Chapter 17 "No End In Sight"

Disclaimer: No SM here. If we were SM, there wouldn't have been a fade to black. We would have had Edward ripping that pillow all to shreds and it would have been hot, know that.

A/N: Short note this week, just a reminder that we are always around to talke about "Losing Control" or any of the other stories we've written. You can find us on Twitter (StupidLeeches) or on our website (www[dot]stupidleeches[dot]com). Other links to find us can also be found on those sites. As always, thanks to our amazing beta dailyicandy (daily[underscore]i[underscore]candy on Twitter) who pushes these chapters through like a mad woman! Hope you enjoy!

The thing about you is you know just how to get me
You talk about us like there's no end in sight
The thing about me is that I really wanna let you open the door and walk into my life
Move in a little closer
Take it to a whisper
Get just a litter louder
Say it again for me
Cause I love the way it feels when you are telling me that I'm the only one who blows your mind
"Say It Again" - Marie Digby


I shuffle my feet into my bedroom, part of me hoping Embry follows. I want to change into comfortable clothes, but I don't want to leave him. I can't believe how tired he looked, like he didn't sleep at all last night. More than that, I'm stunned by the conversation we just had. I was ready to kill him, but somehow, his reasoning made sense. What is going on with me? As much as I wanted to, I couldn't stay mad at him. He was acting so stupid, trying to protect me from my students, but I can tell he was set on believing whatever he heard on Friday night.

Shaking my head at the insanity of today, I pull out a pair of yoga pants and a tank top. Pulling off my clothes, I hesitate when I get to my bra. I usually forgo one when I'm lounging around the house, but with Embry being here I think that is just asking for 'trouble'.

As I'm pulling on socks I notice a noise coming from the living room. It sounds like whimpering and then howling. Bizarre. Since I don't have a dog I can only assume that it's the TV, or Embry. As it gets louder and more urgent I hesitantly go into the living room, worried about what I might find.

Embry has his feet propped on my coffee table and is leaning back against the couch. His eyes are clenched tightly in sleep and his head is thrown back, mouth open. The sounds coming from him frightens me and I rush to his side, not wanting to get too close but needing to touch him. I place a hand on the side of his face, saying his name gently, not wanting to startle him. His lips form an "o", his cheeks pull in as a howling sound rips from his lungs, so violently it startles me. The sound is almost indescribable, like he's in excruciating pain.

"Embry, wake up, Embry."

I scoot closer to him, gripping his hand tightly in mine, hoping that the contact will end the agonizing sounds escaping him. He calls my name in between his howls. It sounds like he's even more terrified than he did with just the howling.

"Embry! Embry wake up! Embry please! Please, Embry, it's Lillah! Please wake up!"

He jerks awake, jumping from the sofa, looking around the room frantically before pulling me to him. His body is shaking as he wraps his arms around me tightly.

Embry buries his face in my neck, moving my hair and the strap of my tank top out of the way. I hear him inhale deeply as I feel the tip of his nose move up my shoulder and over my neck, the sensation sending shivers down my spine. I wrap my arms around his bare chest, placing my hands on his back where I feel his muscles tense beneath his hot skin.

He strokes my hair gently and is silent while he holds me. I can feel his heart pounding against my cheek. I rise up on my tip toes, placing a kiss against his neck, where I can see the veins pulsing, under his skin. I give him time to calm down before I consider saying something to him.

To say that I'm worried is an understatement, I have no idea what he could have been dreaming but it sounded bad, very bad. It scares me that he could be this upset over a dream.

Finally, Embry pulls back, loosening his grip on me, but still holding me close. When he looks down at me, his eyes are serious and wide with worry.

"Promise me, if I ever tell you to go home, or to run, you will."

"Yeah, of course, Embry." I can't help the worry in my voice as I lean back into him, "What was that all about?"

"Just a dream." I can tell he's still upset; his muscles are still tight under my hands.

"Embry, it didn't sound like just a dream." I'm so worried about him, I've never seen him like this, "Is that why you were avoiding sleep last week? Why you look so tired today? Because of nightmares?"

