A/N: Just a quick note. My novella, A Thousand Words, is free through the 19th on Amazon in the kindle store. Pick up your copy! If you don't have a kindle, download the Kindle for PC app and read!

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Chapter 47 - One

Pacing wildly outside the building, the sharp claws of the russet wolf tore up the sodden earth in a display of internal frustration. The cloying scent of rust and death permeated the air, burning his nostrils from the inside out. A sleek gray wolf paced in line beside him, the black patches of fur on his chest heaving, blowing pants of smoke into the cool night air.

Whispered voices, words hushed with a gentle caress tickled his straining ears. Hollow screams accompanying the swift blade of a knife had been almost more than the russet wolf could bear. Suddenly, a cry of horror rose into the night, followed by heavy footfalls and a door slamming closed tight.

Thin, watery light slanted outward through the clinic doorway just as Quil came rushing out, bearing in his large hands a metal tray holding Bella's blood. Silver threads glistened under the moonlight, their snakelike fingers growing and reaching, cleaving for flesh while they consumed the crimson mass until it was desiccated with the stench of immortal death.

Quickly they shifted, pausing momentarily, too startled to do more than stare at the evil fingers leaching forward before their very eyes. It had been the same nearly seven years ago. When confronted by the twisted atrocity of human flesh, it left them mesmerized in innate horror.

Quite suddenly, Jacob pushed past them all. Then... the smell of sulphur. The scratching of a match and it was no more. Just an infinitesimal puff of purple smoke rising toward the stars.

The tug of skin and slice of a needle, soft skin being made whole once more. Jacob knew it was over.

The shadowed form of Sue Clearwater appeared in the light; its bright fluorescence haloing her dark locks and white scrubs yielding the appearance of an angel sent by God. Tears formed in the corners of Jacob Black's eyes, the intense fear which gripped his heart yet to recede.

"She's alright," affirmed Sue. "Passed out from the pain like we expected. Rosalie is leaving and Leah will move her to another room." He made the move to shoulder past her, but she stood her ground, unbudging and unafraid. "You will wait."

A deep growl reverberated from beneath the heavy muscle of his chest and he was unable to control the curve of his lips and baring of teeth. The wolf was drawn to its mate, desperate to reach out and lick the wounds left behind by Satan's own minions.

"Don't you dare growl at me, Jacob Black!" she admonished severely, hands on her hips, an unmovable force of nature. He might be a warrior of the tribe, blessed by the spirits, but she'd changed his diapers and refused to take flack from an overgrown fleabag. In that moment, it was easy to see where Leah got the sharp side of her tongue.

"For starters, you need to put on some pants," she ordered, calling attention to his overt nakedness. "Charlie is in there and the last thing he needs is to see you flapping around in the breeze. Have a little self-respect. Second- you have to wait for Leah to move her. The scent in that room is thick. You'll burst out of your skin and we'll have another Emily on our hands. Let the girls do their job. Sam is in there and so is Leah. Nothing is going to happen."

It felt like hours, but it was only minutes later when Jacob, now fully clothed, was allowed entry inside the small medical clinic. The past hour had been the most fearful of his life. He had not the heart to deny Bella when she was told what lurked beneath the surface of her skin. "I want it gone," she stated, through a veil of tears. "Please, let them take it out of me. Let them take HIM out of me."

It happened more quickly than could be imagined. At three o'clock in the morning, while others in the world slept quietly in their beds and children dreamed of Santa Claus sliding down the chimney, Bella Swan gave herself over to the enemy while Jacob waited outside.

While she made herself ready, Billy pulled his son aside and told him what he thought might happen. Imprint... the one word that had the power to break him and bend the wolf to his will. If it meant keeping Bella as his for the rest of his life, Jacob would walk through the fires of hell for a small sliver of hope. It was the only thing that kept him from rushing inside to put a stop to the whole thing.

Now that the time had come to see Bella, small bits of fear rose in Jacob's soul. If indeed it was a small piece of venom that kept the wolf from claiming his mate all this time, that meant everything would change. But, if it was not... the disappointment would be devastating to them both.

Matt stood outside the door to the small, sterile room where Bella lay sleeping. "You should know, Máire took her scars. They're no more." Jacob nodded his head in response, unable to form the words of thankfulness on his tongue.

The doorknob felt icy cold beneath his fingers and his feet were suddenly like lead. He could hear the soft thrum of her heart, the fluttering of eyelashes on her cheeks. Bella was waking up and he needed to be there.

Blood pounded loudly in his ears. Jacob turned the handle and strode into the room, focusing on the tiled floor beneath his feet. Bella's even breathing called him forward. First, he inspected the smooth surface of her wrist. Where only an hour before had been a jagged mess of scars, new skin, creamy and soft, blended seamlessly with the rest of her. It was as though it had never been there at all.

Jacob's fingers traced the length of her arm, across the valley of her shoulder, skimming the delicate curve of her neck. Drawing in a deep breath to steady himself, he finally gazed into the warm eyes of the woman he loved.

A thousand memories passed before his eyes. His mind processing the story of their life on the reel of a movie. Chubby hands, sticky with jam, clasped together on the beach. Little bodies snuggled sleepily together on his mother's sofa, a bright flashlight beneath the sheets, Bella's girlish voice reading him a bedtime story. Teasing voices as they chased down the beach, curious hands poking starfish in the tide pools. The howl of a wolf echoing in the trees while they explored forest. Whispered words... I'll protect you, Bells. Tears welling in his eyes, a pudgy hand waving sadly at the curly-haired girl boarding an airplane. Time suddenly shifted, shyness from years of separation, faded memories and sweaty palms. A rusty truck, the smell of tobacco and peppermint, sad smiles and a broken heart. A girl, gaunt with shadowed eyes lay bleeding on a tiled floor. Slow dances and summer sunsets. Arms and legs tangled together and whispered words of love amid the shattered pieces of a life.

