The all mighty and powerfulM: Thanks. I'm trying to cut down on these long gaps between updates. Got a start on this chapter even before posting the last one, so that may have helped.

Guest: You can tell me how much you love my Paul as often as you want to. He's quite the character.

Guest(2): Dessert is a wonderful meal. Enjoy.

AN: Congrats to reviewer Cara for giving review #1200 on FF, and to for review #400 on Tricky Raven.

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Embry POV

As I followed Bella into her house, I considered her words "And I'll share my morning for dessert." For dessert? Didn't she mean during dessert? I temporarily forgot about it in favor of devoting my full attention to the plate of food she set in front of me. It was piled high with sandwiches, chips and fresh vegetables relegated to a separate plate. Despite the extreme inequity in our portion sizes, we both finished eating at the same time.

"Want dessert?" Bella asked. The question seemed ordinary, until I got a good look at her bright eyes, heard her heartbeat accelerate, and smelled the beginnings of arousal. Then I got it.

"Oh, dessert. But you-"

"There's more than one kind of dessert, Embry. You can decide if you want yours in the living room or in my bedroom."

Instantly, I was hard as a rock. "Where would you prefer?"

Bella debated before saying, "The living room might be better, but Charlie could also come home-"

I pointed to the blinking light on the answering machine. "He called and left the message just before you got back. He won't be coming home for lunch since he went in a little bit late this morning."

"Living room, then. I'll just get dessert ready, and you can go get comfortable."

Comfortable? The three-legged walk I did from the kitchen to the living room was damned uncomfortable, I discovered. Yet at the same time, it was a rush to wonder just what Bella had planned for me. I ended up choosing the couch to sit on, after spreading a light blanket over the entire piece of furniture, just in case. Bella's footsteps made me look her way.

"You're not relaxed yet," she chided. "Strip."

"Baby, everything I'm feeling and sensing right now...relaxed isn't the word I'd use." With a glance at the thankfully closed window blinds, I unfastened my shorts and lifted my butt off the couch enough to slide them down to the floor. Bella kicked them away, and pushed my knees apart enough so that she could kneel on the floor in front of me. My heart was pounding in my chest at what was about to happen. Part of me felt bad that Bella was going to do this for me when I couldn't reciprocate. But I didn't tell her 'no' for two reasons; she was my imprint and wanted to do this, for one part, and because I was a guy whose girl was about to suck his cock, for the other. Even though I tried to exert control, my legs still trembled as Bella laid her hands on my thighs and leaned close. The gentle exhale of her breath made my cock twitch. Trying not to come from sheer anticipation, I tried to find something else to focus on-which was an epic fail as soon as I realized what Bella had brought in with her: a bowl of ice cream, a bottle of chocolate sauce, and a steaming mug of something-everything that had come up in her and Paul's banana conversation yesterday morning. I had to shoot my hand down and squeeze my balls to avoid exploding on the spot.

"Fuck!" I groaned.

"Not exactly, but maybe the next best thing," Bella purred. Her hand reached up to take hold of my length and she bent her head to lap at the leaking pre-cum beading up on my tip. I struggled to lock my muscles in place—to not choke Bella—but my hips jerked upward, driving my cock into her mouth. Bella's lips closed around me and she sucked.

"Fuck, fuck, fuuucckkk..." the moans slipped out from lips I was biting near to bloody. Cool air hit my cock; my eyes opened the barest slit to see Bella making a selection from the tray she'd brought: chocolate syrup. Upending the bottle, she began squirting syrup along my length, lifting it upward to drizzle on the underside. Dropping the bottle to the floor, my imprint began the task of licking up each drop of chocolate. I had no prayer of stopping the bucking of my hips up into her mouth as she cleaned me up. Not then or when she took a drink from the hot mug and then swallowed me down-it was almost, but not nearly as good, as being buried in the heat between her legs. Neither could I stop a deeper oral fucking when she switched to the ice cream-that nearly 100 degree temperature swing was damned brutal.

