Disclaimer: This also applies to chapter one. "Fallible" is mine. The Twilight Saga is not, and there is no copyright infringement intended. I'm only borrowing these characters, not adopting them.

Author's Note: If anyone is wondering, this is the last chapter. Thank you for sticking with me, and I apologize for taking forever to update, hence the quick double chapters. I seem to have found my writing muse again, however, and I've already posted the beginning of the sequel, staring Kim & Jared. It's called Brave, so if you like the writing style done here, you're sure to love it. Please, check it out and don't forget to hit that shiny button and review! It really motivates me, more than you know.

Thank you and enjoy!


"You've got to be kidding me," I say, stunned. "He… one of them works in the hospital?"

Uncle Harry nods grimly, as we heft a heavy box of shipment onto the back counter behind the register.

"Is that allowed? I mean… shouldn't we…? Does Sam - ?" I stopped myself, not quite sure what questions to ask.

"Sam told you of the treaty with the… Cullens?" Uncle Harry says, spitting out the name like it's a dirty word. I realize that for him, it probably is. I'm just wrapping my head around the fact that not only do vampires actually exist, but that they just happen to be living in the next town over.

His face expression suddenly turns to one of mild shame. "That's why I didn't go visit you in the hospital. I felt guilty, and it was all I could do to stop myself from convincing Sue, Seth, and Leah not to go either. But I knew at that point you wouldn't understand why, so…" He trails off and clears his throat. "Obviously, I don't have the shape-shifting gene."

"You don't have to explain, Uncle Harry," I say softly. "If I had known…" I shudder, the thought that I was in the same building as an actual vampire making my blood run cold.

He shakes his head and attacks the box with the box-cutter a tad more viciously than normal. I just watch him, perturbed. Come to mention it, I remember either Aunt Sue or Seth telling me that there was one doctor that Sam wouldn't let near me. That would definitely explain that bit of odd behavior.

"Would you mind putting this away while I grab another box?" Uncle Harry asks. "They just go on the third shelf right there, arranged by color. I'm trying to get all these done today. We get another shipment in tomorrow and we're behind. I wanted to do a complete cleanup sweep on the store, but at the rate we're going, I don't know if it's possible."

He starts to walk away, but I call out to him, a minor detail bothering me.

"Hey, whatever happened to Karen?" I ask, curiously, inquiring about the girl who worked here for all of a week.

He rolls his eyes. "That 'stud muffin' Jared ran her off." I laugh at his use of the word 'stud muffin.'

"I thought he liked her?" I say.

"Thought he did, too. According to Sam, he tried to date her, and then stood her up. Someone in his class at summer school caught his eye, apparently, and he didn't have the decency to call and cancel. Next thing I know, poor girl's calling me up crying about not being able to face him in person. I don't know the whole story. Teenagers…" he grumbles, looking slightly uncomfortable at the topic.

Huh. Interesting… Jared has been mysteriously absent lately, but I wasn't aware a girl was the cause of it. I make a note to ask Sam about it at some point.

The rest of the morning is spent putting away merchandise as quickly as possible –

" – possible! There's just no freaking way! It's too cool to be believed!"

I stare at him in shock. "Cool?" I say, undecided as to whether I should be offended or not.

"Emily!" Emeric says, shaking his head as he lounges on my couch like he owns the place. "You went head to head with a bear. You took down that bear. You made that bear your bitch. And you survived to tell the tale. Now you have super awesome battle scars. Where's the bad?"

Unable to help myself, I burst out laughing relaxing immediately. I should have known to not be worried about the way Emeric would react. He's one of those people who just make everyone around him as comfortable as he is. I thought he would be the perfect addition to the impromptu dinner party I am putting together to celebrate the end of summer.

And then, of course, there is the fact that he's been clamoring to meet Sam for a while now.

He must be reading my mind because as soon as I think about Sam, he pipes up with, "When is Lover Boy coming home?"

I roll my eyes. "He should be here any minute actually." As soon as I say that, there is a knock on the door.

"Awesome," Emeric says, grinning. He stands up and rubs his hands together in anticipation.

"It's probably not Sam," I say. "He would use his key." Unless of course, he's been running around in the woods patrolling… I don't say that last part out loud.

