A/N: This is a little different to my previous stories - it's my first, first person fic and quite honestly it's a lot more crude too (I'm slightly embarrassed!)
I've been working on this for a while, it's my baby so be gentle. I'll apologize now for any grammatical or spelling errors, i've checked and re-checked so many times it's all blurring into one.
I really hope you enjoy it. If you do, let me know- reviews are, as always, are greatly appreciated.
I remember once over hearing a conversation between Kim and Rachel, and Rachel had said that life always has a way of throwing you a curve ball to catch you off guard. My initial thought was 'Wow a hot girl using a baseball analogy! Instant hard on, right there.' But then I remembered that she was Paul's imprint and it was never a good idea to think things like that around him unless you had a desire to become a eunuch which, frankly, I didn't.
My second thought was how wrong she was. Life was totally predictable…well mine was at least, and it had been since the day I had been struck down with 'Mono' and consequently taken to bursting into an overgrown Dalmatian at the drop of a hat! My entire future consisted of shifting, killing the occasional vampire and being a continual disappointment to my mother and all the while I wasted my infinite days living on the same reservation, protecting people who had no idea they needed protecting.
Like I said, completely predictable…at least until Jake had to go and fuck it all up for me.
Jake and Leah's relationship- and I use the term relationship in the most sparing sense, was never the big secret they thought it was. In fact it was pretty damn obvious there was something going on between them since the morning Jacob had stormed out of the kitchen after being called out for perving over her tits and Leah had subsequently snapped Paul's arm before running after him.
However good at controlling their thoughts they were while in wolf form, the way they behaved around each other while human made it so completely obvious that they may as well have walked around holding huge, neon banners that read 'we're fucking!' in big, obnoxious letters.
One occasion I was patrolling with Seth and a conversation that had occurred between him and our mighty Alpha had slipped through the cracks in his brain. Apparently Jake had claimed to be in love with Leah and Seth was worried she would end up getting hurt. Again.
Anybody could see they were never going to work, it was inevitable.
She was- through no fault of her own, a callous, cold hearted, stubborn bitch and he was stupid, selfish and imprinted.
Although I don't think anybody expected it to go on as long as it did, especially after the Cullen's took Renesmee half way across the country, but apparently being buried balls deep in your Beta can help you forget a lot of things.
Do I sound bitter? Because I'm honestly not, it's just that certain things tend to get me riled up.
The fact of the matter is, the day that Jacob walked out and left Leah all those years ago was the day that began the change in my life. Without them it's highly unlikely there could have ever been us.
I really should thank Jacob and his penchant for running away from his problems.
Anyway, that day, I'd been hanging with Quil and, of course, Claire in Emily's kitchen. She was finally out of diapers, which I know Quil was grateful for (as was I) because the smells that little girl loaded into those things would put a full grown man to shame, but I digress.
When she pulled out the tiny make-up set and hair clips she'd been given for her birthday and began demanding that Quil pretend to be a princess, I decided to call it quits and make a dash for the door, heading straight into the trees, riding myself of my clothes and my skin and pounding my paws through the dirt.
It took me a moment to realize I wasn't alone and a little longer to decipher the rambled thoughts and figure out it was actually Leah.
"Hey, Lee. Everything okay?" I asked, still trying to decide whether I was genuinely concerned or just a glutton for punishment.
"Get the fuck out of my head, Call!" Leah growled.
"Well who the fuck pissed in your cheerios?"Because I seriously wanted to know who had the balls enough to piss her off and maybe pat him on the back.
"None of your damn business now fuck off… and tell Seth and Quil to stay human or they'll regret it,"she replied, her voice slightly softer than it had been.
"Oh I see how it is!" I said raising my furry eyebrow. "You're after some alone time with mighty A, going doggy style now are we?"
"I don't have the slightest fucking idea what you're talking about?"Leah mumbled and I couldn't help the snort that left my snout.
"Oh don't come over all innocent with me, Leah!"I chuckled. "You and Jake have been bumping uglies since before the Cullen's left."
"No we haven't." She insisted.
"Yeah right!"I scoffed. "You think we haven't noticed? Shit, even Emily knows!"
A brief conversation she'd had with Emily raced through her mind before she caught herself and blocked it. "You're talking out of your ass Call, as usual."
"Hey! I may be talking out of my ass? But at least that shit's the truth!" I exclaimed, spying her lean, grey body zipping through the trees up ahead. "Which is more than I can say for that crap you're spouting. Admit it Clearwater, you and Jake are pounding the love junk!"
"Grow up Embry." Leah growled. "Just because you have nothing better to do with your time, doesn't mean you can invade mine. Maybe if you weren't so obsessed with my sex life you could have one of your own, or maybe…?" My eye's narrowed at the sneer that stretched across her lips. "Maybe your mothers not the only woman you're a disappointment to? Performance issues Call? I hear you can get a pill for that!"
In hindsight I can readily accept that I'd goaded her into reacting like that, I knew it would piss her off; it was something that I'd taken pleasure in regularly since I'd joined Jake's pack. Leah was hot when she was angry and I never could seem to help myself - but that didn't excuse then next thing that came out of my mouth.
"I've got no issues with my junk Leah; you've seen me phase enough to know that, but feel free to check yourself? I mean Sam, Jake - it must be my turn by now right?"I growled and her step immediately faltered. By the time she'd regained her composure I already regretted my words, I just couldn't find it in myself to apologize.
She sped towards me, her mind oddly blank as I braced for myself for an attack that never came. Instead I felt her shimmer leave my mind and when I opened my eyes she was stood before me as bare as the day she was born.
"Is that really what you think of me?" Leah asked, her once emotionless face twisting in anger as I stood rigid with shock. "Well come on then, Call? You want a go? Come and get me! Don't forget to let Quil know it's his turn when you're done!"
I shook my head clear and concentrated on twisting myself back into human form, unlacing my clothes from my ankle and tossing my shirt at her. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" I hissed as I tugged my shorts on.
"It's what you wanted isn't it? This, me?" She gestured down her body. "It must be all I'm good for, right? Don't think I haven't seen they way you guys look at me…pity me. Poor Leah Clearwater, the barren she-wolf, unwanted and unloved!"
"Leah for fuck sake!" I exclaimed stepping towards her and pulling the shirt from her grip, tugging it over her head and she batted my hands away and finished pulling it down, the hem brushing the top of her thighs.
"Am I not good enough for you now? I don't know why I'm surprised, first Sam, then Jake and now you - I should be used to it by now. I should know I'll never be good enough, not for anyone." Her resolve cracked as I stared on. Seeing Leah cry for the first time was strangely disturbing, for the first time in almost four years she was weak and vulnerable and it was all my fault.
"Leah?" I could barely hear my own voice. "Shit! I'm sorry I didn't mean…I don't think that you're…I'm just sorry, okay?"
"Just…" Leah smashed her lips together until they paled into her skin, her nostrils flaring against the sting of tears. "Just forget it okay? Will you let Quil know that Jake's gone? He decided he couldn't stay here without the little leech."
"He what?" I breathed and my shoulders slumped a little more. "Leah, I…"
"I have to go find Seth." She said, effectively ending our conversation as she turned her back to me and walked towards the village, leaving me rooted to the spot.
Oh yeah, that day defiantly signaled the end of life as I knew it!
I found out the next morning, after Seth pinned me to the ground by my neck, that Leah had decided to leave the reservation - and the pack. Apparently she'd also told him it was partly my fault, hence her brothers jaws clamped down on my throat, although he didn't know exactly what I'd done otherwise I'm pretty sure he would have gladly torn it out. From then on, I made a point of keeping mine and Leah's conversation out of my head when we were shifted.
Now, when I say my life was changing it wasn't something I noticed happening, it wasn't obvious. . After Leah left, everything pretty much went back to normal on the reservation. Once you got past the gaping hole that missing two pack members left anyway.
Although Sam and Jake had come to a somewhat comfortable agreement regarding the Alpha situation, now that there was only one left, Sam sort of took us back under his wing…or paw, whatever you want to call it. Over the years he'd added to his and Emily's home, accounting for the dozen or so wolves that would occasionally turn up in his kitchen and his own growing family…and Jared and Paul's too.
From time to time Seth would hear from Leah. She was in Seattle staying with an old school friend; she'd enrolled in some night classes at a community college, had a steady job and had taken up Yoga of all things. Apparently it helped with her anger management so I suggested it to Paul; his answer was to break my finger.
After about a year, I heard from Seth that Leah had successfully manage to stop phasing and that she'd had signs…womanly signs, that her body was returning to normal. I didn't mean to hear it, but we were phased at the time and it kinda slipped through the barrier but still, it was a little bit of a shock. Leah was the first one of us to stop. Paul had tried for a while when Rachel got knocked up the first time and he managed for about eight months- of course that all went flying out the window when Rachel went into labor with their twins two weeks early and he went wolf all the way to the hospital.
Jacob seemed to have completely disappeared, no one heard from him - not even Billy. We all took turns trying to locate him, Seth more than anybody but he had either managed to outrun the uni-mind or he wasn't phasing either.
Aside from the odd nomadic vampire, everything was pretty quiet on the home front to the point where it was boring.
Days were spent working at Jake's garage, evenings were spent on the occasional patrol and catching the highlights of whatever sport happened to be in season at the time with the rest of the guys and weekends were for chasing skirt…well for me they were anyway. With the exception of Seth and Collin, everyone had an imprint, they were happily married, or in Quil's case- babysitting. It wasn't something I could see happening to me and it wasn't something I thought I wanted either, sure it was easy and it pretty much took all the work out of falling in love but I enjoyed what I had going for me.
According to Rachel and Emily, after one of the rare occasions they came to Port Angeles with me, I had the mysterious brooding thing going for me - whatever the hell that is! As long as it kept the girls coming and my bed warm, I wasn't going to complain.
I did consider settling down, I even tried the whole relationship thing with this really cute redhead that had curves in all the right places and legs all the way up to her sweet ass, but after a couple of weeks it got old. I kept odd hours and she didn't like, my dress shirt had grease stains on and she didn't like it, she was vegetarian- I didn't like it.
It wasn't like I could tell her the truth about who I was.
Anyway, after one particularly long night during which I actually managed to consume enough booze to get sufficiently buzzed and spending half the morning persuading my latest conquest to leave my house, I had the brilliant idea to take a walk around the reservation and maybe scrounge a late breakfast from Emily.
What I wasn't expecting however, was the vision that greeted me when I got to the house. I never believed in angels until I saw her.
Her razor straight waist length hair swayed with every movement of her luscious hips and forget breakfast; I wanted to take a bite out of that beautiful ass! I could feel my skin vibrating and the closer I got the more violent it became.
She twisted her body slightly, brushing her hand through her hair and the sunlight hit her white sundress just right, highlighting every mouthwatering curve.
But nothing, and I mean nothing, prepared me for what happened when she turned towards me. My stomach dropped, my heart thrummed inside my chest and I felt like someone had smacked me between the eyes.
"Pick your chin up bitch!" Leah sneered, folding her arms across her chest and pressing her tits together in a way that had me whining like an injured puppy.
This was not supposed to happen, and it certainly wasn't supposed to feel like this! Everything I'd seen in my brothers' minds pointed to a shift in gravity, an internal longing to love and protect and a warring need for closeness. Instead I felt like a tiny spider trapped in a toilet bowl, struggling for an escape before I drowned.
"Fuck!" I choked, shoving my fingers into my hair and tugging on it until my scalp burned.
"What the hells up with you Call?" Sam frowned stepping down off his porch with Emily close behind him.
For the first time ever my mouth didn't want to co-operate, words became tangled in my throat and the only sound I could manage was a strangled cry that was, apparently, all Sam needed to hear before his chest began to shake with stunned laughter.
