Not my best writing but decided to post it anyways. I wrote it one night while focusing on Alpha's Mate and found it in my pile of started works. Hope you like it. Please review. I love reviews.

BELLA POV

I hit him. I had never hit anyone before. The look in his eyes as his whole body began to shake. It was pure anguish and betrayal. I felt sick.

Jacob explained the werewolf thing. It was oddly easy to accept. Well perhaps not so oddly since my ex-boyfriend had been a vampire and since I had seen both Paul and Jacob actually phase into giant wolves. Paul. I hit him.

His eyes haunted me. The feel of his skin as my palm made contact was still tingling along my palm and the jolt of fire it sent to my heart was still glowing. Every beat echoed his name, Paul. I had hit him. I felt sick.

I had to see him and apologize. I lay awake all night and early the next morning I drove back to Sam's house. He was out on the porch before I had parked.

"Bella." He called as I climbed out of my truck "Everything ok?"

I nodded, "Sorry to come over so early and without calling. I don't know your phone number."

"I'll write it down for you." He smiled, "Come on in for breakfast. Only Jared is here this morning, Paul didn't feel like eating after patrol."

Paul's name sent a shiver down my spine. "Is he alright?"

Sam seemed to be watching me with some deep knowledge in his eyes, "He'll be just fine I imagine."

"Will be?" My heart rate sped up and I felt fear tighten my lungs, "What do you mean you imagine? Is he not ok now?"

"Calm Bella. Paul is fine. Come inside and eat."

I followed him into the house, shaking off the irrational fear.

"Good morning Bella." Emily smiled at me. "Coffee?"

"Thanks. Sorry for just showing up so early."

"Oh we're always up early here and the pack is always welcome to stop by." I felt a warmth spread in my stomach at the implication that I was one of them now to.

"Thanks." I breathed, accepting the hot mug of coffee she handed me.

"Milk and sugar are on the counter."

I smiled at her, "Do you want any help?"

"No thanks, I'm mostly done unless another of the boys shows up but I think they'll all sleep in today."

"What's up Bella?"

I turned to see Jared at the table with a now seated Sam. "Morning Jared."

"Everything ok?"

"Um, well, no, not really."

"We have the Victoria thing under control, you don't have to worry." Sam spoke up. His eyes seemed to shine with amusement even though his face was stern and I knew that he already knew that wasn't why I was there. Actually, the knowledge that Victoria was after me hadn't entered my mind at all.

"Yeah, right, well, good." I blushed.

"So what does bring you by so early on this fine morning?" Jared seemed to be laughing with the same secret knowledge Sam was.

"Am I missing something?" I demanded looking from one man to the other.

I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned to see Emily smiling kindly at me, "Are you alright Bella?"

"Yes, I, well no. See I feel terrible about hitting Paul. I've never hit anyone before."

"It's not like you could actually hurt him Bella." Jared spoke up.

"Maybe not, but it was still wrong."

"Yeah well, he's sort of used to it, so, you know, don't worry about it."

"Used to it? To being hit?" I stared at Jared appalled.

"Yeah, sure that to but I meant he was used to getting the wrong end of the stick. His father used to beat the shit out of him. His mother was to strung out to care. Foster care separated him from his sister and she died before he could find her like he'd promised. He got supernaturally fucked with this whole werewolf, stuck in La Push the rest of his life thing and his imprint… Paul's just used to life shitting on him." He shrugged as though it was unimportant but his voice had been accusatory and bitter. Each word had hit me like a fist in the gut and my eyes were burning with tears. His final words were like a knife though, "What do you care?"

"Jared, out." Sam growled.

"Oh honey," Emily wrapped me in her arms, "It's alright. Jared didn't mean it."

"Is that all true?" I sniffled at her. I wasn't sure when I had really started to cry.

"Well," she hesitated, "I only know some of Paul's past, he's a very private person but he and Jared have been friends since they were toddlers."

"I hit him." I snuffled, "No one should be hit."

She made soothing, shushing noises, "You didn't know."

"It doesn't matter." I pushed away from her and wiped at my eyes, "I need to apologize to him. Emily, please, where is he?"

"At home." She told me, "He had patrol with Jared and went home instead of eating with us this morning."

"Where?"

"It's on the edge of the reservation, on the farthest point of the coast." Emily explained how to drive there and I hugged her.

"Thanks Emily." I hurried out of the house. Sam was sitting on the porch, Jared nowhere in sight.

"Jared said to tell you he's sorry. He didn't mean to upset you. He and Paul are like brothers, not just pack brothers but the dragged each other out of hell kind."

I blinked back tears, "I shouldn't have hit Paul."

"You were upset and afraid and the situation was volatile. Paul was fighting it to hard. Things were bound to blow up."

"Fighting it?"

"What did Jacob tell you yesterday?"

"He told me about the wolves, about the legends and how you're protectors of the tribe." I told him, confused.

"He didn't tell you about imprinting?"

I hesitated, "No."

Sam nodded, "Go and see Paul." He stood up, "You'll feel better." He sent me a small smile and disappeared back into the house.

I hesitated a moment, unsure of what was just said but took his advice and went to find Paul.

I carefully drove along the route Emily had told me to take. It was only five minutes but the cute cottage of Emily and Sam and the nice little houses were replaced by even smaller, more rundown looking ones. I drove through the woods along the last road, which turned to dirt and nestled in the woods I came to a small, rundown wood structure with a metal roof. It looked abandoned, like an old hunting cabin or a shotgun mill house I once saw a picture of in the quarter where black workers were segregated in the early 20th century.

I climbed out of the truck and went up the front steps to the small square, un-railed patio, I knocked gently on the front door but there was no answer.

"What are you doing here?" A voice growled behind me. I jump and spun around. There was Paul, standing with his arms crossed, his face in a dark angry scowl.

"I came to apologize."

His eyebrow lifted in amusement and question, though his body language still screamed aggression.

"For hitting you." I swallowed, "I should never have done that. I've never hit anyone in my life."

"You think you could hurt me little girl." He sneered but I could see his hands trembling as he gripped them to his arms.

"Maybe not physically but it was still wrong and I felt bad."

