Alone. It was the one word that described me perfectly.
I knew the moment I woke up that it was going to be horrific. I looked at the calendar on my bedroom wall. I had reached the day I scratched out with black marker… the day that would bring back the memories that haunted me.
"Leah, breakfast!" called my mother from the kitchen.
I squeezed my eyes shut and pulled my pillow over my head. I wanted to go back to sleep and dream myself through the remainder of the day. One year ago today, Sam Uley broke my heart. The mere thought of his name brought forth a memory that I had successfully hidden away from months.
"Come on, Leah!" laughed Sam. "You'll be fine, I promise!"
He was trying to convince me to cliff dive, and I was not at all sure that I wanted to do it. I had always seen the boys wildly leaping off the edge, but I had never actually wanted to be one of them. Sam was treading water at the bottom. We were at the smallest cliff… a half-mile down the road was the giant one. From where I was, I could see people jumping from the top. Their screams echoed throughout the bay.
"I don't know, Sam," I replied shakily.
"I'll be right here. Nothing will happen to you. Trust me!" he called.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. The air smelled of sea-salt… a comforting aroma. I had grown up around it. The breeze blew my hair into my face. It tickled my nose.
"One, two," I whispered. My voice cracked. Deep breath… "Three!"
"Breakfast!" repeated Mom, breaking me out of my memory.
"Pathetic," I murmured to myself. It was absolutely pitiful that I would be scared of something as harmless as cliff diving. Everything in my world had changed since that warm, summer day. I was no longer the scared girl shivering on the edge of a ten foot high cliff. I was a strong, independent woman, and I didn't need someone there to help me every second of the day.
I heaved myself out of bed and trudged to the kitchen. My mom had a stack of pancakes on the table. Seth was already shoving his face full. Dad was hiding behind his newspaper... probably so he didn't have to see the unappetizing breakfast that mom had prepared especially for him. I sat in my chair and stared at the stack of flapjacks. I wasn't hungry at all.
"You look terrible today!" exclaimed Seth, his mouth full of half-chewed pancake.
"And you look terrible every day," I retorted sharply.
"Leah, please try to be civil," sighed my mom.
"You've got to be kidding me. He started it!" I exclaimed.
Seth glared. "I said today, not every day. You usually look passable."
"Leah, calm down," snapped my dad. He was getting more and more irritable lately. It was probably because Mom made him eat Bran Flakes instead of pancakes. He was the one person in my family that I actually got along with sometimes. Our matching tempers made us teammates whenever it came to family debates. He was the only friend I had lately.
I pushed my chair away from the table roughly and stomped out of the room. I didn't need Seth's comments today. Mom always picked his side over mine, and now Dad, my teammate, was choosing him? I threw open the door to my bedroom and shuffled through the clothes on the floor. My room had been in a constant state of messy for quite some time. I sighed as another memory hit me.
"Leah, your room is so clean!" exclaimed Sam. It was the first time he had been over to my house. I was almost positive that Mom and Dad were standing right outside the door. It was the first time any boy besides my brother had been in my room. I was just glad it wasn't decorated in pink and lace… that would have been mortifying.
"It drives me crazy when it's not," I admitted, shrugging. When things got messy I practically lost my mind. In my room, there was a place for everything.
Sam smiled and gazed around the room. He paused when he saw what was hanging on the wall next to my closet. "This is probably the coolest thing I have ever seen," he breathed. It was a drawing I had done a few months before. It was of First Beach, one of my favorite places. I sat there through the rain, the snow, the hail, just to make sure that I got every single aspect of First Beach perfect.
I smiled. "I drew it."
"First Beach has never looked so good," he laughed.
"Do you really like it?" I asked hopefully.
He nodded furiously. "It's the best!"
I bit my lip. "Thanks," I whispered.
He turned from the drawing and stepped towards me. I didn't move. He cupped my face with his hands. I didn't move. He grinned. I didn't move. He kissed me. My first kiss. Our first kiss.
"Idiot," I growled, internally kicking myself. My drawing no longer hung beside my closet. It was rolled up and stuffed under my bed. There was no longer a place for everything. I was lucky if my clothes were ever put on hangers. It was a special occasion when my bed was made. A visible carpet? Cause for celebration.
I threw on the first pair of jeans that I could find and slipped into a t-shirt. I needed to leave the house. I didn't care where I went, as long as I left. Without thinking about it, I yanked the drawing out from under my bed. I didn't unroll it.
I made it all the way to the front door before my mom stopped me. "Where are you going?" she asked. It didn't sound like she expected a great answer.
"Out," I replied simply. I slammed the door behind me. I honestly had no idea where I was going.
