being trapped in my wolf form and waiting for news on my dad at the time that I had missed the best surf to hit our shores in the past two years. It seems bad to think about missing surfing when my dad was dying, but he understood how I felt a part of nature when I surfed and considered it my way of expressing my native heritage and connecting with the greater spirit world. He encouraged me in my choice of hobbies and helped me learn to earn money to pay for whatever gear I needed by tooling leather in the traditional methods of our tribe. Selling the leather cuffs, belts and other pieces that sold at crafts fairs or were commissioned by people on the rez gave me enough spending money to do what I wanted. And what I wanted was to surf.
Thinking about surf brought my thoughts back to Bella and how if I had been in the water that day when she jumped from the cliff, I probably would have been able to pull her out safely. Maybe she wouldn't have come so close to drowning. Maybe she wouldn't have felt so guilty when Jacob told her that my dad was in the hospital and Leah and I had joined the pack.
"Seth!" called Paul's irritated voice in my head. We were on patrol together and obviously my inner monolog had finally become too much for him. "Shut the hell up about Bella. Damn it, if I have to hear you thinking about her non-stop like Jacob does I'm going to fucking put all of you out of your misery. Just because Jacob is your hero it doesn't mean you have to be in love with his leech-loving non girlfriend, too."
"I'm not in love with Bella. I just think she's a cool girl." I responded to him mentally. And really hot, I added to myself. "And Jacob is not my hero." I corrected. My dad was.