A/N: Sorry again for the long delay! We're getting near the end now, and I didn't want to leave Jacob and Leah's story unfinished, so we're jumping to them now. When we last left the pack, they'd helped with Bella's escape from James and then gone back to the reservation. The following takes place a few days after when we last left Edward and Bella. Word of warning, this chapter is one that earns the M rating...

~Jacob~

The fire's stench made my stomach roll, but I stayed within inches of the flames determined to make sure nothing escaped. We hadn't spent several sleepless nights and suffered multiple broken bones only to let the leeches slither from the pyre when we weren't looking. We'd gotten the male early. He'd been simple, but the red head had taken much longer; it was like trying to chase liquid smoke the way she'd sneak through the smallest of spaces. Once we'd finally cornered her, she fought back like nothing we'd ever seen and all of our injuries came solely from her. The circle we'd formed around the pit wouldn't disperse until the last ember had flickered out.

I looked across the flames and found Leah looking back at me. Feeling like a punk for noticing, I couldn't help admire the way her skin glowed in the moon light. Despite her raggedy tank top and cut offs, she still seemed to channel an ancient native princess. The fact she was mine boggled my mind, especially when she'd never actually felt like mine; she was still an entity unto herself, determined to never be part of an 'us' or 'them.' She'd told me her identity was too precarious after the split with Sam. She wasn't ready to go from being Sam's girlfriend to my girlfriend without any break in between. While she was unable to avoid being my imprint, she still maintained that agreeing to an actual relationship would be her choice, and she wasn't having any of it.

Going along with her notions was tough when all I wanted was to bind her to me in every way possible. My instinct to install her in my home and always know what she was doing and where she was didn't give a shit she wasn't willing―wasn't a normal imprint. I was meant to protect my imprint, but she was the only imprint who didn't actually need protecting. My desire for her never let up, but she would wait until it became absolutely unbearable before giving in. She point blank told me she knew she was being a selfish bitch; she didn't care. It wasn't like there'd ever come a time when we wouldn't want each other or could escape the need to be together. As far as she was concerned, since she didn't have to do anything to make me want her, then there was no reason for her to put forth the effort. She had a license to be a bitch, and she was using it.

There was another future I often saw for myself; the one I'd expected all along. It had never been very firm or something I'd felt an urge for right away, only a hazy vision of a happy wife, one or two children, and a small home on the Res. I'd fix cars, she'd do whatever it was she enjoyed, and we'd be no different from the rest of the families here. Maybe I'd drink too much sometimes, maybe she'd spend too much money; my imagination didn't extend very far beyond stereo-type. After all, I was still much too young for any of it. Now, all I had to look forward to seemed to be strife and misery. While I understood Leah's side of things, I couldn't help but wonder why the fuck she'd want this for herself. I certainly didn't. If our only option was each other, didn't it make sense to try everything we could to enjoy being together? Why didn't she get that?

Eventually, the flames started to sputter and die down. We were afraid to do anything to put the fire out prematurely; even knowing nothing remained capable of hurting anyone, we were fearful all the same of any unknown limits to a vampire's regenerative capabilities. Finally, when there was nothing left, we gathered all the ashes and spread them into the water to be absolutely safe.

When we got back to the pit, our win kind of sunk in all at once, and we all started whooping and hollering like a bunch of crazy people. We'd proven we could do it; we could keep our village and town safe from our worst enemy. Unable to help myself, I leaped over the pit and grabbed Leah in my arms, spinning her around before kissing her startled face. She kicked me in the shin and demanded I put her down, but I didn't care and simply gently lowered her before wrapping my arms around her and really giving the kiss everything I had. If I could kill vampires, I could get this proud, ferocious girl to want me.

A vicious knee to my nut sack put an end to the fantasy.

"You don't get to ask this of me, so get out of here, and leave me alone. Isn't it enough that I'm here, and I feel bad? Why do you have to come here and make it worse? Don't you get it? You being here and pushing me into another man's arms―it's like you're smearing salt into every wound you've given me. Do you get off on this or something? Does it make you feel even more big and bad to know how much pain you can make me feel?"

