Hey everyone! I am so sorry for not updating like I promised I would. I had no idea that my first semester of college would be so consuming! I can, however, tell you that there's only a few more chapters of True Beauty left...which means that these next installments are going to be fast past, action packed and filled with angst and emotional roller coasters!

Hope you enjoy!

Chapter Eighteen

Looking back, I wish I had taken more time in enjoying life, in embracing the fresh air and the smiles of friends. However, maybe if I had known what was to come, I would've holed myself up in Seth's bedroom, refusing to leave. I wouldn't have had the strength to do what needed to be done.

I could still remember the expression on Cahir and Seth's faces when I'd come down the stairs later that evening, feeling a new source of vitality running through my veins and making my mind turn into a calculating instrument.

"I'm going to find her," I said, without any preamble. They both stared at me as if I'd sprouted wings and antlers. "My mother. I'm going to find her. And you are going to help me."

I purposefully left the definition of the 'you' out of the equation; truth be told, I needed both Seth and Cahir, especially if what Vox had said was true.

"As you wish, banphrionsa," Cahir said gravely, an odd twinkle in his violet eyes.

Seth, in his own grim way, nodded, wrapping an arm around me and kissing my cheek. I think he could sense the anger in me, and that arguing was out of the question. And for that, I was grateful.

That was almost two weeks ago, and since then, I'd felt more like a female version of Rocky than ever before. My daily routine had become a sort of entertainment outlet for everyone around Seth and me, with the packs, and even the Cullens helping out.

It went something like this.

I woke up at the crack of dawn, changing into a pair of yoga pants and tank top, tying my sneakers with a flourish. Then I went running, with Seth joining me as a running buddy. Up and down the coast, through the natural obstacles of the forest, even along the road to Forks one time. We'd run until my calves burned and my lungs were set to bursting…and then we ran an extra mile for good measure.

Then came what I call Werewolf Boot-Camp, a course of kick-ass exercises that challenged every muscle in my body to the point of complete exhaustion. Every day, two or three of the wolves would be there, setting me to climbing trees and ropes, doing weights and crunches and sit-ups, and then basic hand to hand combat training, with an emphasis on kick boxing, which I'd taken up a few years ago.

Next came breakfast, which I quickly realized was among the most important meals for the packs. We usually all filed into Sue's house, since Emily was restricted firmly to bed rest in her advanced condition, and I soon found my appetite matched even Seth and Paul's, a frightening concept to be sure.

Then it was Pilates and balance training, which came in handy during fighting, or so Cahir informed me. I wasn't about to argue with him, so I soon added Tai Chi and yoga to the list. I found it relaxing and a balm to my nerves I hadn't known I'd needed.

It was after a light lunch that things took a turn for the weird. This was where the one on one Fey training came to play, with Cahir teaching me what Glamour was (the particular magic accessed only by the Fey, provided for by nature, and unique to each individual), how it was used (both offensively and defensively; I could use it to attack an assailant or to conceal me from the world), and how to access it. The last was the most difficult, but I found that after my mind was clear, I could literally feel the magic around me, stronger when I was outside, like droplets of water on my skin. Droplets I quickly learned to fling, much to the surprise of several of the wolves, when they acted as my test dummies.

It was also where the Cullens became involved, specifically Edward, Bella, and Renesmee, all of whom possessed unique gifts that I used to test my own limits. I soon discovered, much to everyone's fascination, that when I pulled on my Glamour, likening the feel to pulling on a well-worn sweater, I could see the mental shield that Bella used, as well as the color of emotions that Jasper, who came by from time to time, influenced. I could also see the moments before a wolf phased, a red haze glowing around them like I was wearing rose colored glasses.

The hardest thing, I was quickly learning, was the use of my Glamour for astral projection, the standard form of communication amongst the Fey who were separated by long distances. It was like a projection of your essence to communicate a message; the first time Cahir did it to me, I nearly screamed. It looked like him, not like a ghost or spirit that was transparent, but possessing a smoothness to the projection as if he'd been airbrushed. The real Cahir was downstairs, but the projection looked like flesh and blood, and spoke the exact same. It was the one aspect I'd been having a serious issue grasping, and despite Cahir's patience, I was frustrated.