Every moment, every breath, each second of longing culminated into this one defining moment. Two souls yearning for completion intertwined together in an unparalleled explosion of harmony and light. The power of the imprint sent Jacob staggering backward, barely able to breathe. This wasn't her chaining him to the earth. This was the earth falling out from beneath him. An awakening of the senses, the completion of what had been missing in his life. Like an electric jolt to the heart, air filled his lungs, the scent of summer-sweet, honeyed strawberries awakened his senses. Jacob could feel every single inch of her.

A beautiful circle of infinity- no end and no beginning- surrounded them. There was nobody else in the world- save the two of them- who mattered. As they floated back to earth, Jacob became lucid once again, aware of the people in the room next to them. The innate urge to claim his mate thrust upon him, primal and fierce with need. Wordlessly, he scooped her up into his arms, bursting through the door in a display of speed and power.

Before the dawn rose, the wolf would claim what was his.

ooo000ooo

She lay stretched before him, milk white skin luminescent beneath the moonlight. Long shadows from the wide canopy of trees stretched over her body in darkened waves, tying her to the bed in strands of black silk.

Jacob's kiss trailed the inside of her legs, white heat in search of a destiny. The golden honey of desire dripped between her thighs, sticky sweet, demanding a taste. Fingers tangled in the raven locks of his hair, moans of want and need falling from full, pink lips while his tongue drank all she had to offer... and still he demanded more.

Awash in a flood of greed and hunger, he took her body, pinning her thighs with rough, calloused hands, feeling the satin touch of her skin sliding beneath his fingertips. The small bite of pain drove her to the edge and back.

"This is mine," he growled, slipping his fingers deep inside her body, curving upward in a claim of forceful possession when she began to tremble around him. "Mine to love... mine to fuck."

"Yours!" she screamed, fisting the soft cotton sheets and arching her back as the powerful orgasm ripped through her body like a runaway train. "Oh God! Yours!"

Bella fell against the mattress, quaking with a wild fervor while he crawled up the length of her body, shivering when the hard tips of her nipples brushed his skin, flooding his mind and senses with the need to drive himself balls deep inside of her.

Tiny hands pushed futilely against his chest, nails roughly scratching over sculpted muscle flexing beneath copper skin. The corners of his mouth curled into a smile as he indulged her. The strength of her human body no match for the power of a wolf.

Turning, crawling onto her hands and knees, a long curtain of hair fell over one shoulder in a shimmering waterfall of chestnut waves. Dark eyes smoldered when she glimpsed him behind her, offering herself up to him like an animal in the night.

His fingers traced the curve of her spine, delving into the gorgeous cleft of her ass, lightly skimming the hidden places no man had touched before. "Not yet," he whispered, his voice low and rough.

Then his mouth wrapped around her again, sending a hot shower of sparks through the blood rushing in her veins. His tongue teased her mercilessly, delving to the far reaches of body and soul. Fingers wet with her cum parted the folds of flesh like a flower, exerting the smallest amount of pressure in that forbidden place beyond.

The tip of his cock brushed against her clit, causing Bella to pulse wildly beneath him. Then he plunged into her body, feeling her clench tightly all around him. One hand squeezed her hips tightly while she pushed back hard against him, begging with every movement to take her hard and deep.

Moonlight streamed in through the windows and Jacob marvelled at the beauty spread so willingly before him. Bella's body was an endless litany of sensual invocations, soft flesh calling out to him in a chanting prayer of unwashed desire. One hand pressed down on the small of her back, the other softly grazing warm circles over her cheek. In one swift movement, Jacob brought his palm down over it, leaving behind the red sting of passion while she fell apart all around him.

Soft curls of hair spilled across pillows of downy white when she collapsed forward into the mattress screaming his name. Jacob's warm body hovered over her, then wrapping the long, satin strands around his fist, pulled her upward. Her back, cool from the winter air, pressed tightly against his chest. Goosebumps rose when hot and cold collided, a fine sheen of sweat slick between them.

Jacob's warm breath breezed across her cheek, mouth nibbling the lobe of her ear. An otherworldly voice whispered a seductive demand on her soul. "After tonight, there's no going back. From now on you're ours. This body is our playground, made for our delight." His arm clamped tightly around her waist, one hand possessively clutching the roundness of her heaving breast. "Mine to fuck, mine to love," he repeated.

Vivid images of Jacob taking her whenever and wherever he pleased flooded her mind. The heat in her body coiled and flexed, ready to be unleashed. Lips and tongue teased the small juncture between her neck and shoulder. "My mate. My imprint. This is what we're made for. This is what the gods ordained."

Jacob stilled inside of her, gently caressing the dip of her shoulder. "Let me lay claim to you, body and soul," he begged, the longing of a man breaking the barrier of warrior wolf. "I need to make you mine." The smallest nod, a tiny whisper, an arm snaked around his neck, pulling his mouth to hers in a tender kiss. Then, the tilt of her head, baring her neck in ultimate submission.

The wolf howled in anticipation.

In a blind haze, he began to drive into her, pistoning her hips hard from behind. The melted chocolate of his irises tinged golden with the shift, the teeth in his mouth sharpening to needle-like points. "Forever." One word. The weight of it heavy with deep meaning.

Bella repeated it. "Yours, forever." The statement falling off her tongue like a song.

Stars exploded in the sky when his teeth sunk into her flesh, piercing the skin until the stem of blood flowed freely into his mouth. The fire between them grew, bursting forth into a blaze of flames twisting toward the sky.

Their souls bound together as one.

Forever.