"It's fine, Lillah. That was probably one of the easier nightmares I've had lately." Embry gives me a sad smile before going serious again, "Just please, if I ever tell you to leave or run, you have to; I'm not saying it to be an ass. There really are monsters out there, and the more I'm here or you're around me, the more danger you're in."

I nod slowly, wanting to comfort him as much as possible, but I still have no idea what it is that has him scared. He pulls me back into his chest and I rest my head once again against his rapidly beating heart. "I promise, Embry."

It's obvious that whatever it was he was living in his dream has him freaked out, completely. Embry doesn't move for a while, he holds me tight against his chest, stroking my hair. I don't know if it's helping him, but I can feel myself relaxing as I hear his heartbeat slow down.

Placing a kiss over Embry's heart, I finally, slowly, yet regretfully pull away from him. We stare at each other for a moment and he looks almost disappointed at the loss of contact.

Wanting to change the mood, I take his hand, turning towards the kitchen, "This is probably a silly question, but, are you hungry?"

"That is a silly question. Especially since I barely had time for breakfast this morning and only had half a sandwich for lunch. Eli drooled on the other half." He is grinning down at me as he follows me into the kitchen.

I chuckle at the image of Eli drooling on Embry's sandwich, "Poor Embry, losing your lunch to a baby. My gosh, you must be wasting away to nothing. No wonder you are having nightmares, your brain is disoriented with the lack of food." I tell him sarcastically.

"That must be it. Please save me from these terrible nightmares. Feed me, Lillah." Embry's laugh sounds more like a bark, but it makes me feel better to see him laughing and smiling.

"Come on then, let's figure out what to eat for dinner." I pause as we enter the kitchen, looking back at him. "Would you do me one favor though, Embry, before we start cooking?"

Embry smiles warmly at me, tugging me closer to him again, "Sure, whatever you need."

I can't look him in the eye as I make my request, my cheeks already turning pink before I even speak, "Would you please put on a shirt? It's very distracting, um, with you not- I mean, you are-"

"You are way too good looking for my sanity," I whisper, huffing when I hear him chuckle. Pulling away, I focus on what to cook for dinner, trying to ignore the handsome man in my kitchen.

"All dressed." Embry is standing behind me now. I turn to look up at him and, even though he's dressed, I'm still so attracted to him I can barely focus on what he's saying. I smile when I notice he has his friendship ring on again. I guess he took it off while he was patrolling. When I look back up at him I realize he's waiting for me. He grins when we make eye contact, "And I could say the same thing about you. You are way too good looking for my sanity."

"Please, I don't hold a candle to you in the looks department." It does weird things to me when he lavishes me with compliments. Other than my family, I'm not use to things like that being said to me, least of all by a man like Embry. He is so handsome, sweet and smart that I can't look at him for too long. It makes my heart hurt a little bit and he takes my breath away. I need to change the subject, now.

"How's spaghetti sound? With bread and a salad?"

Embry actually rolls his eyes at me, "You're right, you can't compete with me on looks, you are so much more beautiful than I am, and it's not even a contest. And spaghetti sounds perfect. I'm assuming I'm on salad and bread duty?"

"Wrong and right."

"Fine, agree to disagree, for now. But I will convince you one of these days. So other than Rachel, how was your day today?"

We start working on making dinner together, Embry working on the salad and bread while I cook the noodles and started the sauce, "My day was ok. I overslept, so I didn't get to run this morning. Plus, because I was running late I didn't see the little stunt you pulled of picking out a top that showed off your handy work from last night."

Embry doesn't say anything, but I can hear him chuckling. I stop stirring the noodles, narrowing my eyes at him again, "It's not funny."

"Come on, it was a little funny."

Wanting to get back to what I saw in the living room, I clear my face, looking at Embry as innocently as possible, "It wasn't funny. Know what else wasn't funny? Hearing you howling just now."

"Howling? I don't howl when I'm human. Only in wolf form, silly Lills."

I stop, unable to concentrate as I realize Embry has given me a nickname. Not wanting him to know how much that means to me, I return to the conversation, "You were just howling in my living room. Very loudly, I might add."

"You must have been hearing things." I can see Embry is focusing on the finishing up the salad, and not looking at me.

