Entry and Winner of the Real Love Contest! Thanks so much to those who voted!

And a HUGE thanks to my beta, the awesomesauce filled Katmom, and my lovely and insightful pre-reader LJ Summers! You ladies are the BEST!


"Hey, babe, can you grab me the GreenWorks?" Emily asked from the kitchen, digging her sponge into a particularly dirty corner of grout on her tile countertop.

"Babe?" Emily turned around to see that Sam had vacated his position at the dining table. He had just been sorting through the bills that had piled up over the last month.

Calling his name got no response. She started through the house, checking the front bathroom first. It was empty. "Samuel Uley, whatever it is you're doing can wait." He had been trying to get out of his chores all day, distracted by small things like a call from one of his brothers or the baseball game that was on television. Her patience was very limited.

"Sam! Where on earth did you go now? Do you understand that we have company coming?" She walked into the bedroom and gasped in horror. "Sam!" She took a deep breath, holding her hand tightly over her chest in an unconscious attempt to slow her heart rate. "Good Lord, what are you doing?"

She almost laughed at the smug smirk on his face as he remained entirely still in his pose on the bed. He was completely naked, lying on his side with one leg bent, his knee pointing to the ceiling and a hand resting on top of it as if he were in some window display in the Red Light District of Amsterdam.

"Hey, baby." He lowered his voice, attempting to sound as seductive as possible, just barely keeping the laugh out of his words. "Why don't you come on over here for a minute or two? I've got a special package waiting."

Emily snorted. "Sam, get up. We've got work to do, and I don't have time for this!" She turned to leave and his face instantly fell.

"Em, where are you going? Wait!"

She didn't pause. "My parents are going to be here in twenty-four hours, Sam. Twenty-four hours. I don't have time to indulge your macho-man fantasies today. Sorry!" She swiftly left the room, giving him a little wave just before she disappeared into the hall.

He jumped up and followed, barely missing a beat.

"Come on, baby, please? I'll be fast, I promise!" She laughed as she walked back to her corner of the kitchen, picking up the GreenWorks along the way.

"Em, please! It's been four days!" He sounded exasperated. She huffed.

"How have you made it this long?" The sarcasm flowed freely. "Are you okay? Maybe we should get you to a doctor." She smiled playfully, but his pitiful and well-practiced puppy-dog expression didn't flinch. She rolled her eyes and turned to the counter. "Get back to work."

A couple of minutes passed and she thought maybe she had won. Until he spoke again.

"I'm not doing anything until we have sex. Period." She turned to find him still nude and standing in the entry to the kitchen, arms crossed over his chest in a very stubborn fashion. "Your call, Mrs. Uley." He tapped his foot as he waited.

She assessed the situation, determining the quickest route back to finishing the housework, and promptly left the kitchen. As she marched down the hallway she yanked the old ratty t-shirt she wore over her head and dropped it on the floor. Just before she turned the corner to their bedroom she looked back to see Sam staring after her from the kitchen. "Well, you coming or what?"

He stood for another moment, mouth agape as he tried to comprehend that he had won. "Yes!" He pumped his fist once as he jogged down the hall, the memory of her perky naked breasts already causing a delicious strain on his manhood.

Emily was already undressed and laying across the middle of the bed, reaching for a tube that was kept in the drawer of Sam's nightstand. He groaned as she pulled out the K-Y. "Aw, we don't need that crap!"

"Yeah, babe, you're right. I'm just dripping over here." Emily rolled her eyes as she reached out to Sam, pulling him over and covering his still-growing length with the cold jelly. "Alright, let's go." She threw her legs into the air, scooting down the bed until she was right at the edge, and waited. "Come on over, Rover." She snickered.

Sam considered objecting to the extremely non-romantic nature of their interaction, but decided against it. Quick sex was better than no sex at all. Instead, he slammed into her.

"Ow! Sam!" Emily whined halfheartedly. Though she was attempting to maintain her poker face, she knew she was going to enjoy herself. Why shouldn't she, really?

Sam had just gotten into a nice rhythm when there was a loud bang on the front door. Then another on the kitchen window. He groaned. "Shit. It's the guys."

A shout came from somewhere outside. "Sam! He's back, we gotta go!" The brother's words were accented by a sharp, piercing howl in the distance.

Both Sam and Emily stiffened in their positions, realizing this wasn't just a friendly visit. Sam cursed under his breath, pulling out of Emily with a grunt. He thought he heard a whimper from her, too, but didn't have time to check. He leaned down to peck her on the forehead and then bolted out of the house, not bothering to grab his clothes. The brothers would know what he'd been doing in a matter of minutes anyway.

A single tear slipped from Emily's eye as she whispered, "Be safe." She hoped he'd heard.

Emily laid still for a few moments, feeling the rush of blood through her veins and listening to the loud thumping of her heartbeat in her ears. She waited for her pulse to slow, but it didn't. She sat up on the edge of the bed, reaching over and grabbing the cordless phone that sat on her nightstand, and began dialing.

"Emily?" Rachel sounded nervous, which concerned Emily even more. Rachel was always the calm one in the group – the voice of reason and reminders. She had more faith in their guys than most of the others put together.