He snorted, "so you eased your conscious and apologized, now get the fuck off my porch." He pushed past me into the house and slammed the door.

I stood staring at the door for a long time before I pushed it gently open, "Paul." I stepped into the house. It was worn looking but clean. There was a double bed pushed up against one wall. A dresser with a pair of battered work boots and hardhat set neatly next to it. A large battered looking chair sat in the corner next to a low bookshelf and a desk along another wall with a battered wooden chair was the only furniture. I heard water running behind the closed door and knew Paul was in the shower. My mind stalled on that thought. Paul, in the shower, naked, water pouring over all that copper colored skin, which stretched over steel muscles. I swallowed thickly. I had wanted to be with Edward, his kisses were soft and gentle and sweet but that was as far as we had ever gone. I had wanted him to want me. This was different. I had felt chills and nervous excitement at the thought of Edward making me his. Standing here thinking of a naked Paul a new feeling assaulted me, I felt a warmth spread through my body and tingling in my in my girl parts, my stomach twisted with need and my nipples pushed hard against my bra as though begging to be touched.

I swallowed thickly when I realized I had taken a step to the door; I clenched my fists and took a deep breath before turning to look around the space again. Through an open doorway, I saw a little kitchen and went to look in. There was a small fridge with a stove next to it and a sink and short counter space, and in the corner was a tiny two person wood table with a worn wooden chair that matched the one that sat by the desk. I went back out into the room and over to the shelf. It held a photo of Jared, Sam and Paul sitting on Sam's porch, beside it was a photo of a very young looking Paul and an even younger little girl, the only other photo was one of Jared and Paul as young gangly looking boys, both were smiling but their eyes looked haunted by the darkest of demons.

"Why are you still here?" A growl demanded from behind me.

"I told you. I came to apologize." I told him, turning to face him. Fuck he was sexy. His black hair was still wet from the shower and a few droplets of water clung to his chest. A pair of cargo shorts hung low on his hips.

"You did so fuck off." I could see his hands trembling.

"Why do you hate me?"

"You're a leech loving bitch who gets her kicks sucking off a dead guy and screwing around with Jacob's heart. I might not like the happy little future alpha prick but he's still my pack brother."

"Future alpha?"

"The wolf moves through the bloodlines little girl, Jacob is the direct descendent of Ephraim Black, the last Alpha."

"I thought Sam was Alpha."

He sighed, "Sam phased first, he'll keep the reins until the kid is ready to take over."

"Isn't it the strongest wolf in nature that is the pack alpha?" I asked distractedly thinking about the nature channel to try to force my attention away from the tiny bead of water making its way along his washboard abs to the waist of his very low-slung shorts.

"Werewolves go by bloodlines." He growled, "Keep that up and you'll get more than you can handle, I can smell you from here."

I blushed and tore my eyes from his body, "Jake and I are just friends."

"Right."

"We are." I don't know why it was important he understood but it was. "Jake is my best friend, I don't mean to play with his heart, he knows I only love him like a brother."

"Whatever."

"I also never… I mean, well, I'm not…" I blushed.

"Never what?" he growled, "Loved a leech?"

"No, I never…" I blushed again.

"Sucked his cock?"

"I'm a virgin ok." I spat at him. "Edward barely kissed me."

"Is that right little girl?" He was standing in front of me in two steps.

"Stop calling me that."

"But you are a little girl, a little girl who walked into the den of the big bad wolf."

"Oh spare me." I rolled my eyes at him. "You might have gone all wolf-y yesterday when I hit you but you wont hurt me." I wasn't sure why I knew that but I did.

"Oh I'll hurt you little girl." He was only a millimeter away now and I had to bend my head back to look him in the eyes. "You'd like it though." He growled.

I gasped not because I was afraid but because it sent a fresh wave of molten heat through my body that settled on my aching core.

It was like a signal to him because his mouth descended on mine, his tongue pushing into my mouth as he devoured me. I clung to him, my body on fire, wanting only to get closer to his heat. I had been so cold since they had left. Jacob was my sun, he made it better, made me feel less cold. Paul made me feel hot. In his arms I didn't feel better, I felt whole and unbroken. I felt worthy and beautiful, needed and wanted.

I moaned and felt more than heard an answering rumble in his chest. Then an arm was under my butt, lifting me. I wrapped my legs around his waist and moaned again, arching my body into his.

My back hit a wall. Had we been moving? His hips shifted and ground into me. I felt a jolt of pleasure, like an electric current and began rocking my hips against his.

His lips moved to the base of my neck and I felt him draw the skin into his mouth. The spot held some line directly to my sex, sending fresh waves of heat. I moaned his name and rocked into him harder.

He growled again and returned to my mouth, his hands moving over my torso, up under my shirt. My nipples were straining against my bra, begging him to touch them. I slid my hands into his hair and pulled. His mouth tore away from mine and I gripped his shoulder with one hand, pulling my shirt over my head a second later. He flicked the front closure of my racer back bra and I felt chill air make my nipples tighten even more painfully. His mouth descending immediately and as his lips closed over my nipple I rocked against him harder, arching my back into him. I felt him bite my nipple and the harsh jolt of painful pleasure had my world spinning as I rocked hard against him and my world seemed to explode.

I was panting and felt so good but my body still craved more. I lifted my eyes to meet his. They looked stricken, like he had been slapped.

"Paul?" I panted.

He let my legs slide to the ground and began to back away. "You need to leave." His voice was gravelly and his whole body shook. "You need to leave now!"

"Paul?" I felt tears burn my eyes and cold fill my veins at his rejection.

"Fuck Bella!" He growled, "Don't do that. I don't have the fucking control. Get out!" He half yelled the last, "Go!"

I grabbed my shirt, my open bra flapping against my body as I ran out the door.

I heard an anguished cry turn into a heartbreaking howl.

I redid my bra and pulled on my shirt, then drove shakily back to Sam's. Something more was going on here.

Sam looked concerned as he stepped out onto the porch and he was at the truck door before I even had a chance to open it and slide out.

"What happened? What's wrong?" He demanded.

I slid out into his arms and burst into the tears I had been fighting, I clung to him in despair without understanding.