After Fey Glamour 101, came Fey Combat Training, provided by Sansai and her Wonderful Array of Weaponry. She trained me in everything from traditional bow and arrow target shooting (of which, she was grudgingly pleased to note, I had adept proficiency in), to whips made of some sort of Fey metal sharp enough to split a healthy spruce in half, and throwing stilettos that were silent and deadly. Seth had nearly had a cow when she handed me twin Sai swords, putting up a fuss until she told him it would help increase my safety.

Dinner was usually a relaxed, if not rowdy affair, around a bonfire on the beach, roasting clams, shrimp, crab, hot dogs, chicken breasts and steaks. Before bed Seth and I would go for another run, this one more subdued and frequented with impromptu make out sessions along the way. I was supposed to be in hardcore training, but I couldn't help myself. I was also extremely pleased that it seemed to be the same for him.

My training didn't end with Seth and I asleep in bed though; once my eyes shut, I sought out the thin thread of golden light I soon associated with my portal to Avalon, and to Vox. And despite the intense physical and mental training I put myself through during the day, nothing exhausted me more than the Elemental magic that Vox had me practicing; and he had been right about one thing. It was far easier to access the magic when my emotions were out of control. Unfortunately, it also became nearly impossible to control it, and to end it effectively.

It was during these training sessions that I became more acquainted with the world of Avalon, and the few who still inhabited it. After Vox had seen to the basics of what he referred to as 'summer Glamour', he had it arranged that I would also train with the three other Guardians and have a brief overview of classic, elemental training.

"When things are more leisurely," Vox assured me one session, "you will return to truly complete your training. For now, mastering the basics will be your goal."

First was a trip to the eastern Spring Realm, filled with gorgeous gardens and fields of wildflowers that bent gently to the balmy breeze. Huge willow trees were planted next to blooming orange, apple and pear blossoms, and it seemed that no matter which way I looked, baby animals were everywhere. I had to forcefully suppress an adolescent, "Aww…" several times.

The Guardian was waiting for me when I arrived, courtesy of my newfound talent of teleporting within the realms. Eventually, I would be able to extend that capability in the mortal realm, though only Royals were able to. The Guardian was also a dragon, as I'd once been told by Vox, but was decidedly smaller and seemingly more feminine than Vox. Her hide was a combination of blush pink and lilac, her talons and spikes sparkling like rose quartz in the sunshine. Her wings, when extended, held veins of seeming filigree resembling delicate lace, and her neck was longer and more elegant. Her eyes, framed by thick lashes that took me by surprise, were the color of a robin's egg, and shone with such happiness that I found it impossible not to smile back and feel at ease.

"Welcome Lorelai," she said, her voice like the ringing of crystal, the most beautiful soprano I'd ever heard. "My name is Lente. Are you ready?"

My experiences with the other Realms were vastly similar. The Guardian of Autumn, a large and brawny dragon named Outono, with a deep auburn colored hide and ruby like eyes, had a playful side that was hidden behind his remarkably deep and gruff voice. Likewise, the Guardian of Winter, a delicate looking ice dragon, with a pure white hide and eyes the color of the clearest blue-green ice and a whispering voice, was my most harsh and trying instructor. Ierna, however, also helped me discover that not only did I have a strong proclivity for Summer, as my mother did, but that I also held the same amount of natural talent for Winter Glamour.

"Extremes," she commented on our last session. "You will deal best in extremes. It will either be all or nothing for you, no medium."

Afterwards, Vox, or whichever Guardian I was training with, would send me back to the world of sleep, where my mind and body merged into the world of blissful nothingness, until the alarm clock woke us up to repeat the process all over again.

I also learned that it was easier to access and maintain my Glamour with the necklace Vox had given me, which had resulted in a rather interesting argument between me, Seth and Alice Cullen.

Seth had given the necklace to Alice for safe keeping, saying that it was dangerous for unknown reasons. Any werewolf within the same room as the piece of jewelry said the same thing, that it was powerful, old and dangerous, and that it should be gotten rid of. However, when it was in my presence, I felt stronger, calmer, and more confident than I had in months. Alice was neutral, holding an aboriginal bag in her small hands, watching Seth and I argue back and forth like an entertaining tennis match. Usually, she cheerfully informed me, she would be able to see who won the argument and tell him; my Fey magic, however, interfered with her visions, and so she didn't have the answer for the winner.

