Disclaimer – This is Stephenie Meyer's universe. I'm just playing in her world for a long bit. Any names and characters not found in Stephenie Meyer's books are definitely mine or Liljenrock's creation.
So, here's the story of the Paul and Rachel as how they've been inside my head. It's gonna be a feel-good story, shorter than Embry's but with some drama. As you know there's no monetary gain to the time Jen and I spend writing and plotting. All we get are reviews and we really appreciate the meaningful ones, rather than 'loved it' and 'update soon' and 'next chapter please' ones. So if you liked the story, please let me know what you liked about it and as you know I'm just an amateur writer, so feedback and constructive criticism is what helps me improve myself. So please help me improve myself.
More unnecessary info—While you can imagine Alex Meraz was the teenage wolf, the Paul in my head is in his 30's so it's a whole other sexier image in my head. My partner in crime knows who my Paul is, and she's been giving me the push to churn out this story. Let's all say thanks Jen!
This one's for Gaby…
Colors of My Life
Chapter One: Paddington Blue
I stood with a shoulder against the wall and a cigar clamped between my teeth. It gave me something to focus on although it wasn't lit. My emotions were still jangling like an alarm bell in a firehouse and gnawing on the cigar helped me hang on to dignity and my masculinity, both a precious commodity. I didn't want my son to see me lose it. I was his hero and I liked keeping it that way.
She glanced up at me then, a quick glance and in that flash I saw the concern in her eyes, and the understanding. After so many years together, she knew me well enough to give me the space I needed to pull myself together. I kept my eyes on her though, whatever help the cigar is, she's my rock, she's always been my rock. I watched her as she sat there, up against the pillows with Keegan sitting so seriously beside her. It had been a long night and it showed on her puffy face but she stayed strong like she always does. She cuddled the baby closer as she leaned over Keegan, both of them conversing softly.
As much as I love the tough cookie I married, I love seeing this side of her too. She'd surprised me the day Keegan was born and she went all Mommy on him. And here she is now, introducing my second son to his big brother, the gentle look in her face once more doing strange things inside my chest. I chomped on the cigar a bit more.
"No, darling, you have to be very gentle with him. He's very new and you don't want to break him, do you?"
"But I want to play," Keegan pouted.
"You'll have to wait for him to grow up first. But until then, he's going to need a big brother to take care of him."
"That's me, Mommy! That's me. Daddy said it's my job!"
"Shhh. Remember, you're supposed to use your inside voice. Everything is new for Logan. You don't want to scare him, right?"
Keegan sighed. "Yeah. But, Mommy? He'll be wolf, right? Like Daddy and me?"
"You have a long way to go before you're a wolf, sweetheart."
Keegan sighed impatiently with a pout. He was so much like me sometimes.
"Just be my darling for a little while longer, okay?"
"Mommy, I'm not your baby anymore?" he asked rather petulantly.
"You're a big brother now. So I guess you're my little man, huh?"
"That's what Daddy said!"
Rachel laughed, a soft husky sound that ran up my spine and into that part of my brain that held my memories. I remembered the first time I heard that laugh. I had been a new wolf back then with none of the calmness or level headedness I seem to somehow have developed over the years.
"Paul, I want you to stop by at Billy's place. Look over everything and make sure that he's okay and doesn't need anything," Sam said in his deep voice just as I was leaving with my book bag slung over my shoulder. I was seventeen and seriously at the brink of flunking high school.
I scowled in response. I was a fucking wolf for crying out loud, with more than ten kills under my belt and Emily had me coming over daily to sit before her while I did my homework, and Sam had me babysitting Billy Black just because his chicken liver son decided to fall in love with a leech lover and needed the time off to nurse his goddamn wounds. Where's the fucking justice in all this? Where's the respect?
"I would like an answer, Paul," Sam called out when I attempted to leave without answering.
"Yeah, yeah, I'll do it," I bit out sullenly.
"Hey, Sam, I can do it. I don't mind," Embry volunteered and I paused mid-stride, hoping.