He made soothing noises before lifting me into his arms and carrying me into the house where Emily cooed and told him to put me on the sofa. I pulled myself under control as she came to sit with us, handing me a hot mug of tea.

I took the mug and sniffled, "thanks."

"What happened Bella?"

"I threw myself at Paul." I told her honestly.

She nodded as though she had expected that.

"He fought it?" Sam sounded amazed, "You don't smell like him."

I looked at him confused.

He sighed and ran a hand through his hair.

"Sam, go find Jared and Paul." Emily shooed him out of the house. "And send Kim over."

"Honey, did Jacob tell you about imprinting when he told you about the wolves?"

"Imprinting? Sam mentioned it. I think Jared said Paul had one or something."

"It's something that happens when a wolf finds his soul mate, so he can recognize her. She is everything he needs to balance the wolf and the man." I nodded and sniffled, "The bond is solidified when they claim her." I looked at her in confusion and she tried to clarify, "When they have sex." I still looked at her confused.

"You're Paul's imprint." A voice spoke from the door, "And I'm Kim, Jared's imprint."

"So Sam sent me to see Paul to have sex with him?" I turned back to Emily.

She blushed, "He's been fighting it so hard."

"Sam has?"

"Paul." She whispered. "He's been fighting against going to you for months."

"What?"

"When Sam found you out in the woods… well…" she hesitated, "Sam didn't find you out in the woods."

"What? Of course he did. He brought me home."

"Paul found you." Her words floored me. "He was in his wolf form, you looked up at him, and he imprinted. Sam went running, Paul was freaking out, his imprint was hurt. Sam saw through his eyes that you opened yours, saw Paul and held his eyes, then your lips lifted like you were going to smile and you closed your eyes and whimpered like you were in pain. Paul couldn't shift back; he was to upset so Sam did. He carried you home and Paul has been fighting it ever since."

"Why?" I bit back fresh tears. "He doesn't want me?"

"Sam thinks he doesn't feel good enough for you."

"For anyone." Kim added sadly. "As far as I can get from Jared, he feels like you'll hate him for binding you to him."

"So you sent me over to have sex with him?"

She blushed but nodded, "To solidify the bond. You both feel it and things will be better Bella."

"He's your soul mate Bella. I know it sounds crazy but believe me, you and Paul are made for each other." Kim smiled at me.

"You are part of this pack Bella and the pack needs you. Paul needs you."

"I need to go." I told them standing up. Outside I looked over at my truck but I needed air. I left it and began to walk, I went to Jacob's; I needed to talk to him.

He of course heard me, or smelled me because he immediately stepped out and smiled at me.

"Did you know? Do you know?"

"Know what?"

"About imprinting. About Paul."

"He's not good enough for you Bella. Paul is an animal. Even before he phased, all he did was fight. He's had sex with a lot of girls to, none of whom he cared about or even bothered to call again."

"What gives you the right?" I snapped at him. "Who are you to judge him? Who are you to decide for me?"

"Bella its just some old stupid quirk to make the bloodlines stronger. You're just his supernatural baby-making match. It doesn't mean anything. Imprinting is so screwed; this whole werewolf thing is screwed. We shouldn't exist." He was shouting at me by the end, "Vampires shouldn't exist. Cullen should have died a long time ago and you and I would be together."

I just stared at him, breathing heavily, for a minute, "No Jake. We wouldn't."

"Bella."

"No. I love you. I do, but, not like that. You're my best friend, my brother." I bit back tears; "You manipulated me, just like Edward would have. Even now, you are standing here trying to tell me what I should do and believe. It's my life Jake. My choice and you should have told me about imprinting, about Paul."

"Paul imprinted on you months ago Bella. He doesn't want you." His words felt like a slap and at my stricken expression his voice gentled, "I do, Bella. I want you. I love you. I told you, I'll always be here for you, always take care of you."

"I don't want to be taken care of Jake."

"Bella, please, he's not right for you."

"I'm sorry." I bit back tears, "I think he is." I turned around and walked away, refusing to look back even as I heard him call my name.

I walked around the rez for a while, trying to sort everything out in my head but quickly found myself at the shack in the woods where Paul lived. It was like a secret getaway hidden in the woods, a safe place, where the rest of the world was not allowed to intrude. Something inside me told me Paul wasn't home.

I sat on the steps and leaned against the corner post, staring into the woods and thinking.

It was a while later when I heard a growl and looked up to see a giant silver wolf staring at me from the edge of the woods.

I breathed a sigh of relief, something from deep in my bones telling me that it was Paul. I stepped off the steps and smiled at him weakly, "Paul." I breathed his name as he stepped forward. He moved slowly as though not to scare me. I saw his mouth open and his razor sharp teeth bare themselves as he let out a growl towards the woods. He growled again and I heard a voice from the edge of the woods.

"You ok Bella?"

"Fine Jared." I called back.

"Be careful about wandering around ok. It's pretty safe on the rez but we can't be to careful with the red head hanging around and you've been gone for a couple hours, the pack was worried."

"Sure, sorry." Paul stared at me and then looked to the house as though asking me to go inside. A minute later and Paul was striding into the house behind me in a pair of shorts.

"Baby Alpha is right little girl. I am an animal."

"The big bad wolf, I know. Maybe I should buy a red hood."

He laughed and it made my heart swell to hear. "Maybe you should." I looked around his house again, "This is it Bella. All I will ever amount to. A werewolf with a run down one room shack, a crappy construction job and a bad attitude."

"It's not run down, just well worn and comfortable." I told him.

"Bella." He sighed, "Listen to Jacob. He's seen inside my head. Go home."

"So has Sam and Jared." I reminded him.

"Jacob knows you better than they do."

"And they know you better than Jake does."

He growled, "This isn't some game, the wolf will take you if you don't leave, willing or not and then that's it, you're stuck, for life, tied to an angry wolf with nothing to offer."

"No it isn't a game." I replied calmly, ever since I had sat on his front steps I had been filled with calm.

"Go back to Jake."

"He's my friend, he'll never be more."

"Good I might have ripped out his throat if any of his fantasies turned into memories." He growled.