It was only when Sansai entered the room, irritated at having to wait for me for longer than five minutes, that our questions were answered. The necklace felt like a danger to the wolves because it was ancient and powerful, and they were smart to have caution around it. However, those feelings would dissolve as soon as I put it on and claimed it as my amulet, the Gaelic translation which was too complicated to even wrap my mind around. True to her word, the minute I touched the jewelry, everyone in the room relaxed. Only Seth carried his misgivings about it, and I think it had more to do with Sansai being right than anything else.

Since obtaining the necklace, I'd found that my Glamour was easier to manipulate, almost as if it were eager to perform. Even in Avalon, my control of the elements grew exponentially, and my training progressed along with it.

But what surprised me, what surprised everyone, even Cahir and Sansai, who were my go-to experts on all things Fey, was that physically, my body responded beautifully to all of the training, as if it had been waiting all this time to begin the rigorous exercise. My muscles hardened, soreness abated quicker than was normal, my cardio improved to the point where Seth and I were doubling up on paths, just to push me. It was crazy, but I felt that my mental exhaustion was enough to accept the strangeness without complaint. I wasn't one to look a gift horse in the mouth.

It all came to a head on the fourteenth day of my training; it was the semi-annual running of the perimeter, where the packs swept the full expanse of their vast territory to make sure everything was up to par. Report in on any discrepancies, like foreign vamp scents, or breaches in the lines. The packs were all engaged, and it was a big coming of age deal for some of the younger wolves, since it would be their first time going. The plans had seemingly been laid out, concrete and sound, when Sam up and announced that he would not be participating, and that Jared would be stepping in as temporary Alpha. Sam didn't want to leave Emily, who still hadn't popped, alone, and which was understood by all the pack members, especially those with imprints. My ears were still ringing from the shrillness of the expectant mother's voice as she laid into her husband, her beautifully scarred face turning an interesting shade of red.

"Samuel Uley! If you stay in this house one second longer, I'll be sure to remove myself from its confines! Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT even think about abandoning your post! Do you hear me, Samuel? I won't have it!"

Watching the blood drain from Sam's face as his very pregnant wife shook her rolling pin at him, still covered in flour, was utterly priceless. I bit my lower lip to keep from saying anything.

Emily's eyes flashed to me, brightening with a triumphant gleam I suddenly dreaded. "Lorelai will stay with me, and Dr. Cullen is on stand-by. This," she emphasized, gesturing to her extremely protruding stomach, "isn't likely to be going anywhere. And I can't take you breathing down my neck while I'm distracting myself with baking. Now, Lorelai will bring some tea and help out with everything I need. For Christ's sake, Sam! She's a Fairy princess with kick-ass powers, not to mention two full time Fairy guards! Nothing will happen to us!"

I caught a strange look being exchanged by Seth and his Alpha, whose usual smile was replaced by a mask of concentration.

"Fey, actually," I interrupted, stifling a grin unsuccessfully. "Fairies are tiny, and they attend to the new blooms in spring." Nobody was listening to my Fey lesson, but I felt the need to say it anyway. Seth shot me a lopsided grin, making my stomach flutter.

Sam, wisely choosing the battles he fought, smiled at his wife with all the adoration in the world, kissing her tenderly with his hand on her stomach. He nodded, albeit grudgingly, if the lines around his eyes were any indication. With a final flourish of commands, the packs broke into their patrol groups, saying their temporary goodbyes. Seth had assured me that he'd be back by the middle of night, if not, then by this time (6 am) tomorrow for sure. He was partnering Simon, who was more eager than a kid standing outside of a candy store, waiting on Sam's porch with a nervous tapping of his fingers on the wooden banister.

"I'll be back before you know it," he said, wrapping his arms around my waist, pulling me up against him with a white smile. My hands ran over the smooth skin of his forearms, feeling the taut sinew and muscle beneath the russet tan.

"If you're not, I reserve every right to employ my ass-kicking Glamour to bring your hide home," I teased. His brown eyes glinted when I said the word home, and I soon found myself consumed by the soul searing kiss he planted on me. What started off as a simple, 'see-you-soon' kiss quickly escalated into something more, something hungry. His mouth parted mine, lighting my tongue with the taste of cinnamon and Seth. He was like my own, custom brand of oxygen, and I couldn't get enough of him. Even when the guys started cat-calling, we didn't hear them, so consumed we were with each other. My nails dug into his arms as my back arched into him, licking flames of desire up and through my body.

