Chapter 15 "Constantly Just Denying"

Disclaimer: Would SM have given you Chapter 13? Uh, no. So obviously, we aren't her. We just own Eli and that jerk Carter. And the idea for this story.

A/N: Welcome back! As always, thanks to our amazing beta dailyicandy! She puts up with a lot from us and still begs for more. Speaking of "Beg For More", that's the name of a little short story we wrote for the Alternate Shippers Challenge (http:/www[dot]fanfiction[dot]net/u/2333273/Alternate-Shippers_Challenge). Charlie (Team 'Stache, anyone else?) and Rose. Yeah, it's good stuff. Go read & then vote. But not until you read & review this chapter! Enjoy!

Do you know how much you want it?
You're trying to be cool about it
You're trying to big about it
You're constantly just denying
You're like a moth to a flame
You hardly wane
"Beware of the Dog" - Jamelia

LPOV

After Embry picks out an outfit for me to wear tomorrow that he deems 'appropriate', I change into my favorite night clothes; purple satin tank top and shorts. I turn off the lights before jumping into the bed, feeling awkward after he saw me naked earlier. Embry, of course, has to tease me. If it were anyone else I might think they were being mean to me, but the more time I spend around Embry I'm learning that's just who he is. It's kind of adorable, if I'm honest with myself.

It doesn't take me long to fall asleep, Embry's arms wrapped around my waist. I don't know how long I'm asleep before he begins to slowly run his hands up and down my sides, tickling my skin gently. I smile but don't open my eyes before speaking.

"What are you doing? Coming back for seconds?"

Embry chuckles deeply and buries his face in my neck, "And thirds and fourths, if you'll allow me."

"You smell so good, Lillah," taking a deep breath through his nose and kissing my neck he continues, "And taste even better. I can't get enough of you."

I turn my face into his neck and run my nose along his skin. I slip my hands up his neck and into his hair, threading my fingers through his silky strands.

"I don't want you to ever feel like you've had your fill of me."

My words barely leave my mouth before he traps my lips against his, pulling my bottom lip into his mouth and nibbling. I shiver against his warm chest, his heat seeping through the thin satin of my camisole. My nipples harden and I groan into his mouth loudly.

Embry's lips smirk against mine before he pulls away from our kiss. He looks down at his hand as it moves up my stomach, bunching the material of my top with his actions. I can feel the trimmers in his hands as he tries to hold back, to take things slow. But that's the last thing I want. I need him now. More than I needed him before.

I press my chest forward, begging him to keep going when his hand slows a little.

"Don't stop, please. God, I love your hands."

Embry's hand begin to move again, sliding the silky fabric against my skin. He kisses across my collar bone, up my neck and then the corner of my mouth. I sigh deeply when he places his mouth over mine once more. He tastes like cinnamon and something that I can't put my finger on. His tongue glides along my bottom lip and without hesitation my lips to fall open. Embry growls into my mouth when my tongue touches his timidly at first, then his hands grip me tightly.

His fingers move up to my breasts, cupping them but avoiding my nipples until I tug at his hair in protest. He pulls his mouth away from mine just slightly and kisses me several times in rapid succession before pulling away completely. Staring into my eyes, his hand squeezes my breast gently. Then his fingers move up to gently pluck at my nipple, twisting it softly between his fingers.

A deep moan rolls from between my lips and my eyes squeeze shut. I can't take the torture that he's inflicting on purpose and I push him away, forcing him to roll over onto his back. I toss one of my legs over his hips and straddle him, smirking down at him.

"Lillah," he growls at me both playfully and as a warning, letting me know I'm pushing my luck. But I ignore it and shift my hips against his, pressing my heat to him, making both of us moan.

I lean forward to kiss him but something isn't right. I lift my head and look down, but all I see is pillow.

It was a dream. A cruel, cruel dream.

I check my clock only to find my alarm has been going off for at least an hour. That's never happened to me before but it must be what brought me out of my dream. I don't bother looking over next to me. I know Embry is gone. He didn't stay last night but I had wanted him to so badly, even though I knew of his responsibility to the tribe. I lift the pillow he used during the short time he was here; curling my body around it as I inhale his scent. I sigh and climb out of bed, quickly showering because I have no time for my morning run- again.

I'm already running late so I don't bother washing my hair, deciding to twist it up instead. I do a quick make-up job and throw on the clothes Embry picked out for me the night before. I quickly slip on my shoes, grabbing my purse and car keys and make my way to the door.