"It's not funny!" I exclaimed, finally finding my voice, my traitorous eye's continuously edging back to Leah, who stood open mouthed and wide eyed. "I mean what the fuck! Why…how?"
"I have no idea!" Sam replied almost gleefully.
"Someone wanna tell me what's going on here?" Emily asked rubbing her hugely pregnant belly as she looked between me and her husband.
"Embry finally imprinted!" He replied and Emily's mouth fell open.
"Oh hell no!" Leah blanched. "No, no, no! I finally get away from this freak show and you do this to me? What the fuck did you go and do that for, limp dick?"
"It's not like I did it on purpose you cock juggling…" I was stopped short when a car skidded to a stop beside us and sprayed dirt up my legs.
A growl rumbled in my throat as I watched the driver slide out of the seat, with his perfectly styled hair and his pressed shirt, and walk over to her.
"Hey gorgeous, sorry about that." He smiled pulling her into his stumpy arms and pressing his fat lips to her forehead.
I couldn't help myself. "Who the fuck is this?"
"Excuse me!" The guy turned to face me and I had to fight the urge to rip off his cocked eyebrow. "Who the hell do you think you're talking too?"
"Embry!" Sam warned, stepping between the two of us and holding his hand out. "I'm Sam and this is my wife, Emily."
Sam grasped Emily's hand and gently tugged her into his side.
"You'll have to forgive Embry; he get's touchy when he hasn't eaten." Emily smiled shaking his hand and he flinched at the sight of her scarred face. "Embry, this is Leah's fiancé, Wesley."
I snorted. There was no way I couldn't after hearing that name and I swear even Sam's lips twitched.
"Well I would say it's nice to meet you, but my mother taught me not to lie." I grumbled, folding my arms across my chest. When he snaked his arm round Leah's waist and gripped the swell of her hip, it took all my effort not to reach out and tear his arm off. My head was screaming 'don't care' and the wolf was howling.
"Likewise." He grinned noticing where my eyes were trained, and slowly inched his hand up her side until it rested under the globe of her breast.
She noticed too and pulled out of his grip before he could go any higher, turning to Emily. "Didn't you say something about lunch?"
Emily nodded and both women started towards the house.
"Hey wait a second! What the fuck are we going to do about this?" I called after them. Leah growled and dropped her chin to her chest and Sam sighed. "We need to talk!"
"Not right now, Call." She said softly before disappearing through the door with Emily.
"Go home Em, I'll come find you later." Sam said clapping me on the shoulder, effectively stopping me from trailing after her before he joined them and Wesley turned to me, sneering.
"Don't think I don't see the way you look at her. Not that I blame you," he shrugged "but don't forget that it's me she goes to bed with every night, who get's her wet. It's my name she moans when I'm buried in her- she's mine!"
I balled my fists at my side, swallowing hard to temper down the rage that vibrated through my chest. Movement over his shoulder alerted me to Seth's presence in the trees behind the house, his lips pressed into a hard line and his eyes boring into the back of Wesley's head before flicking to me and quickly shaking his head.
"You wish!" I growled through gritted teeth taking a step towards him. "You don't have the first idea about her; you'll never be enough for her. And if I ever hear you speak about her like that again? I'll rip your sad excuse for a dick off and shove it down your throat."
Seth walked up beside him, pulling his shirt down over his stomach and glaring coldly.
"Seth meet Wesley, Leah's wonderful fiancé." I growled and the asshole smirked again.
"Seth, Leah's told me a lot about you!" He said reaching to shake his hand. "Actually we were just talking about your lovely sister!"
"Yeah," Seth clenched his teeth and squeezed the hand he was shaking "I heard."
Wesley's face tinged red and he yanked his hand from Seth's grip, shaking out his fingers.
"Guys?" Sam called from the door, his eyes trained on Wesley and I knew he'd heard as well. "Play nice. Seth, your mom and Charlie will be here soon and lunch is ready, Embry-I'll talk to you about this later."
I nodded stiffly and walked towards the tree line, phasing as soon as I was under cover and watching as Seth followed Wesley into the house and then I listened.
I listened to them talk about the new apartment they were renting together, wedding plans, flowers, caterers and I listened to her laugh. It was a sound that I'd hardly ever heard before, even after spending years in her mind, but it was a sound I recognized except this time my reaction to it was different.
It made my chest tighten and my stomach flutter- it fucking fluttered! And I had the undeniable urge to get closer, to be in the room, to be next to her when she made that sound and to be the one that caused it.
I was officially screwed.
I shook my head clear and tore myself away, taking the longest route back to my house. I crashed through the rear door and headed straight into the kitchen, intent on grabbing the last six pack from my fridge and taking it in the shower with me, frowning when I saw there were only five left.
"What the fuck are we gonna do?" Leah asked from her perch on top of my tiny excuse for a table, swigging from the missing bottle.
"Geez Lee, don't fucking do that!" I exclaimed hiding my nakedness behind the fridge door. "What are you doing here? Don't you have tablecloths to pick out with Wesley?"
"I was happy Embry, I was finally happy." She sighed, picking at the label. "Why did you have to ruin it?"
"You think I want this?" My eyes widened. "Believe it or not I was happy too. Everything has finally settled back down, god! I would even go so far as to say it was back to normal and, no offence, but imprinting on you is about as appealing as a fucking hole in the head!"
"Ditto!" Leah slipped from the table. "So?"
"Wait there a second, I'm getting frostbite." I grumbled closing the fridge and walked down the hall to my room to grab a pair of shorts before walking back to her, leaning against the kitchen counter. "As much as neither of us want this, it's not something I can undo."
"You're taking this awfully well?" She said softly, stepping towards me and twisting her fingers.
"Appearances can be deceiving." I replied shoving my hands in my pockets. The closer she got the more overwhelming the need to touch her became and I just couldn't let myself do it. "You seem to have calmed down a bit after earlier. Yoga must be working for you, huh?"
A small smile appeared on her lips but only for a fraction of a second before her face stiffened again. "What's it feel like?"
"The imprinting?" She nodded. "Like drowning. In all honesty I want nothing more right now than to grab a hold of you and not let you go. I want to rip lover boy's hands off for touching what belongs to me and I want to cave his head in for saying the things he said earlier. Seeing you in my kitchen is making me think about things I've never thought about before and right now it's taking every ounce of will power to not go all cave man on you and drag you into my bedroom."
My fists were trembling in my pockets and my muscles were locked tight as I concentrated on regulating my breathing. "At the same time I don't want to want any of those things and so many feelings all at once is suffocating."
"The idea of me really that bad?" Leah asked looking up at me from under her lashes, a little sneer playing at the corner of her mouth.
"The way I feel has nothing to do with you and everything to do with me. I was comfortable the way I was!" I threw my hands out in frustration. "I liked that my life was completely predictable- after years of vampire armies and half breed spawn, I was finally in control of my own life and now…I'm not."
"You know, I had this feeling that coming back here would be a mistake." She shook her head and pressed her lips together. "Wes wanted to meet my family and I was worried about Seth and Sam, and I was definitely expecting something from Paul but I never dreamed you…this."
Leah was less than arms length from me and my hand seemed to become detached from the rest of my body. I watched as it reached out towards her and my fingers brushed the length of her forearm, little goose bumps erupted over her skin as she turned her palm into my touch.
"I should go. I told them I was just running out for more beer." Leah chuckled dryly pulling her hand back and rubbing it against the material covering her stomach. "Not that Emily and Sam didn't see right through that one. The entire bottom shelf of their fridge is filled with import -but what Wes doesn't know!" She turned and headed for the door.
"Hey wait!" I grabbed the forgotten six…five pack from the counter and held it towards her. "To corroborate your story… Leah, do you feel anything?"
She reached out for the carton, her fingers brushing against mine in the minutest way. "I feel confused and cheated…again." A watery smile tugged at her lips. "I'll see you around, Em."
And she was gone.
Not too long after Sam barged in with Seth in tow, dropping himself on to the coffee table and obscuring my view of the T.V.
"Hey I was watching that?" I complained, moving to push him aside.
"Oh really?" He grabbed the remote and flicked the T.V. to standby. "What was the score?"
I shrugged. "Pretty sure the Lakers were winning."
"You were watching the Hallmark channel." Sam said dryly. "This has really done a number on you hasn't it?"
"Gee, you think?" I sneered and Seth scoffed. "Why the fuck are you here anyway?"
"Because it's my sister you've imprinted on fuck face, I want to make sure you'll be good to her." He replied.
"Yeah that and if I'd left him at the house with that asshole any longer I think he may have killed him!" Sam clarified.
"Why what did he do this time?" Now I was paying attention.
"It would be quicker to tell you what he didn't do." Seth sighed.
"He doesn't need to hear any of this, Seth." Sam scowled. "It's not going to help."
"Yes I do and yes it will!" I sat forward. "Please? Just give me one good reason to go and tear him in half."
"I'll help you." Seth piped up. "He's one cocky son of a bitch, I think Charlie was minutes away from pistol whipping him before he got called into work- even Emily noticed when he stuck his hand up Leah's…"
The snarl rumbling in my chest cut him off and Sam groaned. "I told you not to say anything! Listen Em, I've been thinking about the whole imprint thing and I have a theory."
I cocked my eyebrow and nodded for him to continue. "I think that Leah phasing was most definitely a one off, she should have just been a carrier but with everything that she was going through-Harry dying, Emily getting hurt, the vampires and…me, it sent her into overdrive.
When we changed it heightened everything physically, emotionally and it was all part of what we are, Leah included. The only real difference between our situations is that while it made all the guys more fertile, it had the complete opposite effect on her. What I'm trying to say is that her changing into a wolf basically rendered her genetically obsolete in terms of imprinting, she couldn't be recognized as a viable mate."
"Not that this isn't interesting," I shook my head "but is there a point to this?"
"Now she's stopped phasing, her body chemistry has returned to normal, the gene is dormant and her body's going through all its normal processes' again." Sam pursed his lips and shook his head. "I really think that if you'd seen her before she phased? Maybe if you'd gone back to school with Jared and seen her there? Then you would have imprinted on her years ago!"
"I call bullshit!" I pushed myself from the couch and walked aimlessly into the kitchen, opening the door to the fridge just so I could slam it shut again. "You can't seriously believe what you're saying."
"I do." He insisted. "Leah should never have become one of us, at least not in the way she did and if I'm wrong then why now? You saw her almost everyday for three years and nothing happened. You felt nothing. I really think it's all to do with the mating…"
"I don't give a shit about the mating imperative or any other theories Sam!" I held on to the counter and the wood creaked in protest under my grip. "The fact of the matter is Leah is getting married, albeit to a piece of shit who isn't worthy of walking in her shadow and I don't want this - neither of us want this!"
"So you're just going to ignore it? You're going to let your imprint walk away and marry that asshole?" Sam pressed and I nodded. "She wants to get married here, on the reservation. Are you gonna just sit watch as she walks down the aisle…"
"If it makes her happy." I ground out. "Isn't that part of the imprint? Making sure she's happy?"
"If that's how you feel." Sam shrugged and headed towards the door. "No one has successfully denied the imprint Embry, even Jake couldn't handle it. The separation, the distance, the need- its gets worse and worse the more you try to ignore it. It's debilitating."
"I can handle it!" My fists clenched at my side as my stomach churned painfully. Sam nodded solemnly and disappeared with Seth following behind him grumbling incoherently.
Fuck my life.
I sank back on to the sofa, burying my face in my hands with Sam's words playing over and over in my head.
"No one has successfully denied the imprint."
Well that was before I imprinted. There's always a first time for everything.
"The separation, the distance, the need- it gets worse and worse the more you try to ignore it."
I'm pretty sure I can find a distraction…or three.
"Are you just gonna sit and watch as she walks down the aisle?"
Hell fucking no! I'm not a complete masochist! I planned on taking a leaf out of Jake's book and running somewhere very far away.