I'd never understood the references to love and lust as a fiery inferno, but I understood them now. I would swim through these flames, so long as Seth was there with me. Gladly.

His hands began to roam, stroking up and down my spine, caressing my hips and waist. I suddenly became very aware of all the stares, and knew that I would have to be the one to end this, despite my very being screaming at the thought. For a few seconds more I gave him all I had, feeling his surprise mingle with satisfaction. I pulled his bottom lip gently between my teeth, enough to feel his sharp inhale of pleasure. I pulled away when he would've dove for me, resulting in a strange intense embrace/hug. I could feel his heaving breathing curtained behind my hair, and I wound my arms around his neck, planting my mouth next to his ear so that my voice couldn't be picked up from even the most sound-sensitive werewolf.

"Soon," I whispered, my voice husky and the innuendo loud and clear. I kissed his cheek softly, disentangling myself before he could take advantage of his height. I hurried over to Emily's side, looping my arm through hers and watching as two by two the wolves phased. Seth cast me one last heated gaze before disappearing through the tree line, and I felt that gaze from my fingers to my toes. I heard Emily's chuckle as she led me inside, the overwhelming smell of blueberry muffins taking my senses into hyper drive.

"I know that look," she said, winking at my blush. I headed to the sink to wash my hands, clearing my head with the scent of lavender soap. I emptied my bag of the ginger and Chai teas I'd swiped from Seth's Tea Shop, aka the hidden cubby in his pantry (a running joke I would never give up teasing him about), and started boiling some water, finding two ceramic mugs and placing them on the counter.

"I don't know what you are talking about," I demurred, tying one of her spare aprons around my waist. It was midnight blue, with a white full moon stitched on it, appropriate for the occasion, or so I thought.

"Uh-huh," she smirked, going back to rolling out the dough she'd started before Sam's declaration. I smiled, joining her side while mixing the filling of the soon to be baked blueberry pie. She'd been on a blueberry kick the past couple of days, craving them and the serenity of baking she usually found solace in.

If Rachel and I had bonded over shopping and clothes, then Emily and I had bonded over cooking. My dabbling in Italian and French cuisine went a long way in pastry and baking, and I soon found myself over at Emily's, whenever she needed a distraction or when I had time between my training. It was the type of fruit that kept fluctuating; she'd gone through apples and peaches, raisins and currants, raspberries and strawberries, bananas and mangoes, and now she was on to blueberries.

Not that any of the guys were complaining.

The muffins were in the oven, the scones cooling on a rack on the kitchen table, the crumb cakes were on the island, waiting to be christened in powdered sugar, and all that was left was the blueberry pie. Emily was insisting on scalloped edges, and I was inclined to let her have her way.

We worked in companionable silence, until the tea kettle whistled and I fixed us two cups of steaming tea. I turned on the little portable radio sitting on top of the refrigerator, tuning it to an oldies station that we both immediately began humming to. We sat back with our tea, waiting for the pie.

We'd gone through three cups a piece when the pie was finished, and I pulled out the decadent dessert with barely a hold on my hunger. It smelled heavenly. Emily cleaned up the kitchen of our baking mess while I organized all the goodies into a more convenient pattern. The smell of baked goods and blueberries soaked into my skin, and I wondered if I would carry the smell with me for the rest of the day.

We had a breakfast of muffins and scones, curling up on the sofa with our tea to watch some home design show that Emily had been watching the last couple of days. She claimed it was the only way to keep Sam out of the house; he couldn't stand to listen to the decorating tips and tricks.

It was then that I noticed how periodically Emily massaged her stomach, discomfort plain on her face. She shifted from side to side, unable to become at ease in her own home. I felt my eyes widen, and I set my mug on the coffee table, staring at her.

"How long?" I asked her, my tone broking no argument. She gave me a guilty look, brushing her hair back from her shoulders.

"Since midnight," she said. My jaw dropped in shock. "I was fine all morning, and Sam just thought it was one of those restless nights. It was only this past hour that they were getting worse."

"Should I call Dr. Cullen?" I asked, pulling out my cell phone. I realized then that I didn't have his phone number.

Emily shook her head, smiling to reassure me. "No, not yet. We'll call him when it's closer."

Slightly worried, I cleaned up our plates, glancing up at the clock. It was nearly noon, which meant that Emily had been feeling these pains for nigh on twelve hours. I wrung my hands, unsure of what to do, and finally decided to rejoin Emily on the couch.