Thankfully, after hurrying through my morning routine, I actually make it to school at my regular time, which is still twenty minutes earlier than I'm required to be there. As is my norm, I swing by Rachel's classroom to say "hi" and chat before I get things in my classroom settled. I walk through the door of Rachel's classroom and snicker. She's dancing to a song playing through her headphones and doesn't have a clue I've walked in. I lean against the door frame and wait until she spins around. When she sees me she lets out a little yelp and then laughs.

I walk toward Rachel as she slips her ear buds out and turns off her iPod.

"Good morning, Dancing Queen," I giggle and do a little twirl as I walk over to her.

Rachel gives a little curtsy, giggling as she walks over to greet me, "Good morning, Hot Stuff. Aren't you a chipper little thing today."

"Yeah, I slept really well."

I shrug and sit down in one of the student chairs while Rachel watches me closely. I'm trying to be as nonchalant as possible because I know she's dying for some dirt, especially after our odd conversation yesterday.

"Hmm," Rachel squints and leans closer. "That's a cute blouse," Rachel observes as she lifts a hand and pushes the lace edge of my shirt aside. She gasps loudly and I frown at her reaction.

"Lillah!" Rachel whispers loudly, "What in the world are you doing wearing this? Didn't you notice the hickeys on your neck? 'Slept really well,' my ass. You got 'after wolf sex' sleep last night."

My mouth falls open and my face and neck begin to heat up immediately. Rachel lets go of my shirt, going to her desk and pulling open a drawer.

"What? I di-didn't," I stammer out when Rachel comes back, holding out a small mirror and placing it in front of me.

My eyes go wide when I realize that I do, indeed, have bruises all over my pale skin. The hickeys are up and down the side of my neck and trailing over my shoulder. But that isn't all, he left bite marks that are a vivid purple. It looks like we spent hours necking when in reality he didn't spend that much time at my neck.

"Don't tell me you didn't notice this morning," Rachel is tapping her foot, her eyes wide with worry.

"I didn't, honestly. I was running late and rushed through getting ready."

I lean closer to the mirror Rachel is holding up and I can't believe that he left so many places on my skin without me realizing it. The memories of what happened last night flood over me as I run my fingers over the marks lightly.

I was horrified when Embry walked into my bathroom, finding me in the bathtub attempting to pleasure myself with thoughts of him, but failing. There had been a few times in my life that I'd even tried to do what he'd done but it had never turned out like that. He helped me to relax, then he helped me to orgasm; not once, but twice - just by using his fingers. He overwhelmed me, touching me everywhere, surrounding me, and holding on to me tight as my body finally found release. God only knows what it would be like to actually have him-

I can see my cheeks turning bright red as I stop my train of thought there, knowing I can't think about that right now, not with Rachel here.

"Well he sure as hell marked you good."

I can't really argue with her there. He did leave quite an impressive display on my skin.

"He thinks my students have a thing for me," I blurt out. I don't know why I'm telling her this because she's only going to laugh and use it against me later. That's what friends are for.

"I'm sure he's partially right. I get hit on all the time, and so do you, you just don't notice."

I'm shocked by her words. I've never noticed anything like that going on. Sure, I know the older boys watch Rachel and check her out but I've never seen them look at me that way. It would be both awkward and embarrassing to stand in front of them day after day if that were the case.

"I do not, Rachel. They are my students and I'm their teacher. It's nothing more than that."

"If you really believe that then you're crazy. Males love you. That much is evident by your neck. Embry left his warning loud and clear."

I'm taken aback by that statement and I look at her curiously. Embry left his mark on me? I twist the friendship bracelet around my wrist, remembering giving Embry the matching friendship bracelet last night, my own little mark on him.

When Embry and I stood up from the couch, I saw the matching friendship bracelet he had tossed on my coffee table a week ago. I was nervous, contemplating if I should give this tiny piece of cheap jewelry back to him. It seemed silly but I wanted him to have something that might remind him of me when we are separated. I picked it up and turned to him before I could change my mind. It was obviously too small to fit on his wrist so I looped it together a couple of times and slipped it on his finger, fashioning him a ring. When his hand was in mine as I slid the ring on his finger, I was hit with what our position could imply. I did my best to ignore the realization, but his beautiful long fingers were easy to imagine adorned with a simple band instead of the thread entwined piece.

