All recognizable names are the property of Stephenie Meyer. We just like playing dress up in her shoes.
This is another collab from Sabi'sSookie (who sill be writing Paul) and Nostalgicmiss (who will be writing Bella). We just couldn't stay away from working together! We have an addiction! It is rated M and not suitable for those under the age of 18, so if you are… don't tell us!
Set me free, leave me be.
I don't want to fall another moment into your gravity.
Here I am and I stand so tall,
Just the way I'm supposed to be.
Gravity by Sara Barelles
It was raining, again. As it had from the moment my plane had touched down in the Pacific Northwest. First in Seattle, then in Port Angeles and then all the way on the drive to my new hometown, Forks. It was a far cry from the hot, dry desert of Phoenix Arizona, but it was where I would be living now. Charlie, my dad, was more than happy to welcome me into his home when I'd asked. It was a sacrifice I'd had to make for my mom's happiness and I wasn't upset about it. Maybe getting to know my dad was a good thing, though we'd barely said a word to one another last night when I arrived.
He and I were more alike than I'd cared to admit. Both of us were the strong, silent types, taking everything in our strides and showing as little emotion as possible about it. It was how we coped, our defense mechanisms.
It was only the morning after that he'd decided to tell me that I wouldn't be going to Forks High School. I'd assumed I would be going there as it was the school closest to Charlie's home, I'd even had my mom send my transcripts there; but instead, he'd insisted that I go to school on the reservation down in La Push.
This sucked for two reasons. One, I had to leave an extra fifteen minutes early, which meant I had to get up a half hour earlier and wake up enough to drive there and two, I wasn't a Native American. Not that I was prejudice, more that I was worried about sticking out like a sore thumb. I was more the blend in with the scenery type. I wanted to resemble those little flowers on the wall that nobody noticed.
Thankfully, I still had a full day before I was expected to wake up at the ass crack of dawn and ride to school, and Charlie was taking me down to the Reservation so I could meet some of my potential friends before I started. He'd also told me he'd bought me a refurbished truck from Billy, so I could get to school without having to depend on him for a ride. That in its self was a silver lining in this constant cloud cover. What kid wanted to show up for their first day of school in a cop car?
I wiped away the condensation on the mirror and stared at my pale reflection. My skin was so fair it was practically translucent, which just seemed to add to the theory of standing out. The limited memory that I had of my time down on the Reservation was more than clear about the beautiful russet skin most of them sported.
Wishing I hadn't cleared the mirror and set in on my self-depreciation I got down to my routine of teeth brushing and hair drying. Then I chanced a dash to my room in a towel. Only having one bathroom was certainly a change I wasn't excited about. I was sure if Charlie caught me toga togged he would turn crimson, which may even be followed by a puce color. I knew the details because I had the same affliction when I was embarrassed or frustrated.
Satisfied it was as good as it was gonna get, I threw on some clothes that would keep me warm and pulled my hair up into a ponytail to keep it out of my way. La Push was on the coast, which meant the wind would throw my hair around if I left it hanging freely. After all, practicality had been my middle name for years. I'd been looking after my mom for as long as I could remember, and even though this was my chance to be a teen, I couldn't help but feel that my opportunity had passed.
I had no idea what to expect since I hadn't been down to the Reservation since I was a kid, but from what Charlie had said over breakfast there were at least a couple people down there eager to meet me. Unfortunately, that wasn't exactly comforting when you considered my wallflower status.
"Bells, you ready?" Charlie called up from downstairs, his voice filled with excitement. I could hear him pulling on his shoes and coat as I opened the door. I hadn't realized I was running so late, being lost in my own head at least made the time pass.
"Coming," I replied, closing my bedroom door behind me as I pulled on the heavy winter jacket mom had bought for me as a parting gift. It was possibly one of my favorite things, how she'd found an old school, faux fur hood lined, olive green parka was beyond me. It was a definite throwback from the eighties and it almost had me wishing that I had the Sex Pistols or The Cure on my iPod. The dialup Internet my dad had was no conducive to speedy downloads.
The ride down to La Push was shrouded in our usual companionable silence, which was only broken up with the occasional noise-ladened update from the stations dispatcher. Charlie loved his job as chief of police, which meant even when off duty he had to be connected to the station in some form or fashion. There was always a radio in his pocket turned down low, even when sports center was on.
It wasn't until we broke through the lining of the trees and the coast opened up into a white capped roil of turmoil, that I started feeling better about having the chance to go to school there. Even angry and gray it was beautiful. The dark water seemed to bleed off to meet the dark sky on the edge of the horizon, and I knew I could stand there watching as nature made her presence known. I'd forgotten how beautiful it was here, or maybe I just hadn't appreciated it as a kid.
