Chapter Eighteen

It still doesn't seem real...Because it isn't real. It's not...It's-

Seth's mind went blank as he watched the men in their white gloves close the casket, sealing Jazmyn's body in forever. He absentmindedly held Cheri closer to him, trying to feel Jazmyn through the little girl's touch.

He still let her call him 'dad'. He didn't have the heart to tell her that he wasn't. When she was older, though, he'd tell her the truth. There were so many different stories that soared through his head; different things that he could tell her. But when he really thought about it, it would be like he was becoming Jazmyn.

He didn't want that.

"There were...A lot of things...My cousin did...Some I can't be proud of, but it all pales in comparison to how much...How much I loved her," Heaven rushed out the last bit, pursing her lips together to keep from breaking down. In the end, she covered her face with her hands, shaking her head over and over again. She took three steps towards her imprint before he stood up and took her in his arms. Embry sighed.

"We all loved her," he said aloud. "Each and every one of us."

Kim looked at the corner of the ceiling, her jaw tight.

I hate her, I hate her, I hate her, she thought over and over again. But she couldn't get rid of the fact that she actually didn't hate Jazmyn, and felt stupid for carrying such a dumb grudge on the girl for all those years.

She laid her head on Jared's shoulder with a sigh, closing her eyes. A single tear slipped out, and she roughly wiped it away.

Seth placed Cheri on the ground, standing up and taking her hand. She walked with him slowly to the front of the church, and he picked her up so she could reach over and put a red rose on her mother's casket.

Jazmyn's favorite.

Cheri put her free hand on the silver lock and sniffed. She turned around and motioned for Seth to get down to her level.

"Mommy's for reals gone now, uhuh?" she asked. Seth glanced at the toe parts of her Mary Janes, then back at her glossy blue eyes. He hadn't even opened his mouth to answer before she started to cry.

The sound broke his heart. In the time he'd known Cheri, he'd never heard her cry. The feeling it brought over him could probably be described to the same feeling he felt when Jazmyn had died holding his hand.

"Can I..." she wailed. "Can't I go with her? She left me..." Sniff. "Here! Daddy, how come?"

Seth picked her up again, carrying her out into the foyer of the church. He rocked back and forth with her, all the while trying to keep strong for her himself.

"Shh...Shh, baby girl."

"M...M-Mommy," she cried, hiccupping a little.

"We're going to see her soon, Cher. Maybe not now, but soon. Okay? Don't cry, honey."

He closed his eyes, hugging her tight as she calmed down. The door opened, and Seth turned, facing Sam, who smiled a little.

"They took the casket through the back door. Everyone's going with it to the burial site. Are you...?"

Seth smiled grimly and shook his head, glancing at Cheri who still hadn't calmed down. Sam smiled and nodded, going back into the auditorium.

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He went to see her every day. On his way to see Harry. She was resting a little ways away from the entrance of the memorial site, where the grass was greenest at this time of year. Her headstone looked nice nestled in the grass: Jazmyn Stefani Christina Anderson.

Seth smiled, kneeling down next to it. He brushed off an imaginary speck of dust here, waved away an imaginary spider web there. Perfect.

"You're gorgeous today, baby," he sighed contentedly. He set down a bouquet of flowers, arranging them just right. "You get more beautiful every day."

He talked to her for a little bit, convinced that onlookers would find him insane. But it didn't matter to him. After that, he went to visit Harry. Seth didn't talk here; that happened often. Some days, he'd sit and talk to his father for hours. Others, he'd just sit down and stay silent. He liked those days. It was the best time for clearing his head and thinking when he really truly needed it.

Forty-three days since the wolf had seen his last cigarette. There were those times when he thought he'd die without one, but then he remembered his mother and everyone else. It kept him going. But...But he was a quieter person now; really only speaking when he absolutely had to. His new behavior seemed to rub off on Cheri, and she was exactly the same way. Still polite; but not the talkative little chatterbox that she once was.

Slowly but surely, Seth began to fall into a routine. A slow, quiet routine.

Wake up and wash. Go to work. Pick up Cheri from Miss Pocket's. Sit with her on the couch until the two fell asleep. Repeat.

This cycle continued on for weeks, and soon Seth was keeping more and more to himself. Now he barely talked, even if he had to. The speaker would have to keep prying until Seth would finally seem to notice them and then he'd answer with a short response. Cheri followed whatever he did.

The little girl liked to sleep next to Seth on the couch. When he tried to lay her down in her own bed, she'd whimper and cry until he finally gave in. She was almost attached to him at the hip, that's how often she left him. It was her way of grieving, Sue had told him. Seth had nodded, and he tried to be there for Cheri as best he could.

He was grieving, too.

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"Jake! Jake, Jake, Jake!"

"Leah," Jacob laughed. She ran into him, hugging him as tightly as she could. "Whoa, what's happening?"

"Okay...So...Good news first, great news, or fantastic news first?" she asked, pulling away. She and Jacob had married just a few weeks before, and they were closer than ever...If that was even possible. Leah had let her hair grow out a bit, and she smiled more often than she used to.

Jacob was about to answer Leah's question when she waved him off.

"Never mind your answer, I'll tell you the good news first! As of...Seventeen minutes and forty-two seconds ago, Leah Black is now precisely 131.9 pounds," she announced happily.

"What? Really?" Jacob raised his eyebrows, grinning widely. He was ecstatic for her. "Look at you, all past the one-thirty mark. Up top, babe." They high-fived. Leah squealed. "What's the great news?"

"I had a doctor's appointment!"

"Umm...Okay...?" Jacob knitted his brows together with a small grin.