"Are you planning to apply to the CIA after graduation?" my growl might have been more impressive if it wasn't so choked. "You-torture."

"Then don't fight it."

I couldn't, not anymore, not when Bella went down on me and started fondling my balls at the same time. I exploded into her mouth, feeling her muscles contract as she swallowed as much of my cum as she could, the rest leaking out the sides of her mouth. My body sank deeper into the couch cushions, completely boneless in the aftermath of that amazing orgasm.

"Are you okay?" asked Bella.

"Okay? That's like the understatement of the millennium."

"So that was good?"

Somehow, I found the strength to sit up and reach down to pull Bella up from the floor onto my lap. "Baby, that was beyond good. That was absolutely incredible." I kissed Bella, sampling our mingled flavors on her lips.

"Thank you. I'm glad—I wanted you to like it."

"I love it. But, seriously, that was your morning?"

"Part of it," Bella admitted. "Jess...is a good teacher. I thought I'd done okay the first time-doing that for you-but I didn't want it to just have been beginner's luck. Not if there could be an audience."

"There won't be. Paul tested the order out for me this morning and it worked-the guys won't be seeing anything."

After parting company briefly-Bella to clean up the lunch and dessert stuff and me to take a shower-we watched movies the rest of the afternoon until Bella's dad came home.

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Jacob POV

Even though I didn't want to, I headed home after an afternoon of running the patrol loops with Quil. The woods had always been a place of peace. Even more than that, being a wolf pushed a lot of thoughts to the background. Animal instincts didn't care about human things like emotions and motives. Facing my dad was-yet again-the last thing I wanted to do, yet at the same time I was determined to do it-and with Sam's gag order now lifted, I actually could talk. But what should-could-I say? Was I really going to be able to handle the answers?

More than dealing with Dad...I had no clue how to deal with Embry now, either. He wasn't just my lifelong best friend-a friend I'd been really shitty toward for the past few weeks, but he was my brother. My brother. I'd always wanted a brother and hadn't been happy not to get one. I guess that's part of why I was always so close to Embry and Quil: subconsiously seeing them as substitutes for the brother I'd lacked. Now it turns out that Embry really is part of my family. Family. Shit! What were my sisters going to say? My aunts? Crap. I had a few first cousins, but they were younger than me-too young to have the phase triggered yet, so none of my aunts knew anything about the pack or anything else supernatural. How would we explain how Dad's secret had gotten exposed? What would they all think about this? Why the hell didn't Dad just acknowledge Embry from the start and prevent this whole mess from happening? An image of Embry's face from last night flashed into my mind-what he'd looked like at almost the very moment that he realized just what his mom-what our dad-had kept secret from him all these years. Even though I knew Embry had been on patrol this morning, Paul was the only one waiting for Quil and me in the pack mind when we phased in. He'd reported that nothing had been seen or scented and was gone before I had a chance to ask him anything else. I only caught a quick memory of Embry running to Bella's house and phasing out before I could come on duty. Not that I blamed him-just a few days ago, I'd tried to kill him for sleeping with Bella. No way was he going to want to spend any time around me if he could help it. Neither of them would. Unfortunately, I was back to the same problem I'd had before: wanting and needing to make amends, but not being given the time or proximity to do it. Great. Just great.

My house came into view, my feet slowing automatically. I could hear Dad's heartbeat and the squeak of his chair's wheels. I told myself to man up and act like a descendant of Taha Aki and Ephraim Black, then pushed open the door and walked inside.

"Jake."

"Dad." I had no intentions at all of making this easy for him. So I just sat there in silence, with what I hoped was Sam's poker face firmly in place. No way was I going to give Dad anything until he'd told me everything. From how he'd cheated on Mom, to why he'd never claimed Embry-I needed to know it all. Didn't want to, really-but needed to.

