Hi y'all. As always, thank you for the reviews. We're nearing the end of this fic now but here I am with another chapter. Enjoy…
Silence stretched between us. A million unanswered questions hung in the chilling air and the affection that I suddenly felt for the man across from me seemed to stab me harder than a thousand knives. My life seemed to stretch out before me like a sea of lies and unfulfilled dreams. I wanted to change it all.
"We're going to be okay," Paul's voice sounded desperate. His hands clutched at the side of his chair and I tried to shy away from his calculating eyes. It unnerved me that he seemed to be able to read my emotions in a single glance. It pained me to see my own fear mirrored in his eyes. We had to be strong. We were always the strong ones.
"I know," I murmured. My false hope seemed to loud in the quiet of the cabin. I thought of Isla and her blood, red eyes. She had looked at me the same way that I evaluated a burger; trying to decide which half is going to taste the best. I was going to die, that much was apparent, and my last few hours were going to be spent with the most arrogant, big headed ass in the world. It worried me that I couldn't think of any better way to end my life. He had become a bigger part of me than I had ever thought possible.
"We are," Paul spoke again, his voice was stronger. I looked into his eyes again. The fear was still there but the determination was brighter. Swallowing loudly I watched as he evaluated the rope tied to his wrist. I sighed.
"Paul," I hated how fragile my voice sounded, "Please stop trying to be the hero. You can't do anything, unless your plan is to end my life before she has the chance." My eyes flickered to the glittering silver of the axe. My neck prickled. I quite liked having my head attached to my shoulder. Paul tensed as he followed my line of sight. We were in a lose, lose situation. It truly sucked.
"The pack will be here soon," his eyes darkened as he looked at the open door; it seemed to be taunting us. Closing my eyes I wondered briefly if Brady had been able to detach himself from his imprint in order to even find out about my disappearance. I could almost hear the sound of Claire's laughter as Quil tossed her up into the air. I could almost smell Em's chocolate cake and see her smile as Sam kissed her softly on the cheek. My heart ached for them. Paul's gruff cough seemed to startle me from my thoughts.
"You are one annoying man," I smiled hesitantly in his direction. He rolled his eyes as he clenched and unclenched his hands into fists. It was a habit of mine that he seemed to have picked up on over the months. Just like the way I ran my hand through my hair when I was nervous like he did and the sarcastic smirk that I used on Brady when he was getting on my last nerve.
"I wish had taken you to meet my Mum before now." Paul's words seemed to knock the air from my lungs. It was the single, greatest compliment that anyone had ever paid me in my life. People had called me 'beautiful' once upon a time, some even called me 'talented.' Somehow Paul's words seemed to trump all of that. It was then that I realised how deeply he wanted to love me.
"Really?" I whispered. I wondered what my own Mum would think about Paul. She would probably recoil in fear from his riotous laughter and squirm in discomfort when he told one of his awful jokes. Paul would make her feel like the worst person in the world for ever leaving me in La Push even though he had gained from my abandonment. It would be perfect and I would have loved every moment of it.
"She thinks I'm annoying too," he shrugged in answer to my question, "And arrogant and a bit of an ass at times." My smile grew wider as he spoke. She sounded perfect to me.
"What were you like before you were a wolf?" I wondered aloud. To me, he was the fiercest person that I knew. He personified the wolf that I knew he was, but I couldn't help but wonder if he had always been the way he was. Secretly I hoped that he had an awkward stage in his teenage years but somehow I doubted that. Nothing seemed awkward about Paul. He seemed so at ease with himself and I continuously envied him for that.
"I was an even bigger ass than I am now," I watched the way his eyes fell to the ground as if to avoid my gaze, "I didn't try at school. I slept with many girls," I couldn't help but wince at that revelation, "I drunk a lot of alcohol, I partied, I smoked-"
"You smoked?" I cried; the rope cut into my wrists as I leant forward, "You hypocrite. All you ever do is lecture me about smoking and partying." He smirked at my narrowed eyes and red face. He was such a complicated puzzle.
"That's because I know why you do it. I was stupid then, all I wanted was an escape just like you do. But it doesn't help. It just gives you something to become more dependent on. It makes you weak," his voice seemed to sink into my soul. I found myself wishing that I had witnessed the transformation from the boy to the man that had obviously occurred.
"I wish I could have seen you then. Just for a second," he grinned at me as I spoke, "It would have been so refreshing to see you let loose. I feel safe with you but sometimes I wish I didn't. It's alright to make mistakes. I should know, I've fucked up enough times in my life."
"The past doesn't define us," Paul was insistent as if he was trying to wipe our slates clean but it wasn't that easy. I admired him for trying though.
"True," I spoke quietly, "However, the past is a part of us. I couldn't imagine a life without dancing or Poppy or Emily's snoring in the same room. Those things are a part of me just like your rebellious days. Young Paul is still a part of you despite how much you might want to push him away."
"When did you get so wise?" Paul asked.
