In the immortal words of Monty Python: I'm not dead! I'm back for at least a chapter, and I've updated my other story A Day of Sorrow is Longer than a Month of Joy as well. Hope this was worth the wait!
Fred was in the trees, within sight of the Cullens' house, wondering how to go about this next part. Ideally, he'd walk in and Leah would be there, waiting, then swooning and fawning would follow; but somehow he thought that wasn't particularly likely. It was much more probable that she'd never want to speak to him again.
He paced back and forth, wondering. Dusk fell as he wandered, and it became increasingly clear that he wasn't going to come up with anything that was remotely good enough. He took a deep breath, and decided it would be better just to take the plunge and wing it.
Esme was stood in the doorway to what used to be Edward's room, watching Leah sleeping. She'd finally fallen asleep on the sofa downstairs, and although one of the other wolves said he had an urgent message for her, Esme had decided that it was better for now to leave her. She was in so much pain that waking her felt cruel. It was difficult to watch and know there was nothing she could do. Esme considered the wolves as part of her extended family, and she felt the pain just as much as any of them. It wasn't as clear cut as Jasper's talent, just a strong empathy she'd always had- even as a human. She leant her head against the door frame, sighing sadly. She decided to make some of Leah's favourite food. That had always seemed to help Bella while she was human. It certainly couldn't make it any worse.
She reached the bottom of the stairs and was about to head into the kitchen, when she became aware of an only vaguely familiar voice drifting from the living room. It sounded a lot like...but it couldn't be, could it? She flitted to the doorway and, sure enough, Fred was stood, head hung in shame, with Edward and Seth speaking to him. She started when she saw a dishevelled-looking human man curled up on the sofa. She was ecstatic. Fred had come back!
"We had explained it to you perfectly clearly. You knew that Leah was now bound to you for the rest of her life and yet still, you left. What makes you think you deserve her back?" Edward was articulating Seth's thoughts better than Seth was able to himself.
"Well...I just...I-" Fred stopped. He hadn't expected the Spanish Inquisition. He laughed- why was that funny? He couldn't remember.
Edward bit back a smirk. At that moment, Esme entered the room; her happiness that Fred had returned was glowing.
"Fred, dear, it's so good to see you again! And who's our other guest?" They all turned to look at the man on the sofa, whose natural instincts told him to coil away from the stare of the predators. "Are you hungry?"
Thody didn't move. He had never seen a woman as beautiful as the elegant creature before him, and he sat dumbfounded in her presence. Edward scoffed, and made a note to himself never to allow Rosalie within his line of sight.
"He hasn't eaten in a while. Seth, why don't you take him to the kitchen and get him something to eat?"
"What?" Seth protested, "why can't I-"
"I can tell him what you'd like to say, it's alright." Seth saw himself defeated, and begrudgingly traipsed off to the kitchen with Thody and Esme. Edward looked back to Fred, whose thoughts were bent on when he could see Leah again. Edward sighed. Fred was now feeling the effects of the imprint, but couldn't understand them. He wasn't exactly the sharpest tool in the box.
"I...I know I have no right to ask this, but...when can I see her again? I know it sounds insane but I need to see her! Nothing matters if she's not there!" Edward raised his eyebrows. He'd never seen the effects of an imprint be this strong. It must have something to do with his being a vampire. Very star-cross'd lovers. He smiled to himself, and quoted:
"Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Forks where we lay our scene, from ancient grudge break to new mutiny-" his face fell instantly. He hadn't been paying attention to anything around him, and suddenly everything had slotted into place. He turned slowly and saw Leah framed in the doorway, her face a mix of shock, pain and happiness.
Leah walked towards Fred slowly, almost as though she thought with each step he was more likely to disappear. Fred looked as though he couldn't believe his eyes. He daren't move for fear of scaring her off. She finally reached him, and put her hand on his face.
"It's really you," she said, still not sure if she was dreaming, "you're here."
"Yes," he said, "I came back for you. I'm so sorry, Leah, I should never have left! I should have believed everything they said!"
She smiled happily, her eyes shining, and then she slapped him. "What, and you think I'm just going to forgive you? You just show up here with an 'I'm sorry' and expect me to just fall into your arms like nothing happened? What do you take me for? UGH!"
Fred felt like his still heart had been ripped out in that moment. After a few seconds of silence, he managed to voice the words: "so, does this mean you can never forgive me?"
"OF COURSE IT DOESN'T! But you're going to have to earn my trust back- and believe me, it's not going to be easy." Fred beamed.
At that point, Embry burst through the front door of the house, slamming it clean off its hinges.
"Leah!" Everybody turned to see Embry stood, panting.
"No, Leah, listen. It's Emily. You need to come now."