A few hours later, Emily was in the kitchen making an early dinner, and I was in the bathroom, splashing cold water on my face to wash the sleep from my eyes. I'd somehow dozed off and only the smell of meat on the skillet had woken me. I was drying my hands when a loud crash came from the kitchen, ringing through the walls like a bell tolling the time.

I raced through the door, skidding around the corner. Emily had dropped a frying pan to the floor, which accounted for the ringing noise. She had one arm propped against the counter, the other on her lower back, her face twisted in pain. Her breath was coming in short huffs and I hurried to her side.

"I think," she managed to get out. "It's time to call Carlisle."

I nodded, bringing her over to sit on a chair. Outside, the sky had darkened, the limbs of trees slapping against the windows with a vengeance. Rain sloughed down from thunderheads, and a crack of thunder vibrated in my bones. Perfect. A storm.

I pulled out my cell phone, ready to ask for Carlisle's number, when said phone beeped.

"No service," I spat, as if the words were curses. "Em, where's your landline?"

Her head tilted back, and she moaned. "We don't have one. What with cell phones and pack telepathy, there was no need."

Fantastic. I kept quiet, not wanting to upset her any more than she was. I had the keys to my new Audi, which was parked outside, in my back pocket, and luckily, Seth had programmed the Cullen's address into the GPS already. If I didn't get caught by any small town cops (and worst case scenario I could call in my international immunity), I could grab Carlisle and be back here in ten minutes or less.

I got up, casting a wary eye to the window, where the sky had turned a mottled shade of purple. My amulet hummed against my skin, charging my blood with an energy I hadn't had an hour ago.

"Emily, I'm going to need to go get Dr. Cullen," I said. With more speed than I expected from her she caught my hand in her grasp, yanking me to her side. She crushed the bones in my fingers as she cried out in pain. I winced.

"No!" she gasped, her eyes frantic. "Don't leave!"

"Shh, it's alright," I soothed, kneeling by her side. She still had my hand in a death grip. "I won't leave you."

She nodded, sweat plastering strands of her dark hair to her forehead. I had no idea of what to do, but it was obvious she was close. I needed to get Carlisle, but I couldn't leave her in this condition and the phone service was dead. The amulet thrummed insistently, until my eyes found the flash of lightning strike across the sky.

"Emily, I'm not leaving you," I repeated. "I'm going outside on the porch. Yell if you need me, okay?" She nodded, releasing my hand. I winced again as blood rushed back into it, and I made my way out the front door, being sure to keep the door open. I was surprised by the charge that crackled around me, once I stepped out into nature. I reached and easily grasped the slickness of my Glamour, easier now when it stormed.

I hadn't attempted astral projection in a few days; Cahir thought it might be best to leave it alone, until I grew stronger. No time like the present to give it one more go. And Ierna had said that I would work best in extreme situations. If this wasn't extreme, I didn't know what would be.

I closed my eyes, pulling all the Glamour I could towards me, just as Cahir had taught me. I centered it on the teardrop jewel of my amulet, feeling the diamond pulse heatedly. Now came the tricky part; I had to imagine myself microscopic, small enough to put a caricature of myself inside the amulet and Glamour. I had to imagine every spare inch of my skin soaked in the brilliance of my magic, and when I glowed with saturation, I had to imagine myself stepping through the diamond, like stepping through a portal.

At least, that's what Cahir said was supposed to happen.

I felt none of the usual resistance, but I refused to allow that small victory to distract me from the goal at hand. When my miniature stepped through the diamond, I pictured the Cullen's living room, every last detail, in my mind's eye and desperately prayed that when I opened my eyes, I would actually be there.

It took everything in me to keep from yelping in uncontained joy.

It was strange, seeing through my astral projection. Everything looked the same as before, but I was more hyperaware of the scenery. I was especially aware of the girl on the couch, staring at me with wide brown eyes the color of milk chocolate.

"Lorelai?" Renesmee asked. I could tell that I'd piqued her curiosity, since she obviously hadn't heard me arrive directly in front of her. "You know that you just kind of faded in, right?"

I smiled, dazzled when she smiled back. "Nessie, where's your grandfather?"

Her head quirked to the side, a bit birdlike in motion. "Grandpa, or Pop Pop?"