Turning to the sink, I drain the noodles as I respond, not wanting to look Embry in the eye when I admit what I saw earlier, "Yes, I heard things, and then I walked in and saw you thrashing around on the couch with very loud, very clear, howls, coming out of your mouth."

Embry shrugs as he tosses some cheese on top of the salad, "Hmmm, I normally don't howl, it must have just happened because I was in wolf form in the dream, chasing a vampire."

"You don't howl? At all?" I'm frowning as I stir the spaghetti sauce. I know what I heard, and he was definitely howling.

"No, not that I can think of." Embry takes the salad over to the table then returns to stand next to me as I finish up the spaghetti, "We usually give a little call to announce ourselves in human form to each other. But it's not a howl."

Turning the heat off the spaghetti sauce, I turn to him, smirking, "Hmmm, I'm thinking before I can let you eat this wonderful dinner we've prepared, I'm going to need you to give me a howl."

"You won't feed me? But I'm starving, Lills." Again with the nickname.

I turn around, pulling two wine glasses and plates down from the cabinet, handing the plates to Embry, "I will feed you, as soon as you howl. A good loud howl. Red wine ok?"

"Yeah, red wine is fine," he's shaking his head as he sets the plates on the table next to the silverware.

I resist smiling when I see Embry is holding a chair out for me. I set the glasses down on the table, holding on to the wine bottle with one hand while the other rests on my hip. I can't help grinning as I tap my foot, "Well, let's have it."

"Fine. Although I really don't understand why you want to hear this," Embry close his eyes.

He's quiet for a few seconds, but then he takes a deep breath, leans his head back and- melts me into a puddle. This howl has a different sound than the one that I heard while he was sleeping. This one is more intense, more raw, and predatory and it goes straight to the juncture of my legs. My eyes glaze over as I watch him. I grip the wine bottle in my hand, squeezing it tightly. My whole body is singing and it makes absolutely no sense that I would react to him howling. But good Lord, I can't help myself, he has me tingling everywhere. I really want to forget dinner altogether and pull him into my bedroom for another round of-

Embry pulls me out of my revere by prying my hand off of the wine bottle. He brushes his lips against my neck and my knees start to shake when his gruff voice rumbles in my ear, "Let go of the bottle before you break it, Lillah. I take it you liked my howling?"

Oh God, did I like it? Stupid question.

"Too much for my sanity," I breath out before I can stop myself.

My neck goes red and I feel it drifting up to my face, scorching hot. Embry is laughing, but he doesn't say anything about my embarrassing display as he seats me.

I dish out the food, making sure to add much more food to Embry's plate than I would ever consider eating. I can barely hold the plate up as I hand it to him, the food overflowing. Embry frowns when he takes the plate and glances over at mine, "Aren't you hungry?"

"Starved," I glance down at my plate, which has barely has any spaghetti on it, mostly salad, "but since I skipped running today, I shouldn't eat too many carbs. Better to fill up on salad. More spaghetti and bread for you."

"Are we going to have to have this talk again? You don't need to lose a pound, you are beautiful just as you are. Eat some spaghetti, one day of skipping running won't kill you."

He's complimenting me again and I don't know what to say. Compared to the food he inhales I'm sure my meager portions don't seem like much but it's enough to fill me. I can't look him in the eye, but manage to mumble out, "Actually this was day two of skipping running. Someone keeps distracting me."

"Even two days won't kill you. You look great. But, if you are so worried, how about I start running with you?"

When I look up again, Embry is grinning wide, like a little kid. The idea of him wanting to join me for a run thrills me, but I don't want to get my hopes up too much. A little part of me is still worried he's going to just stop wanting to be around me, that he isn't going to want to spend time with my any more. I know if that ever happens, it will kill me. This man has managed to completely take over my life, but even so, I don't want to assume he has time to spend with me.

"Embry, I usually go running before school, like before six in the morning."

"I know." Embry has finished all of his salad and is half way done with all the spaghetti on his plate.

His words sink in and I realize what he means, "Oh, right, because you were watching me last week without telling me."

Embry shrugs but doesn't say anything. I can't help smiling at him.

I take a small bite of spaghetti, shaking my head when I see him smile, "If you want to join me on a run, you are welcome to, if you think you can keep up."