"No, I want you to go straight home. I don't want your mom calling Emily again, got it?"
I smirked as Embry looked down. But that joy was short lived as I started to trudge towards Billy Black's house. I was a freaking wolf and I was being relegated to playing babysitter.
My mind slipped to my parents' latest attempt at laying down the law. It bothered me that my dad was thinking the worst of me and had accused me of being in a gang. I hated that my mother had tears in her eyes when I stalked out to the sounds of my dad's, "Come back here when I'm talking to you!"
I just hated that everyone had such a low opinion of me. No one cares that I go to school everyday, that I was no longer allowed to play football, that after school I babysit Billy Black, that in the middle of the night I patrol the woods on foot and then quite often, I risk my life fighting vampires just so the good people of La Push could go on living their miserable existence while I get to do it all over again the next day feeling tired and exhausted. No one knew and no one cared and my parents think that they've have failed in raising a good son. Everything just made me so mad these days, and I was always either sleepy or hungry.
Billy wasn't alone. I knew that before I even got to the edge of his property, before I even saw the car parked in front of his house. There was a female in his house. And she had a sexy laugh, husky and promising all kinds of dirty fantasies coming true. I went from tired, angry and hungry to curious, turned on and fucking hot in seconds, and that was just from the sound of her. What the fuck was she doing laughing with Billy like that? He was in a wheelchair for crying out loud. And he's old!
I rapped on the door. I wanted to rip it out of my way but I'll start with the knock. The door swung open and a pair of dark eyes stared back at me. Huge eyes that reminded me fishes. If I was doodling fish shapes, it would be the shape of her eyes. Beautiful eyes, with sooty lashes zeroing right up into mine. "Yeah?"
And just like that, I forgot my name, forgot how to talk and forgot how to hold myself steady as my knees threatened to give way. "Whoa!" she cried out as she grabbed my arm, and my eyes immediately focused on her small, strong hand on me. Oh God, she was touching me. She was a shade darker than me and she was fearless and strong as she pulled me into the house and pushed me down onto the couch. "Hey? You okay? You're burning up," she mumbled as she brought her cool hand to my forehead.
I could only stare up at her mutely as Billy wheeled himself over. She was beautiful. "Paul? What's wrong?"
She hurried away and I took the opportunity to gulp, my heart galloping like mad. What the fuck? What the fuck? She came back then with a tall glass of water. "Drink!" she ordered and I did. Damn, I'd probably do whatever the fuck she tells me to do. I was going to turn into Sam! I was going to turn into Jared! I was going to lose my fucking balls!
"Son?" Billy spoke calmly as he took the empty glass out of my hand and handed it to the girl-woman-Goddess. "Did you…?" he left the question hanging and I just knew what he was asking!
"Oh fuck, Billy! Oh fuck! Oh fuck!"
"Hey! Watch the language!" the girl-woman-Goddess snapped.
"Rachel, give him some space."
Rachel. Her name was Rachel. Billy had a daughter, right? Two daughters? Rachel? Twins? Rachel and Rebecca, I think. Oh fuck, I imprinted. I imprinted on Billy's daughter, Rachel. That's who she is! I fucking imprinted on chicken liver's sister Rachel Black. Oh fuck! I fucking imprinted on an older woman.
"I have to go!" I lurched up. I had to get out of there. This was not how I was supposed to have met her for the first time. I was still in the jeans and t-shirt I'd worn to school, they were new, but I had flip flops on. I'd torn up too many shoes to request new ones from the parents just yet. This was my soulmate, this is my imprint. This is my future wife. This was heavy stuff. I shouldn't have been looking like this. Damn! This was Rachel Black, the woman who would someday become Rachel Winters. Oh fuck, oh fuck, Rachel Winters, Rachel Winters…
"Wait, you're sick. Are you alright to drive?" she called out, just as I made it to the door.
"I'm fine, I'm fine. I'm just, I'm hot," I paused to explain.
She looked amused. "You're hot, huh?"