I blinked, unsure of what she meant. She laughed, taking pity on me. "Carlisle or Charlie?"

"Carlisle," I said, relieved. She grinned, climbing to her feet in a fluid motion. I soon noticed that she was by herself, when usually she was surrounded.

"He's up in his office," she said. "And everyone is out running patrol with the packs."

"I thought that it was your dad who was the mind reader," I teased, to which she rolled her eyes. Her mouth opened to respond when Carlisle entered, having heard our conversation.

He stopped behind the sofa, surprise and scientific intrigue lighting on his face. "Miss Savione? How did you-?"

"The service in the area is dead, the Uleys do not have a landline, Emily wouldn't let me out of her sight, and she's about to deliver."

Just as if I'd dumped a bucket of ice water on him, Carlisle jumped into action, shrugging into his coat as he sent Nessie upstairs to retrieve his bag of supplies.

"We'll be there in five minutes," he assured me. I nodded, closing my eyes and feeling a sucking/vortex sensation before a loud POP! When I opened my eyes once more I was back on Emily's porch, slowly getting drenched by the sideways rain. I hurried back inside the house, closing the door with a click. Emily hadn't moved, although she was moaning out loud.

"Carlisle is on his way," I told her, hurrying to her side. "What can I get you?"

"A cool cloth," she said, fanning her face. "It's stifling in here."

I nodded, switching the overhead fan on as I soaked a dishcloth with ice water. I was sponging off her brow when the front door opened, and Carlisle and Renesmee walked in. Nessie smiled at me, despite the wet, tangled mess her hair was in, and I quickly moved out of Dr. Cullen's way. I was surprised to see how well he and Ness worked, her seeming to know what he needed before he asked. I stayed in the kitchen, fetching fresh linens when they needed them.

It was the longest five hours of my life, but Dr. Cullen never wavered. At the last second, Emily called out for me, and I held her hand as she pushed at last. The room, which had been silent, apart from the sound of wind, rain and the fan, was broken by the healthy wailing of a baby, bringing tears to my eyes. Carlisle smiled beatifically, complimenting the new mom on her job of delivering a healthy baby boy.

Working with his vampiric speed and agility, plus years of experience and training, Carlisle had the baby cleaned and swaddled in a light blue blanket, handing him to me to hold. Immediately my arms formed a cradle, taking the slight weight easily, staring down at the slightly pink baby, with a tuft of black hair on his small head. I lifted my finger to his tiny fist, letting out a breathy laugh when he grasped it.

Renesmee took my place holding Emily's hand, and I watched as almost immediately, a second wailing took to the air. Carlisle quickly took care of the infant, and when he turned around, cradling the newborn, I saw the pink blanket.

"Congratulations, Emily," he said, with a smile too beautiful for a man to have. "You have a healthy son and daughter."

Emily had been moved to her bed, propped up on a mountain of pillows, and a steady stream of tears were flowing from her overjoyed eyes. Nessie took the dirty linens down to the laundry room with the same efficiency of a vampire, and I joined Emily on the bed, handing her little baby boy over to her care. Emily took both her babies, one in each arm, placing a light kiss on each of their downy-soft skin, cooing to them softly.

"Did you discuss names?" I asked, knowing that Sam would be floored to learn Emily had successfully delivered twins on her own. She smiled, glowing and more radiant than I'd ever seen her.

"We'd come up with names, depending on if it would be a boy or a girl." Her eyes twinkled.

"You are diabolical," I teased.

"I present Elijah Levi Uley, and his sister, Delilah Mira Uley."

Elijah and Delilah and Emily were all earning some well-deserved rest, Carlisle watching over them all. Nessie was braiding my hair, quizzing me on all things Fey (she was nearly as hungry for new information as I was). The storm had abated, but the night was full, and we sat on the porch, inhaling the fresh sea spray and ozone. I couldn't keep the smile from my face.

Ness perked up beside me, her gaze on the forest.

"They're back," she said, grinning impishly. As if confirming, a howl took to the air, echoed by at least a dozen more. The packs slowly filtered through, most staying in their wolf forms. I recognized Quil and Embry, as well as the twins trailing after Paul and Jared. The rest came out in their human shapes, more relaxed than when they'd left. Jake came loping through the trees, and in a perfectly choreographed move, he caught Nessie just as she launched herself off the porch, laughing and giggling the whole time.