Without looking through the peephole, I swing the door open, only to be not so pleasantly surprised at the person standing on the front porch. I really need to start using that peephole.

Leah stands there looking as uncomfortable as I suddenly feel. She's holding a grocery bag and when she makes eye contact with me, she glares.

"Mom said to bring this to you," she says, holding it out. "It's a pie or something." She shrugs.

I take the bag from her. "Thank – " I start to say, but she interrupts me.

"She said to tell you she and Seth can't make it tonight."

"Oh, really? Is everything okay?" I ask.

"I need to use your bathroom. I walked over here, so it's the least you can do," she says, ignoring my question completely.

I sigh, and move aside to let her in.

"Well, hello. You're certainly not Lover Boy," Emeric says, his entire voice changing into what I imagine melted butter would sound like if it could talk.

"Piss off," Leah snaps at him and continues to the bathroom.

I give him an apologetic glance as his eyebrows raise in surprise.

"Unless… you're holding out on me, Emily, and there is more to this tawdry tale?" he asks, curiously.

"That was my cousin," I say, wincing as the bathroom door slams. "Leah."

"Really? No way. Wait, really? You're not serious?" Emeric says, confusion written all over his face.

"Yes, why? Do you know her?" I ask, propping myself on the arm of the couch.

"No, but… Wait, she's the one who dated Sam before you?" he asks, his voice dropping to a whisper.

Because he's whispering, I whisper, too. "Yes… Why is that such a surprise?"

"Because she's… I mean… You don't see it?"

I blink at him, unable to make sense of his words. He seems genuinely confused, and I'm so lost right now.

Before I can ask him to explain, we hear the bathroom door open and are awkwardly silent as Leah comes down the hallway. It's so obvious we were just talking about her, but she doesn't say anything. Just glares at us and heads for the door without as much as a thank you.

"Nice meeting you," Emeric says, as she yanks the door open.

Leah pauses and I tense up, just knowing she's going to say something horrible, most likely directed at me. She doesn't disappoint.

"Not that I care or anything, but did she steal you away from a girlfriend, too?"

"Nothing quite as heinous as that," Emeric says, feigning shock. "She's just kind of borrowing me, actually making me her love monkey as we speak, but what she doesn't know is that I've chosen to have my cake and eat it, too. After this, I'll go back to my wife and tell her I've been out with the boys."

Leah's face turns red. "Fuck you," she says plainly, and then heads out of the door.

My stomach clenches up. "You shouldn't have done that," I chastise, quietly. "She's still in a lot of pain."

"No reason for her to be rude. I don't even know her," Emeric says, shrugging.

"You were provoking her," I point out.

"I said, 'nice meeting you,' after I checked her out," Emeric replies. "That's hardly provoking."

I sigh. "I just… don't want to make any more waves."

"You didn't do anything," Emeric reassures me.

"So, wait, what did you mean when - ?" I start to ask, remembering the confusion from earlier.

Before I can get the entire sentence out, we're interrupted by the front door opening again. Sam.

My entire body flushes hot and then cold as he comes into the door. He's fully dressed, in dark rinse jeans, Timberland boots, and a dark green long sleeved, loose-fitting shirt. He looks stunning and focuses on me immediately, causing me to forget how to speak momentarily.

"Hey," he says, simply, his small smile reserved just for me.

I blink.

Without taking his eyes off of me, he says, "You must be Emeric."

"Nope, she's Emily. Though, I can understand the confusion. We do look a lot alike," Emeric cracks, effectively breaking the spell Sam and I have on each other.

I blush. "Yes, this is Emeric," I stammer, trying to find my voice.

"Nice to meet you," Sam says, locking his attention on Emeric, intensely. For a moment, Emeric looks taken aback. I can understand completely. Sam-attention is dominating, and when he focuses on just you, it can be hard to pay attention to anything else.

"Hey," Emeric says, grinning. His recovery time is faster than mine, apparently. He sticks out his hand. "Emily talks about you all the time. Nice to finally meet you."

"You too," Sam says, but in true Sam-fashion, he doesn't smile, though his voice is polite.