"Do you not want me Paul? I know the wolf has claimed me but what about the man?"

"The man is a broken asshole."

"So is his mate. Well broken anyways, I've never considered myself mean."

"You aren't."

"I hit you." I reminded him sadly.

"Don't do that." He demanded.

"What?"

"Be sad." He growled, "I can't take it. I'll pull you in my arms and once I do I wont be able to let go, not again." He voice softened to pleading, "Please Bella."

I took a step closer to him, "Am I really so bad that you would rather suffer than have me as your mate?" I bit back tears

"I am not such a prick as to condemn you to be my mate." He growled.

It was all I could do not to cry, I failed at that even as I felt a tear burn down my cheek. "Why doesn't anyone want me? Why can't I ever have a place to belong? Even my soul mate hates me." The last was said into his broad chest as I broke down in tears.

"Hush little girl. It's ok. I'll make it ok."

I pushed against his chest as anger filled me, "No. I don't want you to make it ok. I don't need to be taken care of. I am not a pet or a child."

He yanked me back to him with a growl and I struggled against his steel body. As I went to protest his mouth encased my own, assaulting it like he had before and like before my insides melted but quickly the melting became a fire in my veins and I pushed against him, trying to get closer, to devour his soul as he was devouring mine.

He tore off my shirt and I heard fabric rip. My bra followed and his mouth found my nipple, hot and demanding as he suckled and bit, his hands roaming my skin.

I ran my hands over his shoulders, his chest, his back, every inch I could reach. Since I had sat down on his patio, all thought had gone, replaced only by instinct and feeling, I had no insecurity as I tugged at his shorts and then ran my hands over his bare hips and tight ass.

He lifted me and then was bending forward, laying me back onto the bed, his hands roaming down my skin as he moved to my jeans and pulled them off. I was focused solely on his naked body, it was perfectly sculpted and my body was weeping for him. I felt a little fear blossom as I looked at his engorged penis, both long and thick, as proportionally large as the rest of him I wasn't sure my little body was meant to take something like that inside me, but something in me told me it was. He was my soul mate; we were made for each other, inside and out. As he leaned back over me having tossed my jeans, inside out, over his shoulder, I wrapped my legs around him, drawing him in.

His eyes seemed to burn with an intensity that I could barely fathom and I moaned his name, my body on fire.

I felt a finger rub against my slit and arched at the electricity it sent through me. It moved down and pushed into me. I moaned as he cursed and pushed in another finger.

"So wet," he panted, "hot and wet and tight." He growled, "Mine." His eyes met mine and the intensity had somehow deepened, they were crackling with desire and love and possession, "You're mine now." I was rocking against his hand but I needed more.

"Yours, please, yes, make me yours," I begged him, undulating against his hand.

He pulled it away from me and I cried out as my hips tried to follow but he had shifted so the head of his penis was there and as I pushed up, he pushed down, moving slowly. It burned a little as he stretched me but the pain itself sent fresh waves of pleasure through me because every new inch he stretched inside me was an inch of me he filled.

"More, Paul, please, god, please, more, make me yours." I begged him, pushing my hips up further.

He reached my barrier and stopped, meeting my eyes. "Mine." He growled and slammed through it.

I screamed at the pain, at the pleasure, at the knowledge that I was finally his, finally home. He waited while the emotions flowed through us both and my body adjusted to his. I could feel my body pulse around him and then he began to move. I could feel every long inch of him sliding easily in and out, sending fresh flames licking through my veins. It was almost too much, to much emotion, to much feeling, my body was burning and I loved it. Then I felt him push harder and he grunted, "Mine" then he stilled and I felt a burst of hot liquid jet inside me. "Bella." He breathe my name as I convulsed around him, the hot jets of semen filling me, marking me as his, making me scream his name in ecstasy.

I held him to me while my body continued to twitch but after a moment, he turned us so I was sprawled over his chest instead of underneath him.

"Mine." I sighed and kissed over his heart before promptly passing out in the best sleep I had ever gotten.

I woke up and stretched, looking around me before turning to smile at Paul. Something in his eyes made my heart freeze; "What? What's wrong?" He shook his head but his eyes were filled with pain, sadness and most painfully regret. "Paul?"

"Did I hurt you?"

I smiled at him feeling relieved and shook my head, "I feel sore but in good ways."

He frowned at me, "Good pain?" I nodded and bit my lip blushing, "Bella?"

"Every ache reminds me what we did."

"Ruined your life" He replied bitterly.

I reached out and touched his cheek, "Bound me to you."

He snorted and pulled away from my touch, "Same thing."

"Paul."

"I can't take care of you Bella."

"I don't want someone to take care of me. We're mates, partners."

"I promised her I'd get her back, that no one would hurt her. She's dead. I couldn't keep her safe and I wont keep you safe. I'm an asshole and I ruin everything."

I bit my lip as I remembered what Jared had said; Paul had had a sister once. "I'm not a little girl who needs you to be her hero Paul. I'm not fragile, I've been hurt before and survived it, so we'll survive the rest together."

"You are little though, so little I can wrap my hands around your waist and the top of your head only reaches my chin." He told me pulling me tightly into his arms.

I snuggled into him, "That is because I'm human, you overgrown wolf."

He chuckled and I felt warmth bloom in my heart, not the liquid fire from before but a slow glowing heat. "I'll try not to hurt you." He whispered.

"I know." I told him. After a minute he sighed again and I knew he was back to being morose. "Paul?"

"Look at it."

"What?"

"All I have to offer you. It's pathetic."

"I like it here." He seemed to stiffen around me and I pulled away to turn and look into his eyes.

"It's a dump Bella and I can't afford to buy something better. I couldn't afford this but Sam went and found a way for me without making it feel like fucking charity. Almost all the money I make at work goes to food bills. I can't even afford a fucking television."

"I know how to cook on a surprisingly low budget since Renee was always using all her money to invest in a scam or try a new fad or getting fired for being late or not going in. Besides, I don't really like television, going to the movies is a nice treat but I'd rather read. And I told you, I like this place, it isn't a dump. A fresh coat of paint and clean windows, the place will be bright and airy and perfect."

"It doesn't have heating."