"Now, the fantastic news is gonna blow your socks off. You ready, Jakey?"

"Sure."

Leah bit her lip, her smile growing wider and wider. Finally, she squealed again, jumping up with joy.

"I'm pregnant!"

Silence.

Jacob's mouth dropped, and his eyebrows raised at the news.

"You're...You're..." he breathed. Leah nodded.

"We're gonna be parents, Jakey," she said softly, then he hugged her tight. Swinging her around. "I have high hopes for this one." He nodded into the crook of her neck, kissing her over and over again.

"I'm so happy for you," he said.

"For us, you mean."

"Yeah, Lee. For the both of us."

"I love you, Mr. Black."

"I love you more, Mrs. Black."

"I don't think that's possible, but okay. Whatever floats your boat, bro." Jacob laughed, kissing his wife's cheek. He couldn't wait to see his son or daughter. Like Leah said he had 'high hopes' for the baby inside of her.

"I love you more than you love you," Jacob said. "I love your eyes...And your cheeks...Your lips..." he kissed her, making her smile.

"For real, guys. If you're gonna do that, at least go inside."

The two turned, smirking when they saw Quil, who only laughed.

"It's all good," he said. "But seriously. You look like you're about to fuck each other right here. Please. Keep it PG."

"Aye, aye, captain," Jacob gave him a half-hearted salute.

"What brings you by?" Leah asked, lacing her fingers into Jacob's. Quil opened his mouth to answer when Sue's car pulled up. She got out, a look of panic clouding her features.

"Mom-"

"He's gone. Seth's gone again." Her shaking hand reached into her jean pocket and she pulled out a crumbled white piece of paper. "H-h-he left this."

Hey,

I can't stay here anymore. Too many bad memories. I love you. And Leah, and make sure Cher grows up nice, alright? I'll come back one day. And maybe then, it'll be for good.

-Seth

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Seth slid into a taxi, shutting the door behind him. He sighed, looking at the ceiling. The driver pulled out, and the young wolf watched Seattle's talk skyscrapers rush past him. He smiled at it, closing his eyes for a bit.

"I said 'where you headed', kid?" the driver asked, looking at Seth through the rearview mirror.

"Oh, umm..."

Seattle was gone; they were in the suburbs of Tacoma now.

"Here's fine," he said. He took some money out of his pocket - his last few pieces of cash - and leaned over to put it on the front seat. "Thanks."

"Yup."

Seth slid out of the seat, listening as the taxi driver rolled away. Slowly, he walked down the street of houses, unsure as to where he was going. He had nothing with him...It was just him, his wallet, Harry's chain.

Oh. And Leah's guitar.

If he was back home, she'd kill him for sure.

He carried it on his back inside of a black case that kept it safe from the outside world. He liked it there. Even if he wanted to forget La Push, it was like having a part of his family with him. Because he loved his family.

"Hey!"

Seth was snapped out of his thoughts when a soccer ball rolled in front of him and stopped at his feet. He looked to his right, seeing a large front lawn and a girl standing on the green grass. She looked at him expectantly, her arms outstretched for the ball.

The girl looked his age, maybe a year or two younger. She was pretty, he thought. But she had nothing on Jazmyn. Nothing at all.

"Umm...You wanna hand me that ball?" she asked.

"Sure." Seth picked it up and tossed it to her.

"Thanks, man! Hey, I've never seen you around. You new?"

"Um, I, uh...I'm from the Forks area."

"What brings you around here?"

"That rainy little place didn't work out for me," Seth stuck his hands into his pockets. "So...Thought I'd just...Wander."

"So you're homeless."

"I prefer nomad."

"...So you're homeless."

"Fine. Sure. Whatever floats your boat."

"Sorry, but my boat sailed away a long time ago."

"Okay."

"You hungry?"

"A little."

"I'm Liberty."

"Seth."

"Want something to eat?"

"If it's alright."

"Okay."

Liberty led Seth into her house, making him sit down at the kitchen table. Four pairs of eyes stared at him from the other side, making Seth wave uncomfortably.

"Libby brought a strange man in our house! See, this is why I should be in charge," one of them said.

"Shut up, Brianna."

"Bleh!"

"All you guys. Shoo." Liberty walked back in with a plate of pizza rolls. "Bon apetite. This is...How you say...Zah pizza roll-zah!"

"Your French accent sucks."

"Shut up."

Who knew that over a plate of pizza rolls, Seth would end up staying the night. As he laid on the couch, he looked at the ceiling. He thought about Cheri, and his mother...Leah, Jacob, and the rest of his Pack. How they were taking his leaving again. It was a pretty selfish move, but it's what he felt right doing.

It didn't seem like he was the kind of person that could always be tied down to one place. Like he said earlier; he was a nomad. A wanderer. And he was proud to be one.

He would endure the many panic attacks and shit that he knew life would bring him. He felt he was ready to be on his own.

"Seth?" someone asked quietly.

"Yeah," he replied.

"Oh. Um...Are you...Are you leaving soon?"

"Most likely. Thanks for letting me stay."

"Where will you go?" Liberty asked.

Seth frowned. Where would he go? Not back to La Push, that was for sure. In time, yes. But for now...

Seth shrugged, his eyes still on the ceiling. He closed them, smiling a bit.

"Actually...I'm not really sure yet."

FIN. Yeah, I know. The story was short, and the ending...You all probably wanted more. Maybe I'll write a sequel. Maybe not...Who knows? Thank you, wonderful reviewers, for REVIEWING. You are the beautiful things that kept me going all eighteen chapters! So...I guess review on this one? Kay. Bye.

~SashaFierce12.0