Chapter One – Unforgettable Forgotten
For·get [fer-get], verb:
1.To cease or fail to remember;be unable to recall: to forget someone's name.
He never paid attention to Sam's imprint. Emily was great and all, but the actual act of imprinting...not so much. It was fraught with too much drama, tinged constantly with angst and regret. Jared and Kim, however, were another matter. Their imprinting had taken instantly, with nothing standing in their way. It had been, from the very moment, all rainbows and butterflies.
It made him wonder sometimes. Because for all that Jared never made a move, he saw Kim. And Kim saw him; that was a well known fact now. No one knew it quite like Paul, though. Jared was stoic in his interest, like he was stoic in everything else. The man was a mask of cool iron; he showed nothing. But Paul saw it. He'd known Jared since before they could wipe their own asses. Their mothers were the best of friends. Jared's mom had baby sat Paul for years. It was sort of destined that they'd end up so close it bordered on bloodless brothers. Paul knew Jared just as well as Jared knew himself.
Jared adored Kim. From a distance that was. Paul hadn't quite understood it; Kim seemed so plain to him. Surely Jared deserved something more than plain? Than again, Paul was sure he saw Jared in a different light. That was his best friend, his brother; no one would ever really be good enough. Paul asked Jared of course. 'What is it about her that has you making that stupid fucking face?'
Jared had wiped the sappy expression off his face and laugh. 'I don't know. There's just something about her. I just...I don't know. But I'm going to marry her one day, Paul. Watch me. I will'.
At that point, Paul punched him in the arm, called him a pussy, and told him to hit that shit already. As with any other time he'd said as much, Jared's eyes went a little darker, and his mouth fell into a frown. 'It's not the right time,' he said, in a voice the never really sounded like his own.
Paul hadn't understood then, but he did now.
Imprinting. If Sam had ever been given the chance to meet Emily sooner, he would have felt it. He would have known, just like Jared had always known that Kim was it for him. Even when he hadn't.
He had been so sure that Black would imprint on Swan. He was so fixated. He already looked at her like she hanged the fucking moon. He had the same sappy expression Jared had, before imprinting, before wolves and vampires. Just...innocent, unadulterated want.
He watched them a lot, and maybe that should have been his first clue. Looking back, he wondered what expression his face held. He watched them, under the order of Sam, eyes intent for danger. Black would be phasing soon; it was inevitable. The heat, the growth, the hunger, the anger; it was all there. Paul was glad. Maybe Embry would shut the fuck up already. He was pretty sick of the bitching and moaning.
Just thinking like that made him wince. Paul had been third to phase. Jared had went before him, and Paul had been in Jacob's shoes; abandoned and confused. He knew without a doubt -courtesy of pack mind- that Jared went through the same thing Embry was currently going through. The gut eating guilt. Paul had forgiven him of course, not that there was much to forgive. You couldn't blame a man for things out of his control.
He thought that maybe it was the girl holding Jacob back. Jacob should have phased much sooner. He was of the Alpha line, after all. Paul wasn't nearly as freaked out by that as some of the others. Even if Black wanted to take the proverbial furry throne, he had a long way to go before he could even dream of taking down Sam. He could try, but Paul was sure nothing would come of it for some while. Sam had a solid year on them as a wolf, and several years as human.
Black was happy. The kid wore his emotions on his face. He'd built the girl back up from the pieces Sam found on the forest floor. That image had haunted Paul; it crept into his dreams, and resonated. It fueled his hate for leeches, oil to fire. The Cullen's might be tamed, but they only proved how much more dangerous that made them. Not all wounds left blood and scars. They'd all but killed the Swan Girl without ever setting teeth to skin. They were the worst kind of leeches, the kind that played pretend. Wolves in sheep's clothing would be the appropriate term, were the situation anything else.
The girl was better, but better was a relative term. Better than what? Dead? Black might have done a lot to put a smile on the girl's face, but it hardly looked like he was doing anything to put food in her damn mouth, or soul behind her eyes. She looked decayed, rotted from the inside out. But Jacob did make her smile.
That seemed important.
Paul should have seen the signs. But he didn't.
No one did.
Saturday, March 11th.
Three days, and Jacob was already pining. For the love of God, Paul wanted to go get the damn Swan girl so Jacob could imprint on her and fucking be done already. They had other things to worry about; like Quil and the leech sniffing around the edges of their land. The constant, never ending ache Black insisted on inflicting upon them all was beginning to wear everyone down. Paul got it, really he did, Jacob loved her blah blah blah. Paul didn't and he was a little tired of feeling like he did.
As it would turn out, Paul didn't need to go get the Swan girl. She delivered herself, smelling like anger and inexplicably Quil. Paul growled. Did she actively seek every potentially dangerous thing in a ten mile radius? Quil was days from phasing, and yet she had found him. The gray hair Charlie must have gotten since taking her in...Paul didn't pity the man.
"She shouldn't have been alone with Quil," Sam agreed quietly, watching her stomp up the shoddy path to the Black house. They air was peppered with the scent of a leech, and Quil was a danger in his own right. "The girl has a death wish. Come on."
Swan saw them, and wasted no time launching her tiny attack. She shoved Sam, little hands slamming against his chest. A death wish; Sam was right. "You. You did this! He didn't want this! He didn't want this with you and your-"
Want this? Who would want this? It made Paul see red. He pushed past Sam, towering over the girl. "What did he do? What did he do! What did he tell you?" Jacob Black; that boy just thought he was better than everyone. Didn't need to listen. Didn't need to obey. Didn't need to-
"Nothing! He tells me nothing because he's scared of you."
It was laughable. Jacob wasn't scared. He was pissed. He was pissed at her, and her pining over a leech. He was pissed and pining himself. It was laughable, and Paul laughed, head thrown back. He looked down at her, intent on telling her just exactly what she should be afraid of but the words didn't come. Because in that moment, Paul saw Bella for the very first time.
It ripped through him, breaking him down only to rebuild him around her. His laughter and his sudden silence seemed to be enough to set her off. Death wish; Sam was right. She slapped him, the sound of her palm meeting his skin loud in his ears. The growl tore out of him before he could really stop it, accompanied by fear the if he didn't stop he would hurt her.
Sam, in all his infinite wisdom, was well versed now in how to stop the wolves from phasing. "Forget about it Paul. Don't even think about it. Let it go." He barked out the order, voice firm and insistent, and just like that...
Forget about it, Paul.
Paul hadn't been thinking about phasing.
Don't even think about it.
He'd been thinking about his imprint.
Let it go.
The order took hold. It wasn't instant; Paul's natural inclination to fight all orders wouldn't allow it to take hold in a snap. It crept over him instead, stripping away what choice he had as slow as honey.
The wolf howled as the girl was rushed away. She's with Embry, Paul rationalized. Embry could be trusted. He watched her go for half a moment, enraptured, confused, angry, excited. He had his opinion about imprinting, but in that moment, he couldn't remember what they were. But he did know he wasn't safe for her, not with his emotions torn up every which way. While a very large part of him demanded he follow her, the better, saner, safer part planted his feet in the ground. There would be time, he thought (he was wrong). She was his forever now (so, damn wrong).
Something a little vicious, a lot petty, and very Paul curled up inside him. He turned to tell Jacob just exactly what had happened when the Alpha order slipped fully in place.
Just forget it Paul.
And so he did.