"No! Of course not! Leah, you have to let this go. You and I weren't meant for each other. If we were, we'd be imprinted. Shit, I was ready to marry you and start a family. You were it for me. Then the whole wolf thing happened, and I had to hide it from you. I know you felt the separation, but my feelings for you hadn't changed one bit then. I wanted you and loved you every bit as much, and it killed me to keep everything from you. But then your cousin showed up, and everything just—I don't know—shifted. One moment I had this amazing bond to you, and then the next, it was shattered, and everything I was became tied to Emily. I know now, this is what love for our kind is. And if you'd just let yourself, you'd feel it, too, and see. I wouldn't be anything to you anymore other than a fond memory. Don't you want that? Why won't you let it happen?"

"You arrogant prick, why the fuck do you think I'm here? That's really swell it was so easy for you to let me go. But what fucking right do you have to accuse me of choosing this and making it all my fault? You think all I have to do is snap my fingers and everything I felt for you will switch to him? Maybe it was like that for you because you never felt the same about me as I did for you. Maybe it's because Jake and I are both wolves. Whatever it is, I'm doing the best I can, so you can just get the fuck out and go back to your precious Emily."

What was I hearing? Ugh, my mouth tasted like an elephant had used it for a toilet bowl. And why did my brain all of a sudden feel ten sizes too big for my skull?

I shook my head to try and clear the cobwebs and immediately regretted it as my eyeballs nearly rolled back into my head at the pain.

Hangover. I had the mother-fucker of all hangovers. It was coming back to me now. After Leah's oh-so-gentle treatment of the family jewels, the guys who'd witnessed my humiliation had thoughtfully plied me with bucket-fulls of hard liquor. Due to our fast metabolism, we had to drink huge amounts to get drunk, and we were up to the challenge last night.

I must have passed out at some point because I certainly didn't remember coming home to bed, and I had no clue why Leah and Sam were arguing in the other room. Why was she even here? Mentally, I went over all the stuff I'd heard them shout at each other. They certainly hadn't been trying to keep quiet for my sake. I winced at the pain I'd heard in Leah's voice. She wasn't kidding; Sam really was slicing her heart to ribbons when he tried to get her to give in to me. It sucked. I agreed with him but felt awful for her at the same time.

My head was rapidly feeling better as my body burned off the rest of the alcohol, and my balls had long since stopped aching. Now, all I cared about was my hurting mate, and I needed to do something about it, even if I didn't know what. I couldn't sit here and pretend I didn't hear their conversation; it felt too much like eavesdropping.

Gingerly, I twisted around and placed both feet on the floor. When my head didn't roll of my shoulders and plop on the floor, I figured the worst was over and pushed off the bed. I felt a bit weak, but other than that, okay. A big breakfast was all I needed to fix me up. The succulent smell of bacon permeated the room, and I wondered who'd cooked since I knew our cupboards had gone bare during all the crazy vampire shit.

I wandered out into the living room and found Sam on the couch holding his head in his hands and rubbing his temples. Leah was across the room by the open door, glaring at him. Apparently, she was ready for him to leave, but he wasn't done trying to convince her of the error of her ways.

"Hey."

They both whipped around to glare at me; guess they didn't realize I'd come in.

"Uhm, I smell bacon, and I'm kind of hungry . . . so, I'm just going to go into the kitchen and see if I can find the food and eat and, yeah, uh, whatever." I could hear myself stammering like an idiot but had no idea what to say right now to these two. It was pretty fucking embarrassing my alpha had to be here in the first place to argue my case, and I had no clue how to deal with Leah's emotional load right now.

"Jacob, would you please explain to Sam here that it's about time he went on home and left us alone?"

Both of us turned to look at her in shock. She wanted to be alone with me?

"Do you mind, Sam?" I asked, hesitant to tell him to go since he was my alpha and all, but I wanted to know what Leah was up to now.