I pressed the heels of my hands into my eyes until I could see colors. "I can handle it." I mumbled to myself. "If I can take down a vampire I can do this."
It was two days later when I finally left my house. I was in dire need of something other than peanut butter and dry crackers and possibly something a little harder than the spoiled milk I'd attempted to drink earlier that morning.
I stepped out the door and blinked at the sun. My shoulders felt weighted, my feet were heavy and dragged across the floor and I barely noticed Sam's truck pulling up in front of me and Emily leaning out the window.
"How are you holding up?" She asked smiling softly.
"I'm fine, why wouldn't I be?" I snapped and she looked slightly taken aback, her eyes flicking towards the backseat where her and Sam's daughter, Imogen, giggled in chocolate covered delight. "Shit, sorry Emily."
"It's okay, I understand." Emily dropping a hand to her distended stomach. "In case you were wondering, Leah went back to Seattle the day before yesterday."
"I wasn't….Why would I? It's nothing to do with me." I said toeing the dirt.
"Sam told me about what you're doing, denying the imprint." She shook her head. "I really think you should reconsider, it's not just you this is hurting…"
"I'm not hurting!" I exclaimed. "I'm not Sam and Leah's not you, we have our lives and they don't run together. I wish people would just back the fuck off!"
"Embry!" Emily called as I turned around and stalked towards the town, I heard the truck door open and her feet land softly on the ground. "Stop! Please don't make me run after…Oh!"
I froze at pitch of her voice. I'd heard it once before, on Christmas day a little over two years ago when I'd walked into the kitchen to find her overstretching to reach a roasting pan and she'd suddenly yelped and grabbed her swollen belly.
Imogen had been born seventeen hours later.
"Oh I think this one's as impatient as its father." She grimaced, curling at the waist.
"Now?" I blanched stepping back towards her. "It's coming now?"
Emily tensed again and frowned, glancing down at her jeans, the medium wash denim darkening at her thighs.
"Did you…Is that…" I pointed and Emily shook her head.
"My waters have broken you idiot! Now help me into the truck." She pulled on the driver's side door, keys in hand.
"Oh no, Sam will kill me if he finds out I let you drive." I grabbed the keys from her hand and took her arm to lead her round the other side of the cab only for her to pull out of my grip and take them back.
"I'm perfectly capable of driving thank you very much; these things take hour….oh, oh. OH!" Her hand flew to mine and I'm pretty sure that if I'd been completely human, she would have crushed every single bone with the strength of her grip. "Maybe not!"
I scooped her up, and ran around the truck to carefully place her inside, while the little girl remained blissfully unaware in the back seat. "Where's Sam?"
"He mentioned something about a meeting with the elders…Oh crap! Here comes another one!" She took the hand I offered and gritted her teeth to stop from yelling out in front of Imogen, her face red with effort.
When it passed I told her to hang on and all semblance of the calm, lady like Emily flew out the window. "Where the fuck am I gonna go! If I stand up the baby's gonna drop on its head!"
"Just- cross your legs or something!" I pleaded. "I'm gonna phase real quick and see if I can find him."
"Jeez, why couldn't you tell me to do that nine months ago?" She whined, rubbing her hard stomach.
I bolted into the trees and shed my shorts, letting the wolf take over.
"Sam! Sam!" I called frantically, my howls ripping through the air.
"Embry?" Sam answered with a bark. "This better be important I was on my way to…holy shit! Now? It's a week early!" He yipped as he finally took notice of what I was showing him. "I'll be there in two minutes."
I phased back and stumbled from the trees, my shorts around my knees as I raced towards the truck. Emily was now howling and Imogen was happily trying to match her scream for scream.
"You men!" She spat when I stopped next to her door. "You get all the fun parts, put it in, wiggle it around a little and your jobs done! Women though? We throw up for months, we get fat, stretch marks, insomnia, cravings for disgusting things like bananas dipped in anchovy paste and then to top it all off hours of excruciating pain just so you get to hand the baby back when it starts crying!"
"Hey," I backed away from her a little, holding my hands up in surrender "wasn't me that knocked you up!"
"Emily?" Sam came running from the trees, breathless and sweating from exertion.
"Run dude," I said shaking my head "run while you've still got your legs…and your balls!"
"She cussing all men again?" He asked and I nodded. "Yeah, she did that last time. You okay sweetie?"
"If you come near me with that…that thing, ever again you will loose it, understand?" She bellowed from her spot in the truck and Sam visibly shuddered.
"Whatever you say baby, let's get you to the hospital." He said circling the cab.
"I'm not your baby, I want a divorce!" Emily cried and Sam chuckled.
"How about we get you to the doctor before we start worrying about the lawyers." Sam reached into the back seat and unbuckled his daughter and kissing her head before turning and pushing her into my arms. "I need you to watch her for me until I can get a hold of Sue."
"You what?" My eyes went wide as I held the squirming toddler at arms length. "I think you've confused me with Quil, I don't baby sit. Can't you just hold on until she get's here?"
"Are you gonna push the baby's head back in?" Emily screeched and my eyebrows shot up as I shook my head.
"Take her back to our house; I'll call Sue as soon as I get to the hospital." Sam said jumping into the truck and pulling away.
I eyed the little girl in my hands and cocked and eyebrow. "I can totally see the family resemblance between your mom and Leah now."
As we walked back to Sam and Emily's, her little face crumpled and her bottom lip stuck out as she began to wail uncontrollably. "Oh no! No, no please don't cry? Shit! how the fuck do you stop it?"
"I'm pretty sure you shouldn't swear in front of her." I looked up to find Leah walking towards me, hair piled on top of her head, khaki shorts and a t-shirt that was a little too short for her torso and I felt my resolve crumble a little more.
"What are you doing here? Emily said you went back to Seattle." I frowned and she shrugged.
"I did, but I decided I needed to think about things- away from him." She replied. "What happened on Saturday, the way he behaved? I don't know, it just made me question some things."
"So you came back here? The place where all your nightmares came true?" I questioned as she reached forward to take a crying Imogen from me and she immediately quieted. I was torn between feeling offence and awe.
"They weren't all nightmares Embry," she smiled at the little girl and then up at me "why do you have her anyway? Where's Emily?"
I filled her in as we walked to the house, and I tried not to acknowledge the fact that I felt a little lighter, a little taller or the fact that it was because she was there.
"So Sam has a theory about us." I blurted as she slipped Imogen into her booster chair and proceeded to peel a banana to put on her plate.
"Yeah, I heard about that one." Leah sighed. "What do you think?"
"I really have no idea any more!" The kitchen chair groaned under my weight as I all but fell into it, my head dropping back and my eyes shutting. "At first I dismissed it, to be honest I wasn't feeling very receptive, but the more I think about it? Well, I can't think of another explanation!"
A little smirk played on the corner of her mouth as she offered the toddler her fruit. "So we were destined to be together huh? You could have saved me a whole lot of trouble if you'd done it sooner, you realize that don't you?"
"When have I ever done anything I'm supposed to?" I grinned, enjoying the ease of the situation. "But it's not going to change anything right? You're with Wes." She nodded.
"And you don't want this." She stated.
"Well that settles it then, we'll just be friends? Or try to be at least." I scoffed. "Not that it worked out that well before."
"You know, you can go if you want? I'll wait here until Sue turns up." Leah offered wiping mashed up banana from between Imogen's chubby fingers.
"Uh," My eyes flicked between her and the door "no it's okay; I'll stay for a little while longer. Unless you want me to go?"
"No, no it's fine. I was on my way over here to hang with Emily anyway, guess I'll have to make do with you!" She shrugged, lifting the toddler from her chair and letting her barrel through the kitchen to find her toys.
"Gee thanks!" I rolled my eyes and followed after both of them, sitting at the other end of the couch from Leah as she watched Imogen throw her toys all over the floor until she found the one she wanted. A little pink car went flying towards her and hit her in the shin and she hissed reaching down to massage the bruising flesh while the little girl squeaked out a "Sowwy Leah" and moved to the other side of the coffee table.
"What does it feel like?" I asked as she lifted her leg on to the sofa and I got a better look at the angry mark on her skin.
"What, being hit in the shin by a metal car? Fucking hurts that's how it feels!" Leah grumbled, tucking her legs underneath her to avoid any further attacks from the two year old.
"No I can see that, I actually meant the whole humanity thing." She cocked an eyebrow at me and sighed.
"It's harder than I thought it would be." She nodded. "For all the shit I spouted about being a shifter, there are days when I miss it so much."
Leah reached a hand out towards me and turned it palm upwards so I could see the smooth white scar that ran across her palm. "This was the first time I realized I'd actually managed to completely stop. I was taking a cookery class with my room mate, I was cutting up onions and the knife slipped. When I was shifting, a cut like that would have healed up almost instantly and it didn't even occur to me that I could have actually hurt myself so I just carried on what I was doing. It wasn't until I realized that the chopping board was covered in blood- my blood- that it hit me…I was human again."
"There have been times where I've come close to phasing or at least it felt that way." She watched as I reached out and brushed the length of her scar with my finger. "Not so much recently, but I have my bad days still and the yoga? However much you want to make fun of it, It's actually helped me a lot. Well that and the kick boxing - I could still totally take you out though."
The wolf in me reacted to the challenge and I began to rise slowly from my seat, my smile mirroring the one that split across Leah's face when she saw me move. "Oh really?"
Her eye's left me momentarily to glance at Imogen and I took my chance, darting toward her, arms poised ready to grab her only for me to snatch at thin air.
"Too slow!" She giggled as she crawled away from me and scrambled to her feet, keeping the couch between us as she frowned and tutted playfully. "Someone's loosing their touch."
I growled and jumped the couch and she giggled as she ran into the kitchen, instigating a game of cat and mouse around the table.
"You're gonna have to give up sooner or later, you haven't got the stamina to keep this up like I do." I smirked, lunging for her again.
"And what would you know about my stamina?" She growled twisting out of the way.
I chuckled and stopped to watch her, her chest heaved, her forehead had a thin sheen of sweat and her muscles tensed as she waited for me to make my next move.
"True, the yoga would've helped. You'll have to show me your downward dog some time!" I grinned edging around the table.
"Oh I'm not sure Wes would like that." Leah smiled. "He's not very good at sharing!"
That did it. I hurdled the table in one bound and had her face first against the fridge with the length of my body pressed against her, her hands pinned between us and my teeth on her neck.
"You're not his to share!" I snarled sinking my teeth in to her flesh. She let out a sharp yell and pushed me back, her hand flying to her neck. I didn't need to look in a mirror to see how feral I looked; I could see it in her face.
"You marked me? You fucking Neanderthal!" She shrieked grabbing a paper towel and running it under the faucet before dabbing it over the teeth marks. "Why don't you just cock a leg and piss on me?"
"I'm not that kinky." I growled through clenched teeth, trying to steady my breathing.
"At least I wouldn't be bleeding!" She exclaimed and the red haze cleared and my stomach suddenly dropped. I swiped my tongue over my teeth, finally registering the metallic taste that had filled my mouth.
"Shit I'm sorry Lee; I didn't mean too, I don't know what came over me!" I pleaded walking toward her outstretched arms only for her to slap them away. "I'm trying so hard to ignore this, I really am! But whenever you mention him…anyone else- it's like I can't control myself."
Leah flinched when I raised my hand to pull hers away from her neck. "Please don't? I didn't mean to hurt you and I won't do it again. Please?" Her hand fell away and she sighed as I leaned in to take a closer look. Growls rumbled in my throat as I saw the angry mark, the perfect impression of my teeth.
"Stop it!" She commanded and I quieted immediately.
"Does it hurt?" I asked softly and she rolled her eyes. "You bit me Embry, of course it hurts!"
