The Twilight Series belongs to S. Meyer, no copyright infringement is intended. I'm just playing with the characters.

Pre-read by SparklingFae.

AN: The title comes from a popular quote from John Steinbeck's novel, Of Mice and Men:The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

Two-spirit people is a belief held by many Native American tribes and the info I researched for that came from Dancing to Eagle Spirit Society.

AN: The setting—shortly before Leah and Jake graduate from Peninsula College.

The Best Laid Plans

The Scene:

It was the same thing, twice a year for the past few years. Every fall and spring, usually October and April, Leah's scent would change so minutely that Jake now was the only one to notice but it didn't stop him from being protective of her and forbidding any of the pack, including her brothers from coming near her. She had learned to take the whole thing in stride. Her fertile period usually lasted sometime between five to ten days and being holed up with Jake was the only thing that soothed the ache she felt deep inside.

Charlie quickly learned Billy was a guest in his and Sue's house during that same time and accepted it. Jared seamlessly took over the pack and made sure none of the pack dared to patrol within visual distance of the Black house. They had all come to realize it didn't matter whether Leah was in heat or not, both she and Jake had a thing for the forest, though it was even worse during her heat. Nothing had happened that first time when Brady and Collin ventured too close but Quil wasn't so lucky that following spring when he made the same mistake. Jake had broken his arm in several places and they had no choice but to call Carlisle for advice on how to reset it properly. They had never been so grateful for internet access and Skype.

It was mere months before Leah and Jake were set to graduate; after three years hard work she would receive her Associate degree in nursing whereas he had been lucky and despite starting in January of his last year of high school he was going to be able to finish his program in 17 months versus two full years. Sam had obtained a certificate in criminal justice and for past year and half had been working as a deputy in the Forks Police Department.

It was going to be a busy summer for the pack; Jared, Leah, and Jake were all graduating from college. Seth was graduating from high school. After graduation there was Jared and Kim's wedding the first weekend in June; they had decided to follow Sam and Emily's footsteps from the previous summer.

Just like clockwork every six months, Leah began her heat phase; from beginning to end it lasted up to 35 days. As she was soon to be entering her sixth cycle, she was finally able to track it; the same as she had been able to do before she became a wolf. It took a few cycles before they figured out the exact pattern and once they did it was a simple matter of using a yearly calendar. It made it easier for them to deal with the intense feelings and needs both their wolves had.

That March, she could feel it approaching and all the similar symptoms were there. The hot flashes, cravings, and mood swings. Her breasts were swollen and tender to the point she could barely stand having anything touch them. Jake could tell the slight differences in her body and scent. Though there was another symptom—new but not really because it had happened one other time but it lasted longer this time and she actually found herself needing to walk down the feminine hygiene aisle for supplies.

She shrugged it off as just another change with her cycle; she had kept up with getting her double-dose of shots every three months. Even Carlisle didn't seem too concerned as he continued to monitor her from New Hampshire. As soon as her cycles seem to have some type of a pattern to them, he had her mom draw blood from her to send to a nearby lab and had it analyzed.

Just as he had suggested during that first office visit how she would never again have a normal fertility cycle; they found her hormone levels decreased to near infertile levels in-between her cycles making it so a pregnancy would be impossible. As she started her heat and it progressed, her hormones increased to the point he was sure without any type of birth control, she would have no problems conceiving. The information only helped to settle those lingering doubts she still had when Rebecca's son Ephraim was born. She wondered if his birth and the initial feelings they had meant he would be the future heir to the Black name and heritage.

It was two weeks into her cycle when things took a turn for the worst. Her mood swings were at an all-time high. It wasn't just the irrational temper they had all become used to—now it was accompanied by crying jags over the littlest things. She was on edge and anxious which could just be the stress of school and her life in general. She was working part-time, attending school—which now included clinicals every week along with multiple papers—plus exams, studying for her licensing exam plus patrolling.

There weren't enough hours in the day anymore. Jake did what he could to take care of her. He helped out around the house, made dinner, and even volunteered to take some of her patrols. She wasn't having any of it though. The more he tried to help, the more she felt like she was a failure and the worse things got.

Two weekends before spring break they called a pack meeting. Being the pups and Seth were going to have school off for an entire week, they wanted to try and balance out the patrols, so they could have time to be teenagers, too. As they gathered in a circle at the Black house, Leah felt ready to have a breakdown. She hated this feeling—overwhelming anxiety and weakness coursing through her veins. It brought up all those feelings she had that summer when she and Sam broke up, Emily's betrayal, her father's disdain, and how it was likely she had been one—if not the major factor in his death.

She glanced at the members of the pack; everyone present except for Embry who lived in the dorms at U-Dub and Paul who was still in Portland with Rachel. It hadn't been hard to figure out patrols between the eight of them. Now that Brady and Collin were older, they were able to patrol by themselves and for longer hours. Once Jake accepted the reins to run the pack jointly with Leah, it took time but they slowly transitioned things; pack meetings and gatherings happened at the Black house. But Emily missed have the pack at their house so for those that were in school, whether it was those that were attending college or finishing their high school studies they devoted two nights per week to a few hour study session at Sam and Emily's. Emily enjoyed being able to make a large meal for the pack along with having their small house filled with the pack.

It didn't take long for her irritation to get the best of her. It all started with Jake opening the meeting. "Alright, everyone, so we need to look at patrol schedules for spring break. Paul and Rach are going come home for part of the week, so he's already volunteered to take a few double patrols. Embry's not able to make it; he's got something with his mom's family. Lastly, it's a crappy time I know but—we'll be unavailable."

She glared at him; literally trying to make him combust from her gaze alone. How dare he try to make it sound like this was her fault? She didn't ask for this! All she wanted was to be a normal girl with a normal menstrual cycle. Not some fucking weird wolf shit which made it so she had the intense desire to be fucked until she couldn't walk. The more she thought about it, the more she seethed inside. It wasn't her fault or her wolf's either. It was just as much his fault too! His wolf—and the man probably, too—felt the need to fill her up and try to ensure his seed took root.

She trembled, her hands clenched tightly and growled lowly, "I didn't fucking ask for this—so don't blame this shit on me. I'm sorry that I'm inconveniencing you. Maybe this time, I'll figure it out on my own," she threatened.

"I didn't say it was your fault. I was making an observation. Fuck, do we need to fight about this right now?"

"Oh, this isn't a good time for you," she asked sarcastically. "Are we going to pretend we're busy? It's not as if every single person here doesn't already fucking know the reason why we aren't available. Should we pencil in day and time on your calendar that would be better time for you to discuss this?"

She was pushing his buttons and there was some part of her that was doing it deliberately. She knew this wasn't the time or place. In her heart of hearts, she knew he didn't mean anything by his earlier words but at this moment all she could see was red. It was no different than the time when he had fantasized about her body with Bella's head. She was itching to fight and there wasn't a single one of them that would fight with her; at least not physically. It had been almost a year since they had seen any nomads and she prayed one was stupid enough to cross into their territory. She would rip it apart so fast it wouldn't know what hit it.

"I'm not going to discuss this right now," he told her coldly. His face pulled into an emotionless mask. It was his way of hiding the turmoil churning his gut and the anger surging through his veins.

"Well, if you don't want to talk to me, why don't you just leave? It's what you're best at, after all."

It was a low blow. Lower than anything she had ever hurled at him and they had their share of fights. More so, since he had become Alpha; their wolves and rank bled into their human lives. It took work on their parts to find ways to reach agreements so both of them were satisfied.

"You really want to do this right now? What the fuck, Leah?! I expect the bitchiness from you—hell, we all do when you go into heat. Every single person here gives you a pass. You've said some pretty shitty things to people, not just me—but we don't fucking hold it over your head, do we? I'm sorry some of us weren't as mature as you were when they were dealing with the shit life handed them." Every word from his mouth snarky as he reminded her of the things she had done and the mistakes she had made.

"How about we all bow down to perfection otherwise known as Leah Clearwater? You've never made a mistake, have you? Never hurt someone with your words or actions. I guess we can all only hope to aspire to your greatness," he finished with a snarl.

No one said a word. He knew he had gone too far, but he couldn't handle her moods lately. He was trying; doing everything he could think of to make things easier for her. She continued to push him away; what he did wasn't done right. In all their years together, they hadn't gone to bed angry, having always found a way to come together—to compromise. It had changed lately and more often than not, he found himself seeking the solace of his tiny bed in his old room. He didn't dare utter to anyone the real reason why he had been volunteering to take her patrols—she was getting on his last nerve.

He looked up at her face, trying to gauge how pissed she was at him. His heart clenched at the shimmer of tears in her eyes. The bond between them throbbing painfully as he felt her every emotion. The entire pack was silent, not even a whisper of breathing could be heard. He swallowed hard against the lump in his throat.

"Leah…" he breathed softly; his hand reaching over for hers, trying to establish some type of physical contact with her. He needed to touch her, have her look at him so she would see the sincerity in his eyes but she pulled away. Mentally, physically, and emotionally—her body stiffened, her posture rigid while she put another three inches between them. Those few inches became a wide chasm and his stomach churned. He knew it wasn't all his fault—she was just as at fault as him. He knew how hard it was for her during this time; the increase in hormones made her no longer feel like herself.

"Don't," she told him, her voice flat and emotionless. The single word cut him like a knife. She stood abruptly, refusing to look in his direction, her eyes brimming with tears and her features pained.

She took a single stilted breath, "I hate this. I hate everything about this. I never wanted this—never wanted any of it. All I wanted was…" her words breaking off as she took a deep breath. "I wish I had never come back here. I wish I had run as far as I could from here."

"Leah," he tried one more time to interrupt her. To get her to see him so he could fix it, make it right.

Her head whipped around and she glared at him, her eyes filled with emotions he couldn't—didn't even want to begin to describe. "Leave me alone, Jacob. I don't want you and I sure as fuck don't need you."

Those final words were punctuated by her quick movements towards the forest. There was barely a moment of her shape blurring before she phased, the scraps of her outfit falling slowly to the ground. An angry howl escaped her as she ran towards the woods, a blur of motion.

He stood—agitated, feeling her rejection of him and knowing he should have kept his mouth shut. He forced his body towards the forest, fighting against her wishes. He made it just to the edge of the trees when his body refused to take another step. Her last angry words prevented him from being able to go to her, to comfort her. He hand clenched into a fist as his lightning fast reflexes had him striking a tree; the wood splintering and a large dent in the bark appearing while he yelled, "Fuck!"

