This story is Non-canon/ AU: Alternate Universe / OOC: Out of Character
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Disclaimer:All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author-mama4dukes. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: Twelve years have gone by since Paul and Bella walked away from La Push and reached for success. When they unexpectedly run into each other, the pack suddenly comes trickling back into their lives. Time changes people but can it change traditions?
"Paul, I love you, but I'm not in love with you. I need someone more... um... well, let's just say I need a guy with a more professional job in an office, not some construction worker."
"Tina, I own my own engineering and corporate construction company. I have more than a hundred employees who work for me, and my company has an annual revenue of about fifty million dollars so far this year."
"Yeah, well, can't you do something else? Like be a lawyer or a stockbroker? Better yet, why not be a doctor?"
"No. I enjoy what I do."
"You're so selfish. You're not willing to change for me. I have to go now. It's over. It's not you. It's me. You make great coffee. I'll always miss those."
With that, Tina took the last box out of my house and loaded it up into her BMW—the one I purchased for her because her shitbox Hyundai finally kicked the bucket. Bitch.
I had a feeling she was only living with me for my money. She was constantly trying to change me. She was always telling me what to do, when to do it, how to dress, fuck—she was even telling me what to drink. "Ugh, beer is so crass. Drink wine, it's more refined." She didn't cook either—correction, she couldn't cook so we always ended up dining out.
I slumped onto my sofa and took a look around. Empty. My girlfriend of three years had left me. Three freaking years of time wasted! Damn it! Oddly enough, it didn't hurt too much. I always knew she wasn't my forever. There was never any sort of intensity in our relationship. I've seen intense too—Sam and Emily, Quil and Rachel, Jared and Kim. They had intense relationships. Of course, they were imprinted couples, but still—there was something deeper in their relationship.
I thought of the pack in La Push, I haven't seen or spoken to them in over five years. Hell, I haven't even phased since I graduated from college six years ago. After I ripped apart the red-headed bloodsucker going after Bella Swan, we patrolled the lands for two more years, but didn't come across anymore vampires so the tribal council gave us permission to resume our normal lives. I decided to take the only good advice my drunk mother gave me and get an education. Whenever she was sober, she'd tell me, "Paul, you don't want to become like me or your ol' man. Don't fuck around. Go to college and get the hell off of this reservation."
She turned out to be correct. I ended up earning my bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering with a minor in Building Technology at the University of Washington, and left La Push for good at the age of twenty-four. A year later, I went back to La Push to bury my mom. She died of alcohol poisoning. At least she died doing something she loved. That was five years ago, I haven't been back to the State of Washington since then. I had no real ties and there was nothing for me. Jared and Sam called me, every now and then, to see how I was doing—that was about it. Nothing else existed for me there.
I decided to change the locks to my house. I didn't need Tina waltzing back into my life. I was done with her. After that, I went to my hangout—The Bikini Lounge on Grand Avenue. I remembered when I first walked in I thought it was a strip joint. It turned out to be a laid-back dive bar—just my speed. Tina hated the place so we never came here together. I always stopped by after work for a beer before going home.
"The usual, Paul?" Frank the bartender asked, as I plopped onto a stool.
"Yep." Frank slid a bottle of Killian's Irish Red to me. Ahh... now this is refreshment, which is soothing to the soul.
"You're a little late tonight, aren't you? You're usually here around five."
"Yeah, shitty day. My girl left me."
"Seems to be a lot of that going around." Frank sighed as he poured a shot of Jack Daniel's in a glass for me. "Here, it's on the house. It'll help drown your sorrows."
"Thanks, Frank." I took the glass and toasted my demise. I downed it in one go.
"I guess I'll be seeing a lot more of you now, huh?"
I sat at the bar chatting with Frank for the next hour or so before it started getting really busy. I went to the bathroom to take a piss, and as I was making my way back to my seat, a girl tripped over her own two feet and bumped into me. A very hot girl with long, wavy, brown hair and the sweetest body I'd ever seen. Maybe tonight was finally looking up. I grabbed her so she wouldn't fall and pulled her up so she was standing.
"Sorry!" She looked up to face me.
