GIRLS: THE PAUL LAHOTE MANIFESTO
I gave my husband a cup for Christmas.
StealthLiberal said she'd write me a one-shot if I followed through.
I couldn't decide between two plotlines.
I'd get both for a price.
I have bought Sam's HEA for Paul/Leah.
Paul Lahote had girls figured out. It hadn't taken very long. And sure, he didn't know why they did half the things they did and he didn't understand even half of that. But he knew what to do in almost all worst-case scenarios.
Like that time Kim got chased by a swarm of bees? The only reason she didn't put a spike through Jared's dick was because Paul got the wonderful experience of talking him through the following week. Because that bastard had no tact.
Paul suffered for his art.
Phasing put almost everyone's life into a total tailspin. It probably messed with Paul the least. Which is a relative evaluation given that, at the age of sixteen he all of sudden realized he could burst into a giant fucking dog with more ease than it took to scratch his ass. But all things being equal – he was well off compared to his brothers. He didn't even have any whack ass girl problems.
He wasn't pining after some mentally disturbed albino. He hadn't imprinted on anyone – let alone some girl with the biggest fangirl crush ever, or his fiancée's cousin. He also hadn't tried to kill anyone. He'd mostly just been fucking with Bella that day on the road. Jacob was warped in the head if he thought he'd actually hurt the waif. Pain in the ass? Yes. Attack victim? Not so much. He got enough of Sam's head to know that he could never hurt a person. They all did.
There was a lot about Sam that didn't make sense to Paul. But on a really basic level – maybe a lupine level – he got it. So he never told anyone what he heard on patrols and he never held it against Sam. Sam was really good at holding it against Sam. It wasn't his fault that he lived in a loony bin and his biology flipped the bird to the best girl that ever happened to him.
There was also a lot about Leah that didn't make sense to Paul. She wasn't like most girls. She wasn't like most wolves. But just like Sam, Paul let her rant. Patrolling with Leah mostly involved letting her murderous diatribe go. He wasn't even sure if she realized she was doing it. Because she could still hold conversation while the muttering ensued in her head. Maybe it was a multi-tasking, girl kinda thing. Paul thought it was probably subconscious. But Paul also understood the need to just hate the fuck out of whatever had done you wrong in life.
Paul had hated his Mom for a really long time. Hate was a hard thing to do when you were eight years old, but his Mom had up and left him and his Dad. Lit right out of Tacoma and then Paul had started intentionally breaking things around the house that had a close tie with her. When Paul had mauled their Christmas tree that first year without her – topped with a handmade star, crafted by his mother during her 'artsy' phase – his Dad decided to take his son back to his own childhood house. So La Push became home and fourth grade got easier and Mom became mom became Janice.
So Paul sure as hell wasn't going to begrudge Leah hating her ex-fiancé or her cousin or anyone else that gave her a line of bullshit for the next decade or so. No one had told him that's why patrol shifts changed he was the only one to work with Leah nowadays, but he wasn't a moron – despite what everyone else thought.
He figured it out. He let her hate. He let her talk. He let her talk shit, didn't give her any and didn't ignore her.
It was hard to ignore Leah Clearwater.
Hey, Leah? Paul projected his thoughts towards her as he sat on his furry butt near the treaty line. I was wondering…
No. She responded instantaneously. Don't you "I was wondering…" me. No. Definitely not.
You don't even know what I'm going to ask. Could she sense him rolling his eyes?
Well, that answered that question. Because he could certainly sense her rolling her eyes. Or maybe that was just standard issue Leah response mechanism. I haven't been thinking about what I want to ask you, though.
Not concretely. But I can sense and smell it three miles down the treaty line.
And you still say no?
No. I meant 'yes, I still say no.' Not gonna happen, Paul. Sorry.
Are you really sorry? I've never heard you say that to anyone that isn't your brother. And that was only the one time you accidently got Tabasco sauce in his eye.
There was a pause, but Paul quieted his mind and waited.
Yes, I am sorry. It must suck for you all to be Alpha-ordered away from women for several months. Though I get that it's a control thing. Still, blue balls is a totally legitimate medical condition.
Please don't tell me that… Sam hasn't ordered you away from guys.
I don't think Sam will ever order me to do anything. For his own health and well-being.
What about while in wolf form?
Then, Quil phased into the collective consciousness and the pair knew their shift was up. Paul phased back immediately, not needing that pubescent horn dog knowing what he and Leah were thinking about.
Paul stood from the pine needle-ridden forest floor and pulled his shorts on. Well, it had been worth a shot. And he at least knew that propositioning Leah would have either ended with a yes or a no. And the no would've been followed by a right hook to the head or she would've just let it lie. No stupid girly bullshit. Paul appreciated that.
He heard her coming through the underbrush and she emerged carefully out of the trees as she slipped the sundress over herself. Leah was attractive. There wasn't a lot of getting around that. And if they had sex, he wouldn't break her. And he liked her.