I pinch my wrist to pull myself back to Rachel. I still don't understand what kind of warning she thinks Embry would want to give. I know she knows Embry better than I do, I'm hopeful she can help me out with understanding him better.

"Warning? Warning of what? That we're friends? Besides, he's not trying to 'mark' me, Rachel."

Rachel stares at me as she sees me again running my fingers across the skin on my neck, "He's not? Why else would he want to make sure he left something there for them to see? I know these wolves, Lillah. I know how their minds operate."

I drop my hand to my lap, "You're wrong, Rachel. I'm sorry to tell you that nothing like that is going on with Embry."

"Really? You make out with all of your friends?" Rachel takes a seat next to me.

"Well, no," I sigh loudly and wrinkle my nose at Rachel.

"I didn't think so," Rachel smiles smugly at me and leans back in her chair.

"We didn't make out," I roll my eyes.

"Oh? So you just had sex with him?"

"What? No!"

My face begins to heat up again and I look away from her. I'm still shocked Embry realized I was a virgin, and his reaction to the information.

When he pulled me into his lap and asked about my virginity I wanted to climb under the covers and hide. I wasn't sure what Embry's reaction was going to be. The way I saw it, he could go one of two ways. Either he would realize he just wanted to be friends and nothing more, due to my inexperience, or he would think the reason why no man had touched me before was because I'm a frigid woman, like Carter always told me I was.

I was prepared for those two reactions. However, Embry surprised me, he didn't mind, even stopping me when I started to apologize for my lack of experience. My heart skipped a beat when he called me 'baby', but immediately dropped again when asked me about my college boyfriend. I only briefly mentioned Carter, not wanting to ruin the moment or my good mood by discussing that jerk.

"Why not?" I'm pulled back from my memories by Rachel's question. I force myself to remember what we were discussing. Once I do recall, my face brightens again.

When I turn to Rachel, she honestly looks confused by my denial.

"Rach, I have to go prep my classroom. And I'm not discussing that with you here. See you at lunch?" I ask as I stand.

"Yes, but I think this development calls for a little back-up. Let's go to the diner," she stands as well and pulls the clip from my hair, allowing it to fall down my back.

"A little coverage, just in case." Rachel snickers and shoves me toward the door.

"Thanks!" I roll my eyes but return my focus to her last statement, "Back-up?"

"Yep." Rachel walks over to her desk and grabs her cell phone, "I'm texting Emily and Kim now to see if they can join us."

"Rachel, that isn't necessary," I don't want to bother the other women, plus, I'm not sure how much of this I should share with them.

"It's totally necessary; now get out of my classroom! I don't want you in here looking all satisfied after a night with a hot wolf when my students come in here. They might get bad ideas!"

I shake my head, laughing as I scurry down the hall to my classroom. I try not to think about what she said, but I'm distracted the remainder of the morning, constantly running my fingers over my neck where I know the bruises lie.

-0-

Rachel and I go to our normal spot at the diner. Since I skipped running I'm going to have my normal: water and a grilled chicken salad. Unfortunately, Heidi is working the lunch shift today, including our table. She's super sweet to Rachel but when she turns to take my order her smile quickly turns into a scowl. Just because Embry and I were holding hands on Friday?

After she walks away I can't take not knowing any more. I lean across the table and whisper to Rachel, "Did Embry ever date our waitress, Heidi?"

"No!" Rachel's eyes are wide and it looks like she's trying to hold in a smile. "Why would you ask that?"

I shake my head, still whispering, "I'm sure it's nothing, but Friday when we were leaving here Heidi gave me a really weird look. And just now, she was really nice to you but barely said two words to me."

Rachel shrugs, "Price you pay to be with these guys."

"What?" I sit back in the booth, making sure my hair is covering my neck.

"Other women judge us because we are with these beautiful men. I think Heidi has shown interest in Embry in the past, but he's always ignored her," Rachel shrugs, like it's normal for a man to not return the interest of a young woman. She leans forward, speaking low, "The women he used to 'date' were never from around here."

Before I can respond, Heidi drops off our lunch. At the same moment, Emily slides into the booth, sitting next to me. Emily puts in an order to go plus a cup of coffee. Heidi grabs the pot from behind us and fills Emily's cup before walking away.

Emily takes a sip of her drink, "Kim couldn't join, and she said it's crazy today at the clinic. And I can't stay long; I have to go balance the books over at the shop. When I left, Sam was pulling all the receipts from the past month. He is terrible about keeping up with things. I hope Eli doesn't distract him too much from getting everything pulled."