"You're a werewolf, you are a heater."

"It doesn't have air conditioning."

"When does it ever get hot enough in Forks to need it?"

"I have temper problems."

"Just try not to break the windows, you might be a heater but I don't relish the rain getting in."

He chuckled, "You are determined to not hate this." Instantly he was sober again, "Why?"

"When I leave here, the real world will all come crashing back. Charlie, school, Jake, everything, but here its like the world doesn't exist. It's a secret hideaway in the woods where I'm safe. I have a soul mate and I'm not broken or unworthy and for the first time in my life I don't feel different or alone. I can just be happy because I can just be me. I never had that, never felt perfectly at ease with another person like I do here with you." His arms tightened around me in a hug and his forehead dropped to my shoulder. "Paul?"

"What was it like, with your mom?"

"Great, she's my best friend." I replied instantly.

"Tell me the truth." He whispered.

I sighed and gave myself a minute to think, "Renee is… beautiful. She loves life and everything in it. She loves me." I closed my eyes a second and told him everything I had never said aloud before, "She just doesn't know how to be a mother. She is irresponsible and it always felt like I was the one raising her, setting the rules and boundaries and making sure she did her chores. You know, things like, paying the rent and electric, getting up in time for work and eating right. She'd think of cooking as this adventure and just mix things together; it was rarely edible when she did. Mostly, I cooked. I made cleaning the house into a game to keep her amused so it would get done with music blaring and a reward at the end. I did the laundry or she'd wash whites with reds and sweats with silks." I sighed, "She is a beautiful free spirit but she can't take care of herself properly let alone someone else. She looses everything from keys and cell phones to her purse. She once bet half her paycheck on one game in a casino. We always made it by, always had enough, I mean I can't remember ever going without a meal or not having pretty nice clothes, not the most expensive but not cheap stuff either. She just… she's light and laughter and everything was an adventure, and as much fun as we had together, for as long as I can remember I had to take care of her."

"I always took care of my mother to." He told me after a minute. "Not in the same way. She wasn't light and laughter. She was usually broken and bleeding on the kitchen floor. I'd clean her up and put her to bed and she'd tell me it wasn't his fault. Then the bastard finally left and instead of picking her beaten body up off the living room or kitchen floors, I'd be picking her drunken one up off the couch or bathroom floor, cleaning up her vomit. I'd make sure my sister ate and did her homework, I walked her to and from school and made sure she had clean clothes to wear. She was such a good kid Bells. Never complained even when there was no money for food. I'd do my best to make sure she ate something, I stole cash out of my mom's purse sometimes and hid it for the times there was no food in the house and she'd spent all the welfare money on vodka. He came back a few years later and she got better for a bit. They both tended to ignore my little sister and I but it still scared Anna when they really fought so she would come into my room and crawl into bed with me and I'd make up stories until she fell asleep. She did that when it stormed to and I'd tell her stories about the spirits having parties up there or about lightning bugs having colds or whatever I could think of."

I had shifted in his arms as he talked and curled into his body, hugging him tightly.

"I was used to the bastard beating on me. My mom got it the worst since I stayed gone with Anna most of the time. I had learned real young that my mother wouldn't help me so I stayed out of his way. He used to say I was a pathetic runt and needed to man up. He'd hit harder if I cried. I think the last time I ever did I was six. He'd use whatever he could get his hands on if I fought back so I usually didn't, it was over faster that way, he'd call me pathetic and weak and walk away. I'd crawl to the bathroom and clean up before finding Anna, hiding under my bed. She'd cry for me. The only person who ever cried for me."

I was crying for him, for the innocent kid he had been. Sobbing quietly into his chest while he gently rubbed my back.

"It takes a lot for people to step in down here, a blind eye gets turned a lot or at least it used to. I was about eleven, Anna was seven or eight, she knocked over his beer and the fucker lunged for her and grabbed her arm. I didn't think, I just saw red as that arm grab my sweet baby sister who cried for me and held frozen peas over bruises after kissing them better, I attacked him. He was bigger and stronger and he beat me within an inch of my life but he hadn't hit Anna." He shuddered in my arms, "He never hit Anna."

I hugged him tighter, burrowing deeper into his chest and waited for him to continue.

"Smart little bug had scampered off as soon as I jumped on his back. She knew it'd be bad and she slipped into my room, under my bed and called the cops. Told them a bad man was in the house and trying to kill her brother."

They showed up and I spent a week in the hospital. They took him to jail and the bitch bailed him out. I was terrified for Anna but she cried and begged to stay with me. As soon as I learned he was back home, I was terrified and refused to stay in the hospital if they were sending Anna home. Lucky some one spoke to some one and Anna stayed the week with me. Then they moved us into a foster home out here. Pricks were in it for the money but Anna was safe. I met Jared there, or met him again, I guess. We both went to the rez school of course but I ignored all the other kids. We'd also met a few times as kids; our mom's knew each other so we played together as babies. Then they stopped talking I guess because I don't really remember him much. It was before my sister was born. Jared's parents died in a car accident. His mom went bat shit over his dad having an affair right in the diner and then stormed out, he went after her and they got in their car and she drove it into a tree. He'd been in foster care a few years already. We were there a month when they came for Anna. I threw a fit and beat the crap out of the guy who tried to take her, they tried to reason with me that she was going to a good home and some shit but I didn't want Anna anywhere that I couldn't take care of her. I knew I didn't have a choice but I'd promised her I would always be there for her and that I would always take care of her. That night I swore to her that wherever they took her, I would find her. I told her I loved her, that everything would be ok and that we would be together again soon. I lied." His voice broke with the last two words "I broke every promise I ever made her. I wasn't there for her. I didn't protect her. She was my baby sister and I promised I would keep her safe and I didn't. She died. I let them take her and she died."

"Paul." I hugged him, sobbing into his chest.