He looked at both of us before shaking his head and walking to the door. He stopped at the threshold and turned back. "Look, we're not under the gun now, and no one has to run patrols or phase. I've asked everyone to stay in human form till you both have this resolved, so you have privacy no matter what form you have to be in. Try to work it out, please?" I winced, not wanting to think about another wolf sex session but knowing it was inevitable unless she agreed to do it human.

I nodded at him, but Leah only continued her glare, looking even more murderous than before. He seemed like he wanted to say something else to her but then turned and finally left.

With only the two of us in the house, the silence grew oppressive fast, and I awkwardly shifted my gaze between the floor and the kitchen, not sure what the right thing to do was.

"Come on, I didn't spend time cooking for you only to see it go to waste."

She cooked for me?

"You cooked for me?"

She stomped by me, snarling on the way by, "Yeah, I felt bad for crushing your nuts. Don't get used to it unless you want to end up a eunuch."

Not likely.

"Uhm, thanks?"

"Whatever. Come on, I'm not going to reheat it."

Finally, I made it to the kitchen, and my mouth started to water immediately. She'd made eggs, bacon, home fries, and big, thick french toast. It was a fucking feast, and I swear by the smell alone it was almost worth the kick to the balls. Almost. Her cousin had a reputation for being an awesome cook, but this smelled way better than anything I'd had from Emily's kitchen. Maybe it was because I knew she'd made it for me alone. It was the first nice thing she'd done for me, and it meant more than I could tell her right now without her getting pissed off at me again.

"Wow, thanks, this is great!" I winced at my over-enthusiasm, but I wanted to make sure she knew I appreciated all she'd done.

She shook her head at me, almost looking like she might smile. "Hey, don't go too crazy. Some of it's for me, too."

I gave her a grin before grabbing a plate and loading it up as much as I could. She filled another one with every bit as much food, and we met at the table.

Awkwardly, we sat and started to eat. She seemed uncomfortable with her kind gesture, and I wasn't sure if I could talk to her without getting my head bit off. The food was excellent, though, so I kept shoveling it in, deciding the whole 'ladies first' thing would work here, and I'd wait to see if she wanted to talk before saying anything.

We continued in silence for a while before she finally put her fork down and started.

"Do you really think we could possibly be happy?"

Shit, talk about a tough question.

"Fuck, I don't know. We've never liked each other, but I think if we don't give it a shot, we'll only regret it. I mean, we kind of don't have a choice, do we? If we continue like we are, we have no chance. At least if we try, you never know what could happen. Does that make any sense at all?" I was talking out of my ass, but she'd sprung this on me suddenly, and I hadn't had time to come up with anything better.

She looked at me as if I was some sort of odd creature she'd found in front of her, but at least it wasn't her typical glare.

"What about the sex thing?"

The bite of french toast I'd just taken suddenly lodged in my throat, and I had to cough like crazy in order to breath again. Why was she putting that on me? She was the one who refused to do it human. Did she really possibly think I didn't want to?

"Yeah, I figured that's about how you felt about it," she said before looking down at her plate. Fuck, she thought I'd gotten sick at the thought of screwing her. Dammit, could we make this any more difficult?

I got up and walked over to her chair before squatting down to bring us eye-to-eye. "Leah, there's nothing I want more than to do things the right way―the human way―with you. I thought you didn't want to?"

She met my gaze head on. "I didn't, but I thought you didn't, either. I figured you had to be disgusted by the way I looked, and just because you were forced to be with me, didn't mean you found me attractive. It sucks; the whole wolf thing makes you guys all fuckhot and turns me into a freak."

I'd known she wasn't happy with the changes her body had made after phasing, but how could she not know how much we all lusted after her trim, athletic shape? Her muscles were long and lean, not big and bulky like ours; she was still very much a girl. It didn't make sense; she'd been in our heads millions of times yet didn't realize what those few accidental sightings of her naked body did to us. Maybe I hadn't pushed things hard enough with her since I wasn't sure I could compete with her memories of Sam. He'd always been able to satisfy her, and here I was, a fucking pathetic virgin for all intents and purposes.