Dad was quiet for a long time. Maybe trying to think of what to say, or maybe hoping I'd start talking first. But I wasn't going to help him out, other than, "You have things to say and I have things to hear. No time like the present."

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Narrator POV

"How'd it go?" Sam asked.

Paul drained half his can of pop before replying, "Pretty good. Seems like Embry picks things up fairly quickly. Not ready to go solo yet or anything, but he's doing fine with the wolf stuff."

"And the rest of it?" Sam picked up on what Paul hadn't said.

"Quicksand," was the succinct answer. "You ordered him not to hurt his mom...well, you might want to add Billy to that order. Man, Embry is pissed. No excuse Billy can ever offer will be enough for Embry, seems like, and no punishment come close to covering a lifetime of rejection."

"I don't blame him," admitted Sam. "I've got enough issues of my own where Joshua is concerned to know exactly where Embry's coming from. If I were being a mature and responsible Alpha, I'd tell Embry the same stuff I told Jake about accepting things even if he doesn't like them-but I'm not. At least for now, I'm going to let Embry work through this however he needs to."

"And if that means him laying into Jake again?"

"Part of Jake's punishment?"

Paul snorted. "It's a nice thought, but..."

"I know. It won't help them get along any better."

"Uh, nope. Keeping them apart might help, at least until they've had a chance to process everything. Hopefully Embry won't use Jake as a scapegoat for what he'd like to do to Billy."

"I know. But I don't know that it can be avoided-them being in proximity to each other. Small reservation and even smaller pack."

"Having Quil give the heads-up so Embry could phase out first helped today. Might not always be possible, I know. Wonder...you might just give them an Alpha order to keep things professional during shift changes. The order to keep Embry's thoughts about Bella private works, so this one probably would, too-at least until they didn't need it anymore."

"Huh. I honestly wasn't sure that it would work, even with what you said earlier. Glad it did-that'll be one less thing causing trouble."

"Yeah. Quil's gonna really be mad when he finds out, though. I think he was really hoping to get some juicy details-or some good wanking visuals."

"Gah. Then Embry would have been pounding on him."

"True. Someone ought to let Jared know, so you can give him the same order. Kim'll be thrilled."

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Embry POV

It was hard walking away from Bella after dinner. But I couldn't push things with her dad by trying to stay another night. Plus, there was stuff I needed to know that only Mom could tell me. Whether I believed what Billy had told Charlie last night or not, at least now I knew one side of the story. I owed it to myself and Mom to get her side, too.

Mom was waiting for me when I walked inside the house. She was tired, disheveled, and had clearly spent the night crying and not sleeping. However mad I was at the whole fucked up mess that my life was now-except for the part that Bella occupied-I couldn't be mad at my mom. I pulled her into my arms and held tight; we just stood there for a while in silence.

"How did it happen?" I finally asked. Mom pushed against my chest and I let her go. She disappeared into the bathroom for a minute-probably washing her face from the sound of it. When she came back, we both sat down on the couch.

"I was seventeen and in Port Angeles with a group of people from the reservation-all looking for summer jobs. Part of the group was older, and they got fake IDs for the rest of us so that the younger part of the group could get into the bars with them. It was exciting and we didn't really think or talk about how illegal it was-and no getting any ideas about trying the same thing, got it?" I nodded, but didn't bother to mention that with my new looks I probably wouldn't have to worry about anyone wanting to check my age.