"When I heard Anna died I tore apart the room I was put in and everything in it. The people couldn't handle it so they called and someone came to bring me somewhere else. The fucker who came was the same guy who took Anna. I beat the shit out of him. I guess the bitch had heard about Anna, she'd actually had some miniscule motherly affection for Anna and I guess it made her come for me because she turned up at the court house for my juvie hearing and I went home with her. Spent another two years living with the drunk bitch until she killed herself with the over the counter pain pill and vodka cocktail she called nourishment. I went back into the system and bounced from foster home to foster home. Jared was a good kid. People liked him. He didn't talk much but he got good grades and stayed out of trouble. Since we met again, at that first foster place when we were eleven he's been my best friend, my brother. I was nothing like him though, I was angry and violent and rude. Oddly, it was quiet Jared who phased before me and here we are a year later, he's still calm and well-liked and I'm still angry and rude but less violent, well to living people." He chuckled humorlessly and we fell silent for a while before he whispered; "Now you're stuck with me."

I snuggled into his chest, drained again from the emotions, and quietly murmured, "Sounds good" Before closing my eyes and falling asleep.

PAUL POV

"Yeah sounds good." I whispered into her hair as her breathing evened out. Carefully I lay us both back down. I had been terrified before she woke that she would open her eyes, look around at my shack and at me and instantly regret what we had done. She hadn't. She reminded me a little of Anna who was happiest when I pushed her on the park swing. I saw other little kids playing with expensive toys and crying for ice cream. In the stores, they threw tantrums and little girls wore beautiful dresses. Anna wore second hand dresses that didn't fit right, she never screamed or cried, unless I was hurt, then silent fat tears would roll down her cheeks as she kissed my bruises to help them heal. She had one ratty old dog doll that she named Paul, ironic since I now turned into one. She was sweet and innocent with wide trusting eyes that had seen too much evil in the world and still held boundless love, hope and acceptance. Just like Bella. I was going to fail Bella, like I failed Anna. She deserved so much better, so much more. I knew that and I had taken her anyways. I was the worst kind of man.

I looked around the shack, new paint; I could at least get her paint. I'd also buy a lamp; I'd broken the last one a long time ago and never bothered to get a new one. She'd need light and not just the shit overhead bulb. Maybe I could find a shade for that to. I had a discount at the Home Hardware from work and I had savings. I could make this place not quite so terrible.

Fuck, I cursed myself, looking around, who the fuck was I kidding, she deserved way better than this shit hole. Paint wasn't going to fix that and a lamp would only bring into sharp relief how threadbare and shabby my one and only chair was, it was a navy blue and very comfortable chair I got second hand and I could picture Bella curled up reading there when I came home from patrol. Her clothes would be second hand, her smile strained, her secret hideaway become a prison, a shabby, rundown, shack with a temperamental werewolf who had nothing to offer her.

I'd find a way. Now that I had been so selfish, stupid fucking wolf, first he had to find us an imprint and then he'd made us bind her to us, now that she was stuck with me I would find a way to make her not hate me for it. I wouldn't fail her, I would only make her the one promise; that I would try, I would try until it fucking killed me, not to hurt her, to keep her safe and to make her happy.

"Paul." She whispered my name and I looked down at her sleeping form, "Thank you Paul."

Fuck. My heart twisted in my chest. Her soft voice was so sweet, so sincere; she was so bloody fucking beautiful. She was mine. Mine forever. I couldn't fail her. I wouldn't, not ever. I'd make her happy, somehow. If I had to fucking die to set her free, so she could be happy, I would do it. I'd do anything for her.

I watched her sleeping form, her eyes fluttering gently as she dreamed, the faintest smile curving her lips. She looked so peaceful, so beautiful and she was mine.

BELLA POV

I woke up, blinking away my confusion and stretched, I felt so warm and rested. I turned and snuggled into the warmth of the body beside me and heard Paul chuckle.

"If you go back to sleep now little one, you wont sleep tonight. Besides, I think you need to eat."

I yawned against his chest, "Sorry. Did I sleep long?"

"Only an hour or so."

"What time is it?"

"Not sure, the only clock is in the kitchen on the microwave."

"You don't need an alarm clock?"

"Broke it again yesterday." I chuckled gently and sat up stretching. I blushed as I noticed I was naked and the sheet had fallen to my lap.

Paul pulled me back down into him and ravaged my mouth with a deep kiss that sent low flames flicking through my veins.

I sat back up and smiled at him.

He smiled back and got up off the bed, pulling his shorts over his hips he walked to his dresser and pulled out a shirt, tossing it to me on the bed, "Come on little one, lets get something to eat."

I put my hand on my stomach and realized I was hungry, for the first time in months I felt starved. I pulled the shirt he had tossed me over my head and it fell to just above my knees. I hoped off the bed, nearly falling, but caught myself as he grinned at me. I followed him into his little kitchen.

"I have frozen pizza, mac and cheese, stuff for turkey sandwiches or eggs."

"Anything is fine."

"Yeah but what do you feel like eating?"

"Eggs would be nice."

"Scrambled with sausages, tomatoes and peppers ok?"

"Yum." I grinned at him, "Can I help? I like to cook."

"Sure." He handed over a cutting board and knife with three red peppers and two big beef tomatoes.

I began to cut everything up as he sliced open sausages, removing the casings and leaving the meat in the skillet.

After I finished I watched him move about the kitchen, even with his size he was graceful. He dumped the cutting board and knife in the sink and took out to plates, filling them both up he set mine at the table. Then he disappeared a moment later and came back with the matching chair from his desk.

"I'll get another chair." He told me before filling his mouth with the egg mixture.

I sent him a smile and began to eat. I was so hungry and it was so good.

I washed the dishes while he dried and put them away, surprisingly we didn't bump into each other in the tiny space, well unless Paul was standing right up behind me waiting for the next dish, his free hands roaming my stomach and hips or when I purposely stepped back into him, to push into his erection. My body still ached pleasantly with the reminder of his body taking possession of me, muscles I had never used before well worked out but it also felt like so long ago and I craved to feel him moving inside me again.

I wiped the table while Paul dried and put away the last dish. He came up behind me, his hands running along my thighs and lifting the shirt over my hips. I moaned and pushed back into him as his fingers moved around my hip and found my already dripping sex.

I was panting and grinding back against him, the coil of pleasure building tightly inside of me from his skilled fingers when I finally heard the zip of his shorts. I felt him at my entrance as he slipped just the tip inside me.