I take a bite of my salad and nearly choke when Emily looks at me and grins, "Spill."

Rachel jumps in while I take a drink of water, filling Emily in on what happened this morning. When I set my glass down Emily asks to see the marks. I pull my hair back and she shakes her head.

"That boy. Rachel, I don't know if he was trying to mark her. You know how these guys are, sometimes in the moment they forget their strength. And Lillah has really pale skin, she probably bruises easily. You saw her face on Saturday, just a little beard burn left her chin red a day later."

"I had make up on to cover that up," I frown. I thought I had done a better job covering it.

Emily smiles, wrapping her arm around my shoulder and hugging me, "I know you did sweetie, but I'm an expert at beard burn. I love when Sam goes stubbly. You did fine covering it, I just recognized it."

"Lillah, Embry wasn't too rough with you last night, was he?" Rachel looks concerned.

I blush brightly as I remember last night. I try not to compare Embry to Carter but since he was my only relationship, it's hard not to. Carter would have never tried anything like what Embry did with me last night. Even if Carter had, I doubt it would have been anything like Embry's hands on me. He was so gentle and caring where as Carter, wasn't.

I shake my head emphatically, "No, absolutely not! Embry was nothing but gentle with me."

Emily narrows her eyes at Rachel, "How could you even ask that, knowing-. Besides, you know I'd hunt down any of these guys if they ever hurt a woman. Or, I'd have Sam hunt them down."

"I just wanted to double check," Rachel says defensively, "I'm with you, and I'd send Paul and Jacob after anyone that hurt any of my friends."

I can't help but smile at how protective Rachel and Emily are, especially since they are talking about sending three massive wolves after anyone that might hurt me. I giggle at the image of Sam, Paul, and Jacob as wolves chasing down Carter. Of course in my imagination, Embry is leading the group of wolves as they attack Carter.

"What are you giggling at? Remembering how your neck got to looking like that?" Rachel grins at me as she finishes up her lunch.

"No, it's nothing, just an overactive imagination."

"Uh huh. Somehow I don't believe you," Rachel grins.

Emily nudges me, "So are you going to tell us what happened last night or not?"

I shrug, pushing my salad away, "Embry came over for dinner. While we were waiting for dinner to finish cooking he- we- uh-."

"Made out?" Rachel supplies.

"Um, yeah, I guess," I can't help grinning as I remember him telling me he liked me biting him. I definitely need to remember that for the future- that is, if something like that happens again in the future.

"And you both enjoyed yourselves?" Emily is grinning as she asks this question.

I nod, but stop when I remember Embry didn't get to have the same level of enjoyment as I did last night. A shiver runs down my spine as I remember feeling him so hard against me. To think that maybe I'm what caused that to happen- it's mind blowing. When he told me later that he'd be happy to help me any time I was excited to think he wanted to continue down this path. But I quickly became anxious and unsure of myself when he mentioned he'd like my help if I was willing in the future. Feeling him is one thing, but I don't know if I could touch him, if I'd be able to bring him that same pleasure. I'm scared but excited to think he would want me to help him like he helped me.

"Alright, so you made out and you both enjoyed yourselves. What else did you two do last night?" Rachel is smirking. I know she wants every detail, but I'm doing my best not to tell her everything. I want to make sure last night stays special. Part of that is not telling her everything that happened.

"We had dinner," I smile and shake my head. I managed to save the overcooked chicken, but just barely. It was dry and tasteless, but Embry didn't seem to mind, and I was so focused on enjoying my time with him that I barely noticed how terrible it was.

"And...?" Emily asks.

"We talked," I can't help my grin over the remainder of the evening. It was perfect.

After dinner we settled ourselves on the couch. Embry surprised me by leaning back against me while we talked. And we really did talk; it wasn't just him trying to 'get into my pants'. We asked each other question after question, making an effort to get to know one another and, I'm hoping, build a solid friendship. Carter never bothered to just hang out with me, to ask about my family and friends and why I wanted to become a teacher. Yet another difference between the two men; Embry seems genuinely interested.Embry was full of questions, some a little embarrassing but others I could tell were real concerns for him. We took turns, asking questions, making observations. The more I learned about him during the course of the night, the more I wanted to know about him. He told me about his family only briefly and it made my heart ache for him, knowing that he doesn't have his parents to turn to like I do. He seemed so thankful for his friends, like they are his family - maybe one day he'll count me amongst that group.