I grinned as a certain part of my brain kick-started itself. "You don't think so? I mean, you felt my head and everything."
She laughed that husky laugh again as Billy frowned at me. Yeah, I guess I shouldn't try to flirt with his daughter in front of him but hey, I imprinted. "I'm Rachel," she said as she held her hand out for me to shake.
I knew she was Rachel. I know that she's my future wife and she's was hot. Only problem was, she didn't know all that. I grabbed her hand, engulfing it with both my own. God, I was touching her, the future Mrs. Winters. This is the future Mrs. Winters. Wow! My mom was so going to freak out.
"What's your name?"
"Winters," I blurted and blushed. I'd almost said Mrs. Winters. The word was right there at the tip of my tongue.
"Hmm, are you sure you're okay, Winters? You're looking flushed."
"I'm fine, I'm fine. I'm just, I'm Paul."
"Paul? Not Winters? Are you sure?" she asked looking amused again.
"Yeah," I grinned back. "It's Paul Winters."
"You never said what you came over for Paul Winters?"
"Oh, Sam, Sam Uley wanted me to check in on Billy. Make sure that he didn't need anything," I turned to look at Billy and he smiled grimly.
"I'm fine," he grumbled as he wheeled himself to the door and gestured me out. "Tell Sam thank you."
"Why would Sam Uley be concerned about my father?" she asked, once again stopping my retreat.
"Coz Jake's left. We take care of our own," I explained, glad for once that Sam had sent me on this errand. "And Billy's like our chief."
"You know my brother?" she asked as Billy held the door open, softly urging me to leave.
"Yeah, we kind of run in the same pack," I grinned. That was me being smart.
She looked stunned and she stood back to check me out. Her eyes ran over me and I stood tall. Yeah, look me over baby. All this is yours. I let my eyes wander over her too. She was gorgeous, inky black hair, a fantastic figure, smooth soft looking skin and brave eyes, heavy lidded like Jacob. Man, this was the future Mrs. Winters.
"You're a friend of Jake's?" she asked with disbelieve in her voice. "How old are you?"
She was looking at my feet and I cringed. "Seventeen."
I snapped out of my reverie when she called out to me, "Paul?"
I went over to her and sat on the edge of the bed beside Keegan. "Yeah, Babe?"
"Why? Don't I look hot?" I grinned and she smiled back.
"You're remembering that day, huh?"
I nodded as I leaned forward to kiss her softly, careful of the baby in her arms, then I brushed a kiss on the baby's head, before I pulled Keegan closer and kissed the top of his head too. He relaxed against me and I smiled into his hair. Everything I went through before was completely worth it just to be here, at this moment in time.
Then it was time for family as we let the entire zoo in and my mom rushed in ahead of everyone else. "Where is he? Where is my sweet little angel?"
"I'm right here, Mom," I grinned as I stopped her mad rush towards a grinning Rachel and the baby by wrapping her in my arms.
"Oh, not you, you silly boy!" she laughed as she lightly smacked my shoulder. "Let me go, I want to see the baby." And she hurried over to Rachel, gushing in her excitement over how perfect the baby was, how great Rachel is and what a great job she did.
"You know, Mom, I played a part in his creation too. How about sending some of those compliments my way?" I grinned as I ruffled Keegan's hair.
"Silly boy!" my mom laughed. "You wouldn't have done anything without Rachel."
Wouldn't have, not couldn't have. It was nice of my mom to realize that and it was the truth. While I was always capable of everything I did over the last eighteen years, it was only after Rachel stepped into my life did I make the effort. And I knew that my mom would always love Rach for that.
Then my dad was there, the cigar I had given him earlier stuck in his shirt pocket. He had eyes only for me as he pulled me into a tight hug, nevermind that he had already congratulated me in the waiting room earlier when I ran out to get Keegan. He patted me on my back and whispered, "I'm so proud of you. Really," then he stood back to lay his hand on my shoulder. "I hope your sons make you as proud of them as you make me."