His wolf was pissed, snarling at him. The wolf unable to understand what exactly human Jake had done to piss off their mate. It was the one thing that differed between the wolf and the man. The wolf had felt her desire to fight but recognized it was a desire for physical confrontation. The man, however, was unable to wrap his mind around the idea of sparing with her—too worried about her getting injured. Thus, the words tossed between the two of them made no sense and did nothing other than to make the wolf angry at the man.

He stood for several long moments, anger and regret coursing through his veins. Raking his hands through his hair, he turned and made his way back to where the pack sat frozen; their faces a mixture of shock and bewilderment. None of them quite understood what exactly had occurred. Even Seth, who normally would have been the first person in his face defending his sister's actions and calling Jake the biggest asshole that had ever walked the face of the Earth, was quiet.

He was still tense and irritated but he knew they needed to finish the meeting. Then he could send the younger ones home and maybe see if Jared or Sam had any advice. He sighed once, trying to re-focus his energy and thoughts.

"Alright, let's discuss patrol schedules. First off, Brady, Collin, Seth—are there any specifics days or times that you would like to have off during the break? I'm sure there are some parties or plans you've made with your classmates. I'd like to work around those as much as possible."

It didn't take long to readjust the patrol schedule so no one was overburdened but all the shifts were covered. They also looked at the week after break, simply because they never knew how long her heat would last, so they always planned for 10 days. If it ended up being less Jake and Leah would end up taking some patrols to give the rest of the pack a break.

Brady and Collin left once the schedule had been finalized; both of them had plans for the evening. Seth lingering for only a few minutes before he too found something better to do. Lastly, Quil felt out of his element, he hadn't imprinted and sadly enough because they still weren't sure if there would be any more imprinting, his relationships consisted of one-night stands with women nearly old enough to be his mother. He had no wisdom to impart on Jake.

His final words sympathetic and apologetic, "Sorry, man—it's not my thing. I'll go check on her though, see if she wants me to patrol. Since it's my idea, she can't get mad at you for it."

"Thanks," he replied with a sad smile, appreciative of how his friend had matured in the past few years; more since his grandfather's death in February. Finally, it was just him, Jared, and Sam left. None of them saying anything until Jared quietly asked, "What was that about?"

"I don't know. I've done everything I can think of—taking her patrols, helping out more around the house and being as undemanding as anyone can be. It's just there, all the time, this underlying want—need to fight. It's not just her, it's her wolf too. Fuck, half the time we don't even sleep in the same bed because I've done something to piss her off."

"I'm sure we could work out the patrol schedule so she could have more than just the next two weeks off," Sam suggested.

"Don't even think of bringing it up to her. She didn't talk to me for two days when I suggested it. I couldn't even be in the same room as her because I had no choice but to follow her wishes."

Sam nodded as he thought back to the time when Emily had pushed him away. He had been too new and his control on his wolf was mediocre at best. It was how Emily had gotten scarred; a moment where he wasn't in control and he had nearly killed her. Thinking about that particular day and the events of today, he realized it was for the best he hadn't imprinted on Leah. He couldn't imagine trying to hold back his anger and irritation like he had seen Jake do countless times before.

"What if we just rearrange it? Not ask but just do it. I could talk to Sue and suggest it and then we could have her be the one to smooth things over with Leah," Jared hypothesized.

As he thought about whether Jared's idea had any merit, he felt the tugging on his bond. Her emotions once again clear to him. She may not have forgiven him but she was willing to allow him to come near her. His breath caught in his throat—the full aspect of her emotions washing over him; feelings of failure, anxiety, anger, frustration, regret, and sadness hitting him like a typhoon. He became aware of something he hadn't noticed before. This was more than just her heat, it was something deeper; something she had been hiding from him.

"You okay?" Jared asked concerned at Jake's sudden stilted breathing.

" don't know. This is more than just her heat; I don't know what," he sighed. "She hasn't let me in for weeks. Ever since her mom had to give her a different shot; things have been..."

"What do you mean?"

"I don't know how to describe it. I can tell when she gets it; her scent, it changes. Even with it we can tell she's fertile," he blushed slightly.

He may have discussed Leah and sex with Sam all those years ago but that was before they had accepted the imprint. "It just seems like this cycle is different from the rest. I don't think we've ever gone this long without...and it's not for lack of me trying. I know it seems ridiculous, especially when you take into consideration in around two weeks it doesn't matter what is happening, everything is secondary to both our wolves' needs, but I don't know..."

Jared and Sam nodded at his words, both of them unsure of how to respond. It was an awkward situation for the three of them and it didn't seem like there were any easy answers. If things were truly as Jake was describing, it had to be taxing not just on their relationship but on their wolves. Both Jared and Sam understood the needs of a mated wolf—the desire to protect and comfort their mate; the desire to be with them in a physical sense.

Clearing his throat, Sam suggested, "I say you—we just do what Jared suggested. She'll still be pissed about it but it won't be much longer before you'll both be done with school. Paul and Embry will be home for the summer. I'm sure I can talk to Charlie and he'll be more than willing to work things out with my schedule. I can cover a few extra patrols, Em will understand. I'm sure Seth and the pups won't mind either. We'll figure it out."

Jake nodded in agreement and glanced at Jared. "Don't worry, I'll talk to Sue about it," Jared promised. "We can handle her being mad at us. Well, as long as she doesn't find some way to punish us by ordering us away from our imprints. Then, we'll expect you to help us out," he finished jokingly.

The moment Leah phased she screamed in frustration and anger; the scream came out as an angry howl. She charged through the forest as though flames were licking at her heels. Why she couldn't just tell him what was wrong—she didn't comprehend. There was a part of her that didn't want to look weak to him. She had been chosen to be his mate because of her strength, but could their bond be destroyed because she wasn't as strong as she thought she was? She didn't know and was too scared to find out.

She ran until she reached the backyard of her childhood home. Her ability to control her phase was so acute that she no longer wasted her time putting outfits around the forest. The few times she had phased on the fly she had no problem darting towards the Black house and getting an outfit or Jake would do it for her. Sighing loudly, she lay down on her belly. Her actions meant to calm her and also in acknowledgment of her annoyance that she couldn't change back like she wanted to. A glance at the driveway showed that not only was her mom home but so was Charlie.

She growled lowly at the sound of footsteps heading towards her. She didn't understand how he was able to go against her wishes, though when she sucked a breath in, preparing herself to fight with him, she realized it wasn't Jake disturbing her, it was her brother. Her growls dying in her throat while feelings of embarrassment washed over her. She had lost her temper in front of the entire pack; it was something she hadn't done for years.

"I'll leave these here for you. Why don't you change back and we'll talk," Seth told her softly, concern lacing his words.

She listened as the sound of his foot falls diminished when he walked away. Standing up, she shook her body once, trying to dislodge as much debris as she could before she phased back. Walking over to the clothing draped over a bush, she phased back. Her fingers running through her shoulder length hair, pulling several leaves and twigs from it. She didn't recognize the clothes and there were still tags present on them. She pulled the tags off and donned the tee-shirt and pants.
Her heart thundering as she walked slowly towards the house. Seth would expect her to reveal why she had reacted as she had. If she didn't confess, he would get Embry on her case along with their mom.

She could no longer block Jake from her emotions—the wall she had erected with her words and actions falling away like a sandcastle destroyed by a summer rain. The tears she had held in check falling from her eyes and down her cheeks as she allowed herself to become intimate with those same feelings that churned her gut and swirled in her brain. The feelings she had that she wasn't good enough for him, a failure; her anxiety about their bond and whether she would succeed in finishing her degree. Her wolf's feelings of frustration and anger which she was unable to understand where they were coming from. Lastly, there was her regret for her recent words and actions; sadness overwhelming her as she struggled with some unforeseen necessity to push him away.

It was with a heavy heart that she walked into the house. She heard their voices lifting through the air and she made her way to the living room. Seth noticed her first as he had heard her approach. His arms wrapping around her, pulling her tight to him and she laid her head on his chest while the tears turned to loud sobs. His hand rubbed her back and he murmured in her ear, reassuring her. She cried in his arms for several minutes before she extracted herself and propelled herself into her mom's arms.


She curled into her mom's side. Sue's arms wrapped around her and worry evident in her voice when she asked, "What's going on, honey?"

The couch shifted slightly as Charlie stood and said, "I'm going to stop by Billy's. I'll be back a bit later." It wasn't that he didn't want to be there for her, she was a daughter to him but he just didn't know what to do. To him it was better for him to leave than muck it up with his inexperience. He also knew Leah was a private person and her mom and brother were the only ones she would want around.

As soon as Charlie left, Seth sat down on the on the couch next to them. The words tumbled from her mouth and she confessed everything. Her anxiety and fears surrounding school and graduation; the fact despite graduating in a few months, she would have to take a test that would determine whether she could even practice. How overwhelmed she felt and how pushing Jake away was the only way to hide her weaknesses. The stress she felt as she tried to balance everything and failed.

"Honey," her mom cried out softly, her hand reaching to brush Leah's hair behind her ear. "I had hoped for so long—wished that you had a bit more of your dad's temperament. You and I are two peas in a pod. Don't make the same mistakes I did, it's okay to admit that you need help. No one will judge you for it. Look at how much you're trying to juggle, you have to evaluate what's important to you—what are things that you can let go. Have you talked to Jake about this?"

"No..." she sniffled. "I can't—I've been so horrible and mean."

Seth sighed as he knew he had to get her to see the light, "He was torn up about arguing with you. He tried to go after you but I guess you telling him to leave you alone prevented that. Why don't you take some time off patrolling—I'm not just saying because of...," he trailed off not wanting to discuss the specifics. "We'll be more than able to work things out. Focus on school, Leah. You've worked hard for this."

"But what about you—Brady and Collin, Jared, Jake, you all have been working just as hard."

"I don't even need to pass my classes this semester and I'll still graduate without problems. With the study sessions, Brady and Collin are doing just fine; in fact I think Brady's planning on taking some AP classes at Forks High next year. Jake's been working on cars since he could walk, I'm sure he'd be able to do any exam with his eyes closed and Jared, he's a smart guy. He did get that scholarship that he had to pass up on because he wolfed out."

"I agree with your brother, honey. Right now, you can't do everything and that's okay. Let the boys help you out. I work with new nurses all the time and the relief they have after finishing—well, most of them liken nursing school to some type of torture. They consider themselves to be masochists because why else would they purposefully torture themselves for years?"

