Disclaimer: Stephanie Meyer owns Twilight and all characters and situations contained therein. All original content in this story is property of the author. Story is rated M and may contain graphic language, glorification of criminal activity, descriptions of violence, sexual content, and drug use.
**Bella POV about an hour later**
The hang around girls who were playing bartender have left along with anyone who is not a direct pack member, prospective member, or their guest. Jake and Jared were on a delivery when Brady called them, but they should be here any minute.
Paul and Leah sit at one of the tables around the bar area, the rest of us are at the bar, sitting in uncomfortable silence. The gate out front opens, and I breathe a sigh of relief, turning to Sam to say, "Thank God… now we can get this over with."
He nods, squeezing my hand gently. Jared and Jake come in the door and join the rest of us at the bar. Sam stands up and moves into the center of the bar area, where he claps loudly. His voice is loud, and clear as he says, "OKAY! So apparently something is going on, and Leah Clearwater thinks we need her help. She's here today with Pack Member Paul Dixon, we will ALL listen to what she has to say with an open mind, and go from there. Leah… you have the floor."
Embry comes and stands by me, bending down to pet Tink, who is laying on the floor at my feet. Kim and Jared are to my left, and Jake is behind the bar. Leah goes through her story quickly, telling how Rachel had been doing hard drugs, that she was crazy, borderline delusional, and out for revenge against me, Paul, and the Pack as a whole, and that she's put it into some crazy mafia guy's head that the Pack is responsible for the disappearance of his friend James.
When she's through, Sam asks the question that I think most of us are wondering, "Leah, everyone here knows how you feel about me, and moreover, how you feel about Bella. So why would you help two people you hate?"
She sighs, "Honestly Sam, I don't hate you… what you and Emily did to me sucked majorly, you were my first love, my first everything, and she was my best friend, not to mention my family! I should have been able to trust both of you. It was forever ago though, practically a whole other lifetime. I don't blame you for leaving her."
Turning her focus to Bella, she continues, "Bella… Well I'd rather speak with you personally, to explain… and to apologize for the way I've treated you over the years. For now let's just say that I've moved past my hatred of you and leave it at that."
Pausing, she takes a ragged breath, before turning to look at Seth, "The most important thing though, is that Rachel is sending this man after all of you, and that includes you, Seth… You're my baby brother, and I love you. I'm sorry that I haven't been the older sister you deserved, but I'll be damned if I let that crazy bitch put a target on you without trying to do something about it. Even if all I can do is give you a head's up."
Sam nods, and addresses the guys, "Okay. Pack, into the meeting room. Leah, feel free to have that talk with Bella while we go talk this over and see how we want to proceed."
Embry squeezes my shoulder, and whispers in my ear, "She seems sincere, give her a chance, and if you don't like what she has to say sic Tink on her."
I smile, and give him a nod as the rest of the guys follow Sam into the meeting room. I hop down off my stool, and Kim and Tink follow me over to the table Leah is sitting at. Kim and I sit down, and I address Leah, "So you wanted to talk?"
Tink obediently lays down next to my chair, and Leah says, "Your dog is beautiful. What's her name?"
Taking a deep breath, I answer, "Her names Tink. Let's cut the small talk, I'm willing to hear what you have to say, but do me a favor and get to it. They won't be in there forever."
She looks towards Kim, and asks, "Does your sidekick really have to be here?"
Kim snorts derisively, "What you expect her to sit here with you without a witness? So you can try and cause trouble and twist around whatever she says?"
Leah snaps, "No, because I'd like to speak with her privately about matters in our respective parents' past that maybe I don't want heard by anyone besides the two of us. Lord knows you've always had a big fucking mouth, Connors"
Kim starts to speak, but I grab her hand tightly, and cut her off, "Kim! Can you do me a favor, please? Go up to the apartment and grab my sweater? It's on the coat rack by the door. We'll be fine here, take your time."
She takes the hint, and goes off in a huff. I turn to Leah, "Okay… I'm listening."
Leah draws in a shaky breath, and launches into her story, "So you know you and Seth are the same age. Shortly before Seth was born your mother came to my house, she was pregnant with you, and she told my mother that my dad was your father. My mom had already been having a difficult pregnancy with Seth, and the shock of what your mother told her nearly killed her. It nearly killed both of them. Harry for his part never denied the affair, he begged my mother not to tell Charlie though, basically he wanted to just pretend like it never happened. So that's what they did. Mom was in the hospital until she gave birth to Seth, and you were born a month or so later. When it was obvious that even if you weren't really Charlie's daughter, at least it was 100% clear that you were not my Dad's daughter that made things slightly better between my parents, but they were never really the same. Your mother came close to killing my mom and my brother, but she very successfully killed the love between my parents that day. I blamed your existence for that fact, and I'm really sorry. It wasn't your fault that my father cheated, it wasn't your fault that your mom did what she did, but it was easier for me to hate you than to hate my dad. When I left La Push, it made it easier for me to see that there were multiple people at fault for what happened to my parent's marriage, but you weren't one of them. So again, I'm sorry, for everything I've done to you over the years."
I let out a shocked breath, and say, "Wow… Look, I'm not going to say you and I are ever going to be friends, but I understand why you would feel the way you felt. Don't take this the wrong way, but what's the deal with you and Paul? I mean, you know he and I have a past, do you think the two of you have a future?"