"It never looks the same way twice," Charlie said from beside me, as he slowed for a stop sign that led into a neighborhood full of worn down homes that sat a little off the ground. "Just wait until you see the beach."
I gave him a smile and turned my attention back to the natural scene ahead of me. It was strange but the houses seemed to fit, there were no elaborate mansions, or ugly architectural structures. The slightly weather worn houses lining the streets just seemed to fit. It was quaint and homely.
When we turned into a driveway that belonged to a red painted clapboard home, I couldn't help but smile. I actually found it endearing, it had an old world charm that just fit here in the forests of Washington State. I don't think it could have been more perfect if it was a log cabin. Even the small shack situated to the back, with it's small worn down porch and mismatched shutters, looked homey and welcoming.
Before Charlie could even turn off the cruiser, the front door of the home was thrown open and a good-looking kid with short dark hair and kind eyes, stepped out. He jumped the three steps that were sat next to a homemade wheelchair ramp and landed in the damp dirt at the bottom. His smile was infectious and made me feel more at ease than awkward as I had initially anticipated.
"That's Billy's boy, Jacob."
"I remember him, I think. Doesn't he have sisters?" I asked, unclasping the seatbelt Charlie had insisted I wear.
"Becca and Rachel, they've both moved on. Rachel headed onto college, and Becca's married and living in Hawaii."
"She didn't hang around."
"No," Charlie laughed, pushing open his door. "But Billy's stuck with his boys, they're not going anywhere."
"Boys?" I asked curiously. "As in plural? I thought . . ."
"He took a good kid, called Paul in, but you let them tell you about that. It's not our business to talk about."
"Yes, sir," I agreed, opening my own door and climbing out. It was one thing about Charlie I respected the most. He didn't pry, he respected people's privacy, and he never offered advice unless he found it completely necessary.
We'd parked behind an ancient red truck, and somewhere along the way Jacob had popped the tailgate and was perched on the edge of it, watching us with amusement.
"Hello, Bella," he smirked, exaggerating the O on the hello, which earned him an incredulous look from Charlie. "Good to see you again."
"You too?" I hadn't meant for it to come out as a question, but it had, and Jacob seemed to find it highly amusing. There went the aforementioned blush.
"So, Bells," Charlie finally said, running his hand along the paint chipped edge of the truck bed. "What do you think?"
Rather than answering I gave him a raised eyebrow in question. I'd only lived with him for twenty-four hours; it wasn't as though we had developed an understanding of the cryptic yet.
"Your new wheels," Jacob interceded, hopping off the tailgate and walking down the opposite side, motioning for me to follow.
"You mean . . ."
"I know it's not exactly cool . . ." Charlie started, but I cut him off, stumbling as I followed Jacob.
"Are you serious? I love it. It's got a sense of charm to it," I sang giving him the brightest smile since I'd arrived. Jacob popped open the hood and it creaked on rusty hinges.
"Paul and I have been working on this beast forever. We rebuilt the engine," he said leaning on over the cavernous space under the hood. I followed his example and hung over the edge. "It's got new belts and a new battery."
"If it runs, we're good," I grinned, leaning over the edge and noting the hardware that was shinier in comparison to it's counterparts. As involved as I was in this spectacular gift, I found myself pulled away from it as though something was calling my name.
Standing up, I looked behind me and met a set of brown eyes that I found I couldn't break the connection with. They belonged to a handsome guy that had to stand at least six foot five, his chest was bare even in the freezing cold weather and I found myself concerned that he'd end up catching a cold, which was ridiculous considering it was the first time I'd met him.
For a moment I had to check to make sure I hadn't tripped over something and smashed my head. This wasn't my usual MO, especially when it came to guys. In fact, I'd never so much as looked at a guy I liked without flaring scarlet and hightailing it. Surprisingly, even with that epiphany, I couldn't seem to drag my eyes away from his magnificence.
I was stood a little ways away from him, but it was hard not to notice the subtle scars that marred his chest. They were deep and violent and I couldn't help wondering what could have hurt him that badly.
Caught in my own mind watching him like a deer in the headlights, I found I hadn't been aware that he'd spoken. It wasn't until Jake reacted from right beside me that I realized something was wrong.
The guy ahead of me, who I could only assume was Paul, was shaking so hard he was practically vibrating. His face, was a flux of emotions as he glared at me, yet not once did I back down. I met his stare head on and watched with concern as the jerky movements continued.
"Dad!" Jake shouted from beside me, making me jump a little. "Call Sam! NOW!"