Leah laughed at her mom's observation. Every word was true about nursing school. Between clinicals which required her to get up at dawn to prepare, lecture, exams, and the never-ending papers; she didn't have time to sleep barely much less shave her legs or do anything other than run a brush through her hair. She couldn't remember the last time she and Jake had spent a nice evening together—no books littering the living room or their bedroom—just her and him. It was some horrible form of self-torture. She knew the job wasn't going to be easy but anything was better than nursing school.

"I guess," she replied softly.

"Better yet, I'll take a look at the schedule and make some adjustments, too. I know how hard the last few months are and you have so much else you're trying to do."

Between Sue and Seth's suggestions along with Jared coming to talk to Sue about the same thing, they were able to figure out a schedule that ensured Leah didn't need to patrol. The relief she felt at having the decision taken out of her hands was instantaneous. Her mind quieting for the first time in weeks and she felt like she could breathe easy. She still had to face Jake and tell him what was going on; it wasn't going to be an easy task but she knew she had to.

When she arrived at the Black house she saw that Charlie's truck was parked outside and the yard was empty. Their meeting now finished and the pack had gone home. She knew Quil was on patrol, he had phased in and offered to patrol. She heard the sincerity in his voice and actions while he didn't mention what he had witnessed.

Her eyes remained red-rimmed and swollen; nothing was going to change that for a while but the crying had made her feel a bit better along with telling her family. Taking a deep breath, she entered the small red house she had come to call home. Charlie and Billy were sitting at the kitchen table, for once their drink of choice wasn't beer but instead coffee. It had taken sometime but she had gotten both of them to cut down on their habit.

Charlie stood as she entered, walking over to her to say, "Sorry I left. I just don't do good with..."

"It's alright, Charlie. No hard feelings. I don't do well with this stuff either," she tried to joke.

His mustache twitched as he tried not to smile. His arms pulled her into a hug as he whispered in her ear, "Maybe we can figure it out together. You know you're more than just Sue's daughter and I know your dad will always be important to you and irreplaceable but I want to be part of your life."

"Thanks," she told him returning his hug.

"Hey, stop hogging my daughter," Billy interrupted. The three of them laughing as she walked over to him and kissed his cheek.

"You're not sick of me yet?"

"Never," Billy answered solemnly. "I don't think I could've picked better partners for my children. Taha Aki blessed this family. Now why don't you go and talk to him. He can't support you if you don't let him."

"I will. I'm sorry for the past few weeks."

"No one ever said life was easy. I know I wouldn't change a moment of time I had with Sarah. Now go," he told her gently as he pushed her towards the hallway. "Let's go Charlie. You think Sue will make us some of the famous Clearwater fish fry?"

The two older men quickly exited the house. The sound of the truck as it roared to life only moments later reached her ears and she stood there in the kitchen gathering her thoughts. She could hear Jake's quiet breathing in their bedroom. Her footsteps lighter than earlier as she made her way to the room. Her eyes searched the room, finding him sitting on the bed, his legs extended as his back rested against the headboard. His eyes were closed but the change in his breathing and heart rate alerted her to his awareness of her.

She moved those final few feet to stand by the bed. "Hey," she greeted softly as she swallowed against the lump in her throat.

His eyes opening and he glanced at her before patting the empty space on the bed. "Come sit by me?"

His invitation was enough for her and she crawled onto the bed; her hand reaching of its own accord for his. She needed to touch him; it was the only way to reassure herself. As much as she tried to push him away, it hurt and she craved his touch more than anything. Their fingers locked together, his thumb rubbing the top her hand soothingly.

"What's going on? This isn't just about your heat. I know it's not."

She quickly found the more she talked about it, the easier it got. Her earlier anxiety lessened from the support she had received from her family. The words spilled from her throat, every thought and fear she had over the last few weeks—nearly two months of them were confessed. It wasn't long before she was neatly tucked into his arms—unaware of who had made the first move. It was only natural for them to be this close.

His lips kissed the top of her head, her forehead, and her cheeks while he murmured to her. His fingers brushed away the tears that leaked from her eyes. She and her wolf comforted by his words and actions.

"I'm sorry—for what I said earlier. I didn't mean it. I don't understand why I feel the way that I do."

He sighed, "I know that. What I said…the moment the words left my mouth…I wish I could've taken it back. I love you, Leah. I just wish you could trust me with these things. I can tell when you shut me out and I hate it. It hurts worse than anything."

"I love you, too and I promise to try harder; I don't know why I push you away."

He laughed at her words, "Yes, you do but we'll pretend otherwise. I don't care what Old Quil or Taha Aki said you don't have to be strong all the time. We're in this together. Our strength is best when we are together and when we communicate. Maybe I just have to remind you the reasons why not to push me away," he suggested as he easily picked her up and laid her down on the bed.

His body covered hers as he slid his lower body in between her thighs and rubbed his hardness against her soft warmth. His lips met hers, his teeth nibbling on her lower lip. He reached down and tugged on the hem of her shirt. His knuckles rubbed against her curves and she shivered; his name coming out as a moan from her lips.

They made love slowly and leisurely; taking the time to re-explore one another as they came together as one. Every touch, sigh, and murmured word evidence of their bond and love. He was right, she needed to be reminded. She had missed this and needed it more than what she ever thought was possible. Her wolf was calm for the first time in weeks; the little voice in her head silenced by his attention.

It was two weeks later when it finally hit. Leah woke up just as Jake slid into her moist heat and started a slow rhythm of thrusts. His hand curved around her breast and massaged it, his skilled fingers pulling on the tip.

"Morning," he greeted on his mouth centered on her mark.

She couldn't stop as her inner walls clamped down on him. Thrusting her body back towards him, she moaned his name. She lifted her leg slightly, giving him better access while she reached down to where they were joined. Her fingers rubbed along her slickness, circling her clit, and further down to stroke his cock as he thrust. Her actions combined with his rhythm brought them both quickly to climax. His hand tightening on her hip, holding her firmly in place while he pulsed inside; her walls gripped him tightly.

"Fuck," he swore. "I'm glad I told my dad to stay at your mom's last night. I don't think I'd want to deal with getting him out of the house this morning."

She giggled. "Really, Jake? You were thinking about Billy this entire time? That's pretty messed up."

"No, I wasn't thinking about him," he replied gruffly as he flipped her to face him. "I was thinking about all the different ways I'm gonna take you today."

His hand traced along her front until he settled it in between her legs. His thumb rested on her clit, softly stroking as he slid two fingers inside her and curled them. His mouth centered on her nipple, pulling the taut peak into his mouth. He swirled his tongue and sucked firm, popping it out of his mouth while his fingers kept up a slow rhythm.


Her single word propelled him into action. He removed his fingers before grasping her waist and rolling them both so she was on top of him. Reaching between their bodies, he lined his cock up with her entrance and she moved slightly to slide down his length. Once they were joined, he pushed her upwards so she was sitting. He allowed her to control the rhythm as she rode him. One hand gripped her hip and the other made its way to her center, spreading her to his view. His thumb rested on the small swollen nub of flesh.

Her eyes were tightly closed as she slowly raised and lowered herself. Her white teeth biting into her lip as she concentrated. Her breasts bounced with her soft movements and her panting. She was beautiful and all his. He growled lowly at the thought of anyone being with her in this way.

The rubble of his growl vibrated through her body and her eyes popped open. Her gaze focused on him and she noticed his eyes were once again ringed in yellow. His wolf at the surface and she groaned as a gush a fluid leaked from her core. She rocked her hips harder against him, forcing his thumb to brush against her clit. Tremors racked her body as she neared climax. Leaning forward her lips met his; their tongues tangled together. His hands braced on her hips as he surged upwards into her. Their climaxes were harmonized as she broke her lips from his and screamed his name.

As they lay there panting and trying to recover her stomach decided it was time for it to be noticed. They had learned to ensure the house was well stocked before her heat and even to make a few meals and freeze them. It cut down on them having to have anyone run errands for them. His wolf didn't like anyone near her during her heat; not even her own family.

She pulled on one of his shirts and he pulled on a pair of boxers before making their way to the kitchen and the first thing they noticed were the glass covered containers on the countertop. She ran over the containers and pulled the lids off. A squeal of excitement from her lips as she recognized what was inside; fresh homemade waffles, crisp bacon, and strawberries with glaze.

"Quick, look in the fridge—I bet there's whipped cream too."

A quick scan of the fridge revealed whipped cream and fresh squeezed orange juice. They piled their plates high with waffles topped with strawberries and whipped cream and feed each bits of waffles and bacon. Sue's breakfast delivery had been perfectly timed and executed. She had a moment of embarrassment wondering how her mom had managed to bring it in but then decided not to over think the fact she was able to eat her favorite breakfast items.

After breakfast, she was in the midst of cleaning up when he came up behind her. His hands automatically pulling on the hem of her shirt, lifting it up while he reached down and softly stroked the slick flesh between her thighs. His other hand gliding over the smooth flesh of her belly and upwards to cup one of her breasts. The rough callouses of his palm in contrast to the softness of her skin.

Moaning, she complained exasperated, "Really? You're not even going to let me clean up?"

Despite her annoyance she was unable to control the instincts of her body and pushed back into him. His hard length rubbed against her lower back. She shuddered as he made several thrusting motions towards her. A squeak of surprise erupted from her when he picked her and set her on the kitchen counter.

"I didn't get dessert yet. We'll clean up when I'm done," he told her as he pushed his shirt up to uncover her thighs before crouching in front of her.

Her moan of pleasure filled the room as his mouth centered on her clit; his lips formed just the right amount of suction as his tongue flicked at her swollen nub. He grabbed her legs and put them over his shoulders; the motion pulling her closer to the edge of the counter. Her ass barely rested on it and if he so much as let her go, she would fall off but she didn't care.

The rhythm of his tongue had her quivering. She was poised on the edge—waiting. It wasn't until he plunged one finger inside her aching core that she realized what she was waiting for. A second finger quickly joined the first and he curved them both. The pads of fingertips brushed against the bundle of nerves inside, his tongue flicked against her clit—the rhythm faster and firmer with each stroke of his velvet tongue.

The sensations were too much and she shattered. Her hips bucked forcefully and the two of them were thrown off balance. Her precarious position on the countertop was threatened by the reality that she was seconds from falling off. He pulled his fingers from her and went to grab her waist. His actions dislodged her legs from his shoulders but saved her from falling. Once in his arms, her legs wrapped around his waist.