"Then I met a native man in the bar-tall, big, good looking, alone. We got to talking, and that continued over a number of evenings...weeks. We talked about our reservations, jobs, music, just ordinary stuff. One night he was drinking a lot more than usual and somehow I ended up drinking, too. We ended up back in his little studio apartment having sex. That night led to others. He was everything a girl could dream of and my dreams starting flying really high. One day I got a quick call from him that he was leaving because of a family emergency and probably wouldn't be coming back. I was hurt and upset, but my group was going home soon anyway, so I just tried to accept my first adult heartbreak. After I was back home at Neah Bay, I started getting sick. I was young and inexperienced and didn't realize what it meant. My mom did, though. She handed me a pregnancy test kit and told me to use it-it was positive. My father was furious. I'd shamed him, our family, and the tribe by getting pregnant with a stranger's baby. He wanted me to have an abortion, but I refused. When I did, he disowned me and threw me out. The only thing I could think to do was find your father-even though he had taken precautions every time we were together, surely he would take us in and we'd be a family. So I took the bus here and ate in the cafe by the beach while I tried to figure out how to locate him. Before I left, I heard some women talking.

(flashback)

"I don't know how Sarah Black does it. Takes care of that new baby, with the twins running around."

"And that on top of Billy going out fishing all day and then helping his mom and sisters out once he comes back."

"Sarah knew what she was getting into when she married the chief's son-with his father gone now, Billy has to step up."

(end flashback)

"I was crushed. He'd been my only hope and now I learned he had a wife and three children... The woman who ran the cafe saw me crying and asked if she could help. I don't know how she got me talking, but I ended up telling her my story-but not mentioning that my baby's father was here. She drove me to a house-Billy's, as it turned out. His friend, Quil IV, was there, too, and he suggested I be made welcome since I had nowhere to go. They arranged a place for me to stay and a job for support myself."

"Payment for your silence?" I choked out.

"No. Billy talked to me privately later-said he'd never meant for any of it to happen. He had his family, his father had just died, and his mom and sisters depended on him. He was tribal chief now and all the expectations...

"Selfish bastard," I growled to hear the excuses that Billy had used to avoid taking responsibility for Mom and me. Mom flinched but touched my arm.

"Yes, it was selfish for him to say all that-but it didn't mean that it wasn't true. I could have said something, made a public scene-but I didn't want to be branded as a home-wrecking floozy. Sarah Black didn't deserve to be humiliated like that, and neither did I. I thought Billy would help us in secret and maybe one day accept you. He didn't, though-not as anything more than his son's friend. Even after his wife died...

"It's not your fault, Mom," I assured her. "He lied to you and then didn't man up."

"In the end, I just accepted how things were and would be. I focused on being the best parent to you that I could-and I've never regretted that. I just wish I'd known that what you inherited from him would shred our lives like it has."

There wasn't really anything to say to that. Whatever had or hadn't been wanted, I had been affected by my Quileute inheritance. The question now was how I'd let this affect me. Mom had obviously risen above what had happened-though a part of me wished she'd found a new guy to really make Billy regret how he'd treated her. Maybe she still could-Mom's only in her mid-30's now, so she's still young-for a mom. It wasn't that I felt like I had to have a dad-I'd managed okay without one all my life. If I really needed a father-figure, I had Sam now, and maybe even Bella's dad-as long as he didn't find out what I was up to with his daughter.

I had all the answers now, and they didn't help anything worth a damn. My father hadn't been faithful to his wife when it mattered, and then had only made it worse by being too faithful to her when he ought to have stepped up and acted responsible. He'd apparently cared more about his image and what people would think and say than he'd cared about the child—me—who'd resulted from his affair. The wolf rose inside me, almost demanding retribution. But I forced him down. I wasn't going to sink to Billy's level. He'd never cared about me? Fine, I can easily return the favor now.

"Embry?"

"I'm okay, Mom. Or at least I'm going to try to be okay. I hope you'll be okay, too. I'm sorry I gave you such a hard time about this—you were right that knowing wasn't going to be the magic bullet that everyone, including me, thought it would be."

"I do wish the circumstances had been different, but, Embry…I've never regretted having you."

"Thanks, Mom. I'm going to get some sleep. I'll be out with Paul again tomorrow and then there'll be a bonfire with…with the pack."

I hugged her goodnight and went to my room. I curled up on my bed and cried myself to sleep.