"Paul. Please." I panted, begging him to move, to slide deeper inside me.

I heard him growl as he slammed his hips forward, imbedding himself in one thrust. My hand slipped on the table just a millimeter so I dropped to my forearms holding myself steady through the onslaught of flames coursing through me and growing hotter with each powerful thrust that made me pant and squeal each time he pounded against the magic spot inside me. He was even deeper at this angle than before, hitting new spots and stretching me more. I came with a keening wail, my fingers digging into the wood of the table. I heard him growl behind me and still, the hot jets of come making the quivering of my insides last. I collapsed on the table, panting but he immediately gathered me into his arms and carried me out of the kitchen into the main room where he curled us both in his oversized blue chair. It was the perfect size to snuggle and I curled into him, breathing in his scent.

"You smell like thunderstorms." I told him.

"You smell like honey and lavender." He responded.

I laughed and kissed his neck. "Paul?"

"Yeah?"

"What happens when the dream ends?"

"What do you mean?"

"When we have to leave our secret world in the woods?" I felt his body tense under me. "I'm yours now right." I whispered, "Always?"

He kissed my forehead, his voice was sad when he answered, "Yeah. The bond is complete. The wolf claimed you and I've marked your body as ours."

"Is that what the imprint is? The wolf claiming me?"

"It is the wolf claiming his mate. He recognizes our soul mate even if I am blind to it and he demands that we have her."

"So I am your soul mate?"

"Yes Bella."

"So your wolf likes me?"

Paul laughed, "Yeah, he's a happy puppy."

"Can I meet him?"

"You know we aren't actually two beings right? I mean there is a part of us that is wolf but even in that form I am still me, his instincts are just more in control where mine are more in control now."

"I know you aren't like, two people in one body or anything weird like that, I just thought, I mean."

"You want to see him." I nodded into his neck. "You wont be afraid?"

"I've already seen you remember?"

"Yeah." He whispered.

"I'm sorry I hit you."

"I was messed up because of the imprint and being an ass to you. I might have deserved it."

"No one deserves to get hit and what do you mean you were messed up because of it?"

"I've been fighting the wolf for months Bella. He recognized you the first moment we saw you in those woods. He's been suffering with you."

"Is that why you hated me?"

"Who said I hate you?" He demanded on a growl.

"No one. I just mean, well, is that why you seemed so angry and not to like me before?"

"I was angry because I wanted you, angry because you were so close with Jacob and because you were with a leech and because you were broken and I couldn't take care of you. I was angry for a lot of things Bella but I never didn't like you."

"Right. Ok." I sighed.

"Want to meet him now then?"

I sat up and smiled at him, "Can I?"

He laughed and helped me stand from his lap, "Outside, I don't need to fuck this place up anymore and I might break one of your windows and let the rain in." He teased, "You might want to put on clothes to, it's not exactly warm even if it's not raining. I hurried into my jeans and long sleeved shirt before following him outside.

He stopped me on the patio and I sat on the steps as he walked out into the yard. His body started to shake violently, his eyes darkening with rage and then his body seemed to explode into fur and a giant silver wolf was standing on all fours.

I gasped and wolf Paul dropped to the ground. After a moment, his nose twitching the whole time, he began to creep slowly forward. I understood then he was scenting me for fear. I stood up and he stopped moving so I walked over towards him and when I got close I saw Paul's warm deep chocolate brown eyes and I smiled at him.

"Can I touch you?"

His head dropped and rose in a nod and I reached my hand forward to his muzzle. He was so soft. I stepped closer and ran my hands over his head, his ears and his neck.

"You know, you are actually less scary like this." I told him leaning into his side and scratching behind his left ear.

He let out a low growl making me laugh, "Still scary though. Yup, scary, big bad assed wolf. I must find a red hood." He seemed to huff in a wolfish approximation of a laugh as I giggled. He laid his head down on his paws and relaxed as I pet him.

"You know one of those hammocks would be great out here. They have chairs now to but a big hammock we can lie in would be so relaxing in the summer." I mused looking into the trees. "Do you even have neighbors? I swear the last house was five minutes down the road, it's more secluded than Sam's house."

Paul stood up and shook himself off, he nudged me to his side with his head, then he lay back down, looking at his back again.

"You want me to scratch your back?"

His head shook and he stood up again, repeating the looking at me then laying down and looking at his back thing.

"You want me to ride you?"

He dropped his head and then lifted it to nod.

I hesitated, "What if I hurt you?"

He huffed in response.

"I might pull your fur."

He whined and looked at his back again so I shrugged and scrambled onto his back, leaning forward and wrapping my arms around his neck. He started into the woods at a gentle trot and a minute later he stopped at the edge of the woods to a little cottage only slightly bigger and in somewhat less disrepair that Paul's with curtains in the windows and flower pots by the porch steps.

I saw Jared and Kim sitting at an old wooden park table just before Jared lifted his head in our direction.

"Paul?"

Paul stepped out of the trees and walked over before laying down for me to slide off.

I smiled at them, "Sorry to just drop by."

"That's ok. Would you like some iced tea?" Kim smiled at me.

"Sure, thanks." I smiled at her.

"Want some shorts fucker?" Jared asked Paul.

Paul bared his teeth and lay down watching me.

"Why don't you join him for a quick run." Kim pushed her boyfriend gently.

Jared grinned and winked at me, "I can tell when I'm not wanted."

Kim laughed and gave him a kiss before pushing him again "Go then."

I turned to give him privacy as he shucked his shorts.

"He's all wolfed out now, you can turn around." Kim told me a few seconds later.

"Thanks." I smiled and turned to see a large tan wolf sitting with his mouth open and tongue lolling out the side like he was grinning. "You're cute Jared."

He growled and Paul rolled over huffing in a wolfish laugh. Jared pounced on him and they began to tussle, teeth snapping at each other as they lunged and pounced or jumped away from each other. I laughed, "They're like cute oversized puppies."

"I know," Kim agreed, "They are so adorable."

Both wolves looked over at us and growled looking affronted before trotting off into the forest.

We just laughed.

"So?" Kim finally asked, sitting down at the table again.