"Hey, Ness!" he whooped, spinning her around. "What, you couldn't wait for me at home?"

She pressed her palm against his cheek, and I knew that she was communicating to him what had happened today. Jacob's eyes widened, glancing over to Jared and Paul. He set Nessie on her feet, whispering into Jared's ear.

No sooner than he finished speaking, then a lone, haunting howl rose into the air, nearly three miles away. Carlisle joined me on the porch, looking in the same direction.

"Incoming," I said.

Sam came barreling out of the woods a few seconds later, a large black wolf panting and pacing. The rest of the packs were soon to follow, and I found my sandy colored wolf sitting next to Jake, his dark eyes watching me.

"Emily is healthy, happy, and resting," Carlisle said. I noticed that Sam now stood at the foot of his porch, looking nervous in his jean cutoffs. "And so are your son and daughter."

Sam looked like a mix of being punched in the gut and overjoyed, and I couldn't keep the laugh as a mixture of whoops, hollers and howls decorated the sky. Sam grasped Carlisle by the forearm, emotion shining in his dark eyes.

"Thank you, Doc," he said. Carlisle nodded.

"You should also thank Lorelai's astral projection," he said, much to my embarrassment. Sam smiled gratefully at me before ducking into his house, and I rubbed my hand across my eyes, suddenly finding my body dead with exhaustion. A warm pair of arms wound around my waist, and I collapsed against Seth's chest gratefully. Pulling the Audi's keys from my back pocket, I handed them to him, taking refuge in his strength.

"You drive."

He didn't say anything. He just swept me up into his arms as if I weighed nothing, hopped off the porch, and deposited me in the passenger seat, speeding through the rez until he rolled to a smooth stop in front of his house. Then I was back in his arms, and we were up the stairs and in his room. Slowly, he lowered me to my feet, every inch of my body running against his.

Seth's arms still held my waist, and my arms rested comfortably on his arms, and all of a sudden all I could feel was my heart racing, the blood rushing through my veins, Seth's heat under my fingertips. When I tilted my head back to look at him, his dark chocolate eyes, flecked with amber and gold, I was filled with an electrifying energy, no longer exhausted from the trying day.

"I mastered my astral projection," I murmured, knowing that I was beginning to ramble from nerves. "There was no cell service and I had to get Carlisle-"

Seth began nuzzling my neck, placing soft kisses to my overly sensitive skin, his teeth grazing in the hollow of my collarbone. Chills racked my spine and I clutched myself closer to him, pressing my hips against his and feeling my back arch.

Seth began walking us backwards, and I soon felt the back of my knees hit the bed. Giggling, I fell backwards, tugging Seth down on top of me. Seth growled deep in his throat, his fingers dancing against the bare skin that had been exposed from my shirt riding up. My hands wove through his hair, and I pulled his lips to mine, kissing him hungrily, more ambitious now that we were alone.

Seth wasn't nearly as contained as he usually was with me, the commanding way his mouth and body moved against mine driving me nearly out of my mind. I was only half aware of when my shirt came completely off, reveling in the feel of my bare skin against Seth's. I was too distracted, running my hands over the taut muscles of his shoulders and back, placing kisses on his collarbone, neck and cheeks whenever his mouth broke from mine.

I found myself reduced to nothing more than sounds, unable to find coherent words. Seth was kissing me the way no guy had before; as if he were a brand, tattooing himself in and under my very skin. I could feel a growl rumbling beneath his muscles, and it brought something out in me that wasn't necessarily human. It was more wild, unrestrained…more like a force of nature commanding my actions. And yet, it felt right, absolutely right. When I ran my nails down his back, pulling his lower lip through my teeth, he shuddered, pulling away to stare deeply into my eyes.

"I love you, Lorelai," he said, his voice a combination between gruff and growl. He never broke eye contact, and I could both feel and see the pure love radiating from chocolate and amber eyes. My fingers gently traced the contours and angles of his face, lingering along his jaw and the seam of his lips. Moving with a silent grace, his teeth captured the pad of my finger, nipping gently before releasing it. Leaning up, I ran my hands up along his taut arms, wrapping them firmly around his neck, pulling him down on top of me. Our lips pressed together, I murmured against his mouth.

"I know."

Aw, snap! What did you guys think? Please review, I would really love some feedback! xoxo!