He turns towards me. "Emily, Jared asked me if he could bring someone. I said yeah, but I thought I'd check with you anyways. Is it okay? If not, he's waiting on stand-by."

"Oh! No, it's fine!" I say, knowing without a doubt that it has to be Jared's new love interest.

As soon as I say it, there's a knock at the door. It can't be anyone, but Jared, and I shake my head. As if I would really send him away when he's right outside.

Sam opens the door, and Paul – the last of the invited guests – steps inside, followed by Jared himself and a pretty red-faced girl who stares at the floor and hides behind her hair.

Paul nods at me and Sam, shoots a wary glance at Emeric and then seats himself in the armchair he's quickly become accustomed to.

"Hi," I say, stepping forward.

Jared positively beams and reaches for the girl's hand. "Hey, Em!" he says, excitedly. "This is Kim."

He says it like I should know who Kim is. I don't, but of course, I'm not rude by any means. I smile back and wave a bit, sensing that she would probably be uncomfortable with shaking hands.

"I'm Emily," I say, softly. She looks up at me, her eyes huge and round as she takes in my scars. I don't let my smile drop for a second, and I'm rewarded when she gives me a tiny smile.

"Hi," she says, her voice barely a whisper, before dropping her gaze away again.

Sam steps up next to me and without looking, I reach out for where I know his hand will be. It's there. "This is my boyfriend, Sam," I say.

"Hey," Sam says, his voice surprisingly soft as he follows my lead.

She nods, glances at him, and glances away again, turning even redder than before. It's clear she's uneasy with all of the attention directed her way, so I redirect it, purposely.

"Hey, Jared, Paul, this is my friend, Emeric. Emeric, Jared, Paul, and Kim," I introduce everyone quickly and let them get out their hellos, and then I lead the way into the kitchen. Not surprisingly, Paul beats everyone to the punch. Jared lets out a teasing comment and Paul responds gruffly that he's just here for the food.

"Emily's a good cook," he says, defensively, and everyone laughs, though it's clear that he didn't mean that to be funny in the slightest. He rolls his eyes at all of us, and surprisingly, instead of grabbing his food and running away back to the living room, he actually stays and helps me serve it.

Sam picks up a random movie and pops it in, as we'll be eating in the living room.

I watch Jared and Kim, intrigued by their relationship. She doesn't leave his side, clenching his hand like it is a lifeline, and she doesn't look up at anyone. She's adorable, and although I see it with my own eyes, it's hard to imagine outgoing, talkative, Jared leaving friendly, bubbly store employee, Karen, for someone so quiet and shy. Unless…

I stifle a gasp, and turn to Sam for confirmation. He watches me putting two and two together in my head and gives me the tiniest nod. Kim is Jared's imprint. Jared imprinted!

Now looking at them, it's kind of obvious. Although Jared is immersed in a conversation with Emeric – something about classes starting next week – it's clear that all Kim would have to do is blink, and his attention would immediately be refocused back onto her. Currently, she's in his lap, seemingly flustered by their proximity. Poor girl drops her fork for the third time as Emeric turns to say something to the still-glowering Paul, and Jared leans down to whisper into her ear. It's hard not to smile. I know exactly how she feels.

I make eye-contact with Sam once again. He gives me his smile and I smile back, the strongest feeling of contentment coming over me. Yep, I know exactly how she feels. Sam makes me feel that way every day –

" – day now, but no one knew it would be this soon," My dad says, the excitement in his voice palpable.

"How's Meghan? How's Matt?" I ask, the questions not leaving my mouth fast enough.

The dinner 'party' went off without a hitch, minus the interruption by Leah in the beginning, and Sam and I are currently on the couch, enjoying some big-time cuddling. He's stretched out on his back and I'm lying on top of him. If the conversation I am having with my dad were about anything else, it might be awkward, but right now I'm too excited to care.

"Both are great. Matt is surprisingly keeping a level head about all of this. I'm proud of him," Dad says.

"It is his second time," I reason.

"You know, I don't know if that makes a difference," Dad says. "I'm not ashamed to admit that I freaked out just as badly as Matt did with Charlotte when your mom had him, and then twice as much when you were born."