"Do you live here?"

"Technically I live with my parents. I'm still a senior like you. I'll fully move in when I graduate but I practically live here anyways."

"Jared graduated last year with Paul?"

"Yeah," She nodded, "top of his class."

"What does he do now?"

"He takes a bunch of online college courses and does some work with Paul on a construction crew. Physical labor helps the boys stay focused and calm."

"What do you want to do?"

"I'd like to work with kids, maybe at the daycare or something, not older kids, but like preschool or kindergarten, when they are still young and cute. What about you?"

"I don't really know. I guess I'll just see who is hiring after graduation. I might have to commute to PA though."

"So you're staying?" she asked tentatively.

"Isn't that the wolf downside? No leaving La Push."

She sent me a small, sad smile, "Yeah, but you aren't a wolf."

"I'm Paul's and he's a wolf."

"They're worth it you know." I looked over to her, "I know all I really wanted, and being all of eighteen I know that isn't saying much, but all I wanted was for Jared to notice me, as a girl and not just a smart kid in one of his classes. Then we'd fall in love, get married, and have a baby or three. I never wanted to leave; I like living in a small community, bonfires and days at the beach, running into people you know every time you go out. I wanted to get married and stay in La Push, I also wanted it to be with Jared, so I got all my dreams. I don't know what it's like to have this take away dreams but I do know that whatever comes along, being with your soul mate is worth the small sacrifices."

I nodded, "I dreamed about being wanted, having a place to belong where I didn't feel so different all the time." I turned to look at her, "I don't really know what I want to do but I'm a pretty simple girl, I don't need anything more than can be found here… except maybe the sun." I ended on a lighter note, making us both laugh a little.

"Yeah, I need a little more of that to. I can't believe how nice it is today though. You can almost wear short sleeves."

"Kim?"

"Yeah?"

"Are you ever afraid he only wants you because of the magic?"

She bit her lip and nodded, "Not as much now but in the beginning... I was in advanced math with him for two years and he didn't even really know who I was. He was nice, I mean, Jared was nice to everyone, he was really popular but he didn't ever really talk to me or anything. He got along with everyone but they were all school acquaintances, Jared only really hung around Paul outside of school. Then one day last spring I bumped his chair, he looks up and bam, fairy tale comes to life and boy falls instantly in love."

"How can you be sure now?"

"The imprint is the wolf and the love is the man." She replied easily. "Ninety percent of the time I am one hundred percent certain Jared loves me for me. It just took a little supernatural help for him to finally see me and since Jared didn't really see other girls either, no matter how much the girls all liked him, I guess it made sense he didn't notice his soul mate sitting one chair behind and one row over for almost two years."

"What about the other ten percent?"

She looked away, "The other part is only ever when he isn't around. Then, sometimes, I wonder, the wolf chose me but would Jared have chosen someone else?"

"Does the imprint make him love you?"

She shook her head, "The imprint makes them see you. The wolf recognizes his mate and wolves mate for life so once they've found her they are absolutely loyal to her, the imprint is this recognition of the wolf being broadcast to the man that this girl is his soul mate. Men aren't to bright when it comes to love. They might walk right past their soul mate, date or even marry another girl but he'll never love her, never be as happy or as complete as he could have been with his soul mate."

"So the love grew?"

"Yes." She nodded smiling, "I had a huge crush on him for a long time and then with the imprint things moved really fast and it was intense but under it was this warm feeling, this growing affection, I felt whole and wanted and like whenever I was with him, that was exactly where I wanted and needed to be. Time stilled and the world would disappear, it still does but it also always feels to short when he's near me and to long when he's not. I can't imagine loving anyone or anything more than I love Jared now but everyday I wake up and I love him a little more."

"What about the pack?"

"The pack are all connected, sisters and brothers, we're a big extended family. As your bond with Paul grows, the bond with the pack will deepen to. I'd say give it time and you will understand but everything happens fast so just go with the flow and in a couple days you'll feel like things have always been this way, you don't question your place in the pack or what to do or say, things just are and you are a part of them."

"Thanks Kim."

"Anytime and come over anytime."

"Where are we?"

"It's the same road as Paul's place actually, you just take a left a little before you reach his drive way onto our driveway. Surprisingly only about two thirds of the reservation are in the normal city block, see your neighbors cutting the lawn type housing, the rest of us find more secluded spots. It's especially good for the pack."

"Where do you live?"

She laughed, "My parents live in the city block, spy on your neighbors houses. Needless to say, I like this much better."

I laughed with her, "You know I think I agree."

"You can come to me," she turned serious again, "about anything with the pack or the imprint. Emily to. You aren't alone anymore Bella. You're pack and we're family."

"Thanks Kim. I think maybe I'm getting everything I wanted to. I mean, I can't think of anything I have to give up to be here with him for the rest of our lives."

"Vampires." She said softly, "If they come back, Bella, Paul wont be able to handle you being near them."

The Cullen's. Edward. The names sent a wave of sadness through me but the pain was gone. I was healing, finally healing. "They aren't coming back." She seemed to hesitate to speak. I sighed and looked out into the woods, "If they do, I can stay away, for Paul. Its not really giving up anything. They left me. They broke me. Paul wont ever do that."

"He'd die first." She agreed softly.

We sat in silence a minute and stared out into the woods until the forms of our wolves appeared at the edges of the trees.

"I would to." I finally told her softly, "Before hurting him."

She nodded. "It's worth it. He's worth it. Whatever comes, however hard it is, it's worth it."

"I know." I told her, my eyes locked on Paul. "What now?"

"Get to know each other. Build a relationship. Take things a day at a time and don't worry about to fast or to slow, just let go and love him, the rest will come in time."

I nodded, "Thanks Kim."

"Any time, we're sisters now after all."

I sent her a smile and then refocused on Paul. I walked towards the silver wolf to meet him part way and wrapped my arms around his neck.

"We're worth it, worth everything, together." I breathed into the fur of his neck. He rumbled a low growly happy sound. We would make it work together, whatever the future brought. Paul was worth it. Worth my heart and soul. He'd protect them and one day he would love me as I would love him, fully and completely forever. He was my big bad wolf.