We continue to tease one another, laughing at our silliness. We move on to other subjects as we eat and I find myself immersed in him again, just as I was the night before. Embry fascinates me, mind and body.

I remember his remark about vampires and ask him to tell me more details about that side of the fictional world I've found myself living in. It's still hard for me to wrap my mind around some of this, even with seeing Paul turn into a wolf.

Embry doesn't tell me much, but he does give me a brief description: bright red eyes, cold, pale skin that is hard like stone, unbelievably fast, and, as he describes it "disgusting smelling, sickeningly sweet".

As we finish eating, Embry pours the last little bit of wine into my glass, clearing the dishes from the table. "You cooked, I'll clean."

I hop up on the counter next to Embry since he insists on doing the dishes. I lean my head back against the cabinet behind me and close my eyes as I sip on my wine. Being here with someone else reminds me of my grandmother and the times that I spent here with her. I can't help but smile as I start telling Embry about her.

"My grandmother used to put me up on these counters, especially when she was baking; cookies and pies, anything that she had to roll the dough out. She would hum a song or tell me about her life, giving me nibbles of dough while she worked. Even as a I grew older we had the same tradition. Times like this I really miss her."

"She sounds like an amazing woman."

"Mmmm." I lean my head back against the cabinets. Memories of today are floating through my mind and I return to what Rachel said about Embry's patrol shift being changed. How he decided not to tell me about it last night. I feel stupid when tears spring into my eyes.

"Lills, what's wrong?"

"Rachel told me something earlier, and I can't figure out-" I glance down at my wine glass, which is now sitting on the counter next to me. Even not looking at him, it takes everything in me to whisper out, "Why didn't you stay here last night?"

"What? What did Rachel say?"

I'm having a hard time trying to confront him. I know it shouldn't be that big of a deal but it hurts me to think that he's hiding something. I need to just say what I'm thinking so that I don't waste my time and eventually, my heart, on someone that might not be interested in me.

"Well, Rachel told me about your patrol shifts getting changed, that you are patrolling in the afternoons now. She also said the change happened during the meeting you had with Sam and Jake yesterday. Which means, you knew last night you didn't have to patrol. You could have stayed." It's still baffling to me that I'm so desperate for him to stay with me when I've only known him for a short time.

I finally pull myself together enough to look up at him again, but as soon as my eyes meet his, I'm scared to hear what he is going to say. I can't handle looking at him, so I return my gaze to my hands, "Did I do something wrong? I mean- what we did- I did, was that why you didn't tell me? Was it so bad that you didn't want to stay? Please don't lie to me Embry. I know what I am, I know guys aren't really-"

"STOP!" Embry sounds so angry when he interrupts me. My only thought is that I've screwed up again, somehow pushing the boundaries that he doesn't want me near.

"Embry, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have-"

"Lillah, please, stop. Listen to me." Embry places his hands on my face and runs his thumb across my cheek bones. He's so gentle. Even with his size and knowing what he can shift into, he's never rough, always kind. As Embry counts out his reasons I watch him, studying his face closely, searching to see if he's being honest with both me and himself. The last thing I want is for him to say things that he thinks I might want to hear and not what he's really feeling. I need him to tell me the truth more than anything.

"There are a couple of reasons why I didn't stay. First, I didn't want to assume you wanted me to stay."

I nod but mumble, "My friends are always welcome to stay here."

"Second, I wanted to give you some time and space, since I knew what happened last night was a big deal for you."

My heart aches at this reason. I didn't need space, space was the last thing that I needed after our evening together. I wanted nothing more than for him to stay with me, to cuddle up next to his heat, his arms wrapped around me all night long. I wanted to wake up next to him this morning, even if what occurred last night was a onetime thing. I can feel my cheeks heating up again remembering everything from last night. I can't respond to him on this reason, not without revealing how much I need him around.

"Third, and finally, I didn't trust myself."

Hearing Embry explain his final reason for not staying, I'm surprised. I wrinkle my brow and study him when his third reason sinks in. He didn't trust himself? I don't like that. I want him to feel as comfortable with me as I do with him.

I finally pull myself out of my mental dialogue and place one of my hands against his cheek, looking into his eyes. I start rambling about things that I think he might be worried about, "Embry, Angela won't walk in again, she knows she has to knock. We won't be caught off guard."