"Fuck," she swore before she attacked his lips.

The taste of her still present on him so she reached down trying to push his boxers down. She managed to move them just enough, freeing his cock from its confines. Locking one arm around his neck, she lifted up slightly while gripping him and then slid down his length.

Their current position didn't allow for either of them to get the sensation and tempo they needed. His hands cupped her ass as he walked them across the kitchen to a better spot which just happened to be the fridge. With his first deep thrust, he slammed her body hard into the cool metal door of the fridge and she shivered. The simultaneous action of his motions and the change in temperature heightened her pleasure. Her head was thrown back as she panted. Each time he moved her nerve endings tingled in response.

"Leah, look at me," he commanded, his voice husky with desire and laced with the faintest hint of an Alpha order.

She opened her eyes, her head angling so she could look into his eyes. The intensity of his gaze and how his eyes seemed to glow had her eyes closing again. A sharp nip on her lower lip and his harsh calling of her name had her eyes opening them again.


She knew it wasn't a question but a statement. Still, she found herself responding in kind, "Yours," she affirmed.

A purr rumbled from his throat, vibrating her chest and down her belly from their closeness. Her nails dug into his back, leaving eight small wounds. The salty tang of his blood as she marked him with them added to the already fragrant air; the smell of their sweat, her earlier climax, and both their arousals.

She stared into his eyes and begged, a single word falling from her lips, "Please."

It was all the encouragement he needed. His hips snapped against hers firmly and she struggled to keep her head from hitting the fridge. She was sure once they were done there was going to be an imprint of her ass in the door but she didn't care. She wanted him, wanted this—only he could make her feel this way. Complete. With that final thought, she cried out his name as she convulsed around him. Her entire body shuddered while he thrust a few more times before spilling his seed inside her.

The following morning, Jake woke up before her. He made one single call to Jared to ensure the pack wouldn't be anywhere in the vicinity. Since that one spring when he broke Quil's arm, they were generally pretty good but he had a little something different planned. Leah's wolf had been different lately—unsatisfied and needing some type of physical confrontation. While he wasn't willing to let things go too far he understood how important it was to satisfy the wolf along with the woman.

After ensuring the pack would stay far away from the Black house and the forest surrounding them, he headed out to his garage to grab the few things he had stashed there. It didn't take long for him to set things up to his satisfaction; his wolf panted in eagerness. He walked back to the house, entering the kitchen and started making some breakfast. They both were going to need their energy today.

Leah woke up to the smell of bacon and eggs. Stretching in bed, she smiled thinking about how he always took care of her. Getting up, she decided against putting on any clothes knowing she wouldn't be wearing them for long. Walking into the kitchen, she saw him bent over as he pulled a pan of bacon from the oven. Her eyes trailed down along his muscular back down to his firm ass cheeks which were covered by a pair of boxers. His thick legs poked out the bottom and as her eyes travelled lower, even his bare feet did something for her. She growled in appreciation even though he was wearing entirely too much for her liking.

"See something you like," he asked as he turned towards her; the smirk on his face dying as he took in her naked state.

"Mmm, hmm—but I think you need to lose the boxers. I'm pretty sure today is an au-natural day."

"It is," he nodded in agreement. "At the same time, I don't need any burns that might put me out of commission."

"Fine," she pouted. "Are you almost done?"

He chuckled at her impatience but nodded at her. He turned his attention back to the stove and continued scrambling the eggs; he added some cheese, onions, tomatoes, and green and red peppers once they were just about done. Removing the skillet from the hot burner, he scooped a bit more than half on a plate for him and the rest on a plate for her. Then he added some bacon to each plate and set them on the table. She had already poured them something to drink and had put silverware on the table.

"So…you were up early today."


"Why," she asked as the two of them sat down and started eating.

"Why don't you worry about eating your breakfast while it's hot? I'm sure you'll need your strength today."

She glared at him mockingly. He was hiding something and she knew it but she also knew he could be just as stubborn as her. If he didn't want her to know she would never be able to break him. He chuckled at her stare and in defiance she reached over and stole several slices of bacon off his plate while she maneuvered her plate out of his reach. The purloined bacon was quickly brought to her mouth and she took a small bite of it, making sure to close her eyes in pleasure while she moaned.

She smiled at his low growl, her eyes popping open so she could see how his eyelids were half-masted as he watched her. She continued to nibble on the bacon, taking her time; knowing she was giving him flashes of her teeth and tongue as she savored each bite. Once she finished the last scrap, she stuck her tongue out and licked her thumb before sucking the digit into her mouth.

His hand shot out in an instant and circled her wrist. In mere seconds her fingers were in his mouth; his tongue laving them. As soon as he felt he had sufficiently cleaned them, he placed a wet kiss on her palm. The feel of his moist lips on her palm and the barest stroke of his tongue had her core quivering. The scent of her arousal grew stronger as she squeezed her thighs together trying to quell the throbbing of her loins. Either she had taught him too well or he was a quick study. She was in trouble; there was no doubt about that.

He decided to take pity on her and stopped his teasing. He didn't know exactly how she was going to react to his plan or how long it would take to satisfy her wolf so the last thing he wanted was for her to be hungry. The rest of their breakfast was consumed in silence and once he was satisfied her hunger was satiated, his hand reached for hers and pulled her out of her chair. He placed a single kiss on her lips before he threw her over his shoulder, his hand stroking her ass; only stopping so he could open the front door to walk outside.

"What the fuck?! I'm not letting you drag me around like a caveman," she cried out. Her hands balled into fists and she pounded on his back to emphasize the words of her tirade.

"Shh, you don't want to wake the neighbors," he chastised her as he lightly spanked her.

"I mean it, Jake. Put me down or you'll be sorry."

"Nope. You're mine and I'll do whatever I want with you," his voice a gravely purr that got rougher with each word.

She huffed but then she realized his tender flanks were in perfect reach. He obviously hadn't thought this through otherwise he would've taken the time to put on a shirt. A sly grin tugged her cheeks as she gave him one last warning. The warning ignored while he gave her another sharp smack on her ass cheek which had it stinging. What happened next wasn't her fault, it was his—he should've known better than to mess with her. He howled and nearly dropped her when her sharp teeth bit into his flesh.

"Jesus, Leah," he swore as he set her down on the ground. A glance at her face showed her satisfaction and he growled—well, his wolf growled at her. How dare she think she was dominant to him? He was the Alpha male and that trumped her Alpha female status any day. It was time he and his wolf taught her who was in charge.

An evil smile appearing on his features and she shivered in anticipation, fear, and lust. "You wanna play, little girl? I don't think you're a match for this big, bad wolf at all—I guess it's time we show you exactly what your place is," he challenged her; his eyes ringed in gold as he faced her off.

She stiffened—her heart pounding as she tried to dismiss his dominance over her. "Whatever, Jacob Black. I practically changed your diapers. Neither you nor your wolf is the boss of us. But if you think this is necessary, let's do this," she brazened staring into his eyes as her stomach flipped and flopped.

If anything, all her words did was make his smirk even cockier. It pissed her off; she wanted to wipe the expression off his face. Her wolf howled in happiness at being able to play with their mate. She was all for it and didn't plan on fighting for too long before surrendering. Leah was another matter altogether; all she wanted to do was kick his ass and have him on his knees begging for her forgiveness, her touch, and her love. She was going to make him grovel for this—it was no more than he deserved.

He watched the emotions play across her face. He could feel her wolf's eagerness and wondered why Leah was being so resistant to it. He nearly had her where he needed her and the last thing he wanted to do was bring out what he was sure would piss her off and probably get him turned into a eunuch before he could blink. Instead, he did the only thing he could think of.

Leaning forward, he sniffed at her neck near her mark; his hot breath fanning it as he murmured, "I never thought you were one to accept defeat so easily but that's fine with me. Now why don't you be a good little girl and tell me what I want to hear."

He was expecting her next move, so despite her sudden and rough movements he didn't lose his balance. She pushed him away from her; her hand balled into a fist as she punched his chest hard enough to take his breath away. Her face turned red in anger and she seethed; unable to form a single word other than, "You—" The next moment she had turned away from him and phased, running hell bent towards the surrounding forest. If it wasn't for her speed, he would've taken a moment to congratulate himself on pissing her off. This was more fun than he anticipated.

Who did he think he was? He may be an Alpha but so was she. Leah ran, her fury fueling her flight. Her wolf understood this was all a game and eager to play it. She, however, wasn't so sure what the meaning of this was. So, instead she just ran.

Just like the last time they had played a similar game, it was eerily quiet. Each of them blocking each other from their thoughts—it was a way to heighten the excitement. She knew even without checking that there was no one phased in. If vampires wanted to attack, now was the time. There was most likely a directive, if not an actual Alpha order against any of the pack phasing in without his direct permission.

Her senses were on high alert as she ran; her heart thundering, her chest heaving in her efforts to breathe. She picked up on the stampede of their paws as they ran; leaf litter and twigs being simultaneously crushed and tossed through the air. As she tried to run from him, her nose was overwhelmed with his scent. He had been more than busy this morning. His entire actions reeked of plotting.

Once again, he managed to corral her and while her only avenue of escape wasn't blocked—it just wasn't going to be an easy getaway. Even with her smaller size and speed, he would have no trouble catching her. So, she faced him off. His features pulled into a wolfy smirk as he growled at her. The only thought he was willing to share with her was, Mine.

Nervously she twitched, unsure of how to proceed. As though he sensed it and knew exactly what he needed to do to get her to understand what the game was all about; he flashed a single memory from ages ago at her. Just as she had that day three years ago, she snarled at him and attacked. The game finally making sense to her human side but it didn't mean she wasn't going to take the opportunity presented to make him prove his dominance over her.

They rolled together in wolf form; partially in playfulness but there was an underlying hint of violence—the need both their wolves had to give into their base instincts. It was what her wolf had needed all along—his wolf making her submit to him. She nipped at him and he did so in turn. They swiped at one another with their paws but the razor sharp claws were sheathed preventing either of them from injury.

It wasn't long before he had her belly down on the forest floor, his jaw locked around her neck—not hard enough to break her hide but enough so she had no choice but to submit. She whined—whimpering a single time as she lowered herself as far down as she could. He worried the spot on her neck, his large body pressing against her and his wolf purred in victory.