One of the things that struck me most was him not being able to tell his mother about being a wolf. I was saddened for him but also surprised. Even now, sitting at the diner talking with Emily and Rachel, they've all opened their arms and embraced me. It doesn't make sense that they would be so willing if I'm not supposed to know anything. Why would I get to know and be a part of this when Embry's mom couldn't even know? As much as I appreciate it, enjoy it even, being a part of this tight knit group of friends, it just doesn't seem to fit. I would think they would do everything in their power to avoid telling me anything new.

"Come on Lillah, can't you give us any more details?"

Emily looks at her watch, frowning, "I'm sorry girls, I have to run. We'll talk soon! Lillah, if I see Embry, should I mention I saw you today?"

"Do you mind not mentioning?" I want to beg her not to say anything, but I think this might be the easiest way.

"My lips are sealed!" Emily grabs her order from the counter and dashes out.

"Crap, we have to get back too, come on," Rachel and I toss some money on the table and leave. As I get behind the wheel, I'm thankful I managed not to tell Emily and Rachel everything that happened last night. I like being able to keep it in my head and analyze there. I'm not quite ready to share everything.

-0-

That afternoon I called my mother on the short drive home from school, just to touch base and let her know I'd call her later. Rachel follows me home, her excuse being that she'll be bored at home because Paul is working late but I know better. She was not satisfied with what I shared at lunch; she wants more details about what happened with Embry. Lucky for me Angela is home when we get there and Rachel can't ask me anything that will be too revealing of the wolves. The three of us sit in the living room for a while and they decide to gang up on me. So much for getting lucky with Ang being here.

"How's Embry, Lillah? I haven't seen him in a couple of days."

"He's fine, Angela. You haven't been here in a couple of days," I grin and wink at her, making her blush.

"Touché! Sorry about that, Lill."

"No worries. I was just teasing you. I don't begrudge you spending time with Ben. I'm really happy for both of you."

"Thanks," Angela clears her throat and glances between me and Rachel.

"What's going on with you and Embry?"

"Yeah, Liiiillah, what's going on?"

I give Rachel the stink eye for acting clueless as she sings my name.

"Embry and I are just friends."

"Oh," Angela looks disappointed at that. She was pretty determined to try to find me a boyfriend for a while; she even tried to set me up with a friend of Ben's - Mike Newton.

"That's because Lillah won't let it be anything serious, right Lillah?"

"Shut up, Rachel. You know why I'm leery. Both of you know why actually."

"Lillah, just because Carter hurt you doesn't mean that Embry will," Angela tells me earnestly. I don't say anything; I just look at her and nod before turning to Rachel.

Rachel looks at me for a long beat before finally speaking.

"Embry would never hurt you, Lillah. He would do anything to protect you."

Before I can say anything Angela gasps and rambles something about being late and that she'll see me later. She's off the couch and flying toward the door before I can reply. But she stops at the door and calls back to us, "Tell Embry I hope to see him again soon, preferably clothed! And I promise to knock on your door going forward. Don't want to walk in on that again!" The door slams behind Angela as I hear her laughing.

"Lillah," Rachel says my name, pulling my gaze away from the door, "what is she talking about?"

Looking down at my hands, unable to look Rachel in the eye, I speak slowly, "Um...Angela might have walked in on Embry and me yesterday morning."

"Wait, yesterday morning? As in, he stayed Saturday night after the bonfire?"

"Well, I don't think he meant to stay the night, but yeah."

"So, Embry stayed the night here and you didn't think it was something important you should tell me? What exactly did Angela walk in on?"

"We were just kissing, that's all, I swear."

"You were just kissing, but you were both NAKED?"

Rachel cocks an eyebrow at me and my blush intensifies so much that the tops of my ears feel like they are burning.

"No! We both had our underwear on. But when Angela came in, Embry was so surprised he practically jumped out of the bed, throwing the covers off of us. He was really upset too, said he didn't hear her coming."

Rachel grins, "Yeah, Paul gets a little distracted too when we are together. The guys don't like to let their guards down," Rachel pauses for a second before looking at me more closely. "He really stayed here all night?"

"Yeah, why? What's the big deal?" I shrug my shoulders, trying to act like I think it's nothing, him staying all night. But the truth is, I'm just as surprised and confused that he didn't leave, as Rachel is.

"That means Embry missed patrols on Sunday; he has never missed patrols. Ever. Paul jokes about how he makes them all look like slackers. Even when his mom-," Rachel cuts herself off.