One thing about Leah, she'd always appreciated people being as direct and to the point as possible. It was time for me to be a man and show my mate exactly what I wanted to do with her. Even though I lacked experience, I'd seen enough in Sam's head to know what she liked, and I was ready to give that to her. One of her complaints about being imprinted to me was my age. Sam was a man; I was a boy. No more.

I stood up and took her hand, tugging her up off the chair while begging her with my eyes to cooperate. She stood, and I pulled her right up against me. There was no way she could miss that I was rock-hard and ready to show her just how attractive I found her. She was tall, but I was still taller.

But she wasn't an idiot, and a hard dick wasn't going to be enough to convince her. She continued to look at me but shrugged her shoulders, and I knew she was only trying to say the erection was the imprint and not me―not us.

Slowly, I walked her backwards until she was up against the wall, and then I took both her wrists in one hand and drew them up over her head. Smiling at her, I slid my free hand down one of her arms, then her side, and settled it behind her, right above her ass.

"I fucking love this," I said. "Your wrists look all dainty and sweet, yet I know if you wanted to, you could pull free without breaking a sweat."

I quickly brought my hand under her ass and lifted her up, bringing her leg around my waist and pushing her harder to the wall. Her other leg snaked around me and a smirk started to appear on her face.

"I'll be able to be as rough as I want with you, and I know you'll love every minute of it and won't be a bit sore afterward."

I was scared as fuck she was going to reject me, but by the look on her face, she was as into it as I was. Her eyelids were half closed, and she was licking her bottom lip with a tongue I was aching to feel against my own. Instinctively, though, I knew I would have better luck fucking her up against this wall than I would of actually kissing her. She wasn't ready for that kind of intimacy with someone else yet.

What I could do, though, was show her exactly how much I wanted her body. I let go of her wrists and ass, leaving her supported entirely by the legs wrapped around me and the way I was pushing against her pelvis keeping her pinned to the wall. Deliberately dropping my eyes to her chest, I roughly grabbed the straps of her tank top and drew them down over her shoulders, forcing the straps to break away from the shirt and finally giving me a chance to see her tits up close. They were perfect. Firm, high, and big enough to fill even my overly large hands. Unable to resist, I took a nipple into my mouth and sucked on it. Hard. Her moan told me all I wanted to hear. She loved it. I massaged her other breast with my hand while licking and sucking on the nub in my mouth. She started to grind against me, and I swore I could feel her getting damp through her thin cotton shorts.

I could have spent all day with that tit in my mouth, but I had a point to make and looked back up into her eyes again.

"These are perfect, gorgeous, and awesome, and I would never want them to look any different. I could spend hours like this, locked here with you, learning what makes you moan. I want to feel every inch of your body with my hands and my tongue. That's how much I fucking want you. It's not just the compulsion to mate with you caused by the imprint. It's my body loving everything about yours; it's how perfect we fit together." I pushed my cock harder against her crotch to show her exactly where I wanted to fit.

I was in danger of losing control now; the ache between my legs was intense, and I wanted nothing more than to rip her shorts off and plow into her as hard as possible. She needed to let me know it was okay first. I'd wait forever if I had to.

"I don't know if we'll ever get along," I continued. "But I fucking know I'll never not want you."

She put her hands on either side of my face and practically snarled at me. "Then fucking take me already—I'm dying here."

That was all she needed to say. I brought my hands under her ass and twisted us around. She continued to rub against my cock, seeking friction and almost making me blow my load. I refused to give in that easily. I didn't know how long I'd be able to hold out, but I was determined to make her come first.

I stumble-walked into the bedroom, nearly driving us into the doorjamb when I felt her teeth lock onto my neck. I swear my dick grew an inch from that alone. Her tits were squished up against my bare chest, and I was dying to give her other nipple the same attention with my tongue I'd given the first.

Finally, we made it to the bed, and I basically threw us on it, twisting on the way down so we landed on our sides. I slithered down her body so my mouth was right at her breast and sucked her nipple through my teeth making her hiss in pleasure. I swirled my tongue around and then flicked the tip, teasing it while sucking on the flesh around. She bucked against me and screamed grabbing my hair in her hands and nearly yanking it all out of my head.