His voice breaking through the barrier between their minds, You concede, little girl? This is exactly where you belong—you know it and so do I—underneath me.

She was speechless and turned on by his words and his voice, both of which had her quivering. Her entire body trembled in desire. He wasn't saying he was better than her or superior—he was stating the simple fact that she was his. His wolf declaring its dominance over them; he was right she was exactly where she belonged—where she wanted to belong.

He let go her neck go at the same time he commanded her to phase. Backing away from her and then walking around so he could face her when he did the same. It was the same type of intense moment they had that first time they had kissed. Both of them staring at the other; neither one sure who should or would make the first move.

It was hard to say who moved first but when they came together it was like a flame and gasoline—an explosion of need. She wrapped her arms and legs tightly around his body while he easily picked her up and carried her to where he had a blanket waiting. Laying her down, he eyes journeyed the length of body. Her legs spread, her arms reaching for him; he compiled as he thighs centered between hers and he slid into her center in one smooth plunge.

Their lips met in a heated kiss. One of her hands threaded through his hair and held him close while the other curled into his shoulder. His hips rocked into hers and she rose up to meet his slow thrusts. All of their earlier play; his challenge and mocking of her, their chase through the forest, and his final show of dominance had her so close to the edge.

He pulled away for a moment to look at her. His eyes meeting hers as he said, "I still don't get how I missed it. How natural it was—how easy we fit together. I love you."

"Me, either. You have no idea how close I was to giving in to it."

He snapped his hips against hers and her nails dug into his scalp and back. "Oh, believe me, I may not have understood then but I know now." He thrusts punishing as he declared, "No one makes you feel the way I do—do they?"

"Fuck—no, only you."

He nipped at her lips as he demanded, "None of them—not Sam, not Paul. And there's no one who can."

"No," she moaned; that single word coming out as a crooning cry.

"Are you ready," he asked while his tongue flicked at her mark.


Her fingers bit into his flesh; pain mixed with pleasure. His hands reached down to pull her legs around his waist before he tangled one in her hair. His mouth centered on her mark—his mark on her skin. The tempo of his thrusts fast and furious as he pushed her over the edge; she pulsed around him and he followed her climax with his own.

Pulling out of her, he rolled over onto his back and gathered her into his arms. Her head naturally came to rest on his chest. Her fingers stroked his chest; the feather light touches causing goose bumps to rise on his skin. He leaned down and kissed the top of her head; his hand curving around her flank and pulling her even closer to him.

"Where do you learn these things? Have you been reading Rachel's Cosmo's again?"

"No, I know exactly what you need. Maybe it took a little longer this time for me to give in but I always know."

In response she nipped at his chest. He grimaced at the feel of her sharp teeth but his wolf took it as a sign she was ready for more. There was an overwhelming need—drive to mark her which he didn't completely understood. Even though, she had marked him twice during her first heat; he had only needed to mark her once. She had questioned him about it as she had been overthinking things and he wasn't sure how to answer her. His wolf didn't demand that he do, so therefore he didn't. It wasn't that it hurt—it was simply he didn't see it necessary to just do it because.

He moved so that he kneeled on the blanket and his eyes raked down her body while she did the same to him. "So, I've been thinking…"

She shifted to sit up and quirked a brow at him, "You shouldn't do that. It's too taxing for your body." She crawled over to him; her hand reaching over to grip his cock as she remarked, "I only need one thing from you right now and it's not your brains."

He growled at her words and insinuation. He knew exactly what she needed and he had no problems satisfying all her needs but he had one craving. One thing he had been thinking about for some time and he was surprised they hadn't done it yet. They both had wondered nearly the same thing—what it looked like when he marked her. She was right when she remarked that he had been busy this morning and obviously she wasn't paying attention or she would have noticed the mirror propped up against the trees.

His eyes focused over her shoulder and he watched her movements in the mirror. The slight sway of her body as she leaned closer and the motion of her arm as stroked his length. He groaned, the sound was music to her ears and she moved those final few inches until their bodies were as close as they could get without maneuvering into a different position.

Her teeth nipped at his neck and her hand tightened painfully around him, "What are you so focused on?"

He reached down and pulled her hand from around him. Then his hands went to her waist and he started to turn her. Wedging his thighs between hers so her legs were spread wide; his cock throbbed against the cleft of her ass as he closed the distance between them. His arm locked around her body just underneath her breasts, holding her upright. In the mirror, he saw how she had closed her eyes so he reached his other hand upwards and grabbed her chin, pulling her face towards his. His lips meeting hers, his tongue thrust inside as a breathless moan left her mouth.

The kiss breaking too soon for her taste but the husky purr of his voice near her ear and the vision she was treated to had her trembling with desire. Moisture seeped from her core and she the very evidence of it glistening on her thighs. "Open your eyes," he commanded.

It was exactly what both of them had imagined—completely surreal and sensual. The forest with the vibrant greens and earthy browns was their backdrop; the contrast of their size differences and the slight dissimilarity in their skin tones. His large hands on her body; one gripping her chin, holding her head so her gaze remained focus on them and the other that had moved to massage her breast. The dusky pink color of her nipples and the surrounding areolas were the only hint of color on her body.

The movements of his hands on her body and the brilliant shocks of color—the backdrop of the forest, the sunlight streaming through the canopy of leaves, and the flashes of white teeth biting plump, reddened lips and pink tongues soothing the sting as they darted out to moisten suddenly dry lips. They were both transfixed by the images presented to them by the mirror. Its surface didn't miss anything. Their eyes met at the moment his hand travelled down her body, from her breast along the smooth plane of her abdomen, down past the thatch of black hair at the top of her mound before his fingers plunged into her slick folds.

His fingers spread her folds, his middle finger dipped into her center and he plunged inside several times. She squirmed against him; grinding her backside against his throbbing length. Her clit throbbed and she sighed when his finger dragged across it. Her eyes were at half-mast watching his finger make small circles on her swollen clit.

"Please…I…more…" she begged her fingers curved and dug into thighs holding him to her.

"Leah…" he growled near her ear. "You need to give me a minute. I need you to come first."

"No…" she shook her head violently. "Only...with you…please…"

He ignored her pleas, his hand moving to two fingers thrust inside her. His thumb rested on her clit, applying pressure. His fingers stroked her, curling slightly. Her continued writhing made it so he didn't even need to move his thumb; her movements were enough for her to provide the friction she needed. His head burrowed into her neck, his tongue laving her flesh before his lips kissed and then sucked a small portion into his mouth.

He growled; his wolf restless and pacing. She was theirs and he needed to have that evidence on her. It wasn't enough that he had marked her once. He knew without a doubt he was going to do it again. Once she was marked, he was going to take her over and over. He needed her like he needed air to breathe.

"Watch—I want you to watch as I make you come apart. You're mine."

She shivered at his words and tone. She knew he meant every word he said. Her head tilted to the side, giving him better access to her neck. Her breath caught in her throat as she watched in the mirror. His long fingers plunging in and out; his brown eyes glazed with lust, rimmed in gold as he met her gaze. It was too much and not enough all at the same time. She screamed his name and fought to keep her eyes trained on his. She saw the exact moment his eyes flashed with something she could only begin to understand—possession.

She was still riding out her climax, her limbs heavy when he wrenched his fingers from her pulsing core. His arm wrapped tightly around her to hold her up while he rubbed his cock against her. "Tell me what you want," he demanded.

She couldn't answer with words. Her mind was frozen at the overwhelming sensations and the words wouldn't—they couldn't come to her. It was such a simple answer and maybe later she would feel self-conscious but right now she needed him. His cock throbbed against her entrance and she wiggled her hips trying to get closer.

He hissed at her but remained undeterred, "Leah, you need to tell me. Now."

It was too much for her, looking at the image they presented, his demands, and the feeling of their bodies touching—she shuddered. Her eyes closed and she whispered, "You."

That was all he needed to hear. He didn't need her to elaborate and he stopped his teasing. It only took a small shunting movement on his part and he was inside. Her walls tightened reflexively and he groaned; his arm squeezing her and she gasped as the air was pushed from her lungs.


Leah opened her eyes and focused on their reflections. It was even hotter than she had imagined. She tried to take it all in but it was impossible—there was too much for her to focus on. His slow tempo of thrusts, the dragging of his cock inside her core, and the visual of his smooth, hard flesh sliding out until only the tip remained inside before plunging back. It was as though she was outside her body and watching them but it felt foreign—there was no way they looked that or moved like that. Two halves of the same whole and with that thought their eyes met. Perhaps, they were thinking the exact same thing or it was just that they knew one another that well.

The moment his eyes met hers, Jake whispered a single word in her left ear, "Mine." She saw how his eyes glowed brighter when she nodded mutely. He thrust harder and faster, an answering shudder racked her body as she neared climax. Her left hand reached back to hold onto his arm that held her close. Her right hand fluttered, unsure of what or where to hold.

As her internal tremors turned to violent shakes, his right hand grasped her hair and pulled it away from her neck. His eyes never lost contact with hers as his mouth opened wide, his tongue thrusting forward to lick the spot where he planned to mark her. She leaned her head to the side as she writhed against him. His right hand grabbed hers and pulled it to her thigh and together they held her hip in place.

She knew what was coming and longed for it in a way she had never longed for anything. He could brand every inch of her body and she didn't know if it would be enough—not for him nor her. The flash of his teeth before he sunk them into her pushed her into the abyss. She screamed and both her hands clenched, curving into to claws as her nails dug into both of them and left a multitude of small wounds. She tried in vain to maintain contact but she couldn't. Her body slumped forward as he snapped his hips against hers.

His tongue soothed the sting of his bite and she begged—pleaded with him to finish. She couldn't take the feelings, the sensuality of it all. Their wolves awake, baying at the sky—it was as close as their wolves would ever be in this sense. He sensed how close she was to another climax but he knew he needed better leverage so he pushed her forward.

She laid her upper body on the ground, her ass perched in the air. He rested his hands on her flanks; his thumbs fitting into the grooves near the bottom of her spine. The motion of his movements was interrupted at the feel of her fingers as she reached underneath her body to stroke herself. Though he quickly regained his focus and as soon as she started to pulse around him, he thrust hard and fast.

Their climaxes happened at the same time. His fingers latched around her hips and held her fast to him while his cum pulsed inside. A sense of fulfillment filled them both and Jake was barely able to react fast enough to prevent himself from collapsing on top of her; slumber overtaking them both while the small patch of forest was filled with the scent of them—their sweat and joining.