"Hey, it's no problem," I said, looking into her eyes. There it was. Bam! Intensity. I was standing stock still looking at my world. Nothing else mattered except for the woman in front of me. I could feel myself becoming tethered to her. There was no one more impor...
"You'd better not have fucking imprinted on me Paul Lahote!" Bella Swan sneered between her gritted teeth.
"Gotta go." I ran out of The Bikini Lounge into a nearby alley and phased. For some reason, I couldn't control myself. What the hell just happened? I just imprinted on Bella Swan. How? Why? Why now? Why me? Why her? What the hell am I going to do?
Bella Swan, former leech lover turned shape-shifter lover. Abandoned twice by the supernatural during her senior year of high school. No matter what the leech did to her, I knew that what Jacob did to her was worse. Three months after they started dating, Jacob imprinted on Bella's best friend Angela Weber. Rather than being straight up with Bella and telling her, they hid it from her. Bella found out about them on the day before her senior prom when she caught Jake and Angela fucking in his room. To make matters worse, Angela and he showed up to the senior prom together the next evening. Bella had mustered up enough courage to attend the senior prom solo. The pack collectively kicked the shit out of Jake. Even Bella's worst enemies, who at the time were Jared and I, sided with her. After that, Bella never set foot on the reservation again. She graduated from Forks High School and left for Jacksonville, Florida to be with her mother. Charlie Swan was devastated when she left, but he understood her heart could only take so much. He would fly to Jacksonville to see Bella twice a year because she refused to return to Washington. Even after Sue Clearwater and he tied the knot, he kept mum about whatever she was doing to everyone on the reservation because, as he put it to Billy Black when he inquired, "It's none of your goddamned business." That's the last of the information I had on Bella Swan. Now she was my lifelong mate. Wonderful. At least she's hotter than hell. Nice, perky tits, too.
I phased back to human form, and realized that my clothes were ripped to shreds. I picked my wallet, keys, and my iPhone up off of the ground then tried to figure out what to do. I couldn't very well walk to my truck in my birthday suit. Phoenix on a Friday night wasn't exactly deserted—it was actually pretty hopping. Running home as a wolf was out of the question too. I'd scare the heck out of all of the humans. Shit! Now I feel the pull to my imprint. Aw, hell! This burns! Does she feel it too?
Oh, what kind of fuckery is this? I know the little shit just imprinted on me. He had the same dazed expression Quil did when he imprinted on Jake's sister Rachel. Paul is a coward though. He just ran out of here like a bat out of hell. He took one look at me and freaked. Of course, I'm a pariah to the supernatural so I can't really blame him. I don't really want anything to do with their world anyway. All of this mating and imprinting is messed up. It tore my world apart when I was in high school. Fortunately, after being unceremoniously dumped by a vampire and a shapeshifter within nine months, I realized their world was definitely not for me, and took off for Florida. I got my shit together, graduated from college, got my master's degree, and now I'm doing pretty well for myself working as a nurse practitioner and certified nurse midwife here in Phoenix.
I really have my parents to thank. They stuck by me like glue and made sure I didn't fall apart after my second break-up. The thing is, after I caught Jake in bed with my former best friend, Angela, I realized that it wasn't me who was at fault, it was them. Who does that kind of thing to their friends? I also realized I had to grow a backbone and learn to love myself if I were ever going to love another again. I refused to be led around on a leash, so I became independent and gained a lot of confidence in the ten years since I left Forks. I...
Oh, hell, what the heck is this intense chest pain? I can't be having a heart attack. I exercise daily. I eat healthy… well, okay, I do have the occasional burger and I refuse to substitute margarine for butter. I like my baked treats, too. Okay scratch the healthy eating, but I have my five servings of vegetables a day. I'm a nurse practitioner for Christ's sake. I can write god-damned prescriptions! Maybe I should take my pulse. Okay, so it's a bit elevated, but this chest pain really hurts.
"Hey, Blondie! You've got a phone call!" Frank called out to me from behind the bar. Who the hell would be calling me here?
"Stop calling me Blondie, Frank. That incident happened almost a year ago."
"Hey, you come into my bar looking that fucked up, and for some piece of shit doctor, to boot—well, let's just say that I ain't ever letting you forget it."