"I'm sorry." A piece of her hair had fallen free from the twist on top of her head and rested over the mark, a shudder so small I almost missed it ran through her body as I brushed it back behind her ear.
I was too close.
Her scent filled my nostrils and my vision darkened as I leaned in, pressing my nose into the sensitive flesh under her ear. "I don't want this." I hissed feeling my body begin to harden.
"Then don't." Leah exhaled shakily, her breath ghosting over my skin and the hair on the back of my neck stood up.
My tongue snaked out and lapped at the bruise and a little gasp whooshed between her parted lips as her hand gripped my hip.
"Gamma!" Imogen's shrill voice broke through and I leapt away from Leah like she was on fire, eyes wide and fixed on anything but her. She coughed and self consciously straightened her clothes as she joined Imogen at the window to find Sue running towards the house.
"Leah!" She exclaimed as she let herself in to the house, pulling her daughter into her arms. "I thought you went home?"
My eye's caught hers over her mother's shoulders and I gestured to my neck. Her mouth fell open and she quickly reached up and let her hair out of its twist to hide what I'd done.
"I did, but I…" Leah shifted nervously "I guess I realized how much I missed it here so I came back for a few extra days, I only got back an hour ago. Any news on Emily and the baby?"
"Didn't even make it inside the hospital." Sue chuckled, bending down to grab Imogen who was tugging persistently at the bottom of her skirt to get her attention. "He was born right there in the parking lot, Sam said the nurse barely made it in time to catch him!"
"A boy?" She asked and Sue nodded, bouncing the little girl on her hip.
"Aaron Samuel Uley, born kicking and screaming at one thirty five," She smiled wryly "all ten pounds five ounces of him!"
"Ouch!" Leah winced and I had to agree with her.
"Well if it's any consolation, you and Seth were pretty small babies," Sue cocked an eyebrow at her daughter "hopefully you'll follow suit and your's will be small as well!"
"Who said I was having babies?" Leah blanched as she stared wide eyed at her mother who merely chuckled and patted her arm.
"Oh sweetie you're engaged, you're going to be married soon. Having babies is what happily married couples do!" She suddenly frowned and shrugged. "Of course if you don't want children that's perfectly fine, it would be a shame to waste all those beautiful genes though. Right Embry?"
Suddenly they were both staring at me and I realized I was growling…I had been since Sue mentioned the wedding. "I think I'm gonna go. Tell Sam and Emily congrats for me."
"What did I say?" I heard Sue ask as I walked out the door and Leah mumbled something in reply.
"Embry? Hey…will you stop!" Her hand grabbed my arm and even though she no longer had the physical strength to actually stop me I let her. "Don't you think we should talk about what happened back there?"
"What's there to talk about? It's the imprint Leah and no amount of talking about it is going to make it any easier…in fact talking to you only makes it worse; it's making it impossible to fight it. You remember what happened," I reached out and brushed her hair away to reveal my mark "the closer I am to you the harder it is to deny it. I think it's just best if I go away…far, far away!"
"Embry you don't have to leave! This is your home." She held my wrist, and I looked down at my arm expecting sparks for all the tingles that were running through my skin.
"I'll come back when you leave." I said softly pulling from her grip. "You don't have to rush though; I could probably do with a break. Somewhere dry and pack free!"
"If that's what you want to do." She nodded folding her arms and visibly swallowing. "I should be gone by the end of the week though."
"We don't want this." My voice lacked conviction. "If I don't see you before…I hope he makes you happy because I'll kill him if he doesn't."
And I ran.
Well I did say I was going to take a leaf out of Jakes book, it was just slightly earlier than I'd planned and I didn't run all the way, just back to my house to grab my car and a few changes of clothes.
I drove for almost a day straight. It was long, and exhausting and fucking painful! The further I went away from home, away from her-the worse it felt. I hated to admit it, but Sam was right, it was almost debilitating.
But I had no choice. She was with Wesley and I didn't want an imprint.
That's what I kept telling myself at least.
Redondo Beach. It was warm, dry, it had beaches (obviously) which meant it had girls in bikinis but more importantly it wasn't La Push.
I parked in the far corner of a relatively quiet lot, reasoning that I could sleep in my car until the end of the week so I wouldn't need to find a place to stay, or the money to do so. I reached into the backseat to grab an old cut up t-shirt and tennis shoes and pulled them both on before leaving the car in search of food.
I was rewarded in my choice of refuge almost as soon as I got within site of the beach. Not only were there bikini clad model wannabe's but they were playing volleyball!
This was definitely going in the spank bank.
As I walked a little further up the shore line, I let myself be momentarily distracted by a street vendor selling slightly over priced hot dogs that weren't nearly as good as the ones we pulled off the bonfires back home, purchasing two and heading across the sand for a better view of the ball juggling lovelies.
Ordinarily I would be having the time of my life right now. There was grunting and groaning, bouncing and wobbling, swimsuit wedgies and top half readjustments but I was as shocked as anyone to find that it wasn't working for me…at all! I was limper than a wet noodle and it scared the hell out of me.
The blonde was...too blonde, almost white. It looked as unnatural as the shape of her motionless tits.
The red head? Well I had to double check she wasn't my ex, the resemblance was uncanny but either way it didn't ease my predicament.
Now the brunette garnered a little reaction. Her body was lean and athletic and the cut of her muscles stood out with the sheen of whatever she'd put on her tanned skin. Her almost black hair hung down her back in a low ponytail that bounced when she did and I found myself wanting to release it to see if it swayed like Leah's.
"Fucking imprint!" I cursed angrily, yanking my shirt over my head and throwing myself down into the warm sand.
"What's an imprint?" My eye's shot open to find the brunette standing over me, hands on her spread hips and her feet either side of my knees.
I shot a quick glance at my crotch…nope, still nothing.
"It's nothing." I replied squinting up at her. "Something I can help you with?"
"Hmmm, now that depends." She pursed her lips and held out her hand. "I'm Donna."
"Embry." Well it was only polite to return the gesture.
"Would you like to get a drink with me?" She asked and I nodded pushing myself off the sand and hanging my shirt from the waistband of my shorts as I let her lead the way. As she walked I watched and I found myself comparing her…again.
Her hips swayed but it was too much, too forced. Her hair was dark but not dark enough and it was dull and wispy from exposure to the sea water and sun. Her body was good- more than good but it wasn't right, it was too hard, too chiseled.
Leah on the other hand, her hips moved just right, it wasn't forced or over exaggerated- they were almost hypnotic in their swing. Her hair was darker than black and so soft and shiny that it looked like it was liquid flowing down her back, and while her body had once been almost exactly like this girls, her year un-phased had given her back a natural softness and smooth curves instead of hard lines.
"So what's your poison?" Donna asked and I realized she'd led me into a bar. It was quiet, just after midday and just before the lunch rush.
"Uh," my eyes scanned the selection of liquor against the back wall and I vaguely registered the appearance of a bar tender and Donna requesting her drink "Jameson's. A large one, please."
The tender nodded and walked away. "A little early for a hard liquor isn't it?" She said cocking an eyebrow and I shrugged.
"Hey, this was your suggestion." I thanked the bar tender and handed over a bill as he placed both drinks down, tossing mine back in one and relishing the deep burn on the back of my throat.
"Girl trouble?" Donna sipped at her sickeningly pink drink and I shook my head…this was much more than just girl trouble. "Well then what brings you all they way out here? I haven't seen you around before."
"Just taking a little break." I shrugged again, dropping onto an empty stool. "I needed some time away from work and…everything."
"Does everything have a real name?" She smirked around her straw.
"You don't give up do you?" I huffed and she wriggled her eyebrows in response. "No everything does not have a name; I just realized I'd finally had enough. That's all."
"That's good to know." Donna moved closer until she stood between my knees, her hand coming up to rest on my knee and her fingers sliding underneath the frayed hem of my shorts. Her eye's locked on mine, a mischievous smile playing across her lips as her hand crept up my thigh, her thumb tracing the inseam until it pulled to tight for her to find anything.
My cock twitched at her touch but that was all and I was beginning to become frustrated with myself.
"Excuse me." I stood from my seat, my body pressed against hers. "I need to piss."
I heard her disgruntled huff as I turned and walked away to find the bathroom, locking myself in one of two stalls and sitting on the closed lid of the toilet.
The outside door opened and feet padded across the tiled floor stopping outside my door, with a sharp knock.
"I'll be out in a sec!" I called pinching the bridge of my nose, scowling when the knock sounded again and I yanked the door open. "I said I'll be…"
"I know what you said." Donna cocked an eyebrow and pushed me back into the stall until my knees hit the toilet and I fell on to my ass. "But I didn't want you to come out."
"You sure work fast!" I hissed as she mounted my lap and looped her hands around my neck.
"I know you want me Embry." She whispered leaning into my ear, flexing her hips against mine and I felt myself twitch again. "I saw you watching me back on the beach. I was watching you too…I could have won that game if you hadn't distracted me.
Her teeth tugged on my ear lobe and I groaned. I could do this; I just had to ignore the fact that it wasn't Leah, if I just closed my eyes…
I was instantly catapulted back to Sam and Emily's kitchen, Leah's body pressed between mine and the fridge and I felt myself begin to harden.
When I bit into her neck I hadn't meant to, but I couldn't stop myself, I had to mark her- show the world that she was mine.
My hands flew to Donna's hips and held her there as I bucked against her. I dipped my head to her neck, suckling at the skin and breathing her in.
Her taste was bitter and her smell was wrong. She was all sweat and sun block encompassing the growing scent of her arousal. It wasn't unpleasant but it wasn't Leah, so I held my breath and replaced my tongue with my lips as I let myself slip back into my memory.
Leah had tasted insane, like all of my favorite things mixed into one; I could live off the taste of her and never go hungry and her smell? It was intoxicating and dangerously distracting.
My hands ran over the skin of her hips, tugging at the ties on the panties of her swim suit until they fell from her body, the scent of her increasing tenfold as she wiggled against the now achingly hard tent in my shorts.
"Touch me, please?" She begged and my hand fell from her hip, tracing the crease of her thigh until I reached the neatly trimmed strip of hair that sat nestled between her legs.
I was no novice when it came to women, I was proud of that fact and within seconds I had her clenching around my fingers, her moans ringing in my ears.
Donna clawed at the fastenings on my pants, all but ripping the button off in the rush to get them down.
"My, my," she breathed gripping my dick in her tiny hand and giving me a few short pumps "you are all kinds of in proportion aren't you?"
"Don't talk." I grunted squeezing my eyes tighter together and I felt her move above me. "Condom?"
"Don't worry, I'm covered." Donna sighed trying to shift her hips on to mine.
I huffed in frustration, pushing my hand between her legs to locate the pocket of my shorts and the wallet it contained and shoved a condom at her, hissing as she rolled it down my length.
She yelped as I batted her hands away and drove into her, her hands flying out to the side to support herself against the stall walls.
"Holy shit, Embry!" Her head fell back as she circled her hips against mine and again I tried to block out her voice, concentrating on sound of my thighs slapping against hers. "I'm not going to last if you keep up like this!"
I pressed my forehead to her chest and tilted my hips ups, moving her over me when she yelled and her rhythm faltered.
So close but not enough.
It was wrong but I couldn't help it, I let myself imagine it was Leah riding me, that it was her screaming my name as she came around me, choking me until I spilled everything I had inside her.
And that did it.
I roared with release, my back arching towards her. "Leah!"
Needless to say Donna wasn't exactly happy about me yelling another girls names while I was still inside her, and she'd left me with a slap to my cheek that I'm pretty sure hurt her more than it did me, but she hid it well.
I wonder what she would have done if she'd known I wasn't hard for her at all?
I stood from the toilet, wincing as I slid the condom from my softening cock and flushed it away before yanking up my shorts and leaving the stall.