Embry shakes his head, leaning in to my hand. His hands drop from my face to my thighs, wrapping my free hand in one of his, "Lillah, that is not what I'm worried about."

"Well what then? Why don't you trust yourself? I trust you." I have to know why he doesn't trust himself with me. I can't really go into this blindly anymore.

"You really shouldn't, I'm very selfish and I don't have your best interest at heart. I don't trust myself to sleep, just sleep, next to you. I was exhausted Saturday night, I didn't even realize I had fallen asleep until I woke up Sunday morning."

I nod my head slowly and twirl my fingers in his hair, hoping to relax him. He lets go of my hand, but his hands don't move from my upper thighs, gripping them tightly. I can see that he's getting frustrated and it's the last thing I want but I really have to know. I need to know if he's just not into me so that I can protect myself.

I hear him exhale, like he doesn't want to say the next part, "But last night. Last night, Lillah, it was all I could do not to take you. You were so ready, you were flushed and relaxed from two amazing orgasms. It would have been so easy for me just to roll you over, have sex with you right there. You wouldn't have argued either. But I didn't want to take that from you."

I am taken aback that he actually wants to have sex with me. But I'm confused by the last part of his comment, "Take what?"

"Your virginity, Lillah." Oh, yeah, that thing. Last night I didn't even remember that I'm a virgin. I was so focused on how amazing he made me feel it didn't even cross my mind.I can't stop my blush, my cheeks on fire at this point. Him bringing that up is a bit different than if he'd told me that he just wasn't interested at all. I start hearing Carter in my head telling me countless times he wasn't interested in being with me because I couldn't satisfy a man.

"Embry, I-"

Embry speaks slowly, not looking at me, "That is something you need to save for the man you love, and who loves you. I know you don't love me, so I know I don't have a right to take that from you."

My heart squeezes at this statement. In other words, he's telling me not to get my hopes up. That he can't be that man for me. The man that I could fall in love with and would fall in love with me in return. I bite down on my bottom lip and blink several times to clear my eyes.

"But even watching you fall asleep last night, I was still so worked up, I didn't trust myself to fall asleep next to you." Embry looks so sad, but I don't know why.

"Because of what we had done, right?" I look down, keeping my eyes locked on his throat as I continue, though I'm barely able to whisper, "I understand if you aren't really attracted to me personally. A woman is a woman."

I need to make myself understand this. He's not interested in something other than a friendship and the only reason he was turned on last night is because of what happened. Any male would have an erection when he was doing something like that. Emily, Rachel and Kim's conversation at the diner starts to hum through my mind. It's like being another nameless, faceless girl that he's picked up at a bar. After finding out about my sexual non-history he's lost interest in me.

"Damn it woman, look at me!" I immediately look up at him. I don't know whether to be frightened by his tone or completely embarrassed by this whole situation.

"Lillah, what do I have to do to prove to you that I really am attracted to you? You are gorgeous, beautiful, hot." He begins to try to convince me otherwise, even without me voicing my fears. But I really can't allow myself to fall into that, to believe him.

I'm shaking my head at him, not making eye contact again, too overwhelmed by all of this. I want to tell him he's wrong, that I am not those things, but he won't let me say anything, continuing on, "Jacob is ready to kill me for all the thoughts I have about you when I'm patrolling. Sam is about to fire me for how distracted I've been this past week. And all of my jeans are stretched out!"

"Your jeans? What do they have to do with anything? You haven't put on any weight since we met, why are they stretched out?" I can't help the giggle that escapes at this thought. His change in subject doesn't make sense at all. What do his jeans have to do with me?

Embry growls low in frustration and picks one of my hands up from my lap. I don't know what his intentions are until he brings my hand down between my knees and his legs. Oh shit. He cups my hand around his erection and just stands there, waiting. Of course this is what he would want, for me to touch him, to repay his actions from last night. Stupid, Lillah. I internally roll my eyes at myself because still, I don't get it. A female is a female. Even if he doesn't want to have sex with me, he's still looking for satisfaction, isn't he?