I had to feel more of her, had to know if her body wanted me; I wasn't going to last much longer if she kept it up. All along, I'd intended to be gentle when I touched her pussy for the first time. That went out the window, and I practically jammed my hand down the front of her shorts in my rush to feel her there. Fuck, she wasn't wearing any underwear and was all smooth, plump skin damp with her need. I cupped her briefly before curling a finger into her, shocked at the heat I felt there and the way I slid so easily into her. I'd never felt anything as smooth and soft; immediately, all I could think of was how her slick walls would feel on my cock. Groaning, I added another finger, dying to make her come yet desperately aching to be inside this amazing spot I'd found. I felt like the first man to discover a pussy and realized then and there why so many of us made fools of ourselves to get to this exact spot.

She was groaning in my ear and one of her hands was clawing at my back while she shoved down on my fingers, stimulating herself with my hand. I started using my palm to press down on her clit, and she shrieked my name, making me feel I was actually doing this all right.

"Jake, fuck, yes, that, keep doing that. Fuck!"

I kept it up, my mouth still working her nipple while my fingers slid in and out of her, moving up and down her slit, causing her to go absolutely wild against me. The next time I put my fingers inside her, I could feel her walls clench around them, and my cock started to leak all over her. I had to be inside her.

The pressure of her around my fingers was so tight, and her hand clutched my back so hard, I knew she must be almost there. I suddenly simply had to taste her, and I took my hand away preparing to move further down the bed. She nearly broke my wrist when she clamped her thighs around it.

"No! Don't you dare fucking stop—I'm almost there."

I grinned up at her. "Sorry, babe, this can't wait any longer." I knew she thought I was going to fuck her now like some clod, but I quickly fixed that when I flipped her on her back and put my face between her legs in the same motion. Keeping my eyes on hers, I flattened my tongue and licked her from bottom to top, stopping to suck on her clit before putting my fingers back in her pussy. It was a good thing my ears weren't close to her mouth anymore because she would have deafened me. I am the fucking man! I barely had time to notice how good she tasted before I felt her pulsing around me. Yes!

"Now, Jake. Fuck me now!"

As if I could do anything else. I had no idea when my shorts had gotten removed. All I knew was I was already naked and a quick shift brought me up on my arms over her, her legs spread wide around me, and my cock lined up right where my tongue had been less than a moment before. I had less than a second to decide if I wanted to feel this slow or all at once when she slammed herself up onto my cock, sheathing me fully into her in one motion. It felt beyond amazing, and I nearly came then and there on the spot. I roared like a beast and drew myself out of her body before slamming back in, more than happy to give her what she clearly wanted. Her nails dug into my back causing just enough pain to let me hold my orgasm at bay.

About the only thing different from our last mating and this one was the lack of fur. Everything else: the biting, the clawing, the snarling, was there in spades. After a moment or two, she rose up, and flipped me onto my back, somehow landing astride me and never losing our connection. She leaned forward to bite my chest while sliding her slick warmth up and down my cock, long and slow at first, and then taking up the same fast, deep, hard thrusts I'd been using. My back arched off the bed, and I clutched her hips, anchoring myself to her as I roared in pleasure. She lifted her face and grinned at me, a wide, dark, Cheshire cat grin, hinting at all sorts of secrets. Then she raised her lower body up, causing me to fall out. Stunned, I tried to force her back onto me, but she was too strong. Grinning all the while, with her ass still in the air, and her chest resting on mine, she slowly slinked backwards until her mouth was inches away from my cock. Keeping her eyes locked on mine, she darted her soft, pink tongue out, and flicked the head, like little tiny lashes from a wet feather. Dying for more, I barely kept myself in check, loving her play while needing to bury myself back inside her again.

Finally, she started to really lick me. The heat from her tongue was nearly scalding me in the best way possible, and when she finally slid me into her mouth, I immediately came with soul-staggering strength down her throat. Not missing a beat, she swallowed it all and then went right back to her exquisite torture, tickling the underside of my cock head with her tongue, then sinking her mouth down me. I hadn't lost any of my hardness, but now I could relax a little and enjoy what she was doing to me. She winked at me and then started giving me a serious blow job, sucking on me and bobbing her head up and down while swirling her tongue all around from base to tip. The pressure was building again, and this time, I was determined to regain control, and come inside her while balls deep in her body.