"We talked about his mom last night," I reassure her when she looks hesitant.

But her tone and the words caught my attention and I can't help but ask what she means, "He's never missed patrols? How can that be?"

"He told you about his mom? He hasn't talked to any of us about that."

Rachel pauses, almost like she's considering her words carefully, "Lillah- Embry is really dedicated to the tribe. And, as far as I know, he's never spent the night with a woman."

"Whether it was an accident or not, him staying here, missing patrols, spending the night with you- Embry really cares for you. I hope you know that. He would rather die than see you hurt. They are all very protective of us."

Rachel frowns, still lost in whatever train of thought is going through her mind.

But suddenly, her face lights up with a smile, "You won't believe what Paul told me happened at the football game!"

I'm still thinking over Rachel's observation of Embry's feelings for me and everything she's just shared about him. I barely have time to process all of this before she launches into something else.

"Embry heard some of the Forks football players talking about you. Paul heard them too but he said that Embry nearly phased up in the bleachers, he was so angry. Apparently he would have taken out the entire offensive line had Paul not been there to stop him."

"I know. I mean, Embry mentioned it but he didn't tell me what he heard," I'm surprised to find out Paul heard the football players talking too. Maybe Embry wasn't imagining things, but still, I'm sure he was blowing their statements out of proportion.

"Paul was telling me the things they were saying. He said that if they'd been talking about me like that he would have ripped their heads off," Rachel shrugs at me like it's not a big deal.

"Oh my-, these are high school boys. He's being ridiculous. We are just friends and I don't need him to defend 'my honor'."

"Oh Lillah, it doesn't matter, he feels responsible for you now. There's no way he'd allow them to talk about you like that. Fantasizing about you in a cheerleading uniform, and talking about the 'quiet ones' being wild in bed-"

"How embarrassing," I say, cutting her off. I don't want a visual of myself in the short skirt and tight top our girls wear on their tiny bodies. And I certainly don't want to think about what else they might have been saying about me.

Rachel sits on the other end of the couch and watches me for a few minutes. Now that Angela is gone Rachel gets herself comfortable so that she can really dig in with questions.

"So what's up?"

"What do you mean?"

"Between you and Embry."

"I've told you, Rachel, there's nothing going on."

I shake my head and laugh lightly, hoping to diffuse and distract her from trying to dig too deeply. I'm a little nervous about what she is going to bring up, or point out to me.

"Lillah, I'm not blind. I've seen the way you look at him. And I see your neck," Rachel smirks and nods toward my exposed skin.

I quickly try to make an excuse, "Things just got a little out of hand."

"A 'little'? Looks like more than a little to me. Now spill it. Pretty please?"

Rachel is practically begging, pouting out her bottom lip and giving me puppy dog eyes. I shake my head at her and go over everything in my mind before speaking.

"Embry and I are friends and have agreed that if something sexual happens we'll let it run its course."

"Friends with benefits, huh? I don't see that ending well, Lillah. I know that I haven't known you all that long but I can't imagine you being okay with that."

"Okay with what? Enjoying my time with a handsome, caring, gentle man?"

"No, that's not what I mean. I'm happy that the two of you are friends but I- I don't want you to get too deep if you aren't going to allow it to be more than a friendship," Rachel props her feet on the coffee table and I shake my head at her.

She nudges my arm and looks at me with concern, "What if you fall in love with him, Lillah?"

I scoff at her, as if it's impossible for me to fall in love with him. As if I'm not already afraid that maybe I'm falling for him. I'm doing everything I can to deny it altogether, to both myself and Rachel. I don't want her worrying about me or giving Embry a hard time, which I'm sure she would do in a heartbeat if she felt like it was necessary.

"I'm not going to. I'm not that naive. Sure, I'm attracted to him, and it's all new to me, but I know he's not interested in a real relationship."

"So you're having sex with him and then after that's done and over with, what? Are you going to go back to being 'just friends' with him?"

Biting my bottom lip, I try to consider her words and think carefully before answering. I honestly don't know what I'll do if that happens. Can I just be friend with him after the things that have already happened between us? I can't really allow myself to think about that right now. I push it to the back of my mind and focus on what I want to say to her.

"First of all, I appreciate you being there for me and I value your opinion and friendship but it's not your business what Embry and I are doing, Rachel," I pause and sigh, hoping that I don't hurt her feelings by saying what I'm thinking.