"I've always been wise," I stuck my tongue out at him as his eyes flickered to the axe above me again. Life was just so damn complicated. If only we had been normal and met in a crowded bar. I could almost imagine meeting Paul's dark eyes across a crowded bar. We would have fallen for each other in a second and then killed each other in the next. I closed my eyes as I pushed thoughts away.
"What were you like before you became the crazy badass that you are today?" Paul sounded worried. I tried to smile as I opened my mouth but the corners of my mouth refused to curve upwards. Everything was just so much effort.
"You know the answer to that," I muttered as I glanced out of the open doorway and out into the fading sunlight. La Push truly was beautiful. I wondered briefly when I had begun to think that. La Push was as magical as the people within it.
"No," he shook his head and reached his hand out as if to touch me, "What made you smile? What made you laugh? Where was you favourite place to eat?"
"I love Chinese food and ketchup flavoured crisps," Paul screwed his nose up at my answers, "People running for buses make me laugh and cheesy movies make me want to throw up. What else made me smile?" I wondered allowed, "Dancing made me smile. Sometimes my body aches to move the way it used to. I feel like I'm stuck in a tiny room with no space to stretch. I miss it."
"Just because you cant dance the way you used to doesn't mean you cant be involved in that world," Paul's serious tone shocked me. We were having a conversation like two proper adults instead of screaming at each other from opposite sides of a crowded room. I wondered if we had grown up suddenly.
"I don't miss the world," I realised it was true as I said it, "The world was cruel and demanding but I do miss the feeling of achievement. Sometimes I think about opening a little dance studio and showing little girls what it feels like to be graceful; what it feels like to make people smile by dancing."
"Why don't you?" I fought the urge to laugh in Paul's face.
"Money for starters," I rolled my eyes at him, "I'd need to get a teaching qualification and a studio. I'd need to learn to be patient and get healthy again."
"That sounds achievable." He sounded so serious, so excited that I could almost picture it all in my head. But it was all just a silly dream, something that he would often think about after Isla killed me.
"What did you want to do?" I asked, trying to steer the conversation away from myself, "…before you became a wolf?"
"I didn't really have a plan," he frowned suddenly as he glanced at me, "I always figured I would stay in La Push. I love it here; I really do. I guess I would have ended up working in a bar or at the garage or something."
"Didn't you have any hobbies?" I blurted finding it hard to believe that he was completely content in the world that he had grown up in. Everyone I had ever known in Seattle dreamed of bigger things' they wanted nothing more that to break through the barriers that stood in the way of achieving their dreams. Everyone always wanted something more. I knew that I had.
"I guess I like drawing," a red tint appeared underneath Paul's normal russet coloured skin as if he was embarrassed to say the words aloud, "I've always liked drawing. I guess I must take that off of my Mum as she paint a lot."
"What do you like to draw?" I leant forward in my seat. I saw a spark in Paul's eyes that I had never seen before. He seemed alive as a genuine smile lit up his entire face. Never would I have thought that it would take us being contained in a cabin by a crazy ass vampire for us to truly get to know each other. It was so messed up, but I guess that defined our entire relationship.
"People, landscapes," Paul's leg jerked up and down as if he didn't have the ability to stay still, "but places mostly. I loved designing houses. It fascinated me how something could be constructed from a drawing. I guess when I was a little boy I dreamed of being an architect but I don't think there's much need for one of them in La Push." His sudden laugh seemed forced and empty.
"You should take a course," I insisted. My hand itched to slap Paul, to knock some sense in to him. He could be whatever he wanted to be; Poppy had taught me that. Something inside of me ached to help him achieve his dreams. He deserved to be happy. We both deserved to be happy, but especially him. He had given up so much in order to fulfil his duty to the pack.
"I don't have the time or-" he began.
"Shut the fuck up," I laughed, "You can make time, you can ask Sam to give you a break from patrols for a while. You can-"
"If I agree to take a course when we get out of this mess, you have to agree to take a teaching course so you can open up your own little dance studio one day," he interrupted me. Curling my hands into fists I narrowed my eyes at him. We had been talking about him, not me.
"Deal?" He shouted cutting me off once again. He was really beginning to get on my nerves. He looked unusually hopeful as he peered at me. The reality of the situation was that we were both banking on us surviving the vampire attack alive. I almost scoffed. I could at least please him while I still could.
"Deal," I muttered sourly without a fight. He grinned in triumph. I wondered when I had begun to give up my fights so easily. Paul was making me soft.
"What do you think-" Paul held up his hand as I began to speak. I was about to snarl at him but then I heard it; a low growl followed by an almost musical laugh.
They were coming.
My heart clenched painfully in my chest as Paul's eyes snapped towards mine.
"Don't do anything stupid," he muttered as we continued to stare at each other.
"I'll try not to," I hissed.
Our moment had been shattered in an instant.
We both tensed as we heard the howl of a wolf in the distance.
It was time.