The sun had barely started rising over the treetops and I yawned as I waved goodbye to Quil. I was dead tired and muscles I had not used since last summer when I used to ride everyday ached and I had a feeling I smelled like wet dog.
Thank god it was Sunday and I had nowhere to be because all I wanted to do right now was to sleep. And luckily I had some Paul free hours were I could sleep alone for once. Although I would probably wake up wrapped in his arms feeling like I was being baked alive.
It felt like months since I had been home in reality it had only been a week since the last time I dropped by. Mom and Kyle would be home in three days and my life would go back to the normal routine. Or as normal as it could be with all the changes in my previous peaceful and somewhat boring existence.
The door was unlocked and I rolled my eyes. As my leg had been in a cast until recently mom had decided it wasn't a good idea to put me to water the plants upstairs and had asked old Mrs. Grey to do it. Why she had asked Mrs. Grey to do it was beyond me because not only was the old woman blind as a bat but she was also slightly demented. I should count myself lucky if she had only forgotten to lock the door and not forgotten to shut of the tap leaving the whole house flooded or left one of her many cats behind.
I tried not to look at moms large owl lamps as I walked in. Not seeing those for a while made them even more horrid then they usually were and I could have sworn those large yellow owl eyes had not been half as creepy the last time I saw them.
The unfamiliar voice made me freeze halfway into the kitchen.
"Or should I call you daughter in law?"
Peter stepped out of the shadows. His shirt was wrinkled and he was twirling something around one finger. The promise bracelet. The same bracelet that should be in the linen closet in Paul`s house which was where I had left it as just looking at it made me slightly uncomfortable. Peter gave the promise bracelet a look like it was something disgusting.
"It does have your name on it. And a lot of promises. Love. Protection. Loyalty. His heart and soul. Things my useless son can`t uphold I am sure."
Something ugly flashed over his face before he smiled. It was not the same charming smile he had given me the first time but cold and harsh and it made alarm bells start ringing in my head. This was bad. Very bad. And I should have known that Peter would have a problem with me being white. The amount of bad words Paul had called me during the years had to come from somewhere as he had not used words or phrases kids were supposed to know.
"And when I thought he couldn't become more of a disappointment he goes and does this. A white girl."
He spat it out like it was a curse and his eyes shone with hate. He looked almost insane as his fist squeezed the bracelet so hard I could hear the leather being squeezed together.
"I told him how important blood is. Told him that he could play around with palefaces all he wanted as long as he never got one pregnant with a bastard and never married one."
Peter had a wild look in his eyes and I could smell the alcohol on him even from a distance.
"Caught by a pretty face just like his slut of a mother. Is that why he gave you this? Did you spread those pretty white legs for him?"
I winced at the hate in those eyes that were so much like Paul`s. He was beyond reason and drunk and I knew nothing I said could calm him down. Most likely I would just provoke him by speaking. All that was left was to make a run for it.
So I bolted. I skidded on the carpet outside the hallway when I was suddenly yanked back by my hair. Peter grabbed my throat and slammed me into the wall and pressed his body against mine so that I couldn't kick him. Frantically I scratched the hand around my throat but it only tightened until black spots were dancing in front of my eyes and my lungs ached from the lack of air as I gasped for breath.
"I can understand why he would want you. After all you have a special sort of beauty. Almost like a little doll. But to throw away his heritage… "
Peter snarled into my ear and if I could breathe I would have gagged from the smell of booze and stale sweat.
"Will he still have you when I am done with you paleface? Or rather will you still have him? Will you let him touch you when I am done with you? That would solve things because I don't want a grandson or daughter that is a filthy half breed."
If his words had not warned me about what he was intending to do then the hand ripping open my shirt made his intensions clear.
No. Not that. Anything even being beaten to near death was better than that. Some girls that came to Hailey's farm had been victims of rape and they all had that same dead look in their eyes. Like something in them had been broken. The same skittish personalities like evil lurked behind every shadow.
Giving up my attempt on scratching him I frantically waved around me for something. Anything I could use as weapon. The hand tightened even harder around my throat, his short cut nails digging into my skin and I knew I didn't have much time judging from how much my lungs hurt as I tried to draw in the air that his hand restricted me from inhaling. Soon I would lose consciousness.
He moved a bit away from me and started fumbling with the buttons on my jeans when my fingertips hit cold metal. My crutch. I grabbed it and swung it as hard as I could at his face praying that I would be able to hit hard enough. The crutch smacked into his face with a crunching sound. Peter let go of my throat with a surprised look on his face as blood spurted from a gash on his temple were one of the crutch`s metal bolts had ripped the skin open. I hit him again and this time the crutch smashed into his nose and made blood splatter all over the floor. Gasping for breath I slammed the crutch into his side and ran for the door only to smash into a naked chest. Someone grabbed my arms and cursed. I knew that voice. Paul.
"What the hell…"
Paul stopped abruptly as Peter slammed the door open. And then I felt it. Violent shudders wracked through Paul`s body more violent than I had ever seen before. Close up I could see the skin move like there was something beneath it ready to burst out.
This was it. I was going to die just seconds after almost being raped. Ripped into pieces by a werewolf and not just scarred like Emily had been.
But he didn't phase.
Paul just stood there, his face twisted into an inhumane sneer as violent shudders went through his body. He didn't say a word just growled with his eyes fastened on a shocked looking Peter.