She didn't look surprised when I suddenly pulled my cock free from her mouth, and I knew she'd only been toying with me. I sat up and reached forward, grasping her by her hips and spinning her around so she was facing the same wall I was, lifting her ass at the same time I rose to my knees, I buried myself as deep as I could in her.

"Finally!" she screamed.

Her head rose, and she ended up looking at me through the mirror over my dresser. Her eyes were brighter than I'd ever seen them, and her skin was flushed. She'd never looked more beautiful.

The mirror gave me an idea, and I wiggled us around until we could see ourselves sideways in the glass. Our eyes locked on the site of my cock slowly thrusting in and out of her.

"Look at us," I told her. "Now do you see? We fit together perfectly. We're both nearly delirious with the feel of each other's body."

"Shut the fuck up, and keep fucking me!"

I laughed, loving the way she demanded I keep pleasing her. Tightening my grip on her hips, I thrust faster, going every bit as deep and hard as before, and each time I could feel her clench around me as she worked toward her orgasm. Giving me an evil eye in the mirror, she started to rub her clit with one of her hands, and I nearly lost it right there.

"Ugh, Jake! I'm so close!"

I moved my hands up her body and grabbed her bouncing tits in my hands. Pinching her nipples hard, I was thrusting into her at a different angle now, and it seemed to be exactly what she needed. Her hand stilled, her pussy clenched, and then she let loose with a screaming howl loud enough for the whole reservation to hear. My answering roar was every bit as loud, and I came harder than ever before, pulsing over and over inside her tight heat. It seemed it would never end, and I never wanted it to.

Leah and I collapsed in a heap on the bed, and I think she fell asleep maybe a millisecond before I did. When I woke up, the sun was high in the sky, and Leah was gone. Yawning, I strained to hear if she was still in the house, and I finally heard some rustling in the kitchen. It took me a few minutes to find my shorts, but eventually I located them hanging on the curtain rod. Chuckling, I slid them on and then headed out to find my imprint.

I think, of all my interactions with Leah, the sight meeting my eyes when I found her in the kitchen was the most shocking. She wore only a t-shirt, and it barely skimmed the tops of her trim thighs as her hips swayed in time to the music only she could hear through the buds in her ears. Dishes were being washed, and the counter was being cleaned in the oddest sequence of events, but it was still all getting done. Some sort of new delicious thing was cooking in the oven, and I didn't know if it was the sight her ass peaking out from her shirt when she spun, or the smell of the food making my mouth water.

I couldn't move, only stare, and she caught a glimpse of me on one of her twists from one spot to another. She stopped dead, soapy water dripping from the pan she was holding, which I think she may have been about to put away before rinsing when she caught herself.

Chucking the pan in the sink, she yanked the buds from her ears and let them dangle from the little player clipped to her shirt.

"You suck, you know. Do you have any idea how hard it is to clean a kitchen when your brains have been fucked into oblivion?" She was smiling, a happy carefree smile I don't think I'd ever seen on her face, and all I could do was stride over to her and catch her up in a huge bear hug, lifting her off the floor and twirling her around. Laughing, she slapped at my arms. "Put me down, you imbecile." She could barely speak, though, through her laughter, and I was stunned at her transformation. Gently putting her down, I held her at arms length to look at her.

"You look happy," I said softly.

Miracle of miracles, she actually fucking blushed, her cheeks turning a beautiful shade of burnished copper, before answering me. "You ever tell anyone I said this, I'll rip you apart, but, yeah, I'm feeling pretty happy this afternoon."

"Me, too."

We stood there a little longer, smiling like a couple of saps at each other, before she remembered whatever was cooking in the oven. "Fuck! You almost made me burn lunch," she said before flouncing out of my arms and opening the oven. Barely in time, I pulled her back before she could take the pan out with her bare hands.