Donna was no where to be seen when I reentered the bar, which was understandable so I left and made my way back towards the car, my mind churning over new possibilities for a personal refuge.
It was pretty clear that my plan for 'distracting' myself from Leah wasn't going to work unless I employed the help of my apparently vivid imagination, which felt a little wrong even for me and kinda made the whole distraction idea pointless. So I would have to find something else to occupy my time.
What the fuck was I gonna do?
The answer was not a lot; everywhere I turned there was something that reminded me of Leah. A flash of skin, a smell, a sound. Maybe it was just my fucking imagination playing tricks on me?
Damn thing was making it hard to forget about her, that's for sure!
I caved after two more days of driving, countless stops for gas and food and with a knot in my neck the size of a baseball. I headed home on the longest possible route as I though about what I would do when I got there. She wasn't due to leave the reservation for two more days. At least that's what she said, the end of the week.
My shitty radio was stuck on some country music channel and by the time I got near the boundary lines of the reservation I pretty much had the entire Dolly Parton back catalogue memorized, although that could prove beneficial in blocking the other guys out of my head when it came to my beach escapade.
I pulled the car onto the worn piece of grass I called my drive and ran around the house and under the cover of trees to phase. The twisting and pulling felt so good after three days on two feet.
"Where the fuck have you been man?"Seth growled as soon as all four paws hit the dirt.
"None of your damn business pup." I replied, changing course to head away from him.
"Wes turned up after you left." That stopped me. "Leah left with him. I saw what you did to her neck by the way, I'm gonna hurt you for that!"
"She's marrying the guy; she's allowed to leave with him." I picked my pace back up, trying to ignore the churning of my stomach.
"Did you not notice she wasn't wearing her ring on Tuesday?"Seth showed me a memory of him joining her in the kitchen while she was washing something up and commenting on her lack of jewelry.
"I never knew she had one and I wasn't exactly paying attention to her jewelry, okay Seth?" I growled, quickly stopping the train of thought that led me right back to having my tongue on her neck.
"Urgh! what the fuck Em?"Too late. "Whatever. That asshole came back groveling, with that piece of shit ring in his hand."
"What happened?" I asked and Seth sighed.
"My mom." He filtered through his memory of that day, hearing the car pull outside, answering the door to find Wes standing there demanding to see Leah. "I figured he'd done something to piss her off when she wouldn't look mom in the eye when they were talking about the wedding and once I saw she wasn't wearing the ring I fucking knew I was right."
"I shut the door in his face but my mom told me to back off, she let him in the house and kicked me out so I wouldn't interfere." In his head I saw him phase and circle the house, listening as Wes went from pleading to demanding and back to pleading again. He had noticed the mark on her neck and Leah blamed it on Imogen, the dumb shit didn't even notice that the impression was too big for a two year old.
"After about an hour they came out of her room and she told mom she was going back to Seattle with him." Seth showed me his view from the trees, Leah walking to the car and climbing into the passenger seat, turning to stare out of the open window with one hand brushing over my mark.
My large forehead creased. "So when I saw her on that morning she'd…"
"Broken up with that twat." Seth finished and I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach.
"Then why the fuck didn't she say anything!" I howled.
"How the fuck should I know? What did you say to her?" He asked and I frantically ran through every minute I'd spent with her since she'd found me with Imogen.
"So we were destined to be together huh? You could have saved me a whole lot of trouble if you'd done it sooner, you realize that don't you?"
"But it's not going to change anything right? You're with Wes."
"I'm trying so hard to ignore this, I really am!"
"I don't want this."
"Don't you think we should talk about what happened back there?"
"What's there to talk about? It's the imprint Leah and no amount of talking about it is going to make it any easier…in fact talking to you only makes it worse; it's making it impossible to fight it."
"We don't want this."
I'd denied the imprint every chance I got.
"No wonder she didn't say anything!" Seth scoffed. "This is why I don't do relationships, they're too fucking messy!"
"No you don't do relationships because you saw what happened when Sam went and imprinted and broke your sister's heart." A growl rumbled in my chest. "When the hell did I turn into such a colossal fuck up?"
I sank to my stomach, my snout digging into the soft earth.
Leah had finished with Wes and come back. I'd behaved like the animal I was and bit her and she still wanted to talk to me and all I could do was brush her off - run away and fucked…
"Who the fuck is Donna?" Seth roared. "Ya know? There was a moment there when I actually thought you'd be the better choice for my sister, but even with the imprint you're no better than Sam or Jake!"
He was right.
I pushed myself on to my feet with what felt like the weight of the entire world rested on my shoulders, feeling oddly numb as I returned to my human form. My head was so clouded I didn't even notice Seth until his teeth were in my leg.
"Jesus fucking Christ!" I screamed as I fell to the floor to clutch my bleeding calf, and Seth phased beside me.
"Don't act like you didn't deserve it!" The look of contempt on his face was palpable as he spat my blood from his mouth. "That will heal quicker than she ever could."
"You seem to be forgetting," I grimaced from my spot on the forest floor "that she left me too. She didn't have to go with that ass wipe, she chose to."
"She left because of you." Seth scowled. "No matter which way you say it or how you twist your words, it's still your fault. You left her first." He turned and walked away.
"She's getting married!" I yelled after him only for him to throw his arm back and flip me the bird before bursting back into a wolf.
Pain shot through my leg as I stood and made a half assed attempt at pulling my shorts on as I limped back towards my house.
I hobbled up the stairs and into the shower, watching as the water turned blood orange as it ran down the drain and a quick inspection of my wound showed it had already began to scab over.
The answer machine next to my bed flashed annoyingly as I walked into the room. I pressed the play button and went to my drawers to find a pair of clean pants as my mom complained about not hearing from me and then again about having to find out I'd gone away from Sue Clearwater.
Then there was Paul cussing me out for ditching my shifts at the garage and threatening to rip the engine out of my car in retaliation. Like I cared, piece of shit was dying anyway.
And finally, one that had been left just minutes before I got home.
"Hey Call it's me…uh I mean it's Leah. Um I know you're probably not back yet, obviously, but-" she stopped at whispering in the background "I'm doing it Wes! Will you go away?" Some shuffling and a slamming door.
"This isn't how I wanted to do this and I'm not entirely sure I should even be doing this but, Wes…he said I should at least ask so?" Another pause and she cleared her throat. "We set a date for the wedding, it uh, it's May twenty ninth so just over a month. It's gonna be on the beach, nothing too formal so consider this you're official invite."
She stopped talking and I could hear her breathing over the line and when she started again her voice was softer and lower. "I completely understand if you don't want to come, in fact I really don't expect you too! But if you do, just let my mom or Seth know and…well I'll see you there I guess? Goodbye Embry."
I don't recall making the decision to phase, but suddenly I was down on all fours, snarling at my crushed machine and my hind leg burned in protest as the damaged muscle tore again. My tail smacked the lamp off my bedside table and sent it crashing to the floor and I lost my footing as I skidded out the bedroom door, leaving the frame buckled and the wall cracked.
"Calm down!" A voice rang through my ears, but I couldn't work out who or where it was coming from. My hackles raised, my teeth bared and my muscles tensed to pounce.
"Calm down now, you will not attack!" The command was strong, not strong enough to be my alpha- not Jake but it was enough to stem the blind rage inside me. "Phase back!"
The fur melted back into my skin and I lay in a crumpled heap on the floor. My limbs felt weak and my chest burned.
"What the hell were you planning on doing?" Sam bellowed, pulling me to my feet and I shrugged, leaning on the back of the couch to take the weight off my leg, the skin almost black where blood had collected under the healed skin.
"I don't know what happened." I breathed, trying to quell the fire in my lungs. "One second I was listening to the answering machine and the next…I didn't even feel it."
"You lost control of your wolf, Embry." He exclaimed. "I warned you that no one had successfully managed to deny the imprint, this is pretty much the furthest anyone has gone to do it and it's making you loose control."
"I don't know what the fuck I'm supposed to do Sam! Tell me what to do?" My chest heaved, I felt the burn swirling inside, working it's way back out to my arms and legs and they began to tremble. It was like the first phase, only much worse. "It hurts. Please?"
"I don't know!" His face looked pained as he watched the muscles ripple and twitch under my skin. "I don't know Embry."
My body curled over with the pain, my grunts and cries turned into snarls and growls and my breathing was becoming uncontrollable. "Help me!"
I saw movement from the corner of my eye and everything went black.
"Geez Paul, how hard did you hit him?" My head throbbed and my body ached as dulled voices pulled from the darkness.
"Hard enough to knock the fucking wolf back in." A deep voice cut in. "You think I had anger issues? It was nothing compared to what was running through him!"
"He's waking up." I grimaced as I tried to push myself up, pain shot down the right side of my face and a hand gripped under my arm. "Em, take it easy."
"What the fuck happened?" I groaned, struggling to open my eyes.
"You were loosing it. Again." It was Jared's voice this time. "So Paul knocked you out."
"I'm pretty sure I heard something crack." I managed to open my left eye to look at Paul. "I'd apologize, but I've been dying to do that for years! Guess you heard about the wedding then, huh?"
"Paul!" Sam emerged from somewhere outside my line of vision and handed me an un-shredded pair of shorts. "A little common sense, please? How are you feeling Embry?"
"I've been better." I stretched my jaw and there was a sickening pop. "Did I really just do that?"
"Yes you did." Sam nodded, helping me to my feet for the second time that day. "Do you think you have it under control now?"
"For the time being." My world span as the blood rushed to my head. "I'm not entirely sure I could walk straight right now let alone phase properly."
"What the fuck happened to your leg anyway, dude?" Jared slipped over the back of the couch and landed on the cushions with a bounce.
"Seth. " I growled as I remembered. "I deserved it."
"What are you gonna do man?" Paul actually managed to look mildly sympathetic as he asked me that. "I mean I've been where you are, I tried to deny Rachel and, don't get me wrong it was fucking hard, but I never reacted like that!"
"Did Rachel run off and agree to marry someone else after you refused to talk to her about it?" He grimaced and shook his head. "Then you've not been here."
The guys left me alone over the next few days. The bruises disappeared but I still ached from the inside out and I sat wallowing in my own misery, ignoring the phone which rang a couple of times. I was pretty sure it was my mother calling to complain again, seeing as she turned up about a half hour after the last call to hammer on my door.
I ignored that too.
And I went back into my old life, back to working a Jake's Garage and bi-weekly patrols. It was normal, it was predictable, but it felt wrong.
I avoided phasing with Seth. Leah had asked him to give her away and he was nervous about it, which meant he kept thinking about it- about her.
My twenty second birthday passed in somewhat of a blur, not because of booze although I'm pretty sure Jared actually managed to get drunk enough to stumble home, which was a first for any of us. After Collin, swiftly followed by the rest of the pack, turned up at my door and declared me to look like complete shit, they shoved me into the bathroom with a bundle of clothes and ordered me to clean myself up.
For the first time in two weeks I actually looked in a mirror and I barely recognized the person staring back at me. My appetite had gone from being on overdrive to practically non existent so I was looking a little thinner, I hadn't been sleeping too well seeing as all my dreams seemed to involve Leah and as a result my eyes were dark and sunken and my hair, which I hadn't had cut since just after new years, was limp and greasy and clung to the stubble on my face.
They were completely right, I looked like total shit.
I spent the entire night hidden in the corner of a booth in what used to be one of my favorite places to pick up women. I guess they thought it might cheer me up and it started to work until I was approached one girl who was wearing the exact same dress that Leah was wearing the day I imprinted on her and my spiral of self loathing continued.
No woman interested me in the slightest. Everywhere I turned I was comparing them to her, they were too short, too blonde, too dark, too light, too thin or too round.
You could stand Adriana Lima in front of me a wearing only a smile and a fucking birthday bow and I would be nothing but an impotent fool, but give me a second to think about Leah's big toe and I would be sporting a semi!