Leah chews her lip thoughtfully for a second, before looking up and staring me straight in the face and answering, "Yes. I think we do. Is that going to be an issue?"
Shrugging noncommittally, I reply, "Not as long as you treat him good and don't try to come between him and The Pack it won't be. Look, like I said, Paul and I have a past, but past is the keyword there. I wasn't The One for him, and he wasn't that for me. Sam IS that guy for me, he's The One, and I like to think he feels the same way about me. Paul and I will always be friends though, and I will always care about him. As long as you make him happy and you treat him like a king, then you and I can start over and we can be civil, who knows, maybe one day in the far, far, future we'll end up friends… it would certainly be ironic. Please don't let what I'm about to say turn this little heart to heart sour, but the one thing about your story that I can't believe is that your father fucked Renee behind my father's back for God only knows how long, and he's had the straight up balls to pretend to be Charlie's friend all these years."
She nods, "No, I get you. It is fucked up. Honestly I don't know how or why he did it. I mean he and Charlie were friends since they were kids. I guess we'll never know though, so it's not worth it to think about at this point in time. To his credit he didn't want your dad to find out because he didn't want to hurt him…and yeah I know that's not really saying much for him, but you get it."
I bang the gavel on the table, and the guys come to order. Clearing my throat, I look around the room… Seth looks scared, almost as bad as he looked immediately after we took care of James. Jared looks tense and worn out. The only ones who don't look worried and tense are Embry and Brady.
Taking a deep breath, I try to concentrate, the guys need me to lead them right now. They need me to be strong for them and try to get us to the best plan of action. I exhale slowly, and finally address my family, "Okay. So I'm sure that you all have feelings about what is potentially going on here, and I will listen to everyone who wants to speak one at a time. I have an idea of what I think we should do, and after I hear from all of you I will outline that plan, and I will listen to everyone's thoughts, is that fair?"
Everyone nods, and I pass the gavel to Brady on my right, signifying that he who has the gavel has the right to speak. Brady runs a hand through his hair, and finally just shrugs, "I don't know man… my first thought is 'can we really trust Leah?', but honestly I really think she's on the up and up here man. I mean this is about family for her, it's about Seth and her instinct to want to keep him safe. On the other hand I know there are two people in this building that she straight up hates, and maybe she's telling the truth and she has gotten past it, but how do we know? Are we prepared to just take her word for it? The other part of it is more worrisome… I mean what do we do? Do we kill this guy now too? What about Rachel?"
At the mention of his sister's name Jake tears the gavel out of Brady's hand, and shouts, "Fuck that! My sister may not be perfect, she may have a fucking screw loose, but she's still fucking family and NO ONE is going to touch her!"
Jared takes it next, and tries to bring some semblance of order back to the meeting as he says, "Just calm down! No one is killing anyone else here. So fucking what if this guy thinks we killed James? Let him prove it! I say we lay low and go about our business as quietly as we can. Let this piece of shit bring some bullshit to our door, we'll beat it all day every day!"
Embry raises his hand, and I gesture him to come forward before saying, "Go ahead and speak, Embry."
Jared hands him the gavel, and he says, "Jared's right. This guy Laurent can say whatever he wants, but he can't prove dick. However, he only has to prove something if he's coming at us with the Law. I think we need to get out ahead of this. This guy is in with the Denali, the Volturi, or both, right? Sam, I think you should talk to Eleazar and get us out ahead of this while we can. You don't need to admit that we had anything to do with James' disappearance, just go to him and talk to him about Rachel, nothing more. He knows her, even if he doesn't at this point in time. She was fucking his son in law. Garrett Martin was the guy Rachel was having the affair with in Seattle, his wife was Katherine Martin, maiden name Denali. He named her, and their kids in the restraining order he took out against Rachel. He went to the law thinking he could hide his affair from his father in law, but those guys typically have ears just about everywhere, especially when it comes to local police. So you talk to Eleazar, you tell him we will handle Rachel, but you would consider it a favor if he could reign in this Laurent before he does something majorly stupid and messes up not only our business but potentially theirs as well."
I'm about to give the prospect a metaphorical pat on the back, when Jake takes the gavel, and asks angrily, "And what about when the Denali kill my sister, Embry? What then? You gonna explain it to my dad that we got his daughter killed? Are you!"
I pound my fist on the table, and shout, "THAT'S ENOUGH! Both of you! Jake man, I'm sorry. I just don't see any way around it. We can't talk to her about what's happening because she'll run back to that guy and we'll be sunk before we even start. We can't have your dad have her forcibly committed to do detox either because she'll fucking sing like a bird about all our shit. It's not like you could even get her to go visit Rebecca either…"
Jake sighs heavily, hands the gavel back to me, and concedes, "You're right… as much as it sucks, we're going to have to play the cards she dealt us and let the shit fall where it falls. Sam man, if you could please try to convince Eleazar that we're going to handle her, I mean once this Laurent guy is gone where she gonna go? She's gonna have to come back to La Push, and when she does then Dad and I can get her the help she needs."
I look around at the rest of the worried faces, before rapping the gavel, and stating, "Okay, let's put it to a vote then. All in favor of trying to get out in front of this, bringing it to Eleazar and taking it from there?"
Looking around the table, and seeing all hands raised, I bang the gavel again, and declare, "Motion passed. I'll make the call and set up a meeting."