"The front of my jeans, Lillah. I think about you constantly, and whenever I think of you, this is what happens to me. This is why I don't trust myself to just sleep with you. Because all I can think about is sleeping with you."

I swallow thickly and look up at him then back down, frowning slightly. He releases my hand and places his on my face, removing my glasses and speaking to me evenly.

"You do that Lillah. Just you."

I shift on the counter because even though I'm unsure about his intentions with me, feeling him like this makes me react. Wetness pools between my legs when I feel him twitch in my hand. I lean forward, bracing my free hand on the counter and when I do, I unknowingly press my palm against him. Embry groans and drops his head onto my shoulder while his hands grip the edge of the counter on each side of my legs.

"Don't move, please. I can't guarantee I won't take you right here on the counter."

I sit stock still, not wanting to move my hand, not even sure that I should move my hand. And if I do, what would he do? I take a deep breath, trying to steady myself. Even if he's only aroused because I'm just another girl I can't help but want him. Last night comes rushing back to me in a flood and I want him just as badly as I did then.

I stare at the top of his head buried in my neck, wondering if it's really about me. I lean down until my mouth is on the skin of his neck and I kiss him there gently, making him jump. My heart rate and my breathing have both picked up. My breaths are harsh, almost panting but I try to control myself. I don't want to make Embry uncomfortable or to push him into something that he doesn't want.

Embry lifts his head to look at me closely. His eyes don't reveal anything but I can tell he's trying to gage my reaction. I lean my face toward his, hiding myself by looking down. My lips hover close to Embry's. I want to speak but I can't decide what I should say. I know he's just told me that I'm the only one that does this to him but I find it so hard to believe.

"Lillah, I don't know what to say to make you believe that I want you, just you. There's no one else I could ever want as much as you."

Embry's voice is gruff with tension and- lust? He drops one of his hands to mine and takes my wrist in the circle of his thumb and forefinger. I realize that he's trying to pull my hand away and I jump, bumping him unintentionally. I cringe when Embry's hand tightens his grip and then he jerks mine away from his hard on. His free hand smacks down on the counter and he growls out, "Fuck."

"Sorry, sorry. So sorry, Embry."

"Stop fucking apologizing," he sighs.

"Now you know why I couldn't stay last night. I can't handle you touching me. There's no way I could have fallen asleep next to you, your ass pressed against me. I would have cum with very little effort, Lillah."

"I want you too, Embry," I say to him quietly, scared to admit the truth but needing him to know.

"You just don't understand, Lillah. I've been with other women in the past. I won't compare you to any of them. I don't want you feeling like I'm using you just for sex. That would be the furthest thing from the truth. But I don't feel right about taking something so precious from you."

"Okay," I take a breath before continuing, "Embry, I wouldn't assume that. But I- need you to know I'm scared. I want to touch you, to give you what you've given me. I just don't know that I can. I never- I mean, when I was with Carter-"

Embry growls and places a finger over my lips, "I could go the rest of my life without hearing that asshole's name, Lillah."

I smirk and shake my head, "I just wanted you to know that I'd like to try things with you. I never wanted to- with him."

"You have no idea how happy that makes me. Probably because I'm a possessive fucker and would like to rip him apart."

My eyes pop open wide at his words. He hasn't spoken to me like that in the time I've known him. Thinking that he could be possessive, and jealous of someone that I don't have feelings for any longer, is not what I expected. And it's true, Carter never incited these feelings in me. Not like Embry can, even with just one kiss.

"And Lillah, as much as I love hearing that you want me, I think it would be best if we maybe take things a little slower this evening? I'm too keyed up right now."

The sudden change in topic confuses me for a second and I glance down, needing a break from his intense stare. I allow my eyes to slide down his chest, stomach and- oh my, Embry. The front of his pants are still bulged out. I bite down on my lip so that the little gasp doesn't escape. Embry's left hand reaches out and he lifts my chin so that I will look into his eyes. His lips are quirked sideways in a knowing smirk.

"A movie?" I squeak out.

"A movie works. Let me help you down."