"Secondly, if I have sex with him it will be my choice. If it comes to that, choosing between being friends and having a benefits relationship, I do hope that he and I will remain friends."

"Okay," Rachel nods and sits silently for a few seconds.

"He has amazing lips. And hands."

I tell her this wanting to give her a little bit of info because I know she's itching for at least something and I can't deny her. Plus, I want a little bit of girly giggling about a guy that I might have a little crush on. Or a big massive crush.

Rachel places her hand over her mouth and stifles a giggle, "Yeah, I know all about talented lips and hands."

I laugh at the dreamy expression on her face. I'm sure I've had that same look more than a few times today. I can't even make fun of her for it because Paul affects her the same way Embry does me. I sit in thought before I make the decision to tell her partially what took place last night.

"Embry sort of caught me in the bath last night."

"Oh, this is going to be good, I can just tell," Rachel drops her feet to the floor and turns to face me. I definitely have her full attention now.

-0-

I go through bits and pieces of the story, leaving out the details that I don't really want to share with someone, even with someone that has now become my best friend.

"You bit him? Way to go, Lillah!"

"Oh God," I mutter and bury my blushing face in my hands.

"I bet he loved it. Those boys like it a little rough at times," Rachel nods her head enthusiastically. "Paul also really likes it when I-"

I stop her before she has the chance to continue her train of thought. The last thing I want is to imagine Paul in any kind of sex act, regardless of how hot he is.

"NO! I don't want to know what Paul really likes, Rachel."

"Fine," Rachel rolls her eyes at me.

"So how big is Embry's cock?"

If the floor would just open up and swallow me whole, I'd be perfectly content. I'm shocked at the things that Rachel can sometimes spout at me. I do the fish mouth before I'm finally able to make my brain function enough to speak.

"RACHEL! I can't even talk to you about this anymore," I really have to avoid that particular subject. I don't know how I'll explain to her that he didn't even ask me to reciprocate; therefore I don't know anything about his- cock.

"Besides," I tell her, trying to change the subject, "I'm supposed to be making dinner. Embry is coming over later."

"You are no fun, Lillah. This conversation was just getting good," Rachel complains.

"Sorry," I tell her and stick my tongue out playfully.

Rachel smiles but I can tell that she's fighting it, trying to pretend that she is angry with me.

"I guess he'll probably be here soon anyway. Now that he's switched shifts with Seth he'll be patrolling in the afternoons with Jacob. My guess is he'll probably be spending a lot of his evenings here."

"Wait. What? They switched shifts? When?"

"Yesterday, during their impromptu meeting. He didn't tell you?"

"No. He kind of let me believe he was leaving last night so he could patrol."

"He really is an idiot."

I don't say anything while I process this information. I shake my head, frowning. Why hadn't he stayed last night?

"Just answer me one more thing?"

I nod hesitantly because I'm now focused on something else.

"How did you not know that wearing that blouse today would show off his bite marks?"

"I didn't know they were there and Embry picked out my clothes last night before he left."

Rachel's mouth drops open and she gives me a death stare before jumping into a list of reasons why I should never allow Embry to do that again. In the middle of Rachel's tirade I glance up and notice that Embry and Jacob are standing in the living room. I squint my eyes at him now that I realize what he's been up to. That little sneak. After the details Rachel gave me about what had taken place at the football game and her telling me Embry didn't have to patrol last night, I am less than pleased with him.

My face was flaming with embarrassment before but now it's full of color due to my anger and annoyance. How dare he try to control me like that? I don't go around biting him- okay, I kind of did, but that was different. I didn't trick him into wearing something so that other girls would see it and know that he's mine. Not that he is mine. I also didn't lie to him about something as stupid as my schedule. If he didn't want to stay the night, he should have just told me so.

I'm upset that he would trick me on purpose, to try to prove to teenagers that I'm not 'available', as if I'd be interested in them anyway. I'm furious with him though, because he lied to me. Not outright maybe, but it was a lie of omission and that hurts me more than anything. I've been lied to before, for years, by someone that I thought might respect me, if not care for me. For Embry to hide something, it hurts me more than it ever did when I found out about Carter's cheating. Admitting that to myself makes me not only angry with Embry but myself as well.

I stand to face Embry and Jacob, my eyes narrowed. I take a deep breath and try to control my temper before speaking. I clench my jaw, gnashing my teeth together to keep from raging at Embry.

-0-

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