I had no idea what he was talking about; I just hoped that whoever Sam was would help Paul. I rocked on the balls of my feet, as my natural instinct seemed to push me to him.
"Bells, just stay where you are honey. Don't go any closer," Charlie called out, his voice filled with concern I couldn't understand.
I normally would have listened and lost interest in whatever it was that was going on, but I found myself ignoring his request. For the first time in my life, my need was pulling me in the direction of the handsome guy that was seemingly caught up in his own torment.
Unfathomably, it seemed like I had only blinked once before I found myself stood in front of him watching him with a curiosity I couldn't quite place, his body moved in a way I'd never seen before, as though it was warring with itself. I'd never seen anything like it in my life.
When I looked up at him again, his eyes were closed, shutting me off from the connection I'd had with him when I'd first turned around from the hood of the truck.
"Are you all right?" I asked taking him in now he was closer. I could feel the heat rolling off his body in waves, and I couldn't stop myself from reaching out to one of the more predominant scars on his chest.
It was deeper than most of the others, the scar puckered angrily as though it hadn't been fixed quickly enough.
"Paul, right?" I asked, almost sighing as my fingers brushed feather light across the op of the scar. I didn't get much further. Paul sucked the air through his teeth and his eyes flashed open in surprise.
"Shit, fuck, shit," he growled before taking off at a dead sprint and disappearing into the small shack that sat at the back of the Black's home, slamming the door closed behind him. It only took a second before sounds of destruction filled the air.
I watched as long as I could before the images in my mind caught up with the sounds ringing through the salty sea air. I wrapped my arms around myself like I normally felt self conscious, but this time I felt as though I'd misplaced something important.
"You okay?" Jacob asked, approaching slowly as I watched another tall guy enter the small shack cautiously. It was all so bizarre, Paul's reaction, Jacob's concern, none of it made sense. Stood in the cold breeze rolling off the pacific, I found that the comfortable feeling I'd had around Jacob was the only thing that seemed to settle the new ache that began to fill my body.
I hoped I wasn't getting sick. That was the last thing I needed.
"Bells honey, come inside," Charlie called from the door of Billy's house, his eyes filled with concern as they flickered to yet another crash from the small shack.
I nodded automatically, not really knowing what I was feeling or what exactly had transpired so quickly in the last ten minutes. Jacob was watching me just as expectantly as Charlie was, and when I forced a smile and started walking, he simply followed without comment.
So much for fitting in and making friends, I'd said less than two words to Paul and had already repulsed him enough to tear his house apart. This was going to be the worst school year ever.
I looked down at my body, tracing the marred flesh that was riddled with scars. The girl who I had most recently kicked out of my little shack had called them sexy. Just like all the others, she never asked how I got them. Hell, most of the women I bedded had been repulsed by them all together. It just proved my theory that there was no such thing as love, and the love that did exist either made you a monster or turned you into a pussy-whipped fool. It was why I was relieved to hear that imprinting was rare. Sam was a fine Alpha, and his mate Emily was the best woman I had ever met, but in a battle, Sam's mind was always on Emily in one form or another. It made him weak. I would not… no, could not, be weak.
"Paul! Dinner!" Jake bellowed from his house next door. I slipped on a pair of shorts and headed to the Black's; the place I had called home for three years.
I walked in the front door and was greeted by Charlie Swan. It was no surprise that he was there. The man practically lived at the little red house, but that day he seemed off. He was actually smiling under that porn stache of his.
"What's up, old man?" I asked as I patted Charlie on the shoulder. He was one of the best men I had ever known. He was the one that found me that night, and took me from my bastard of a father. I think he would've kept me too, but Social Services deemed it a tribal matter.
"Bella's coming. Be here next week." Charlie's smile widened. He talked about the daughter he never saw constantly, and she never visited so I could imagine he was ecstatic.
"For a visit? That's great Chief," I said as I inhaled my dinner.
"Nah, she's coming to live here. Her mom remarried. Billy here fixed it up so she can go to school here on the Res. The Cullen's are nice people… er, vampires, but she's my daughter and there's no harm in being cautious."
I still remember the day that good ol' Charlie found out that all the scary stories were true. He and Billy had just come back from fishing and were three sheets to the wind. Jake and I were arguing over God knows what and right before Charlie's eyes Jake exploded into a giant wolf. Now, a normal reaction would have been to run screaming. Charlie's reaction…
"Huh. Billy, when did you get a dog?" And he just walked in the house. Billy, of course explained shit to him, but Charlie never treated us any different.
"I want you boys to watch out for her. Paul, I know you graduated, but… well… I know your… reputation with the girls. Just… I'm not tellin' ya' not to be friends with her, just keep it in your pants, okay?" We all burst into laughter at Charlie's request.