Embry places both of his hands on my hips and pulls me forward so that my butt is on the edge of the counter. He doesn't step back when he pulls me off of my perch and against him. I slide down his body, my heat pressing against his hard on. I moan quietly at the contact but Embry doesn't stop. He keeps allowing me to slide down until my feet hit the floor and then he pulls me harder against him, groaning into my neck. He places a few sporadic kisses on my skin, sweeping his tongue over what I already know are light bruises on my neck. He kisses me one more time and runs his nose up my neck, to my ear.

"Tasty, Lillah, you are going to be the death of me."

Before I can say anything he takes one of my hands in his and turns to pull me toward the living room. We look through my DVD collection and find a movie that we can both agree upon, "The Mummy". I leave Embry to put the disc in the player and get the TV set up while I make popcorn and grab drinks for both of us. While I'm in the kitchen alone I take the chance to calm myself down a little and go over our conversation in my head. I should be mad at him still, for hiding things and for exposing my neck on purpose. But I can't be, because he respectfully explained himself and wonder of all wonders, it made sense.

I grab the bowl of popcorn and drinks and put them on a tray. On the way out of the kitchen I swipe a few napkins and some peanut M&M's then flip off the light.

Embry is stretched out on the couch, his back against the arm at one end. He has one leg along the cushions, the other on the floor. He smiles at me when I place the tray of snacks on the coffee table and pull it closer to the couch, so we can reach it with ease. I turn to face the couch and Embry. I have one of two options, sit at the other end of the couch or invite myself to sit in his lap.

Lap, I decide before I can talk myself out of it.

I step around his leg and stop in front of him, blushing as I meet his confused eyes.

"May I?" I ask, gesturing to the spot between his legs.

"Is that a good idea, Lillah?"

"Probably not."

Embry reaches for my hand and tugs me down, "As long as we both know that."

I feel his chest rumble with his laughter as we get settled on the couch. I lean back against his chest and rest my arms on top of his thighs. Embry wraps an arm around my waist and hits play on the remote.

We watch the first half hour or so in relative silence. I do turn my face into his chest when the bugs are on the screen. Embry chuckles when I do this, but he doesn't say anything. We share the popcorn, Embry eating most of it, of course, but he shares a little. Our hands meet in the bowl every now and then, and every time our hands touch a small thrill runs through me. I feel on edge, but at the same time, comfortable.

As the movie plays on, I relax more and more against him. About halfway through the movie, Embry places one of his hands on my stomach and begins to slowly move his thumb across the fabric of my shirt. It makes me alert to him, his breathing, the sound of his heart beating under my ear. I begin to move the hand that is on his thigh that rests against the back of the couch cushions. I wrap my fingers around the back side of his leg, kneading the muscles beneath the denim of his pants. Embry uses his free hand to pull my hair to the side and begins running his fingers through it.

"I love for someone to play with my hair," I sigh happily.

"It's beautiful, so soft and silky. It fits you, the fire and the gold."

Embry's voice has dropped a little and the depth makes me shiver.

Embry playing with my hair relaxes me so much, I find it hard to keep my eyes open. The exhaustion of the day and lack of sleep last night are catching up with me. I'm no longer focused on the movie, just the slow and steady movement of his hands playing with my hair. My breathing slows to match his and my eyelids droop closed.

"Lills, are you watching the movie?"

"Mmm sort of. I can see through my eyelids," I giggle when Embry chuckles.

"Really? Does that happen when you get your teaching degree? Kind of like eyes in the back of your head?"

His hand moves up my stomach a little, around my ribs and then back down.

"Yep, that is exactly what happens. We learn all kinds of tricks in school," I say playfully.

"Sounds like my mom growing up. She always knew when I was going to get in trouble."

I leave my eyes closed, but images of Embry as a baby float through my head. My stomach clenches at the thought of a tiny version of Embry, growing inside of me. I can just see him holding our baby.

To distract him I ask about his mom, "Tell me about her."

Embry's voice changes as he starts talking, he seems lighter. "My mom was awesome. Her name was Nayeli, she was Makah, like Emily. Her parents died soon after I was born, so it was always just her and I. We didn't have much growing up, but she always made sure I was taken care of."

"When she had to work she'd send me over to the Black's house to play. If I wasn't at home, I was at the Black's. I sometimes would pretend I was part of their family, another sibling. It's funny now, since I practically am a sibling, between Jacob being my Alpha and Rachel, well, being Rachel."