I crossed the yard and jumped into my car. It was a cheap piece of crap, but Jacob fixed it whenever something went wrong. He had been hanging out with that Bella Swan lately, though, so it was getting harder and harder to talk to him. He spent the majority of his time with Bella and Sam… it was almost dangerous to be around Jake now, just because I knew that the chances of running into Sam were that much higher.
I threw my drawing into the passenger seat. I didn't know what I was going to do with it… but it did give me an idea of where to go.
First Beach was less than five minutes away from my house, and it always made me feel good. I had made the short drive so many times I was almost positive I could do it with my eyes closed. Nobody was ever on the road.
After I parked, I sat in the car for a few minutes. Nobody else was around, which was great. People in general infuriated me.
"That's so funny!" exclaimed one of my classmates freshman year. It was the year I started dating Sam.
"That's so hard to believe," laughed another.
"You tell the best stories," sighed another.
I had just told my entire English class about when my brother stayed home by himself one night, and when I got home, I caught him scurrying around the house in a dress. Everyone in class was hanging on my every word.
"No wonder Sam loves you so much," gushed another.
Friends… who needed them? As soon as Sam left me, I sure as hell didn't. Oh sure, they acted sad for me, but as soon as I left they were all smiles again. Soon enough, I stopped getting invited to things, people stopped calling… I was all but cut off from my social life.
I grabbed my drawing from the passenger seat and made sure to get the lighter fluid out of the trunk. A campfire on the beach was just what I needed.
The wind blew slightly, and the waves crashed onto the shore. I gathered up a few pieces of driftwood, piled them up like my dad had showed me, doused them in lighter fluid and then tossed in a match. A second later, I had made myself a warm fire. I sat down beside it, my drawing still rolled up neatly in my hands.
Before I knew what I was doing, before I could even think, I threw my work of art into the fire. Sam had liked it, which made me want to destroy it. Just like I destroyed the order in my life, my friendships, my fear… my entire life. I had done it all because of him.
I stared into the fire without blinking as I watched my masterpiece burn up. My countless hours of work were being reduced to ashes. My eyes grew hot, but I didn't dare cry. I wouldn't. I was much better than petty tears. The last time I cried was because of him, during the hours after he told me he was leaving me… for my cousin. I haven't cried since.
When the drawing was no more, I stood up. That was it. I didn't want to destroy it. I didn't want to have a dirty room. I wanted friends. I wanted to be afraid of things! "You bastard!" I shrieked. "How could you?" I clenched my jaw and put my head in my hands. I screamed with every ounce of my being.
Fury coursed through my veins, red hot and poisonous. I could feel it consuming me, twisting through my body until I could bear it no more. I screamed again, and this time the sound was accompanied by the oddest ripping noise.
And then I felt it… the crippling, searing pain that came with the ripping. I tried to scream, but it came out as a roar. Without hesitating, I ran.
Another one! Someone find it! exclaimed a voice in my head. It was a voice I had become all too familiar with.
Sam? I thought, extremely startled. I was hearing him in my head now? Get the hell out of my head!
I shrieked again and this time I felt the horrid ripping sensation again. As soon as it was over, I collapsed onto the ground. I felt sick, but also like my normal self again. Something had happened to me in that second, but I had no idea what it was… Was I going insane?
I faintly heard the sound of someone screaming, and it reminded me of something… of the sound that the cliff divers made on that day a long, long time ago. I grinned.
I knew I was by the big cliff. It would only take me a minute to run there… and that scream sounded so exhilarating. I got up, shook off my queasiness, and tried to forget that I actually thought I heard Sam's voice in my head.
I sprinted towards the cliff. I wasn't anywhere near a trail, but I knew where I was going. The salty air was leading me towards the cliff.
And almost without realizing it, my toes grazed the edge. I launched myself off of the edge without pausing. I thought I was going to make it all the way down without the ripping, without changing. I was wrong.
Just as I hit the water, I was bombarded by thoughts that were not my own.
Bella's fine. I don't know why she jumped without me! I told her to wait, I swear! She just… she just leaped off! It was Jacob. Without a second thought, I started towards shore. It was easy, but for some reason I felt infinitely larger than I was before. I didn't move in the same way as I usually did, either. I knew that I was going crazy. Absolutely, one-hundred percent crazy.
How can Leah be a werewolf? That doesn't make any sense! No fair! Werewolf? Quil thought I was a werewolf? What the hell? I made it onto dry land and ran into the forest… I didn't move like a human on land, either. Quil was right.
Sam, what did Harry say? This voice was urgent. It was Embry.
Nothing. It was Sam. Leah, I know you're here. I know you can hear us in your head. I told your father about you and he had a heart attack. I'm so sorry… Leah, he's gone.
It was the first anniversary of what I thought was the worst day of my life. I was wrong. That day was not the worst day at all. Exactly one year later, my life had derailed further than I had ever thought possible. I had lost him... my teammate, my only friend… my father.
Alone. It was the one word that described me perfectly.