"I feel like you kinda got metaphorically screwed on this one, Paul," Leah offered a half smirk as she wound her arm over his shoulder. "Because, honestly," she looked him up and down appraisingly, "it's not personal. It really isn't. But… I wouldn't have looked twice at you before Pack because I was a faithful girlfriend. And now I won't look twice at you after Pack because you haven't imprinted and 'just a fuck' or not, I'm not dealing with that again. So, yes. Sorry."
Wow. Leah didn't take any crap from anyone and Paul respected a girl who could go toe-to-toe with her own demons and not dissolve into tears. Leah might've had more balls than he did.
Guess it would've never worked out then.
Paul Lahote did not have girls figured out. All it took was a split half of a fucking second of looking at Jacob's older sister for, now, eighteen years worth of experiential knowledge to go out the window, down the drain and get run over by semi piloted by a drunk one-legged midget.
Paul imprinted on Rachel Black on a Thursday. He remembered because the shock of it barely allowed him to get out of the house before he phased. But in those few human seconds he remembered thinking he was going to hurl and it had been chili day at QTS. Thursdays were always chili days.
He had to wait a whole day and not eat a goddamn thing before he could go back to the Black's house, stare down both Billy and Jake and explain to Rachel what the hell happened.
It was weird. It was weird as hell. He'd been thinking idly about her through the whole interim. It wasn't obsessive like with Jared and it wasn't pining like with Sam. It was just passing thoughts. He wondered if Rachel watched sci-fi TV. What did she think about the color blue? And sure, it wasn't anything aggressive or unhinged, but he didn't like the new Jiminy Cricket in the back of his head directing his thought processes. But he also really, really wanted to go see her.
She took it all rather well. Jake had had the courtesy to explain Pack to her. Apparently, Paul wasn't entirely in the woods when he phased the day before. She took the imprinting business with a grain of salt and confirmed that she could feel it too. She could feel the small pull. But Paul had tried to phrase it in such a way that didn't pigeon hole her like the others.
A gravitational shift, he'd called it. It's like everything changes and the wolf just wants to be there for the imprint. The wolf will be whatever the imprint needs.
"I could really use a body guard at the next Canucks game."
"Another one bites the dust, huh, Lahote?" Leah sighed as she tromped up his front steps and sat beside him.
Paul shrugged. "It's not so bad."
"Don't turn into another brainwashed dog zombie, please?" Leah offered with a scoff. "Think with your head, not your dick. I know it's hard for you."
He glanced at her and smirked. "No, I mean it Lees. I like spending time with Rachel. She actually is pretty cool. But… that pull – that pull for closeness, for sex – that both Sam and Jared have. Totally not there."
"Maybe you're broken," she glanced obviously down at his groin.
"I'm definitely not broken."
When Jake had insisted – as both Paul and Rachel watched a Jurassic Park marathon – that if any funny shit happened on his couch, he would set both it and them on fire - Rachel scoffed.
"Yeah, because my girlfriend would love that."
"I'm just warning you two," Jacob offered plainly before proceeding to go something stupid with Embry.
Paul stared at the TV – not seeing anything – and processing information for about five minutes before he spoke. "Rach can I ask you a something?"
"Shoot," she replied, not peeling her eyes from the TV.
"I don't want you to think this is weird or leading into anything – I'm just asking."
Rachel removed the bowl of Doritos from her lap and proceeded to look at Paul. He was glad she realized he was about to ask a serious question. "It's fine. Go ahead."
"Are you sexually attracted to me at all?"
Her face contorted momentarily. Her eyes bugged a little and her lips pursed as she made a funny noise in her throat. "Is it offensive if I laugh?"
"No," Paul shook his head with a grin. "Not this time. I was just wondering. I'm the same way. I don't like you like that. But… imprints have ended up that way. And I was just checking."
"Paul, I'm gay. Have been my whole romantically active life. And I like you a lot. You're cool and fun to do stuff with and yes, you are very good looking – I'm a lesbian, I'm not blind – but you hold no sexual attractiveness in my mind. It's not a knock on you. It's just how it is."
"I like that," he nodded appreciatively. "Shit's less complicated."
"Agreed," she offered with a toothy grin. "Now pass the Mountain Dew or feel my wrath."
So how's it going in Zombie Land, eunuch boy? I can't believe we've got through a whole patrol without your waxing eloquent about the girl.
Paul had long since given up on pacing the treaty line. No one was coming through and there were no signs of a Vampire Apocalypse. He'd been plopped down in a rather comfortable bed of leaves and pine needles – the dead kind, not the green ones with all the sap that stuck to the fur. This was a good patch.
The girl's name is Rachel, Leah. Weren't you two friends in school?
Yeah. But we've lost touch over the years. And I'm withholding judgment until I see how this whole imprinted on Paul the Rage Machine thing goes. He could hear her padding south, towards him. They had five minutes left of patrol. Quil and Jared would be by soon. If Jared wasn't fucking late again.
I'm real enraged, Paul noted sarcastically as a yawn echoed through his chest and out his muzzle, causing a few dead brown leaves to puff out and way from his snout. It's not gonna be like that with us.