I couldn't remember a time when I'd felt so out of control in my own life.
The final two weeks crept up on me like a shadow, and I only realized how close it was getting to the wedding when one afternoon Emily came back from a shopping trip with Imogen's flower girl dress in her hand and a look of sheer pity had clouded her broken face when I leapt from the kitchen table and bolted out of the door.
A few days after that, Seth and Sam made the trip to Seattle to attend Wes' bachelor party, apparently after Sue had pleaded with them both to make the effort and, even though I knew it wasn't their fault, I have to admit I was pretty fucking hurt.
They returned a lot earlier than planned though. Sam had begrudgingly informed me that Wes had been more that happy with one of the strippers his friends had booked for his party and had disappeared with her for a while. He'd had to physically restrain Seth from beating the shit out of him when he'd noticed.
Paul had to knock me out again.
On the morning of the wedding, Sam was sent by Sue to make one final plea for me to attend the wedding. He didn't even bother, he just sat at the other end of the couch staring quietly at the T.V until an appropriate amount of time had passed before getting up to leave, but not with out a parting shrug that screamed of 'I told you so'.
I started counting down the hours and the hours turned to minutes and the closer it got to the time of the wedding the worse I felt.
The overwhelming sense of dread was suffocating and I had an undeniable urge to run. My feet carried me out the door and across the reservation and I didn't stop until I hit the edge of the cliffs overlooking first beach.
From where is stood, I could see the rows of chairs filled with people from the reservation, Billy sat in his chair under a makeshift archway waiting to conduct the ceremony while Wes fidgeted at his side.
Sue was sat at the very end of the front row next to Charlie, glancing round agitatedly and Seth came running down the aisle toward her.
"I couldn't do it!" I span on my heel to find Leah standing behind me, her floor length dress hitched up around her knees, her feet bare and dirty from running through the rez and her face reddened and tear stained.
"What?" I frowned shaking my head in disbelief and pointed towards the sand. "What are doing here, they're waiting for you down there."
"Why me Embry?" Her face crumpled. "Why did it have to be me?"
Everything I'd thought about over the past few weeks came rushing back to me and I couldn't stop myself. "Because you're perfect."
I'm not sure what I was expecting to happen next but it wasn't Leah smacking me with her bouquet, damn roses still had thorns on.
"You total fucking asshole!" She screamed flying at me with her flowers for a second time. "You ruined it. I had a life and a relationship and you had to go and fucking ruin it!"
Leah dropped the bouquet and the hem of her dress and hid her face behind her hands as she sobbed softly. "All I wanted was to be normal. I wanted the little house with a white picket fence, kids and someone that wanted me-that loved me.
This past month should have been one of the best of my life, but instead of thinking about my wedding all I could think about was you! I should be down there," She gestured behind me "marrying the man who loves me, but instead I'm here talking to the man who doesn't want me."
"I don't want…" She scoffed, cutting me off and I sighed through gritted teeth. "I don't want you to be unhappy, I thought this was what you wanted and you never told me otherwise. How was I supposed to know?"
"This is what I wanted!" Leah yelled and her voice cracked with the effort. "Just not with him!"
"Leah?" Sue came round a bend in the path with Seth trailing after her. "What are you doing? You're supposed to be getting married now!"
"Mom, please? Come on, Lee will come down when she's ready." Seth gently grabbed his mothers arm and tried to tug her away.
"I can't do it mom, I'm sorry but I can't." Leah shook her head. "He's not who I want."
"You mean…" Sue looked between me and her daughter. "You and Embry?"
Seth leaned in to whisper to her. Her eyes widened and her mouth dropped. "Oh."
"Come on." Seth led her back along the cliff path and out of sight.
"It was never about me not wanting you Lee," I said softly "any guy would have to be stupid not to see you for what you are. Completely fucking flawless."
"Yeah, well you have to say that, you're my imprint." Leah scowled and I couldn't help the chuckle the burst from my mouth.
"No, I'm saying it because it's true." I chanced a step closer. "I know I've been denying this, the imprint, but it has been so fucking hard! You want the truth?
I waited and she shrugged, dropping her gaze to the floor.
"Ever since that day I see no one but you, Leah." I sighed. "The way you look, the way you smell, the way you taste? Nobody compares to you. I want to be the one who makes you smile and laugh, I want to be the person you go to when you're upset and be the person you come home to.
I want to be the person you sleep next to every night and wake up with every morning and I want it to be my name on your lips when you cum."
My body was flush against hers and as she breathed, the beading on her dress scratched against my skin. Her hands hung limply by her sides as she glanced up at me from under her lashes.
"And here I was thinking you were gonna be all rom…" My lips sealed over hers, effectively halting her words and while I had intended it to be a quick way to shut her up, and just me finally giving in to sheer curiosity, I was finding it hard to pull away.
My eyes locked on hers and she disconnected her mouth from mine with a loud smack.
"You have got to be fucking kidding me!" A bemused voice rang out from behind us and I tore my eyes away from her to look as Wesley stood no more than ten feet from us. "Him? You left me waiting at the fucking alter for him?"
"Wes, please?" Leah pleaded, taking a step towards him. "I'm sorry I did that to you, but I can't… let's go to my mom's and talk?"
"Talk?" He scoffed, resting his hands on his hips. "You bitch!"
I snarled and stepped forward only for her to grab my wrist to stop me and Wes grinned malevolently.
"I should have known." He spat. "That first day I saw you, you couldn't take her eyes of her, it was so fucking obvious! You kept this one a secret, huh?"
Wes turned to Leah, eye's wide with rage. "Were you like one of those girls that work their way through groups of guys? You know the ones I mean right? They go from friend to friend, working their way along the chain until you've done em' all and then move on to the next set. Sam, Jake and…" he cut his eyes at me "Embry."
I pulled my wrist from her grasp and stalked towards him, the grin on his face twitched slightly as I got closer. "Embry, stop!"
Leah's command was almost alpha like in the effect it had on me and my stride halted immediately.
"Oho she's got you by the balls, huh?" Wes laughed. "Maybe this is a good thing then? Get out while I've still got the chance! She's a wild one in the sack but the more I think about it, it's not worth the divorce fees, but hey baby," he grinned at her, backing away "if you ever get bored and wanna experience a real man again let me know!"
A feral growl rumbled in Leah's throat and she stepped slowly towards him, her eye's flicking behind him too quick for him to notice before a small smile erupted over her face.
Wes tensed as Paul and Seth appeared at either side of his body, Seth shaking almost uncontrollably with fists clenched and teeth bared.
"That's our sister you're talking about!" Paul growled into his ear and the fucker visibly swallowed.
Jared stepped up behind him and clamped a hand down on his shoulder. "We don't react well to people who insult our family."
"And when you insult one of us," Quil walked up the path with Claire by his side, her little pink dress and fairy wings sparkling in the sun and the rest of the pack behind him, "you insult all of us, and trust me, that's a really bad idea."
"You've got about ten seconds to get out of my sight and off this reservation, before every single one of us starts ripping you to shreds." I gritted and his eyes flicked between me and Leah. "Now go!"
"You think you can just get away with threatening me!" He scoffed as he began to walk away, pulling from Jared's grip and giving a still trembling Seth a wide birth. "I'll have every cop in the area here to lock your asses up within the hour!"
"Good luck with that," Seth sneered "my step fathers the Chief of Police here, remember? I bet he'd just love to hear what you've been saying about my sister, my guess is he'd probably pull up a chair and watch while my mom blows your balls off with his gun!"
If I wasn't fighting the almost irrepressible urge to rip his throat out, I might have actually laughed at the look on his face.
"You're all fucking psychotic!" He yelled and Claire let go of Quil's hand and ran forward, platting her little foot hard into his shin before returning to Quil who swung her up on to his shoulders.
"She doesn't like it when people swear." He stated nonchalantly as Claire wrapped her arms around his head to keep her balance.
""I give it a month at most before he gets bored and dumps you just like everyone else!" Wes sneered one last time as he rounded Quil and headed back down towards the beach parking lot. "You're nothing but small town trash, Leah! Sam saw it, Jake saw it and eventually he will too. My only regret is that I wasted all my time trying to convince myself you were good enough for someone like..."
Emily gasped in abject horror at the sound of Sam's fist connecting with Wes' jaw and watched wide eyed as he dropped to the floor like a lead balloon.
"Seriously Leah!" He exclaimed making a quick check of his unblemished knuckles "I know I'm hardly the picture perfect example for a suitable partner, but what the fuck were you thinking agreeing to even date someone like that? He makes me look good!"
"Sam?" Leah gathered up her skirt and stepped towards him and I saw Paul and Jared take a step back in preparation for whatever tirade she was about to unleash, but instead she stood beaming up at him. "I think that may have been the single, most nicest thing you've ever done for me!"
Sam looked a little startled by her reaction, hell I was startled by her reaction!
"Fucking Yoga, man!" I heard Jared mumble. "Who knew?"
"Are you okay?" Emily asked eyeing Leah warily, Aaron tucked safely in her arms.
"I'm fine!" Leah chuckled, sounding rather manic and I immediately bristled. "I'm completely fucking fine, why wouldn't I be? I'm an ex-shifter with an imprint that changes his mind so much I have emotional whiplash! The fiancé I just left at the alter branded me worthless trash in front of my family and is now laying unconscious on the floor at the hands of the ex who destroyed my teenage years!"
Her chest was heaving, her face paled until all that stood out was the artificial blush on her cheeks and her skin glistened with a layer of sweat. "I don't feel so good." She clutched a hand to her stomach and her eyes fluttered.
"Oh shit!" Sam grabbed under her arms as her body went limp in front of him and my stomach dropped.
I growled and batted his hands away, pulling her to me and pressing my hand to her forehead. "I can't…" I huffed in frustration, wiping her sweat from my palm and trying again. "I can't tell if she's burning up, my hands are too warm!"
"Embry," Emily's hand found the small of my back "she ran all the way up here from Sue's house, she didn't sleep last night from nerves and I'm not sure she's eaten at all today. On top of that she's just had to deal with Wesley; I'd say she just fainted from all the exertion."
"I'll take her home." Seth reached out to take her from me, recoiling at the snarl I gave and holding his hands up as he backed off. "Or you can take her, it's fine!"
"She just needs to rest and she'll be fine." Emily smiled as Aaron wriggled impatiently on her chest. "Go on, I'll call in the morning to see how she is."
I scooped her dead weight up into my arms and her head rolled onto my chest as she groaned. I heard the rest of the guys contemplating what to do with the worthless piece of shit that was now grumbling on the floor, Emily was doing a good job convincing them not to kill him although I didn't necessarily agree with her and they had narrowed it down to telling Charlie exactly what he'd said about his step-daughter and letting him toss him jail on some trumped up charge or ditching him in the middle of nowhere and both seemed equally unfitting.
Leah was still out cold by the time I reached my house so I kicked open the door and walked her through to the only bedroom- my bedroom, and deposited her on the unmade bed.
I stepped back to look at her, arms stretched across the disheveled, white bottom sheet, her hair spilling over the pillows and my stomach did that fluttery thing again.
I pursed my lips as I glanced at her dress, the tight, boned bodice was twisted on her torso and the long, heavy linen skirt was wrapped around her legs. She looked uncomfortable and the decision to lessen that was an easy one to make.
She was my imprint; it was my job to make sure she was happy. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
I walked quickly to my dresser and pulled out a clean pair of boxers and an old t-shirt that was now missing it's sleeves and had a threadbare collar before placing them next to her on the bed and studying the fastenings of her dress.
My hands shook as I reached for the tiny glass buttons that held the top half together, I pulled the first three clean off of their stitching and felt the fourth crack between my fingers so I gave up and slipped two fingers under her dress, pulling gently until each button had popped off and landed with a little crystalline ding on the hardwood floor.