I laugh out loud, conjuring up a lazy smile from Sam. He draws circles on the small of my back.

"So, I mean, do they know yet whether the baby is a girl or a boy?" I ask. "Has anyone let it slip?"

"Nope," Dad answers. "This hospital staff is really good at keeping quiet about that. I'm sure they won't know a thing until Claire or Christopher pushes her or his way into the world."

"And you'll tell me, right, Dad? As soon as it happens, you'll call?"

"I'll do better than that. I'll send you a picture of Meghan holding the baby."

"Perfect," I breathe.

"Alrighty, honey, I think I see your mom waving at me through the window. I'm outside. They don't allow cell phone use on the inside, so let me go see what she wants."

"Okay! Love you, Dad! Bye,"

"Love you, too, Emily. Talk to you later."

I hang up, the biggest smile still pasted on my face. Sam laughs.

"You're beautiful," he says, wrapping his arms around me.

"I love you," I say, the words pouring forth without me really thinking about it. He reaches up and kisses me softly.

I kiss him back, then I sit up, allowing him to sit up, too. "I'm going to go crazy waiting," I say. "I wish I was at the hospital."

"Do you want to go?" Sam asks. "We can gas up the car and leave right now."

"No," I say while biting my lip, though I really, really want to. The logical side of me wins this time, though. "We both have to work tomorrow, and deliveries can take hours and hours. There's no telling how long it will be."

"Are you sure? I can call my job and let them know – "

I giggle. "No, Sam, it's okay. You remind me of Matt when he and Meghan had Char."

Sam makes a face. "I sincerely hope that I don't remind you of your brother in any other circumstance ever."

I grin, the slightly naughty side of me wanting to come out and play. "Well…" I say, dragging the word out.

Sam reaches for me and tickles my sides, making me laugh even more.

"Speaking of your brother…?" he says, when we both are quiet again.

I raise my eyebrows.

"Remember when he… ah, when he said… Emily… when he used my last name? With yours," Sam stammers. "Emily… Uley."

I just stare at him, not allowing myself to ask any questions. Even in my head.

He continues, turning a bit red himself. "What do you… what would you think of that…?"

"Are you – " I take a deep breath. " – are you proposing?"

"I just… I thought – we're going to spend the rest of our lives together, right? Why not start sooner than later?" he asks, running a hand nervously through his cropped hair.

"We've already started," I whisper, suddenly too nervous to look at him directly.

"Does that mean….?" He trails off.

Frozen, I don't know what to say.

"I… I don't know what to say," I say out loud.

"Say 'yes, Sam,'" he says, softly. "Say, 'I love you, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you, too.'"

"It's not a question of loving you," I say, quickly. I turn to him. "I'm just… I'm not ready."

He just looks at me, waiting for an explanation.

"I love you, Sam. I do, but… we just made it official earlier this summer. I've gone through – we've gone through so many changes in such a short amount of time. Anyone would think we were crazy for moving in together so soon, and to get married… it seems like a lot."

"We moved in as roommates. It was convenient for you."

I shake my head. "We both know that's not really true."

His jaw clenches and he looks away from me. "So you're saying no."

"I'm not," I say, quickly. "I'm just saying, not now."

"What's the difference between now and later?" he asks, petulantly. "We're still going to be together, right? Is it just about what people will think?"

"No, it's about me, and the fact that I'm not ready," I say, knowing as soon as I utter the words that they are entirely true. "We haven't even known each other well for an entire year, yet. And… I hate to say this, but Sam… you were just engaged to Leah."

He doesn't say anything to that, but his face expression says it all.

"And of course we're still going to be together," I add, answering his other question. "If you're trying to use marriage to tie us together forever, you don't have to. I'm here, Sam. I'm not going anywhere and a piece of paper isn't going to change that."

He relaxes just a bit at that. "I know," he relents. "Sorry. Sometimes I… sometimes I just feel like if I don't 'make it official' than it's not… real."

"But it is."

A muscle in his jaw twitches. "My parents didn't make it official. My mom and I never had the same last name. She always said that if she married him, maybe he would have had a reason to stay, but…" He shrugs.

"This is real," I say, again. "We're official. And I'm not saying no, I swear. I'm just saying… give me time."