I'm so sure, Leah insisted as she trotted out from a patch of thickly settled trees. Wolves looked funny when they rolled their eyes, Paul noted.
Leah trotted around his form, her nose coming to snuff at his ears, she jostled his shoulder and then stepped on his tail before laying down next to him, her head on her paws. Still smells like Paul. Still sounds like Paul.
If it looks like a Paul and acts like a Paul, it's probably a Paul.
What makes you think you and Rachel Black are gonna break the imprinted glass ceiling, huh? She questioned lightly as she rolled slightly onto her side and proceeded to make a toy out of Paul's left ear.
Because I'm not sexually attracted to her, Lees. We covered that.
Yeah, but you're broken, remember? She issued a playful kick to his hip.
I'm not broken, Leah. She's gay.
It was 4PM. And by most accounts, that was not a rude calling time. But Paul had taken a double shift to cover for Sam while he went with Emily went to an occupational therapy appointment. That meant he'd just come off twelve hours of mind numbing patrolling.
The caloric burn alone was enough to put him into a food or sleep coma. He'd come home, eaten a box of cereal – dry – and then passed out on his couch. He'd have another seven hours of peaceful sleep until his Dad got off second shift and came home. So when Paul saw the cable box read 4:07PM he knew he couldn't tear the head of whoever was knocking on his front door.
"Coming…" he groused. He rolled off the couch. Thinking over essentials in case the caller was not Pack – which was unlikely. Nothing incriminating around? Nope. He had clothes on? Pants… good enough.
He swung the door open and Leah Clearwater was perched lithely on the railing of his porch. She was glancing away, towards his neighbor's yard and he could only see her profile. "This better be good Lees. I'm catching up on my beauty sleep."
He watched as she tried to suppress her grin. "I went by to see Rach, today. I haven't had a chance since she's been back. I missed her."
Paul yawned and leaned against the doorframe. "Yeah, she asked about you yesterday, actually."
"I did know she was gay, by the way," Leah continued before finally glancing to meet Paul's gaze. Her expression was clear and her eyes were bright, a neutral expression playing across her features. It was the first time Paul had seen anything that wasn't anger or an occasional bout of laughter at someone else's expense on her face. She looked… placid. "She told me when we were sophomores in high school. I didn't know if you knew. I didn't know what an imprint would do to that."
"What did you think imprint was going to do to human sexuality?" Paul asked as he quirked a brow.
Leah offered a one-shouldered shrug. "I don't know. Knowing the mindfuck that it's done to others, turning her straight might've actually still had a better ending than some. Then again, your being forever attracted to a girl that wants nothing to do with your whole gender has a certain soap opera angst quality to it. That would've been pretty bad too."
"Definitely," Paul crossed his arms. "But we lucked out. Rachel is still gay and we are still not attracted to each other and we are still going to a hockey game next week."
"So, you've imprinted…" Leah hopped off the banister and scuffed her feet along the porch a few steps, her hands in her pockets and her eyes straight ahead. "And it ends well this time."
"Guess so," Paul agreed.
She stopped in front of him and glanced up. Even at six feet, Leah had a few more inches to go if she wanted to out do Paul on her jump shots. "I was wondering…"
Paul quirked a brow at the girl standing before him.
And then she blinked a few times, looking at him through those eyelashes and grinned devilishly. Paul knew that look.
Leah didn't wait for a response. She reached up and closed the few inches making quick contact with Paul. She kissed him aggressively - fists to skin and teeth to lips. The growl started in her chest but radiated out of Paul's throat. She was flush to him and Paul had not been expecting that. At all. She pulled herself close and he felt her nails dig into the back of his neck. She matched Paul's skin temperature but she felt the warmth. It radiated across her cheeks through her head and in her core. She hadn't felt like this in a long time.
Paul removed himself from his shocked delirium quickly enough. He backed inside and Leah kicked the door closed. He reached down to grab her ass firmly and bit right at her collar bone. He'd wanted to do that for so fucking long. She hooked one leg around his, allowing his hand easier access to her, before rolling her hips into his. Hard. She sighed - she was right - she knew she'd get a reaction out of Paul awfully quick. And she was glad. She needed this. She really needed this. It had been way too long. Paul thought he had it bad? Leah hadn't even been touched since Sam phased almost two years ago.
"Foreplay is overrated until we get bored, okay?" she told him as she shoved him down to sit on his couch and wound her fingers into the waistband of his sweatpants.
Because as much as Leah was assured that Paul would be a good lay, she didn't want to get involved. She knew the hazards of a non-imprinted wolf. She wasn't stupid. But a purely platonic imprinted wolf? That was a horse of a different color. She'd always had a soft spot for one of the only Pack members to not give her shit about her being a bitch. He'd never said anything about her spite, the absolute vitriol she spewed about Sam, Emily, the Pack - even him - and all their mothers, too. He'd just let her go.
He figured it out. Paul let her rant. He let her hate. He let her talk. He let her talk shit, didn't give her any and didn't ignore her.
It was hard to ignore Leah Clearwater.