"Rachel, what is it? I didn't have time to ask."

"It's that tracker. The one from Italy, Em." Emily shivered. "He keeps coming back, like he thinks they're hiding out here or something. I hate it. I just want to walk outside and scream, They're Gone! They left! And thanks to you they're never coming back!"

Emily let all of her breath out in a sigh, waiting a few uncomfortable moments longer than normal to inhale and resume her heavy breathing. "Okay, let's get started. I'll call the others."

She quickly went through her routine of switching to the second line, dialing the number of another Wolf Girl and conferencing her into the first line. Once she had them all on the same call, Emily began to speak. As the Alpha-Wife she tended to head up the Wolf Girl meetings, though that was more out of habit than it was a rule.

"I have a dream, and I know it will be so. I dream of the day when Sam and I bring our grandson to his first tribe bonfire. He will sit in between the two of us, holding our hands and listening to the stories, both ancient and recent, of our tribe. He will hear the stories we heard about how we began and the evil Cold Ones that caused our shift, as well as the stories of how we survived. He will know of the Cold Ones that saved our tribe from extinction. And one day, when it is safe for them to return, he may even meet them. That is my dream."

Each of the girls followed suit, sharing a hope or dream they had for themselves and their men. A story from the future that, as a group, they would one day make their reality.

The Wolf Girl Ritual, as it had been dubbed a few years prior, was always bittersweet, but had worked every time. Their guys always came home safely.

As a high-pitched squeal came through the line, Emily remembered that one story told almost a year before had already come to be. Jacob Jared, named for the brother who had left and the infant's father, cried out in the background, adding the perfect punctuation to the end of their storytelling. "Well, I think that's my cue, girls. Thank you. I'll be here, waiting." Kim disconnected first, each of the others saying their goodbyes as well.

When the line went dead Emily felt her breathing pick up again. The girls had soothed her, but reality was crashing back down. She and Sam didn't have a grandson, yet. They weren't living the future she had planned. Sam wasn't there.

Emily arose from the bed, dressing herself in the clothes she had stripped off only a few minutes before and jumping head-first into the first distraction she could think of. Her parents were coming after all, and the house was still a mess. At least this distraction would be a productive one.

:::AoO:::

Sam shuffled as close as he could to the backdoor before phasing into his human skin, quickly jogging into the house to find some clothes.

He'd only been gone five hours, but it looked more like three days of work had occurred in his absence. Or maybe like a team of housekeepers had come in and cleaned their place, leaving it absolutely spotless. He scanned the front of the house, not finding his wife anywhere in sight. He tiptoed to the back room, thinking she may be sleeping and not wanting to disturb her. But as soon as he entered their room she was climbing him, wrapping her legs around his torso and attacking his face with her lips as he held her up by her bottom.

He always got a nice homecoming after a hunt, but this seemed more urgent than usual. Emily was naked, and practically forced herself down over his manhood in a painful shove the minute she saw the first signs of his arousal. She didn't bother with any pleasantries, not even allowing him to fully harden before she began pumping in strange uneven thrusts as he held her entire weight with his arms, helping her as best he could.

Emily kept going until she was gasping for breath – not because the sex was amazing but because she had used all her energy trying to work into a steady grind while maintaining her awkward position in Sam's arms.

"Hey, it's okay," Sam whispered in Emily's ear as he leaned forward, gently pulling himself out of her and setting her on the bed. He knelt down in front of her, raising her chin with the fingers of one hand while wiping away the tears streaming down her face with the other. "Em, what's wrong?"

She shook her head from side to side, trying to shake away the oncoming tears. "I just… I was scared." The tears came anyway. "You left, and I was being mean. And I'm always scared when you leave, but this was worse. I didn't want that to be our last time, but I couldn't do anything." Her sentences were chopped up into small bursts separated by jerky and uneven inhales and exhales. "I just love you so damn much."

Sam laughed at her word selection, bringing a much needed smile to her face. Emily wiped her palms down her cheeks, under her chin and over her neck drying away the wetness.

"I love you so damn much, too, baby." Sam leaned in and gave her what was meant to be a quick peck, but he lingered just long enough for her to open her lips and invite him in. Their mouths fit together well, taking as the other gave in a slow, sweet rhythm. When she pulled away after only a minute he was surprised.

"You're tired, baby. Get some rest. We have a big day tomorrow."

Sam knew she was right, but he couldn't deny the need that was now apparent between his legs. He stood upright so she could see exactly what his focus was. "Not too tired, if you're not."

Emily climbed to the head of the bed, laying down and reaching up to drag Sam down on top of her. When they connected, it was not rough and determined as it was a few minutes before, or dull and sarcastic as it had been earlier that day. It was slow and soft. It was steady and calm. There were no goals or expectations. They were just connecting again, in an intimate greeting of Welcome Home and Glad to be Back.

They rolled onto their sides after a while, staying connected as long as they were physically able. Sam was exhausted, after all, and for once sex did not mean grunting, thrusting and someone reaching orgasm. It just meant love. True love. Real love.