In the end, Leah was grateful that the decision about trying to balance everything in her busy life was taken out her hands. Her heat ended up lasting the full ten days and she had to contact Carlisle for an excuse for school. It may be college but, it was still nursing school and the only way you could miss more than one day of class was if you died and even then you better have a note. The instructors didn't believe that life happened outside of class. Your life was class—nursing school was not a career choice it was a lifestyle.

It took a bit of extra work on her part but she managed to catch up to her classmates within a few days. They were finally done with exams and in three days the three of them, Jake, Jared and her would be walking across the stage to receive their degrees. In two weeks, Seth would be doing the same only for his high school diploma.

While Leah and Jake had been busy in the Black house and the surrounding forest so had the younger members of the pack; no one said a word to either of them but it didn't take long before Brady and Collin cracked. Apparently, Lauren Mallory had returned to Forks during spring break and relieved more than one of the younger pack members of their virginity. It took a bit longer but Seth eventually cracked, too. None of them had imprinted on her thankfully because there was no way either she or Jake were touching that with a ten-foot pole.

Leah had been embarrassed for her little brother. He had endured more than his fair share of moments that involved her in compromising positions. He knew things that no brother should ever know and she was at a loss for how to respond when Brady and Collin started fighting over who Lauren said was better in bed at a bonfire a week ago. It was Seth's quiet remark that silenced them both.

"Neither of you lug heads. She asked me if I was related to the La Push sex god," he confessed before he blushed realizing exactly what he said.

Paul saved the day by doing more than being his annoying self. He walked over to Seth, patting him on the back and said, "It's about time you stopped worrying about who was in your sister's panties. The legend lives on," he laughed. "It figures a Clearwater would take the title, you come from a long line of freaks. Imagine if Charlie was a wolf—you know him and your mom get their freak on."

Both the Clearwater siblings present shuddered. It was too much information—much more than they needed. Their mom was happy with Charlie and he obviously knew what he was doing because more than once they had seen her with that special glow but it didn't mean they wanted the visual.

It was the weekend after their graduation when it happened. What it was exactly they didn't realize at first but something was different. The two of them were sitting on the couch cuddling and a mere moment before they heard the howl, they felt it. The need to protect their friends, family, and tribe; it was the first time there had been vampire activity in La Push for at least a year. It seemed with the Cullens leaving, so had the others that would roam into their territory.

Both of them were off the couch in an instant and running out the door. Jake's pace was slightly slower than what he could run in his human form but it was that way so she was by his side. Their clothes quickly pulled off and thrown to the forest floor; it had been months since she had phased. Even though she was done with school, now she was busy studying for her nursing license and Jake insisted until she was done that she wasn't needed.

He phased first and connected with the pack mind. Brady had been out on patrol when he came across three nomads, two men and a female. Sam, Paul, and Jared were nearly to Brady who was standing his ground. Jake's concern for the safety of the pack had his muscles twitching as he struggled against his wolf's need to run and tear apart what could harm them.

Leah stood there naked, gathering herself and felt the heat along her limbs and spine and then—nothing. She tried again but her wolf simply walked in a small circle before lying down; her head resting on her paws and she seemed to roll her eyes at her. She growled at her wolf and clenched her fists. Anger surged through her and she thought of everything she could to fuel the fire needed in her body to phase. Still—nothing. Sighing loudly she watched as Jake turned to her concern in his eyes.

"Don't ask me. I don't know why she does what she does."

He turned back to the forest and whined once before turning back to her. "Go, obviously one of us should be there. I'll be fine right here."

He moved closer to her and nudged her twice; his cold wet nose tickling near her shoulder. He seemed to snuffle her skin where his marks lay and she swatted him away lightly as she told him, "Go. They need you. I'll make you something to eat."

He yipped once before turning and running off into the forest. Picking her clothes up off the ground she pulled them on. The entire time she tried to figure out what her wolf's problem was. This wasn't at similar to how she had acted when Jake left. She wasn't so much refusing as she just seemed bored or ambivalent to it.

When he returned home three hours later after finally destroying the three nomads, he found his dad sitting at the kitchen table. A glance around the kitchen revealed that she had been busy—busy making a mess. He shook his head slightly trying to imagine how she had managed to do so much damage in so little time.

"Where is she?"

"In the living room," his dad answered. "What were you two up to earlier? I've tried waking her up a couple of times but after she growled at me and started swinging I decided it was best to leave her alone."

He laughed softly, "Not what you're thinking, old man. We were just relaxing and then some nomads crossed into our territory. Her wolf wasn't up to phasing or something," he shrugged. "So I went. She promised me dinner but from the looks of things, I don't think she exactly got anything finished."

"Well, I guess we'll order pizza then."

"Sure, sure. I'm gonna check on her."

"Watch out. She's got a mean right hook even in her sleep."

He walked silently in the room and spied her reclining on the couch fast asleep. His eyes slowly took in her still form and noticed the dark circles and bags underneath her eyes. Maybe that was the issue, her wolf knew she was exhausted; phasing, fighting, and killing vampires took vast amounts of energy. She was sound asleep; her breathing and heart beat were slow and steady.

As he crept closer, a new sound reached his ears and his eyes zeroed in on her lower torso. A smile tugged his cheeks as he thought of the possible reason for the sound. It seemed impossible but so was the fact they turned into giant wolves and killed vampires. He turned on his heel and quickly left the room. There was only one way for them to be sure.

He grabbed the phone out of his dad's hand, "Never mind pizza, dad. I'm hungry for Chinese. I'm gonna run and pick it up. I'll be back soon."

When he returned an hour later with several bags of Chinese, his suspicions were confirmed as she plowed him down. "Where have you been? You were gone for hours and then Billy says you came home and left again. What's going on," she demanded. "Oh my gosh, is that fried rice and sesame chicken? I'm so hungry."

Her earlier irritation with him was forgotten as she grabbed the bags from him and placed them on the table while he reached into the cupboard to grab some plates. They piled their plates with food and sat around the table enjoying a meal together. She nudged him when Billy tried to put more fried rice on his plate and instead he steered his dad towards the brown rice and grilled chicken.

After they ate, he cleaned up the kitchen while she put away the leftovers. It barely took any time and once again order was restored. She was the first to move towards the living room but he placed his hand on her arm stopping her motion.

"Wait, come with me for a second."


He rolled his eyes are her and tugged her towards the main bathroom. He pulled her inside and closed the door. "Just do this for me, no arguments," he pleaded as he handed her the pink box.

"What," she choked as she realized exactly what he had handed her.

"No arguing," he said as he kissed her nose. "I'll give you some privacy." With those final words he opened the door and walked back out into the hallway, pulling the door closed behind him.

She stood there in the bathroom stunned for several minutes. Her hands trembling as she held onto the box. Her heart beat thundered in her ears and she reached one hand down to rest on her abdomen. Sure, she had gained a few pounds lately but it wasn't her fault that patients and their families like to thank the hospital staff with cookies, candy, and various baked goods. Then there had been the additional trips to the bathroom, particularly those pesky ones in the middle of the night. She glanced in the mirror, maybe her breasts were larger, too but birth control could do that.

She hadn't missed a shot—ever. This, if it was what he thought it was, wasn't part of their plans. They had discussed getting married in the fall or next spring. Then once they had saved some money, they would look at either building or buying a bigger house. One that would accommodate them, her and Jake, their future kids, and even have a space for Billy; it was an idea they hadn't discussed in front of Billy both of them fearing his reaction. There were so many memories in the small house where he and Sarah had first lived together in those early days of their marriage. It was where they brought their children home and mostly likely it was where they both imagined they would grow old together in. The house while full of memories wouldn't be able to accommodate Billy's disability forever. They needed to think about their future and how they would care for him as he got older.

She could hear him outside the door and knew he wasn't going to let it go until she peed on the stupid stick. As she ripped open the package she cursed the pinkness of it all. They should make these things in black she thought ruefully; there were times this wasn't a happy event. Sitting down, she glanced at the instructions. It seemed pretty simple. Start peeing, stick the thing underneath and get the sensor-thingy wet, put the cap back on, and wait for two minutes.

She did exactly what the instructions said. Finishing up, she washed her hands and stood there debating on what to do next. Anxiety swirled her gut and she started to panic. What if he was wrong? What then? There were no guarantees in life and it wasn't as if anything up to now had been particularly easy for her.

The door opened and he stepped inside, a lopsided grin on his face, "You worry too much. I just know you won't believe me otherwise." He came to stand behind her, his arms wrapping around her; his hand resting on top of hers exactly where he knew their child was growing. "I heard him, Leah," he whispered in her ear. "She would never let you do something that could put him in danger."

She turned just enough so she could see his face, "You seem awfully sure that it's a boy. You got some wolf-mojo on this I should know about?"

"No, but it doesn't seem right to call our child it—and it's too wordy to say him or her. So for now, he will work just fine," he answered her as his lips brushed her temple. "See—what did I tell you? Look."

She glanced at the pink stick she had been so angry with just a few minutes ago. It had seemed to mock her but that wasn't the case any longer. Two bright blue lines filled the tiny plastic windows. Her heart skipped a beat and she swayed slightly; his arms held her steady and upright while the blood rushed from her head.

Turning in his arms, she cried out with joy, "This isn't a dream, is it?"

"Nope, not at all."

"But—I've never missed one shot. How?"

"Same way I'm sure it happens all the time. It's not foolproof. We both know how different things where this last time. You felt different and I did, too. Now we know why."

"What do we do? I mean, we've talked about this but not now…what about you starting your business, me getting a job, us getting married and getting your dad warmed up to the idea of moving. How are we going to do all that?"

"We'll figure it out. It's a baby; we have some time; at least six or seven months. The house can wait. We'll get married this summer instead of in the fall."

She smiled, he was right. They had time; not everything had to be done right this moment. She needed to relax and not worry so much. At the thought of them getting married, she groaned; they had forgotten about one little thing. A frown appeared on her face and he asked, "What's wrong?"

"Jake, you forgot one thing."


"My brothers," her quiet exclamation had him trembling. It was one thing for him to have been seduced all those years ago by her. They had forgiven him for that transgression once they realized it had been more her than him who was the responsible. They were going to kill him; it was as simple as that. They had all been there for the lecture about mating, marking, and the importance of protection. They had all endured Sue's lecture about sex and protection; the whole purpose of it was to prevent pregnancy. Jacob Black was a dead man walking.