Huffing in what looked like embarrassment, she snatched her hands away and grabbed mitts off the counter before going back and taking out what looked like the biggest, cheesiest lasagna I'd ever seen.

"Uhm, Leah? I just got hard. Since I can't fuck the lasagna, can I fuck you while I eat it?" My stomach chose that moment to rumble it's own contribution to the conversation, and she laughed at me as she set it down and grabbed plates. Shoving one at me, she filled her own then started eating as if her own life depended on it.

"You're lucky I was starving to death or I'd kick your ass for saying that sick shit," she mumbled with her mouth full.

I was too busy chewing my own food to answer by then, and we stood there, eating standing up like a couple of hogs, and our plates were empty in record time.

"Here, give me that," I said, taking her plate from her hands. "You go sit, and I'll get us seconds."

She spun away, grabbed two cokes from the fridge, and was sitting down by the time I made it to the table with the plates. We were able to eat a bit slower this time and finally talk a bit now that we'd gotten our physical needs for sex, sleep, and food taken care of.

"Hey," she said. "Any idea what's going on with E & B?"

I looked at her blankly for a moment. "Who?"

She smiled at me. "Guess that's one less thing I can worry about. Bella. I was asking about Bella."

Huh, I'd sort of forgotten all about them. I shrugged, "Sort of. She was changing, then she stopped, now she's changing again. They think this time it will finish, so the elders are meeting with the Cullens to discuss how to handle a potential newborn vamp and maybe letting Charlie in on all this. I guess there's some sort of vamp squad over in Italy that usually kills any humans that know, but as long as he doesn't tell anyone, then it should all be good."

"Newborn? What's that mean?"

"When they're first changed, they have no control and are stronger than older vampires, which means the Cullens may have trouble controlling her and keeping her away from snacking on the humans. They want to take her away, and we want her to go, but dad's worried about Charlie."

Her eyes turned distant, and it looked like she was staring off into space.

"Leah?"

Shaking her head a little, she turned back to me. "Where'd you go?" I asked.

Shrugging, she got up from the table, grabbed both our plates and headed to the sink. Looking out the dingy window, she whispered to me, "Do you ever think of doing that? Going away?"

Not sure where she was going with this, I walked over and wrapped my arms around her waist, joining her in looking out at the neglected yard. "I used to, back before the world turned into something out of a fantasy novel. My favorite plan was the one where I headed to Hawaii immediately after graduation and bummed around fixing cars till I found my place."

"And now?"

"Well, in the thick of it all, it never occurred to me. But, well, I guess when everything with the Cullens is quiet again, we could travel if you wanted. I don't have much money saved up, but if I sell the Rabbit, that should get us started."

She turned around in my arms, her eyes shining with unshed tears, and I wondered what I said wrong. "Leah?"

She interrupted me before I could get out any more. "You'd want me to go with you? Even if leaving here might mean the imprint bond was broken?"

Gently, more gently than I'd ever touched my normally fierce girl before, I placed my hands on her cheeks and answered, "Yes, I want you with me. Always. Do you really think something like distance would break us? I know it seems like magic and all that, but, to me anyway, it's as solid as one of those humongous, ancient trees out there."

Her hands covered my own, and she nodded, her tears finally spilling over, but a huge smile on her face. I figured, now or never...

"I love you, Leah."

Abruptly, my feet were swept out from under me, and I landed flat on my ass. "Yeah, well, just because I love you, too, don't think I won't kick the shit out of you whenever I think you need it," she said, before giving me a kiss hot enough to melt an iceberg.

Mm, yeah. Things were looking up around here.

A/N: Hope you enjoyed! I apologize to anyone reading who's maybe not into graphic lemons as I know this story hasn't really had a lot of that till now. It seemed fitting for these two though, and I've come to enjoy writing them, so, that's why. This story remains my first, and has gone on for quite some time now, which I think has caused the consistency to suffer a bit as my own writing style evolves. Hopefully the writing itself has improved and maybe the story has gotten more and more enjoyable for some as it's gone along :)