I rolled my eyes at him. About a year ago, I was dating a douche bag named Jason who wanted me to color my hair blonde. I finally relented, and did. I looked so screwed up. Anyway, I colored my hair back to my chocolate brown the day after. The day after that, Jason broke up with me stating he preferred blondes over brunettes, and added that I didn't look my best as a blonde. Duh! I'm a natural brunette! Now, if that weren't the most messed up reason to break up with someone, I don't know what is.
I took the phone from Frank and spoke, "Hello?"
"Bella, this is Paul. Please don't hang up. I need help. I'm in the alley about six blocks down from The Bikini Lounge. I need you to walk down so I could explain what happened."
"Um, why can't you just walk back here and tell me what happened?"
"I phased, okay? I'm naked!"
"Oh." Ohhhh! Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place. "I'll be right there."
I paid Paul's and my tab, hopped into my car, and drove the six blocks to the alley. "Get in! There's no one around," I called.
Paul jumped into the passenger seat quickly and I started driving. Hot damn! This guy is built!
"Don't mention it. Where to?"
"Um, I live in Paradise Valley. Do you know where that is?"
"Pshaw. I grew up here. I know this area like the back of my hand. Paradise Valley—pretty fancy if you ask me. So, what do you do, which allows you to live in such a nice neighborhood?"
"Oh, I own a construction company. We handle corporate and government construction contracts," he mumbled.
"Well, that's impressive considering all of the odds against you on the reservation."
"Do you really think so?"
"Yeah, why wouldn't I?"
He shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know. I guess I never really considered it."
About twenty minutes later, I pulled my car into the driveway of a humongous, luxury mansion. Yes, I said mansion, in Paradise Valley.
"Um, come inside," Paul invited me in.
"Sure." Oh my, this is a nice house. "Impressive."
"Thanks. I designed and built it myself."
"Wow, you've really come a long way," I commented. I was stunned speechless at the awe-inspiring beauty of his delectable naked body. I kept staring at those ripped, tanned muscles. I had an incredible urge to lick him from head to toe. The house was nice, too.
"Let me just get dressed. I'll be right down."
I watched him walk up the stairs. I couldn't keep my eyes off of that firm ass of his. Sweet baby Jesus, what the hell is going on with me? The guy is a freaking shape-shifter. I can't get involved with him. Bella Swan does not do supernatural creatures of any sort—ever!
Paul came downstairs dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. Darn it! I wish he'd left his shirt off. "Thanks, Bella. I really appreciate you driving me home."
"No problem. Can I drive you back to the bar or your car? I imagine you didn't run all the way there from here."
"Yeah, that would be great." He kept looking at me with an intense look in his eyes. Hmm... My chest pain is gone. It must have been heartburn. Now, I just have to get rid of this overwhelming urge to give him a blow.
"Would you like a drink?" Paul asked when I didn't say anything. "I have beer, wine, iced tea, Coke, Sprite, coffee, hot tea?" Say me, say me.
"I'm fine, thanks."
"Did you eat yet? I can take you out to eat? I'm kind of hungry myself."
"No, I'm good. I...I..." I couldn't finish my sentence because Paul closed the distance between us and was standing right in front of me. He reached out to caress my jaw with his strong hands, which were surprisingly gentle.
"I'm sorry, it's the pull. I have to be near you."
"What pull?" I asked, suspiciously.
"The imprinting pull. I need to be near you. I can't be far from you, otherwise I feel pain in my chest."
"So, that's what the pain is? I was wondering."
"Listen, Bella. I'll be whatever you want me to be. A friend, a brother, a lover, a boyfriend—I just need to have you in my life. I can understand if you're wary about getting involved with me, and I can accept that. We don't really know each other plus your experience with 'my kind' hasn't exactly been sunshine and daisies. I just... I'm sorry... I didn't mean to imprint on you... I had no control over it."
Well, what the heck was I supposed to say to that? It may have been the most honest thing any guy has ever said to me. It was certainly way better than, "I'm sorry, Bella. It's just that I prefer blondes, and you just don't look good with blonde hair. In fact, you make a terrible blonde. I need a blonde woman for my image." Now, tell me that wasn't screwed up. No, screwed up was the girl who colored her hair blonde for her pathetic doctor boyfriend who couldn't accept her for who she was.