And it was really worth it, everything that I had gone through before, to be standing here and living this moment in time. To look at this expression on my father's face, and it made me feel emotional, so I played it cool. "Is that a curse or is that a blessing?" I grinned. "Coz really, Dad, that sounds kind of sinister."
"It's a promise," he laughed. "You put the white in my hair. It's only fair."
Billy, Jake and Nessie trooped in with a sleeping Bodhi in his carrier seat. I knew they had left Griffin with Charlie and Sue Swan while they had made the middle of the night drive to Seattle. Unlike everyone else, Jake didn't head straight for the baby or his sister. He went to Keegan and brought him over to where I had been pushed to a corner. I was grateful to him as I'd worried Keegan might feel slighted with the new baby. Rachel and I had been so careful throughout her pregnancy, making sure he was included in everything we did for the baby, but what can we do with overexcited grandparents?
"Hey, big man?" Jake asked my son. "How does it feel being a big brother, huh? It's an important job buddy."
Keegan nodded sagely. "I know Unca Jake. Griffin told me."
"What did Griffin tell you?" I asked. I had no idea that those two little boys were discussing brotherhood at their age.
"Griffin said that baby knows nothing. And I have to tell baby what's cool."
"That's right. Logan is going to depend on you for lots of things," Jake said.
"Unca Jake? I'm not going to know when baby's hot or hungry, not like Griffin knows," Keegan said sounding sad.
"Oh sweetie," Rachel called out. "When you're a big brother or a sister, you automatically know."
"Really?" Keegan asked looking at me for confirmation.
"Really," I grinned, although as an only child I had no idea.
"Daddy?" Keegan asked, looking excited now. "If I told baby that the yellow control is cool, would he believe me and play yellow so I can always be red?"
Jake chuckled as my dad and Billy snorted. "No doubt about it. This one is a mini-Paul alright."
"Yes, and it's such a blessing," my dad laughed.
Later, when the family left with Keegan in tow, I stretched out beside my exhausted wife on the too small hospital bed. She snuggled closer before she let out a contented sigh.
"Paul?" she asked softly. "Were you remembering the day we met?"
"Yeah," I whispered back. "I knew you were gonna change my life. But I never imagined this."
"I never imagine what my dad said was all going to be true either. But I'm glad it was."
I smiled. I remembered what a non-believer she had been when she had challenged me to phase.
"My father says that you and my brother turn into wolves at will and he says you are going to prove it," she gestured with her hand. "Go on, poof for us. Let's see this miracle. Do you need the full moon or have you left your magic wand at home?"
I also remembered how she didn't want anything to do with me once I'd proved to her that it was all true. I had to start stalking her. I heard her giggle softly so I carefully rolled over and hovered over her as she lay on her back.
"Remember how you told me about imprinting?" she asked, making me groan.
I remembered how I stalked her for days, trying to talk to her while she made avoiding me look like an art form. I got lucky when she had a flat tire between Forks and La Push and once Brady sent me the image of her sitting in the pouring rain, fighting with the tire, I rushed over immediately.
"That looks like a job for a man," I said as I swaggered up to her, wearing just my low hanging shorts. I knew the effect I had on the female species, especially when they got to check out my bare chest and abs.
"Yeah, know where I can find one?" she answered as she went on trying to turn the wrench. That stung. She always did have a smart mouth on her.
I reached down and turned the wrench, single handed and the nut came loose. She let the wrench go and scrambled back. I took the chance to make quick work of the tire for her, as she took a few steps away and stood staring at the trees.
"Is he okay? Is he still alive?" she asked so softly that I might have missed hearing her voice if I hadn't been this in tune to her.
"He's fine. Honest. He's just mad still."
"Yeah? Well I'd be mad too. I thought all these were fairy tales. Thanks for changing the tire, I've got to go."
"Rachel, wait. Please?"
"I'm packing my dad up. I'm taking him with me. I don't want to do this. I don't want him involved in all this."