"Just because I'm your imprint doesn't mean you get to just tear my clothes off whenever you want too." Leah grumbled pushing her face into my pillow before bracing her hands flat against the mattress and lifting herself up. "Most men would at least offer to buy me a drink first."
"You seem to forget I'm not most men." I mumbled rising to my feet and leaning over to grab the clothes. "And I've seen you in a lot less than your underwear before."
"I was conscious then." She reached out with one hand and took the clothes I held out while the other clutched her dress to her body. "Can I use your shower?"
I nodded and pointed her in the direction of the bathroom, pulling a bath sheet from the closet in the hallway and adding it to her bundle.
"I'll be in the kitchen if you want anything else." I pulled the door shut behind me and padded into the kitchen, stopping at the counter and leaning over to rest my head on the well worn, but cool melamine top.
My eyes closed and I listened to her movements in the other room. The soft flutter of material hitting the floor, the toilet seat going down and the water turning on. Having her in such close proximity brought me a peace, a wholeness that I hadn't felt in weeks, but I still felt incomplete.
I slid from the counter and busied myself with finding food, coming across a few cans of soup that had gathered dust in the very back of the cupboard and were still a few weeks in date. I was just taking the first bowl from the microwave when Leah emerged, swamped in my t-shirt and the plaid of my underwear just visible at the hem.
"Emily said she wasn't sure if you'd eaten so…" I lifted the bowl and she smiled, pulling out a chair at the table while I grabbed her a spoon. "I haven't got anything to go with it though, I wasn't exactly expecting guests."
"This is fine, I don't have to eat as much anymore since I stopped phasing," she said slurping from the spoon. "That was a blessing in disguise; you would not believe the amount of money I save on my food bill these days. Took a while to get used to though, I would automatically buy family sized everything just to feed myself and the amount of looks I got when I snatched the last muffin from the breakfast table just in case someone else took it first!"
I frowned as I listened to her talk, underneath her babbling I could make out the sound of her accelerated heartbeat and there was no way I could keep the smirk off my face.
"You're nervous." I said as she hovered over her half empty bowl, her damp hair hanging like curtains around her face.
"No I'm not!" She insisted, glancing up at me and her cheeks turned pink which only pleased me more.
"Holy shit! Leah Clearwater's blushing; I thought I'd never see the day!" I sank into the chair opposite her and ducked my head to get a better look. "Do I make you nervous?"
"Get over yourself, Call." Leah leant back in the chair, with her arms folded across her chest. "Not every woman want's to drop to their knees in front of you, I'm tired and it's been a long fucking morning."
"Me thinks the lady doth protest too much!" I chuckled.
"Why is everything such a big joke to you?" The bowl came skidding across the table, tipping into my lap and Leah's chair clattered to the floor behind her. "This is serious Em and it's not just your life, it's mine! Whatever you've been feeling? The anger, the hurt, the regret- everything! I've been feeling it too. I am bound to you, just like you are to me and yes that makes me a little nervous!"
"Would it help if I told you I'm nervous too?" I asked, scooping mushy vegetables from my shorts and standing to drop the bowl in the sink. "Because I am, in fact I'm completely fucking scared! I have never, not once I my life felt anything close to what I feel for you- I literally cannot function normally. You're there in everything I see and do."
I rested my hands on the sides of the sink, watching the water drip from the faucet and onto the plug hole, creating the only sound in the room.
"Why didn't you tell me you'd left him?" Leah suddenly became rather interested in her lap, her eyes refusing to meet mine. "Seth told me that the day Emily had Aaron, you'd left Wesley. Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because-" she sighed heavily "I was scared of what would happen if I left myself open to you, to the imprint. You rejected me, Embry, even when you were marking me you were denying what I was and what we could be and it hurt. It hurt like nothing I've ever felt."
"I never meant to hurt you, Leah." My voice was almost inaudible. "I just thought I knew what to do for the best- I was wrong."
"Wait? Could you repeat that?" Leah's eyebrows knitted together and a tell tale smirk tugged at her lips. "I might be imagining things, but I'm pretty sure Embry Call just admitted to being wrong about something!"
"Laugh it up babe, it's not something you're gonna hear very often." I shook my head, trying to hide the smile the worked it's way on to my face at the sound of her soft chuckle.
Leah rested her hands on the table top; the small diamond that sat on her ring finger glinted under the artificial light.
"Do you regret it?" I asked and her eyes shot to mine as she slid the ring off and pushed it away, shaking her head.
"I regret letting it go as far as it did. I don't think we ever had a chance, not after you…" She trailed off for a moment seemingly considering her words. "I should never have gone back to him after you left, I knew that, but I just couldn't handle the thought of being on my own all over again. It wasn't the same-we weren't the same. I could see it was different; it was like all the color had been sucked out of our relationship and all that was left was the black and white.
I think deep down he knew that you had something to do with what was going on, that's why he made sure I called you to invite you to the wedding."
"He was making sure I knew he'd won." I muttered remembering the effect that message had on me.
"I'm not a prize, Embry." Leah scowled.
"I know you're not," I nodded "but he didn't see it that way."
A tangible silence fell between us, both set's of eyes focused on the discarded ring. I let my eyelids fall and listened to the soft sound of her breathing and the rhythmic thump of her heart, it was soothing and I felt another piece of myself fall into place.
"I'm so tired." She said softly, drawing my attention back to her and I immediately leapt into action.
"Oh, well let me get my keys and I'll drop you back at Sue's, I'm…" She stood and shook her head, cutting me off.
"Can I stay here?" She looked at me expectantly, she had to of known there was no way I could say no?
I nodded dumbly, and she lifted her arm to push her hair of her face. The deep cut arm hole of my shirt and the slight shift of her position afforded me a perfect view of the round of her breast and I think I may have whimpered slightly.
"Do you want me to go and get some of your things from your moms?" I tore my eyes away from her exposed flesh and looked towards the door, half of me praying that she would say yes so that I would have an excuse to leave and the other half hoping that she'd drag me into bed with her.
"Well I guess I kinda need something other than my dress to wear outside the house," she nodded "that would be great, thanks."
"Okay, let me just get some stuff from the room so I don't have to disturb you anymore and then I'll go." I said starting towards my bedroom with Leah hot on my heel.
"Wait, Embry you don't have to give up your bed I'll be fine on the couch!" She exclaimed, watching me as I grabbed a pillow and some spare clothes.
"Lee, I can't even sleep on that damn couch without getting a knot the size of an orange in my back," I scoffed "I'm certainly not gonna make you sleep on it. I'll put the cushions on the floor and I'll be fine."
I walked back to the front of the house and deposited my things on the couch.
"Embry, I can't kick you out of your own bed it's not…" Leah yelped as I lifted her from the floor, walked her back into the bedroom and tossed her onto the bed, the grip she had around my neck almost taking me with her.
She looked up me with wide eyes; my hands braced either side of her head. "You're my imprint, what's mine is yours."
Her face softened slightly as I pulled away and her eyes followed me as I moved quickly around the room, shutting curtains and pulling the rarely used blankets from where they'd been relegated to at the end of the bed.
I walked towards the door, my hands on the knob when I heard her voice.
"Thanks, Em." She offered me a small smile as she shoved her hand under the pillow and turned her face into it, breathing deeply and letting her eyes fall shut.
I stayed out as long as I could; I walked across the reservation to Sue's house and waited patiently while she painstakingly went through Leah's bag to pick out some clothes. There wasn't much food at home so I used that as an excuse to spend another hour trawling the aisles of the store at the edge of town picking up supplies and battling with the need to get back to her.
I gave in after three hours away, walking through the front door to find it everything exactly as I left it and the sounds of shallow breathing from the other end of the hallway let me know that Leah was right where I had left her too.
When I'd finished packing the food away, I toed off my tennis shoes and dumped them by the front door along with the bag full of her clothes. Rain clouds had begun to darken the sky and a yawn racked through my body.
I eyed the couch, momentarily regretting my decision to let her have my bed before shrugging it off. I shoved the coffee table across the room with my foot and grabbed the worn cushions, tossing them onto the floor, along with my pillow and letting myself fall face first onto them with a groan.
I shifted around uncomfortably, the denim of my shorts scratching against my skin and my feet hung of the end of my make shift bed. I pummeled my pillow and squeezed my eyes shut, willing sleep to wash over me, but it wasn't working.
A large sigh passed my lips and I rolled myself on to my back, hands reaching for the button of my shorts and pushing them off. I reached blindly behind for the blanket I usually kept on the back of my couch to find it was gone.
I sat up with a frown, glancing around to see if it had dropped but not finding it anywhere so I pushed myself onto my feet and headed towards my room in search of underwear. I wasn't ashamed of my nakedness- far from it, but I wasn't entirely sure Leah would agree with me if she found me ass up on the living room floor.
Stealth, I was a shape shifter I could totally do stealth.
The door knob creaked under my hand and I winced, hoping that I hadn't woken her. I poked my head around the door to make sure before letting it swing open the rest of the way and tip toed across the room to my drawers.
I grabbed the first pair of boxers I found and pulled them on, my eyes traveling once around the room and finally landing on the bundle in the middle of my bed, with the missing blanket on top.
Leah must have woken up at some point while I was out.
She was curled into herself, knees tucked into her chest, an old hooded sweatshirt that I kept tucked away in the back of my closet swamping her and the sheets and the blanket kicked down over her feet.
"Damn it," I mumbled tugging the covers back over her "I forgot to put the heating on."
As I began to back out of the room she stirred, burrowing deeper under the covers with a sigh.
"Embry…mine." My heart and my ego swelled at the sound of my name, she was dreaming about me. I went back to the couch with a smile on my face and sleep wasn't so hard to find after that.
"Why don't you want me?" I felt like I'd only been asleep minutes when a soft voice woke me with a start and I sat up to find Leah sitting on the couch frame, watching me. The hooded sweatshirt was gone and her hair fell about her face.
"Huh?" I rubbed my eyes, "Leah, what's going on? Is something wrong?"
Leah slid off the couch and on to her knees by my feet, her hands twisting in her lap. "Why don't you want me, Embry?" She said again and I felt my heart stutter at the desperation in her voice.
"I do want you." My voice sounded foreign to me as I leant toward her, fingers brushing down her cheek and along her jaw- my thumb tracing the contours of her lips. "You have no idea how much I want you."
"I can't wait for you any more." The tip of her tongue flicked out against the pad of my thumb and a noticeable shiver ran down my spine. She crawled towards me, her knees resting on either side of my hips as one hand cupped the back of my head and the other trailed slowly up and over my chest, and back down the length of my arm. "I need you."
She leant forward until her body was pressed against mine, her pert nipples straining against the cotton of her shirt and pressing into my chest. Her head dropped onto my shoulder, with her hair tickling my skin and her breath in my ear, I felt her grab my wrist and bring my hand between us to rest on her thigh.
"Feel what you do to me." Leah guided my hand over her skin, pushing under the loose leg of her shorts until my fingers reached her bare sex.
"Fuck, Leah!" My fingers slipped through the slick heat of her folds and I'm not entirely sure whether the resulting moan was mine or hers.
"Only you!" She breathed rocking against my hand, her fingers digging into my shoulders for leverage. "Embry."
"Mine." My eyes were shut tight and my voice was barely a whisper as my fingers pushed inside her, her walls fluttering and clenching around them.
"Embry." Her voice was louder and I frowned trying to concentrate on my movements. "Embry!"
"Hey, Call!" My eye's shot open and I sat straight up, my chest heaving as I tried to catch my breath and focus on my surroundings.
"I heard you calling my name," I turned to find Leah frowning at me from behind the couch "are you okay?"
I scratched roughly at my hair, trying to clear the dream induced fog from my head. "Yeah, I'm fine. What time is it?"