I was standing to close. That was why he had not phased. All I had to do was move a couple of feet away and he would lose control and it would all be over. Peter would be ripped to pieces in seconds and I would never have to see him again. All it would take was a couple of steps away. No one would blame me. No one would even know I had done it on purpose. The pack and the council would hide the body to protect the secret and no one would blame Paul. Everyone knew the violent nature of the wolves and how important their imprints were. No one would blame Paul for killing the man that had attempted to rape his imprint.
And Paul would become a murderer. A man that had killed his own flesh and blood.
I couldn't let that happen no matter how much I wanted Peter dead.
I tugged Paul's arm trying to ignore how the rippling skin made me want to make a dive to safety.
"You are going to phase. We need to get outside."
Paul didn't answer. Perhaps he couldn't but he did follow me as I tugged him by the arm. I was barely on the pavement when I heard something make a horrible cracking sound behind me. Paul had phased on the porch and ripped the entire railing into pieces of jagged wood. He took one step towards the door and I threw myself at him and wrapped my arms around his neck leaving a trail of blood where my hands touched his fur. I had not noticed that my hands were slick with blood. I wasn't sure if it was his or mine. I was bleeding from the back of my head too, my shirt sticking to the skin of my back sticky with blood and I was barely keeping myself from throwing up still rasping after breath. Paul growled under my arms and his lips lifted up uncovering his large sharp teeth.
"So the legends are true."
Peter was standing just inside the hallway looking at the snarling wolf with fear in his eyes. Paul growled even louder at the sound of his father's voice, all his teeth showing in a snarl that was like taken out of a nightmare.
"Yes. Don't move or he will kill you."
I kept one hand safely in Paul's fur as I got my phone out of my pocket. My bloodied fingers slipper over the digits and it seemed to take forever before I managed to press the right number. Sam picked up on the third ring.
"Sam. I need you to come to my house. Quickly."
Perhaps it was the urgency in my voice or the way it sounded like I was barely managing to talk but he didn't ask why. My hands were shaking and I let the phone slip to the ground. My throat was sore like I had swallowed too much saltwater and the only thing keeping me upright was Paul. If I let go Peter would be dead in seconds and that was about the only thing that made me stand on my shaking legs. Peter took one step towards the driveway and Paul snarled, flecks of slobber dripping to the ground and he looked nothing like pup but more a snarling insane beast.
"I told you not to move. The only thing between you and Paul is me and frankly I don't like you very much right now."
Peter`s eyes slid towards the sharp teeth and paled and I doubted he would take as much as one more step.
It seemed to take forever before I Paul`s ears flickered in the direction of the road and only minutes later Sam`s familiar old red truck came into view.
I didn't need to explain what had happened. Several buttons from my shirt was missing, the top button on my jeans were open and I was covered both in my blood and his. My throat ached and I was sure that vivid blue handprints hand started forming on my pale skin. Usually calm and collected Embry shuddered at the sight of me which was a good indicator as to just how bad I looked. Sam slammed Peter unmercifully against the wall and seemed to have to collect himself from not strangling the man.
"Embry. Take my car and drive Jan to my house. I will take this piece of shit to Chief Swan personally."
I jolted. That was… Not a good idea. I doubted Peter would say anything about Paul turning into a wolf and if he did no one would believe him. But the lawn was filled with paw prints, my porch was literally blown to pieces and I was covered in wolf fur. The elders and the pack would probably do their best to cover the tracks but it only needed one paw print for the local police force to suspect the presence of large predators. Something the pack could not afford. And it would be next to impossible to explain the porch unless someone drove a car into it.
"No! I invoke a tribal trial."
It wasn't what I wanted. The tribal council didn't have prisons and all they could do was exile someone. Exile wasn't enough. I wanted him locked away but… I had to protect the secret. Chief Swan wasn't stupid and he was sure to ask questions that I didn't have the answers too.
Sam gave me a look of approval clearly relived that they didn't have to cover this up. I watched Sam haul Peter into his car and the very moment the car disappeared out of view it was like all the strength vanished out of my body. My legs couldn't hold me up anymore and slammed into the ground. I was hardly aware that Embry covered me in a blanket and lifted me up carrying me to the car while a surprisingly mellow Paul followed.
I felt unclean. Like his hands were still on my skin and I wasn't aware that I had been clawing on my arms before Embry gently grabbed my wrists and removed them. I wanted to take a shower, to scrub my skin clean. I wanted it to feel like his hand wasn't restricting my breathing still.
I wanted it to never have happened. It shouldn't have happened. Not in my own house. Not by a man that I knew the name of. Not where it was supposed to be safe. Things like that only happened to girls walking home alone and done by strangers. A little voice in my head piped up to tell me that I knew that wasn't true. Aunt Hailey had all sorts of kids in her care that had that happened to them and rarely by strangers.
Shouldn't have gone home alone. Should have been suspicious when the door wasn't locked. There were so many things I could have done differently. Spots of black were dancing in front of my eyes and I wasn't aware I was hyperventilating before Embry forced my head up and I noticed that I was heaving for breath like there was still a hand around my throat.
"Breathe. Come on Jan. In and out."
It seemed forever before I finally managed to draw in a breath and not gasp and even longer until I had stopped gagging.
"Are you okay?"
Embry gently tucked the blanket around me and rubbed my arms to stop me from shivering while Paul was pressing his huge furry body next to me rubbing his head against my arm.
"Yeah. I am fine."
Neither the man nor the one in wolf form seemed particularly convinced. I wasn't either. Because I wasn't fine.
I should have remembered there were more monsters lurking in the dark than vampires.
Authors note: So who was it again that wrote that Peter didn't sound too bad? Lol.