I panicked. "You can't. Please, Rachel. Listen to me. There's more that Billy hasn't told you. That he can't tell you. Only I can."
"I don't want to hear anymore. I just want my family back. I don't want all this," she started walking towards her car.
I really didn't know what else to do. She wouldn't give me a chance to explain things to her. Seriously, what else could I do? I grabbed her and she screeched as she tried to claw her way out of my arms and I don't know what came over me as I wrestled her to the wet ground, the rain pelting heavily down my back as I held myself over her, sheltering her from the rain, letting my thighs trap her legs and using my hands to pin her arms down beside her head.
"Listen to me!" I growled and she stopped struggling to stare up at me. I could see the defiance peeking through the fear etched in her eyes. "You belong to me," I rasped. "We wolves, we imprint. That's how we find our mates. And I imprinted on you. You are my mate. You can't leave."
"Let me go!" she said as she tried to wriggle free.
"Did you hear me? You are my mate," I growled as I tightened my hold on her.
"If you think I'm going to flutter my lashes and tell you 'Oh, wow, Winters, I'm so glad to be your 'mate'', you can think again," she snapped, the fire back in her eyes. "You're just a kid, and…and I don't belong here. So get off me before I start screaming."
I felt the familiar tremble start at her words and I worried about hurting her. I let my forehead drop to hers as I tried to pull myself together, not budging from her struggles, not even moving when I heard a car drive up and stop. I wanted to kiss her. Actually I wanted to do more than that. The feel and scent of her was turning me on like crazy. And then, of all things, I heard my mother's voice screech out, "Paul Winters! What on earth are you doing? You let that girl go right now!"
My mom had that gift. Whenever she screams 'Paul Winters' like that, it makes me react before I even think about it. I scrambled up from Rachel and turned to my mother with horror.
"Mom! It's not what it looks like," and that's all I could say before Rachel darted in front of me and gave me a face full of the entire contents of her pepper spray.
I choked and coughed as my eyes stung. I couldn't stop moaning as I brought my hands up to cover my eyes and hopped in agony, hoping the burning would stop.
"Try pulling a Neanderthal 'me Tarzan, you Jane' stunt like that again and I'll scalp your goddamn ass, got it?" Rachel had raged just before she kicked my shin and yelped in pain.
I laughed as I came back to present day, hovering over my lovely wife. "What?" she asked softly as she gently ran her hand over my cheek.
"Memories, of you threatening to scalp my ass. I've never heard that until you," I whispered as I turned my head slightly to kiss her palm.
"Can you forget that already?" she half-groaned and half-growled.
"We've come a long way." I ran my finger under her eyes, the dark shadows telling me just how tired she must be. "And as interesting as I find these rings around your eyes, I'd prefer them gone. Seriously woman, all that money spent at the spa, and this is how you look?"
"Watch it, Winters," she laughed as she pushed me back down on the bed and cuddled closer like a little kitten, letting out a huge yawn. "You don't look too hot yourself."
"Yeah? That little nurse who came in to get the baby would beg to differ. She couldn't keep her eyes off me."
"Hmm, I'll have a talk with her when I wake up. You're all mine."
"You gonna threaten to scalp her ass?"
I laughed when she turned her head to bite my inner arm before snuggling closer and falling asleep. I held her close to my heart as I listened to her soft breathing.
I'd been seventeen when I had imprinted on the ambitious firecracker called Rachel Black. And from that day forward I made a complete 180 degree turn on myself to become the man I am today. The last eighteen years hadn't been easy. We faced many obstacles and doubts.
Back then I'd only wanted to make her proud of me. But indirectly, I'd done more than that. I became the man my parents feel proud to call their son, I became the man her father was happy to give her away to, I became the man she was happy to call her husband and I became the man who is the father of her children.
Somewhere out there, there was a spirit looking down kindly at me. I looked up at the ceiling and whispered, "Thank you."
Rachel's hand came up to pat my chest as she mumbled in her sleep, "You're welcome."
A/N : Slow start. But how do you like my Paul?