Embry pauses so I turn my head to look him in the eye, "You don't have to go any further. I understand."

"I know." Embry smiles softly at me, "I was just remembering how great my mom was. Even through all our fights, when I couldn't tell her about being a wolf, she still cared. Emily actually came over to explain to my mom one day that I wasn't out getting into trouble. It didn't really help, but I appreciated Emily trying."

Embry kisses the top of my head, lost in thought. I'm not sure if I should press on, but I want to know more about him, and I can tell his mom is still a big part of who he is, "She didn't- was she angry still with you when she died?"

"No. I think by then she knew I wasn't some rebellious teenager. I'm sure Billy told her what he could to alleviate her fears. I think it helped that by then there were so many of us, plus the imprintees. Since two of Billy's three kids were 'involved', I think my mom 'knew' we weren't just out causing trouble. Billy would never allow his kids to get into the kind of trouble my mom feared I was getting into."

Embry shrugs, "Once I moved out, it made things easier. My mom didn't see me coming and going at odd hours. I think the hardest part for her was me moving out."

I nod, fully understanding what Embry means, "I know, I think my parents would have happily kept me locked up at home. They knew I wanted to move back to Forks, but they hated me not being near them."

"I don't blame them. And look, you've only been in Forks a few months and you've got some shady guy parked on your couch."

"Trust me, after the 'asshole', as you called him, no one can be as shady as he was."

"Your parents didn't like him?" Embry's voice sounds surprised.

"Well, on paper, they loved him. He was perfect for their little girl. But when I told my mom that we had broken up, she told me she was surprised I'd stayed with him as long as I did. She never liked how he treated me in front of them."

I can hear a strange noise coming from Embry, almost like a growl, before he speaks, "What do you mean 'how he treated' you?"

"Nothing, just things he would say to me in front of my parents." I'm trying to ease the tension. "I don't want to talk about him, Embry. He's not worth wasting our time discussing."

I fall silent for a second before going on, "Do imprintees and wolves have some sort of connection? Kind of like you guys?"

Embry chuckles, but it's more rough than earlier, "Nice change of subject there."

I don't comment, but I notice that Embry's hand stops for a second after my question, "Um, no, they don't. It's a wolf thing really."

"Oh, well that would be pretty cool, if you could just sense your imprintee though, right?"

Embry tenses beneath me but relaxes quickly and begins moving his hand again. He slips it beneath the edge of my shirt and begins making circles on the skin around my navel.

"Yeah, I guess. From what the guys tell me though, uh, since the imprintee is 'perfect' for the wolf, they have a different kind of connection, like they are two halves to a whole. The wolf may not 'sense' the imprintee, but they know them so well, they know what's going on."

He sounds uneasy and I'm not sure that I should be asking him these questions. Before I can stop myself I take the plunge. Asking him the one thing I've been most curious about.

"It must be hard for you, with most everyone being paired off. Do you- do you want to imprint? Are you ready for that?"

Embry doesn't speak for a few seconds. He finally exhales before speaking, "I, uh, I've never been interested in imprinting. But it's not like marriage, you don't get to decide if you're ready. It just, happens. The perfect girl is standing right in front of you, and you just know. No questions asked, she is the one. In that second, she becomes your life. It's no longer gravity holding you to the ground, it's her."

"As for everyone being paired off, well, I guess I never really noticed. After my mom, I just, I needed some time to myself. The idea of someone depending on me again, being responsible for someone- anyway, I've got you now. You can be my 'plus one'."

I nibble on my bottom lip and don't say anything after he gives me his answer. No questions asked, she is the one is probably the scariest statement ever. What if he finds that girl some day? Am I okay being his "plus one" until then? Until he finds someone better, someone that he's meant to be with? The woman that was made for him? I swallow several times and try to focus on the movie so that I don't make a fool of myself and start tearing up.


A/N: Poor Lillah. She's such an emotional girl today. And Embry doesn't help the situation since he's secret keeper boy. Don't forget to hit that little review button, let us know what you think! We reply to review and even pimp our favs over at http:/twificpimps[dot]blogspot[dot]com/search/label/hump%20wednesday!