He nods, and starts to get up, but I grab his arm, stilling him. I can tell that he's still not okay.

"I love you, Sam," I say, again, and then I stand up as well, lean forward and press my lips to his.

He's tense, but after a moment or two, he relaxes more fully, and his hands find their way to my waist. He pulls me into him, and I smile against his lips as he kisses me again.

"Not leaving you," I say into his mouth. He nods, then groans a bit as his hands travel down to cup my butt.

While this kiss was initially meant to comfort, it's quickly escalated into something else. His hands travel up and down, up and down my sides, and back around again to my butt, squeezing lightly.

"Love you," he says, trailing kisses down my face and across to the side of my neck. I shiver, and my knees abruptly go weak again.

He reacts by picking me up and maneuvering me so that my legs are wrapped around his waist. Never once stopping in his kisses of my neck and face, he carries me down the hallway, me making little breathy noises the entire time. He deposits me on the bed, and gently pushes me backwards, so that I am lying down.

He quickly loses his shirt and climbs on top of me. I gasp as I feel the heat from his body all over. He continues to kiss me as he takes his weight off of me. He rolls us over so that I am on top, and he tugs at my shirt until I get the hint and allow him to take it off. His pulls me down to kiss me again, and reaches behind me to unclasp my bra. I sit up again and slip it off of my arms.

I am completely topless now and he pauses to drink me in. I blush under his scrutiny. When his eyes meet mine, he keeps eye contact as his hands inch their way up to cup my breasts. I let out a tiny sigh as he touches them as if he's doing it for the first time. He squeezes gently at first, and then harder. He lightly brushes against my nipples, and then pinches them, causing me to gasp out loud. He sits up underneath me, and takes one of them into his mouth, then pulls back to tongue the tip. I am panting now, and it's all I can do to hold myself up.

He seems to sense this because he lays us down and then flips us over again, so that once again, he's the one on top. His lips capture mine again. Then, he moves downward, kissing slowly as he descends. When he reaches my waist, he gently pulls my pants down with him. His hands rub up and down my legs, and he plants open-mouthed kisses on the insides of my thigh. His fingertips reach for the waistline of my panties and he tugs those off as well.

At this point, he must take the rest of his clothes off as well, because quite suddenly, he's just as nude as I am, and climbing back on top of me. We both gasp when we feel our nude, feverish bodies pressing together. For once, I feel that my body temperature has to be the same as his. I'm burning up.

His lips meet mine for the zillionth time and I can feel his erection poking the inside of my thigh. I suddenly I feel as if I will die if I don't have him within me right this moment. The need I feel surprises me with its intensity. I want him and I want him now.

"Sam," I whisper as he sucks at the pulse point on my neck. He ceases immediately, but I groan at the loss of contact, signaling him to continue with his ministrations. His penis pushes against my thigh as he grinds into me. I want more.

"Sam, I'm ready," I plead, softly. "Please, I'm ready."

He stops what he's doing completely and stares at me. "Really?" he asks.

"Please," I repeat. "I can't wait anymore."

Quick as lightening, he backs off of me and goes in search of what I can only imagine must be a condom. I close my eyes, trying to calm my hormones down. My mind is racing with a million thoughts. Will it hurt? Will I like it? What if I don't? What if it really, really hurts? What if it's not this big deal that everyone thinks it is? What if… he doesn't enjoy it, and… he wishes he was with Leah again?

He's back before I can process that last thought. "Are you sure?" he says, holding the condom in his hand. His erection looks… bigger from this angle. It'll be a miracle if it even fits inside me. I could be worrying for nothing.

I nod, fear suddenly making itself known.

He must read it on my face because he says, very quietly, "We don't have to do this. I can wait."

"I want to. I want to do it with you, Sam," I say, trying to convince both of us that I am overreacting for no reason. I wanted him a second ago. I want him. I do. I'm just nervous.

He rips the condom paper open and takes it out, then peels it on over his penis, and slowly climbs back on top of me. "Emily, I – "

"Is it going to hurt?" I ask him, my voice tiny.

"It might be uncomfortable for a bit," he says, hesitating. "But then, it's going to feel amazing, I swear. Are you sure - ?"