"We'll figure it out. Let's get you back to wherever you need to go for now." And if you want to take a detour and climb on top of me, I certainly wouldn't mind. Bella, get your mind out of the gutter!
He nodded to me, again, with that intense look in his eyes.
I drove back to Phoenix, and he directed me to where his truck was parked. I had no idea that Cadillac even made trucks. I dropped him off, said goodbye to him, and went home to think. Little did Paul know I only lived about ten minutes away from him in Camelback East. Not as fancy as Paradise Valley, but it certainly did its job. I lived in my mom's old house—the one I grew up in. She signed the deed over to me when I got my master's degree. Phil and she have a house in Jacksonville, which they share with my two little half-brothers. It was my graduation present for doing so well in school. Plus, I think Phil wanted to get me as far away as possible from his minor league baseball team—he kept muttering something about everyone wanting to date me.
It worked out perfectly, the doctor that I used to go to for check-ups as a kid in Phoenix was looking for a nurse practitioner to take some of his caseload for him, and I was available for the job. I clear about ninety thousand dollars a year after taxes so I'm pretty comfortable. The hours aren't bad either. The practice is closed on the weekends so I have Saturdays and Sundays off, and I rarely get out of work later than six pm. I, do, however have to run to the hospital in case one of my patients goes into labor. It could be a bit hectic at times.
I decided to take a bubble bath and read. An hour later, I hit the sack. I had a long week and a frenzied evening, and needed to wake up with a clear mind so I could think.
The next morning...
I didn't get a good night's rest at all. My chest was in incredible pain and something in the back of my brain kept screaming at me to go and see Paul. I finally took an Ambien to knock myself out. Of course, now the chest pain is back, and I'm horny as hell because I keep thinking about Paul's delectable nude form. Not good, Bella Swan—not good at all.
I decided to get some grocery shopping done since it was Saturday morning. I made a list of everything I needed, then hopped into my car towards Safeway. I was perusing the oranges when Paul tapped me on my shoulder. Looks like he shops here, too.
"Hi Paul. I see you're grocery shopping, too."
"I'm trying. I don't really cook."
I peered into his shopping cart and noticed that he had a ton of frozen pizzas and TV dinners. He had a few cans of Spaghetti O's, peanut butter, jelly, and bread. He also had loads of beer, soda, chips, cookies, and microwave popcorn. Come to think of it, the microwave popcorn was probably the healthiest thing in there.
"Um, don't you eat vegetables, or fruit maybe?" I asked.
"Yeah, I eat out most of the time. I can't cook that stuff anyway."
"How about bagged salad greens, precooked chicken, and some salad dressing?"
"They sell that stuff?" Paul asked in amazement.
"Yes," I informed him, nodding. This guy is completely clueless about grocery shopping.
"Hey, can I walk around the store with you, Bella? You won't think I'm a stalker, will you? My chest feels better when I'm near you." I put my hand to my own chest and realized the intense pain was gone. "You feel it too, don't you?"
"Yes." I nodded my head in confirmation.
Paul placed his hand over mine that was on my chest. A feeling of warmth and contentment spread throughout my body. "Better?"
"Yeah, better," I admitted. "I barely got any sleep last night."
We continued shopping side by side. He helped me load my groceries up into the trunk of my car.
"So, do you live around here, Bella?"
"Yeah, about five minutes away in Camelback East. I live in the house I grew up in."
"You can come over if you want. I can make you some lunch." Why the hell did I just invite him over? Am I insane?
"Wow, a home cooked meal. I haven't had one of those in five years," Paul stated. "Sure, since you're offering."
Too late to back out now, Bella.
I gave him my address and he said he'd be over after he ran home to put his groceries away. As soon as he drove away, I ran back into the grocery store and grabbed a few steaks. If memory served me right, shape-shifters eat a hell of a lot more than a normal human.
After arriving home, I brought my shopping in and put everything away. I took the steaks out and threw them in a pan with some marinade. Meanwhile, I got started on the corn on the cob and the rice pilaf. Paul knocked on the door while I was setting the table. I let him in and he joined me in the kitchen.