"Six a.m." She said turning towards the kitchen. "Sorry I slept through, I guess I needed it."
"Don't worry about it." I made sure she wasn't looking and reached into my boxers, adjusting my raging hard on with a strangled groan. "Sorry about not turning the heating on before I left."
I rose to my feet and gestured to the sweatshirt she was still wearing when she looked at me in confusion. "I don't really notice the cold so I don't bother turning it on, it never crossed my mind that you might."
"Do you mind?" She tugged at the hem. "I came to ask you if it was okay, but you weren't here."
"Of course I don't mind, I meant what I said yesterday," I padded past her to the fridge "what's mine is yours. I got some of your things from your mom; I left them by the door."
I turned to look at her to find her watching me, her cheeks flushed and she quickly moved in search of her things.
"You want some breakfast? I got eggs, bacon and some of those hash brown things you used to love so much." I delved into the small, box freezer for the bag I'd placed there yesterday. "I doubt they're as good as Emily's though, they're store bought."
"You remember that?" Leah stood with her bag hanging limply from her fingers and a look of genuine surprise on her face.
"I remember a lot of things about you." I nodded dropping the food onto the counter and beginning the search for my neglected frying pan. "After I imprinted on you a lot of stuff just came back to me- certain things would trigger off a memory, like yesterday, I was at the grocery store and when I walked past the freezer section I saw the hash browns and I remembered the fights you and Jared used to get into over the leftovers."
I watched her mouth opened and shut a few times, the words she apparently wanted to say, seemingly caught in her throat so I smiled and started cracking the eggs.
"I'll do breakfast." She stated, removing my sweatshirt and dropping it with her bag over the couch as she walked towards me with purpose. "It's the least I can do since you gave me your bed."
"You don't need to do that," I said as she grabbed the bowl from me "I assure you, I'm perfectly capable of scrambling some eggs and making sure nothing burns."
"I never said you weren't," she replied softly, glancing up at me out of the corner of her eye as she whisked "just…let me do this for you, okay? Why don't you go shower or something?"
I nodded and left her searching through my cupboards, stealing myself away and locking myself in the bathroom.
I turned on the water and dropped my underwear to the floor, stepping under the stream with a sigh. As the water heated, I caught Leah's lingering scent in the steam as it swirled around me and I groaned as my dream came rushing back to me- her hands on my skin, her breath on my neck, her soft thighs and her heat under my fingers.
My waning erection returned full force, and I contemplated turning the water cold for all of five seconds before my head thumped against the shower wall and my hand gripped my length and with one stroke I could tell it wouldn't take long.
I breathed deeply, taking in the last of her fading scent as my thumb swept over the swollen head of my cock. "Holy shit!"
I braced my arm against the wall, the pace of my hand quickening as I remembered dream Leah's words.
"I can't wait for you- I need you- feel what you do to me- only you!"
"Fuck!" I growled as I came hard, biting my lip to stop myself from crying out her name and embarrassing myself even more.
I spent a few minutes collecting myself and stepped out of the shower, the smell of food wafting under the door made my stomach rumble and I quickly ran across to my room to grab my basketball shorts and a t-shirt.
"Smells good." I said, walking back into the kitchen just as Leah put the plated food onto the table.
"Thanks." She smiled shyly as I took my seat. "Do you want syrup? I didn't…"
I chuckled and grabbed her hand, pulling into the chair next to me. "I'll get it, just sit and relax for a minute."
She nodded and tucked her hair behind her ear, grabbing a fork and digging into her food. A comfortable silence fell between us filled only by the clinking of our plates and the sound of chewing.
"So," I chanced a quick glance up at her "do you know how long you'll be staying?"
Leah swallowed her mouthful and pursed her lips. "I'm not sure yet. However long mom can have me I guess."
"You can stay here you know?" I shrugged helping myself to more bacon. "I don't mind. I mean I know it's not that big, but I figure we can work around each other if you want?"
"Are you sure?" She cocked an eyebrow and I nodded, shoving the last piece of bacon into my mouth and grabbing the empty plates.
As I ran the water in the sink, I felt her rather than heard her, come up behind me. Her small hands gripped my waist and her feet shuffled forward until they were between mine, her nose pressed against the centre of my back and I heard her breath deeply.
I sighed as the softness of her body molded against mine, feeling one step closer to whole again.
"This feel's so good." Her voice was barely a whisper, so low that I almost missed it. "Tell me you feel it?"
I turned in her arms, my soapy fingers cupping her face. "I feel it."
"I can't wait for you anymore, Embry." A pained look crossed her face as she laid the last piece of herself bare for me. "I want this, I want us- please?"
Her lips were soft against mine, no pressure as they brushed back and forth, her breath was sweet from the syrup as I whispered against her mouth. "I want you too." I pressed a little harder. "I want you so much it hurts."
All gentleness was pushed aside as months of denial and rejection came crashing down around us, her hands gripped my face, keeping my lips against hers, her tongue tracing the seam- seeking entry greedily.
I leant back against the counter, pulling her between my parted legs, my fingers splayed at her sides and the deep cut of her shirt, again, taunting me with her skin. Her low sighs were lost as my tongue worked against hers, coveting every taste she had to offer.
Leah slowed the kiss, stepping out of my grasp. She was breathless and flushed, her eyes were dark and wide and her lips swollen. "Come with me." She demanded softly, taking my hand and pulling me down the hallway.
"What are you doing?" I had a feeling I knew exactly what she was doing and answering smirk only confirmed it as she led me into the bedroom.
"Tell me what you were dreaming about?" She pecked repeatedly at my lips, softly sucking my bottom between hers each time as guided me backwards until I felt the bed behind my knees and I gripped her waist, taking her with me as I toppled backwards.
"You." Her hands tugged at the hem of my shirt, pushing it up and over my head, leaving me to wrestle it the rest of the way off as her hands explored the lines of my chest.
"Well I already knew that!" She shot me a trademark smirk, before she lowered her mouth to my neck- confident Leah was back. "I heard you moaning my name, was I good?"
"The real you is much better." I hissed as her teeth scraped my nipple. My hands went to her shoulders, pulling her back to me, her mouth clashing against mine as we both fought for dominance.
I cupped her breast, rolling her nipple through the cloth of her shirt earning me a little purr of appreciation as she ground her hips into mine, the intense scent of her arousal hitting me like a sledge hammer.
Her shirt tore like paper in my hands and she pulled away to survey the damage. "What did I tell you about tearing my clothes off?"
"Exactly," I growled dipping my head down to her chest, lapping at her perfectly round, taut bud "you said not to tear your clothes- that shirt is mine, I can do what ever the fuck I want with it."
"Well in that case," she slipped the shredded top from her shoulders "don't forget that the shorts are yours too."
"Fuck!" I gripped her hips and flipped her off my lap, climbing between her spread legs and pressing her body into the mattress. As I reclaimed her mouth, my hand wormed its way between our bodies, finding the opening in the boxer shorts and slipping inside.
My fingers traced her slit, sweeping through the moisture that had already gathered there, parting her folds and drawing tight circles around her clit. She wriggled underneath me, her head tipping back as she moaned loudly.
Next to her laugh it was the sweetest fucking sound I'd ever heard.
"Holy fuck!" Leah cried as I slipped a finger inside her, piercing her tight heat and scraping my thumbnail over her tiny bundle of nerves until her walls began to flutter with the threat of her orgasm.
I smirked at the disgruntled growl she gave when my hand left its spot between her quivering legs, her dark, hooded eyes finding mine and her mouth open, ready to protest.
"What the hell are you doing?" She exclaimed, flexing her hips in an attempt to find friction. "I'm so fucking close, why'd you stop?"
"What's the rush, baby?" My eyes held hers as I brought my glistening fingers to my lips, unable to contain a guttural groan at her taste on my tongue. "I'm just getting started."
I sat back on my heels, dragging the shorts down her legs and tossing them somewhere behind me. My hands found her thighs, squeezing her soft skin as I leant forward, suckling the curve of her hips. I gripped her ass and lifted her to me, intent on making her moan again as I lapped at her slit.
"Shit, right there!" Leah's hands gripped my ears as she rode my tongue. "Oh god!"
She yelped when I caught her clit between my lips, flicking it in time with my fingers as they worked back inside her and with one final scream, she came, shuddering and twitching.
I crawled back up her body, dropping kisses across her skin as she hummed with contentment and turned onto her side.
"Hey," I brushed her hair back from her face and shoulder, nuzzling the crook of neck, inhaling her scent "where are you going?"
"I feel like Jell-O," she smiled, squirming a little when my fingers tickled over her stomach "I like this feeling."
"I like making you feel like that." I cupped her swollen sex. "I wanna do it again."
She nodded, quietly groaning into my pillow when I lifted myself of from her body and removed my shorts. I was painfully hard as I retrieved a condom from my drawer, unable to resist the urge to stroke my length as I rolled it on and groaning as I squeezed the head of my cock.
"Should I leave you two alone?" Leah smirked, propped up on her elbows as she watched me work myself.
"Hell no!" I growled climbing back across the bed, straddling her body and ducking down to catch her mouth. "Roll over."
Leah did as I asked, turning onto her stomach, her head turned to the side so she could watch what I was doing. I scooped her up, pulling her back against my chest, her wet heat hovering above my cock. She spread her legs and sank down on to me, her head lolling back with a silent scream as I filled her, my face buried in her neck, incoherent mumbles lost on her skin as I lifted her off and pushed back in, again and again.
"Jesus Em!" Leah arched off of me "I'm not a fucking doll, you're not gonna break me! Move already!"
And with that she slammed herself back down, with a loud cry and all my control went crumbling to the ground. I tipped her onto all fours and rose to my knees, burying myself back in her tight heat, my hands gripping her hips with painful pressure as I pulled her back to meet my thrusts, the back of her thighs slapping against mine.
"Oh shit!" Leah fell forward, unable to hold her own weight as her walls began to flutter violently around my shaft. My fingers trailed across her damp skin to where we were joined, finding her clit and pinching it.
"Cum for me Leah." I roared, feeling myself tightening, so close to the edge. "Come on baby."
She let out a lupine growl, her back contorting as she clamped down around me, igniting my own end as I slammed into her erratically, coming longer and harder than ever.
It was euphoric, it was exhilarating, it was blissful- it was fan-fucking-tastic!
Leah mumbled, reduced to gibberish as she collapsed onto the bed, her skin glistening with sweat as she greedily sucked air into her chest.
I slipped out of her with a groan, tossing the condom into the trash can by the bed.
"Remind me why the hell we waited so long to do that?" I fell next to her, her arm sliding over my body and her head coming to rest on my shoulder.
"Because you're a stupid asshole who doesn't know a good thing when it all but punches him in the face." She replied wearily. "It's your own fault!"
I sighed and pushed myself of the bed, grabbing my shorts from the floor and beginning the hunt for my car keys, while Leah looked on in confusion.
"Where the fuck are you going now?" She scowled as I slipped on a pair of flip flops and a shirt.
"Seattle to get the rest of your stuff," I leaned over her on the bed, resting my weight on my hands "if you think I'm gonna let you walk away from me again, you've got another fucking thing coming."
I pressed my lips to hers, coaxing it open and sucking her tongue into my mouth. "Stay right there, don't move, don't dress- don't do anything that will stop me doing exactly what we just did all over again when I get back, understand?"
"Well since you asked so nicely!" She rolled her eyes and flopped back onto the bed, her body open and exposed, and she grinned knowingly as I groaned.
"I'll be as fast as I can!" I ran out the door to my car, leaving her chuckling behind me.
I still think life is totally predictable, but Rachel was right, every now and then you get thrown a wicked curve ball that knocks you completely off of your feet. You can fight it as much as you want, but in the end? It's completely fucking worth it!