"Yes," I interrupt. "Do it. Please." I say it quickly before I can talk myself out of it. I'm being ridiculous. Women have done this for centuries. Vaginas are anatomically made to fit penises.

I feel the tip in my entrance as I have a dozen times before. I try to look down between our bodies.

"Look at me," Sam says. I look at him and it's like I'm being spoon-fed chicken noodle soup. I instantly feel better. I smile, and slowly he… pushes it… all the way… in, and – and – and I gasp and my body jerks involuntarily as I feel my hymen give way.

It's a slight pain, but nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be and Sam apologizes, but I shush him, knowing that it couldn't be avoided. It's as he said now: the stretching is uncomfortable, but not entirely unwelcome. I feel like… I feel like, there was a hole in me… and now it's been filled, to sound completely clichéd and probably like every teenager ever who has sex for the first time.

He's being absolutely perfect. He just stops all movement and waits for me to adjust.

"I love you," I say, again. And then I move my hips experimentally. His breath hitches. "Does that feel good?" I ask.

He nods. "Yeah, you're so… you're so tight. It feels like… it feels good," he gasps.

"What does it feel like?" I ask, curious to hear the other side of it.

"Hot. Wet. Tight. Sensitive," he chokes out each word. This must be the most exquisite torture for him.

"Move?" I ask, unsure of how to say it. I move my hips so that he knows exactly what I mean.

Without asking me this time if I'm sure, he starts to move, pumping in and out, grinding his body up against mine, and while it doesn't necessarily feel all that great, it definitely doesn't feel bad, either. I've heard from more than one person that the second time is always better than the first, anyways. But Sam…

I look at his face. His eyes are closed and the expression on his face is nothing short of euphoric. He's absolutely stunning. Beautiful. Exquisite. He grips one of my legs and pulls it up and around his back. I bring the other one up as well and hook my feet together by my ankles, and the difference is noticeable. From this new angle, he's hitting a spot he wasn't hitting before, and I gasp as it suddenly feels a lot better.

To my surprise, I can feel my orgasm starting to build. I raise my hips up to meet his, hopping on his rhythm train, and I meet him halfway. Apparently, it's too much for him to handle because all too soon, his eyes roll in the back of his head and he gasps my name and another, 'I love you!' before I feel him throb as he ejaculates into the condom.

His body stills and I realize he didn't know I was building up my own orgasm. I let it go, knowing that there will be other times, and also knowing that if I tell him, he'll want to jump up and do something about it. And right now, I just want to hold him.

He mumbles something into my neck, but I don't hear him, so he repeats it into my ear.

"I'm sorry," he says, embarrassment coloring his voice. "I heard it's always better the second time around for women…"

"What? It was fine," I say, softly. "It was better than fine. I actually… I liked it."

I feel him smile against my skin. "I really love you. So much," he says.

"I love you too, Sam. I'm glad… I glad I saved that to share with you," I say, somewhat shyly.

He raises his head and seeks my lips out. Unlike the deep, passionate kisses of earlier, this one is soft and sweet –

- sweet things to each other as we fell asleep earlier. Now I am startled out of my sleep by the shrill ringing of my cell phone from somewhere in the house. Even in my groggy state of mind, I wake up just enough to remember that Meghan went into labor just hours ago.

I gasp, steal the sheet off the bed, revealing Sam's nude form, and I sprint into the living room where I left my phone earlier.

I answer on the fifth ring.

"Dad?" I ask, hopefully.

"I took a picture. It should reach your phone pretty soon if it hasn't already."

"Tell them I said congratulations!" I say, happily.

I hear footsteps in the hallway and turn to see a very naked Sam yawning and coming towards me. I squeak as everything that happened comes rushing back.

"… Emily? Did you hear me?"

"Oh! Sorry, Dad! No, what did you say?"

"I said I'll tell them, but I have to get back in there, so check your phone for the picture, and I'll talk to you later."

We hang up and Sam looks at me expectantly. My phone beeps and I look down to see a picture of Meghan, Matthew, and their new baby.

I grin, ear to ear, and show Sam.

"Meet my newest family member," I say. "Claire Emily Young."

- FadingSlowly