Together they managed to convince the pack and their families that they had waited long enough for their forever. Jared and Kim's wedding in June had ignited the wedding inferno in them and they just couldn't wait. So they had a small ceremony on the beach at the end of June. It ended up being better than what they dreamed. The weather cooperated and it was a beautiful sunny day.

Leah asked Charlie to walk her down to Jake and give her away; it was her way of showing him that she accepted him fully into their lives. It also ensured that Seth wasn't too near her. That was the most difficult part was hiding her pregnancy from her brothers, she didn't trust either of them to not find some way to punish Jake; neither of them trusted her brothers.

So, they even went a step further and she chose Paul as her maid of honor while he chose Rachel as his best man. Embry and Quil were irritated with his choice at first but she was the one who pointed out the logic of both their choices.

"Quil, you can't be the best man if you're helping perform the ceremony and Embry, if Jake picks you—you'll just rub it in Quil's face the next time he pisses you off. If it wasn't for Rachel's advice; he'd still be trying to figure out what the hell he was going to do. And Paul, well, we can't have him growling the entire time because one of you dumbasses touched Rachel."

In the end, it all worked out and no one was the wiser. Taylor, Rebecca, and Ephraim showed up the week before as their ceremony; the three of them had finally tied up their loose ends in Hawaii and were moving to La Push. After the ceremony, they moved the party to the Black house where they had a nice lunch. There was only a few awkward moments when Rebecca commented that Leah had put on a few pounds. She didn't forget their cover and jokingly growled at her sister-in-law; explaining it just took a few years for the freshmen 15 to catch up with her.

They spent a week away in Stanwood, a small city an hour north of Seattle. They rented out an entire three-bedroom cottage, Cedar Bluff. It was nestled into the natural beauty of Washington and offered stunning views of Skagit Bay. They spent most of their time at the cottage though a few times they made the drive to Seattle to explore the city. She was able to show him where she had started college and the building she lived in along with a few other sites she had been able to take in before fate brought her back to La Push.

When they returned home to La Push, it was the weekend after the Fourth of July and unknown to them, the pack decided to have a bonfire. So, once again they all gathered on First Beach. It was the first time Rebecca, Taylor, or Ephraim had been to one and like any other rite of passage there were specific procedures to be followed. Once they ate to their hearts' content, the fire was started. Quil performed a blessing as his grandfather had done in the past. The pack gathering in a circle around it with the elders, Charlie, and Rebecca's small family interjected between them.

Ephraim sat on his grandfather's lap and Billy's rich voice filled the night sky as he re-told the stories they all knew by heart. They still listened as closely as they had the first time after they understood the truth behind them. It was more than just a story to them, it was their life. What fate had decided—chosen for each of them. When Billy got to the part about Taha Aki and the wolves, Ephraim squirmed. His small voice interrupting, "Grampa, no wolfs."

The entire group silent as they wondered how to deal with this development; neither Rebecca nor Taylor had said anything about Ephraim having a fear of wolves. They watched as he continued to squirm, trying to get off Billy's lap and repeating the same words over and over. Finally fearing for him, Billy grasped the squirming boy and leaned over to set him down on the ground.

Rebecca pulled him close to her and his small voice rang out as he struggled against her hold, "No, mama! No wolfs!"

Somehow he managed to escape from her and he ran behind their circle. All of them breathed a sigh of relief as their biggest worry was him being too close to the fire. He giggled at them; one small hand covering his toothy grin as he gazed at them. He toddled back over to them and the first person he stopped by was Paul.

His chubby hand reached out and pointed a single finger at Paul as he poked him in the back, declaring, "See grampa, wolf."

They watched in amazement as he walked around the group and pointed out each and every wolf in the pack. The only time he seemed confused was when he got to Jared and Kim. He glanced at Kim, a frown appearing on his face as he appeared to be trying to solve a puzzle. After several long moments he shook his head and moved on to Jake and Leah who were the sitting on Billy's left side.

His grin reappearing as he pointed at Jake and then Leah, "Al-pa."

Jake grabbed him before he could run away and tickled his belly as he praised his nephew, "You're pretty smart, Eph. So, you know wolves, huh?"

Ephraim giggled before he squirmed out of his uncle's arms and onto Leah's lap. His hands patted her cheeks twice and then he slid off her lap and stood in front of her. Her arms automatically reached forward to grab him as his back was to the fire and she pulled him over to her side. He didn't struggle against her actions and once he was by her side his hand reached out and touched her belly.

She hadn't felt a flutter of anything; it was early and since this was her first pregnancy it could still be several weeks before she did. But the moment his small hand rested there and he again professed his knowledge she felt something and knew it wasn't just her imagination.

"Baby al-pa."

As though to answer his cousin's words their baby kicked and she felt it. Her shaky hand grabbed Jake's and placing it where Ephraim's hand had been only a moment earlier. The secret they had tried to keep and were planning on sharing tonight had been foiled by a toddler. They should have known because the best laid plans often go astray; it was perhaps the motto of their lives.

The two of them were so wrapped in their own bubble of happiness that they didn't hear more than one person's shocked gasp. Everyone put the pieces together; the reasons behind their hasty ceremony only a week ago. How Leah seemed to avoid her brothers like the plague. The fact that neither of them were quiet in the presence of the pack; it was constant chatter from one if not both of them. Granted, they were all familiar with Jake's non-stop talking but Leah—she was a quiet person by nature and suddenly she had become a chatterbox.

"So…anything you want to share with us," Embry asked as he glared at Jake.

Leah grabbed Ephraim and stuck him on Jake's lap before turning back to her brother, "We were going to share it with you all tonight. Can you blame us for not trusting either of you? You need an imprint—or you need to get laid. I don't care which one it is," she paused before she grinned evilly at him. "Actually, I take that back. You need an imprint—an awful, horrible imprint that twists you up in knots. I bet Quil's grandfather taught him some crazy wolf-imprint curse, so he'll help me with it," she finished her eyes twinkling.

"Hey that's not fair! You told your mom all about marking! You didn't have to sit at the kitchen table while she brought out the diagrams and models and discussed everything you could ever want to know about sex. I still have nightmares about it."

"He's right, Leah," Seth remarked. "It was awful—listening to mom talk about how curiosity is normal and it's okay to experiment. I know I would've preferred having Billy or even Old Quil talk to us."

Sue laughed, "There is no way I'm leaving the explanation about the birds and the bees to Billy. I asked Charlie how he thought he'd approach the subject with one of you boys and believe me, throwing a box of condoms at you and telling you there's a movie in the DVD player for you to watch—while asking you to "clean up when you're done" is not how to do it."

Billy and Charlie blushed at her words. It was exactly how they would have had the sex talk with any of the boys. Billy would never admit it but he was grateful Sue had taken the discussion out of his hands. And if he got a little secret pleasure out of the fact his son had to endure a sex talk with his future mother-in-law—so what. It was no more than his son deserved after the incident with Leah so many years ago.

"So…how'd it happen," Brady asked with Collin adding, "Yeah, aren't you on something or whatever. You know your mom's added the whole make sure the girl's on something too to her talk." Brady felt the need to add more, "Yeah, didn't you remember to wrap it up?" The pups had endured Sue's sex talk last fall; it was a pack rite of passage.

Leah blushed while Jake growled, "Maybe we ran out."

Paul laughed, "How can you run out of something you never bought in the first place?"

"Shut it, Paul." His words silencing any further commentary. No one needed to know that Sue's math had been a little off when she gave her daughter those last shots. It wasn't until after they found out she was pregnant that they investigated further. The shot she normally received, production had slowed and there were only limited doses available so they used an alternative. She had been right when she told Carlisle to double-dose her. The tests he had ran a year or so ago proved she needed more than the average girl because of the changes the wolf made to her body.

The two different shots had slightly different amounts of hormones. When they discussed it with Carlisle, it seemed one shot of what she received the last time was only three-quarters of the strength as what they normally used. So, a double-dose of the new hormone wasn't enough for her body's natural inclination with her heat—her natural hormones were in the right balance while the shot did nothing to prevent conception from occurring.

Kim spoke up softly asking a question that had been on both her and Jared's minds, "Do you know if you're having a boy or a girl?"

"No, not yet. We saw Carlisle last week when we were in Seattle. I can't go to a regular doctor; my body temperature's still too high and would raise suspicions. He did an ultrasound but the baby didn't cooperate."

"Oh, I just wondered because…" she looked at Jared and smiled softly, "well, we just found out we're going to have a baby next February and...Ephraim seemed confused when he looked at me, so I just thought…"

Leah nodded at her as she understood what the underlying question was. It was something she and Jake had discussed with Old Quil last summer when Rebecca and Ephraim had visited. Old Quil had known his time left was short and so he had asked they bring Ephraim to him. He was curious about the first child of the new generation. Even more so since both Jake and Leah had felt a deep connection to him. Their wolves recognizing him even before he was born as pack.

Old Quil had done some research and he thought perhaps because Ephraim's mother Rebecca was what their people referred as two-spirit person that perhaps he would have some ability to see things that others couldn't. His time with Ephraim led him to believe that the young boy was an old soul, perhaps even the reincarnation of his namesake. The very fact that he was able to point out the members of the pack and understood the next Alpha was growing in Leah's womb made her believe Old Quil's theories were true.

"Who knows? I wouldn't worry about it too much, Kim. Old Quil thought Eph had the ability to see things," she shrugged. "We can't change what's going to happen, just how we react to it. If it happens, it will be easier for them."

"So, I'm curious," Quil started a mischievous grin on his face. "You broke my arm because I got too close to you one year, but you let a vampire put his frozen hands on Leah. That's just messed up."

"He's not a pervert like you," he glared at Quil. "Like Leah said, we can't just go to a regular doctor either. It will raise too many questions. Carlisle said as long as Sue feels up to it and we don't run into any problems, he has no concerns about her delivering the baby when the time comes. Worst case scenario, he'll be nearby and can come to help. We're going to need a doctor to sign off because who knows how the wolf gene is going to affect things."

The next five and half months went fine. Leah's pregnancy progressed without any major issues. Sue did her checkups with them travelling to Carlisle three times to ensure there was no reason that her mom couldn't deliver the baby. Everything was good; her mom would be delivering their child when he or she arrived in a few weeks. Her due date was at the beginning of January but by Christmas she was feeling enormous and ready for the baby to come.