"I'm just going to grill these steaks out on the deck. You can come with me if you want."
A few minutes later, I pulled the steaks off of the grill and plated them along with the corn and rice. Paul dug in appreciatively.
"Oh my God! Where did you learn how to cook? This is the best meal I've had in my life."
"My grandmother on my dad's side taught me. I used to follow her around in the kitchen all of the time. I also had to cook out of necessity. My mom is, quite possibly, the worst cook on this planet, and dad can't cook to save his life."
We finished our lunch and Paul helped me clear the dishes away. "Thanks, Bella," he said, before abruptly kissing me full on the lips. "Sorry."
"Don't be," I replied, and attacked his mouth with a vengeance. Before I knew it, Paul had picked me up and my legs were wrapped around his body. He ran up the stairs, found my room, and dove onto my bed with me still attached to him.
We were ravenous for each other and couldn't keep our hands off of our bodies. Our clothes were strewn on the floor and we were naked in no time flat. Paul planted kisses all over my body, making me squirm in pleasure until I was in full-on ecstasy mode.
It was the oddest feeling. I needed him. I needed to be with him, and I needed him inside now.
"Yes!" I cried out. "I need you now!"
"Okay, baby, you asked for it." He didn't disappoint. He expressed himself with his body, making me feel as if I were one with him. He was certainly a talented lover, and extremely thorough, too.
"Please!" I moaned, when he stopped for a second to smile at me.
"Oh, okay," he teased.
Suddenly, we became frenzied and our lovemaking surged in intensity. A few minutes later, we both hit our peak, and I felt a sharp pain assault my neck. I squirmed to try and get away, but Paul's teeth were attached to my neck. Was he... biting me? He stopped, looked at me apologetically, and then started licking my neck with his tongue. It was soothing and oddly erotic, sending tingly feelings straight to my core.
"I'm sorry, Bella. It was another instinctual thing. My wolf took over and I marked you."
"Marked me?" I asked, confused. I've never heard of that term before.
"Yeah," he sighed, and then started explaining. "Marking happens when you mate with your imprint and your protective wolf side takes over. It releases my scent into your system so other wolves are aware you're mated to me and it... it..."
"It... well... uh... you can't have babies with anyone, but me."
My jaw dropped. Holy mother of God! If I want to have babies in the future, it's going to have to be with Paul. It's not really a bad thing. He's much more intelligent than the rest of those goons in La Push. He's successful, owns his own business, and he's the best lover I've ever had in my life, but hell, I don't know him at all. What if he's a psychotic killer? Or, worse yet, what if he's one of those brooding, emo type of men who are anally retentive, and have some sort of a God complex? Oh, hang on that was Edward Cullen.
Paul continued talking when he saw that I wasn't closing my mouth anytime soon. Is it a bad thing that I want to do what I just did with him all over again. Get your mind out of the gutter Bella!
"The thing is, it usually doesn't happen on your first go. Hell, from what I know, it's possible for it to not happen for years. Usually, both the wolf and his imprint have to accept each other fully and completely. In our case, Bella, I just imprinted on you less than twenty-four hours ago. On top of that, we haven't even discussed the imprinting."
"Do you think it has something to do with my having knowledge of your world prior to us imprinting? It's the only plausible explanation I can come up with, Paul. When you think about it, the other imprints weren't even aware that you guys were shape-shifters until they were imprinted upon. I knew as soon as you imprinted on me. Maybe that alone was enough acceptance on my part for Taha Aki."
"You know, you just might have something there. You may actually be the only imprint in history who didn't need an explanation of our legends. Heck, you even know who Taha Aki is. So, what are we going to do with the imprint?"
"This is going to sound nuts, but I think I'm going to have to accept it. I know enough about the supernatural world to know that I can't screw around with nature. Also, the chest pain thing is something I'm not willing to live with. I had to pop a sleeping pill to get some sleep last night. The problem lies in the fact we barely know each other, Paul."
He smiled and pulled me into his arms. "Then, we'll just have to get to know each other."
"Sounds like a plan." I leaned my head back into his strong arms and allowed him to hold me. The happy feelings running through my body were incredible. If this is what imprinting feels like, then I gladly accept whatever the future holds for us.