"What about Jake? He's the one that beats his meat to her Facebook page!" Charlie's face turned an unnatural shade of red at my words and Jake gulped loudly. Billy failed at his attempt at holding in a chuckle.
"Jacob! Are you… have you… You know what? I don't want to know. You keep it in your pants too!" At that even Charlie joined in laughing, but kept a wary eye on Jake.
The week passed quickly, and I forgot all about the arrival of one Miss Swan, so you could imagine what happened when I saw a tight little ass leaned over the old behemoth of a truck that Jake and I fixed up. Long, mahogany hair was pulled into a high ponytail, showing off a slim, pale neck. My heightened senses could see her pulse throbbing below the skin, and her scent made it's way into my nostrils causing a shiver to roll down my spine. She was a small thing, probably only came up to my chest, and I wanted her to turn around so I could see the face of my next conquest. But when she turned around, I was met with the color of melted chocolate. My whole body froze and I felt a pull deep in my soul to check her over, make sure she was safe, and hold her….
"Fuck!" I yelled, startling the brown-eyed beauty before me.
"Oh shit," Jake cursed under his breath, as he realized what had just happened.
My body shook as I fought to keep my distance. My wolf was fighting to get to the surface, determined to go to her if I would not.
"Dad!" Jake called "Call Sam! NOW!"
Then I heard Charlie's voice. "Bells, just stay where you are honey. Don't go any closer."
How had I not noticed that she had moved so that she was standing right in front of me? I inhaled deeply, taking in her scent. It was soft and clean. Like what I always imagined a real home would smell like, fresh laundry, cookies in the oven, and warmth. See? Already turning into a pussy. Dammit. And she was fucking innocent. Not a hint of a male scent on her anywhere.
"Are you all right?" Her voice was as small as her and my eyes popped back open to take her in. Her features fit perfectly on her heart-shaped face. All except for her lips. They were both full, but the bottom was slightly too big for the top. I wanted to take it in my mouth…
"Paul, right?" Her tiny hand reached up to touch one of the scars on my bare chest and I wanted to sob. She was reverent and loving, and…
"Shit, fuck, shit," I mumbled under my breath and pulled away from her before running as fast as my feet would carry me to me little shack. I fought to catch my breath as I was on the verge of hyperventilating. Imprinting wasn't instant love, but it was a bonding that was undeniable, and it always, ALWAYS led to love.
"NO!" I flipped my kitchen table over and began smashing it to bits. I knew that I had to fight. The wolf side of me was fighting so hard that I could see flashes of silver fur appear and disappear. He wanted out to go to her. She ruined me! All I could think was that I would fight it. I would run, as far and as fast as possible. Maybe go hunt down a leech or two. That would occupy the wolf until I could figure out what to do.
"Calm down, Paul." The Alpha command from Sam forced my body to be still, but the war continued to rage on inside.
"Command me to stay away from her! Please!" I begged and he looked at me with pity.
"Paul, brother, you know it would only hurt you both, She won't know what or why, but she will feel the pull to a certain extent. And you… I tried to fight it when I imprinted on Emily and look where it got us. Look at my Emily's face. The second I was anywhere near her the wolf fought too hard and she got in the way."
"You know me, Sam. I will ruin her! Charlie… he deserves better than me as a mate for his daughter, and that girl… I don't know her, but I'm sure she deserves better too! I could smell how pure she was, Sam! She is innocent and I am…" I trailed off. We both knew exactly what kind of monster I was. What kind of monster I would be if I allowed myself to get close to her.
"Do it, Sam. Order me!" His eyes searched mine and I saw the acceptance, then determination.
"A compromise. I order you to stay away from Bella Swan for a period of one week. Give yourself some time to calm down and see reason. If in that week you do not want to go to her as a human, you must at least be near her in wolf form. I can't have your wolf off his game and he will be if you keep him from her for too long. Now go."
I didn't like the compromise, but I would take it. At least I would have time to get myself together. I hoped.
Sabi'sSookie: So, we're back! We just couldn't help ourselves! I am so happy to be doing a collab with my bestie, Nostalcigmiss again! And so happy to be getting some more Paul out there for you all! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it!
Nostalgicmiss: Now you went and said that Sabi I have AC\DC stuck in my head! lol Yet you're right, we couldn't help ourselves. Writing with Sabi is a dream, and writing with my bestie is phenomenal. She has a brilliant mind and has some of the best ideas ever! I have always loved Sabi's Paul's so I was so excited to do this! While we're here I just want to thank you for reading in advance, and we hope that you enjoy reading it, because I had a blast writing it too!