The two other ultrasounds they did still didn't reveal the baby's sex. Their baby was stubborn and uncooperative. Kim and Jared knew they would have a baby boy right around Valentine's Day. It made it difficult for them to decide how to decorate but it was Ephraim who helped picked out a soft yellow for the room. He told them, "Baby al-pa likes." They didn't argue with his logic.

After finding out about the baby, Billy was the one to bring up the fact the small red house perhaps wasn't suited to their growing needs. As Rebecca had moved back to La Push with her small family, it seemed to make sense for the three of them to move into the Black house while Jake, Leah, and Billy moved into a house that was designed with the future in mind.

They received a plot of land as it was their right as tribe members where they built a house. They ended up using a small portion of the money the Cullens had given them for the down payment but the rest they financed as they knew the importance of building their credit. Leah had started working part-time at the Forks Hospital along with a few hours each month at the La Push clinic. Jake found a place to rent in La Push where he opened up his automotive repair business. Quil helped out part-time along with the pups; Quil had decided to go back to school himself and started that fall to study for an automotive degree.

Seth followed in his sibling's footsteps and moved to Seattle to attend U-Dub. He hadn't decided on any particular major but it was important for them to take advantage of the opportunity they had. Both her and Jake laughed at the emails Embry sent complaining about Seth being the big man on campus. Embry still hadn't taken his sister's advice and gotten laid so the fact his younger brother was mentioned by more than one girl he tried to date pissed him off. It didn't help his luck with the girls at all. None of them realizing why he took such offense when they whispered to their girlfriends that, "He's alright but did you see insert name here with the other one. I heard he knows his way around a girl's body. Did you hear he was with some older woman who taught him everything he knows?"

On Christmas Eve they were gathered at Jake and Leah's new house and celebrating. Sue and Charlie, Paul and Rachel along with Seth and Embry—the four of them all on winter break from school, Billy, and of course, Rebecca, Taylor, and Ephraim. The girls cooked the meal and the boys were placed in charge of clean-up.

As they sat around in the family room opening presents, Leah's back started to ache. She hadn't slept well the night before and decided the back pains were due to that. Jake glanced at her curiously but she shrugged at his gaze and tried to wiggle to get comfortable. He reached over and his warm hands started massaging the muscles in her lower back. It was heavenly; she leaned forward slightly so he could have better access.

Several of the room's occupants were quiet as they watched the tableau playing in front of their eyes. When she finally sat back, Jake having placed a pillow behind her for her to relax on, her mom looked at her and asked, "You okay, honey?"

"Fine, my back's achy that's all."

Billy and Charlie exchanged an amused look with one another as they said at the same time, "That's what she said."

"Anything else," Sue asked as a soft smile appeared on her face.

"No, not really. What's with the inquisition and…" she waved her hand in Billy and Charlie's direction.

"You sure?"

"Really?! Now I'm a liar, too? I don't know what you want. I slept like crap last night. I've made more trips to the bathroom today than I've made in my entire life. Not that it's anyone's business but I couldn't get there fast enough earlier and I peed my pants. My back hurts. My feet are so swollen that I have the feeling I no longer have individual toes but I can't see them over this soccer ball of a belly. This is getting on my nerves," she growled.

"Jake, do me a favor and put your hands on her belly," Sue asked.

He looked at Sue and then back at Leah who was glaring at him. Her look saying it all; he wasn't sleeping in the same bed with her tonight, not after he went along with Sue's request. He pleaded with her as he mouthed the words, "Please don't argue."

He rested his hands on her sides of her rounded abdomen. It took a few minutes and then he felt something very different. She had been having Braxton-Hick's contraction for the past few weeks but this was much different from them. With those her abdomen tightened slightly and it only lasted a few seconds. Her belly was rock hard and it wasn't letting up. He silently measured the time; sixty seconds. His eyebrows rising as he realized what it most likely meant.

"Jake," Sue voice broke through his thoughts. "Is it what I think it is?"

"Are one of you going to speak in English," she demanded as she swatted Jake's hands away from her belly.

"You're having a baby," he told her.

"No shit, dumbass. You think I felt like gaining thirty pounds to carry around for nothing?"

"No, I mean…you're having the baby…soon."

"Oh," she said quietly.

They timed her contractions which were around ten minutes apart. Her back was the only thing that was really bothering her. So, they continued to open presents knowing they still had some time before she needed to go to the hospital. When they moved to seven minutes apart, the party broke up. Jake grabbed the bag they had packed along with the car seat and placed it in the car.

Sue helped her waddle to the bathroom one more time while Charlie helped Billy into his truck. Jake returned to help her out to the car and they set off for Forks; Charlie, Billy, and Sue following behind in the truck. She had completed her pre-registration earlier that week so thankfully there wasn't any more paperwork for her to complete. The short drive had her contractions at five minutes apart and she was starting to feel them.

She had decided against an epidural as they knew it could increase the chances of problems during her labor and it also meant a doctor would need to attend to her. They planned on having the hospital nurses provide nursing care but her mom would deliver the baby. Once she was brought to her room, Charlie and Billy left to go out into the waiting room while Jake helped her change into a hospital gown. A nurse entered once she was changed and started an IV and some fluids along with doing an exam.

Her cervix was completely thinned and she was dilated to 6 cm. The nurse who examined her was surprised at how quickly she had progressed for this being her first baby and the three of them laughed it off as Jake said, "Beginner's luck." He helped her walk the halls for a while until the contractions were too strong to make it comfortable. That was when her mom brought out an exercise ball which she had Leah sit on.

Jake positioned himself in a chair in front of her, allowing her to rest against his body as she sat which her legs spread wide and bounced slightly. The plan was for gravity to do as much of the work as possible. She didn't want to get into bed until it was absolutely necessary. Charlie and Billy came in and out of the room to check on her progress along with the nurse.

Once she was fully dilated, she had no choice but to get in the bed. For an hour she pushed but nothing was really happening and she was uncomfortable lying on her back. A quick check by her mom told her the baby was down far enough and her pushes seemed effective but it obviously wasn't enough.

"I can't lie like this," she complained. "It's too uncomfortable. My back feels like it's cramping. Can't we try something different?"

The nurse who was in the room left for a few minutes and came back with a bar that she attached to the end of the bed. Once it was attached, the nurse and her mom talked her through what they were going to try. She didn't care how strange it might look anything was better than lying in this bed and trying to work against gravity. Eagerly she moved to the end of the bed. Her feet rested flat on it as she got into a squatting position; her hands grabbing onto the bar. Jake and the nurse stood on her sides helping to support her back.

With the next contraction she bore down and pushed; finally the pressure she had felt was moving and it was being propelled downwards. She now understood that was the baby she was feeling; her back no longer was cramping. At the end of her contraction she stopped and took several deep breaths, refilling her lungs and blood with oxygen as she prepared herself for the next contraction.

After several pushes her mom said the words she had been waiting to hear, "Alright, honey with the next push his head will be out. Once that happens I need you to not push again until I tell you to, okay? Liz, can you push the light so we can get one more nurse here?"

The second nurse arrived just as the next contraction started. She pushed for all she was worth; the pressure expanding to a point where she felt as though she was being torn apart. Then just as her contraction was dissipating she felt it release. Both Jake and her mom telling her how well she was doing. Sue reminding her to wait until she said it was okay to push again.

"Okay, honey, one more push and you'll have your baby. Jake, once the baby's out I need you to help her lie down. Then we'll put the baby on her belly as we dry him off."

Jake nodded at Sue before focusing on Leah again. His hand rubbed her back soothingly as they waited for the next contraction to start. When it started both he and the nurse put their hands just underneath her thighs to lift and steady her as she pushed. His mouth was near her ear and he whispered encouragingly to her.

The moment the next contraction started she pushed, slow and steady. She was exhausted, her muscles straining in effort and as much as she wanted to give up; she knew the end was near. The pressure in loins intensified and even though it hurt like hell and she was thinking about all the ways she could kill Jake for putting her in the position, she didn't stop. She felt the sensation as the baby slid out of her and her heart clenched at his first lusty wail that filled the room.

Together, the nurse and Jake helped her to lie back on the bed and her mom placed the baby on her belly. "Congratulations, it's a boy," her mom said as the second nurse started to dry him off. Clamps were placed on the umbilical cord and Sue handed Jake a pair of scissors letting him do the honors. She only had a few minutes with him before the nurses took him over to the warmer to do an exam. While they checked him over Sue helped her deliver her placenta and got her changed into a fresh gown along with swapping out the bed linens.

He was brought back to the two of them and placed in Leah's arm. The two nurses who had helped leaving to allow them some time alone and privacy. The moment he was in her arms he began to root around as though he knew exactly who she was to him. Her mom helped her positioned him and he latched onto her breast as though he had experience.

"Did you two give any thoughts to names," Sue asked.

Leah glanced at Jake and he smiled at the two of them. "I was thinking Harrison, Harry for short after dad and being there's already an Ephraim this generation and Seth or Embry will want to use Michael we're going to go with William for the middle name," she answered.

"That's perfect, honey. You know your dad's always here with us—maybe not in body but he's watching over us," her mom remarked as she leaned over and kissed Leah's cheek. "I'll give you three sometime alone. I'm sure both Jake's dad and Charlie can't wait to come in and meet him."

Leah and baby Harry stayed in the hospital for a little longer than 16 hours. Her early discharge made possible by Carlisle's influence and the fact her mom would be staying with her for the next few days. Once they arrived home, the pack members trickled in and out of their house; all of them eager to meet the future Alpha.

He was a quiet baby and didn't seem bothered by the noise of the pack. More than content to be passed from person to person while the ohh'd and awed over him. He simply glanced at each new person with a bored look on his face and yawned. The only people he seemed remotely interested in were his father and of course, Leah as she was his source of food. Once when Jake was holding him, Ephraim crawled up next to Jake; his movements slow and careful as though he understood not to jostle the baby.

Ephraim glanced at Harry and for once Harry stared back in interest. "Baby al-pa," he said proudly and clapped his hands in delight. People disagreed with Jake later on, telling him there was no way a baby that small could; but he swore that Harry gave Ephraim a toothless grin and made a sound that sounded exactly like a giggle. The two young boys staring at each other as though they had secrets that Jake could only begin to guess.

AN: Now you all know why Embry's imprint was so was his own fault. And who knew Lauren was soooo busy over spring break? I have one more outtake planned for this but it requires quite a bit of plotting on my part so it will be a while. My next update will be for Imprinting is for Pansies. Now don't forget to review!