A/N: My first crack at Leah/Sam. Let's see how this goes. You'd think that after fifty or so stories, I would have done this before. What the hell was I waiting for!? This is all for you, Josh. Enjoy.
The dark circles under Sam Uley's eyes are emphasized by the light from the little bulb above her porch. It's been days—or weeks? Maybe even months?—since Leah Clearwater, his girlfriend, has seen him. She dares to ask him if he's okay, but they both know the answer to that: he is anything but okay. So she says nothing; that's the easiest thing to do, and things have certainly not been easy lately.
"I don't like boys in my grade," the fourteen-year-old Leah told her friends in the hallways of Forks High School. Leah was too smart, too ambitious, and too busy (even as a freshman) for a boyfriend, despite her friends' encouragements.
"You don't know that," one of her friends, Lydia, told her. "You haven't tried any of them."
"I've certainly looked," Leah replied, swiftly spinning the combination on the padlock of her locker.
Just then, Sam Uley, also age fourteen, rounded the corner and started walking towards her. He was with his little posse of friends, just as Leah was with hers. The cockiness might as well have been oozing from his pores; Leah could feel the testosterone from yards away.
Another one of Leah's friends, Crystal, poked Leah in the arm. "But have you tried him?"
Leah rolled her eyes at Sam as he came closer to her. "No," she said to Crystal, "and I would never." Leah grew up with Sam, and she was hoping he would avoid her. Of course, he didn't. He talked to her more than she would have liked for him to, and it was cute, but albeit, not cute enough. Leah didn't like boys; she liked men. And Sam Uley was a boy. It was too bad he wasn't a junior or something like that.
"Are you sure?" Crystal asked. "You would never try him? He's cute."
"I don't go for cute," Leah assured her. As Sam walked past her with a smirk on his face, he purposely tried to subtly bump into her, and she subtly dodged him. He looked back at her, and she playfully stuck a tongue out at him. He smiled, and she couldn't help but smile back.
"Cute doesn't cut it," she told Crystal.
Sam looks down at Leah now, and it's hard for her to believe he's the same person. He's bigger now—almost monstrous—and it concerns her. It's like he's grown a foot, and gained a ton of muscle. He only wears cutoff shorts and jeans, despite the air around them being cold, but Leah can feel the heat coming from him. She doesn't have to touch him to feel him burning up.
They suddenly ask each other, at the same time, "Are you okay?"
Sam shakes his head and closes his eyes. "You tell me first," he says.
Leah continues to stare at him even though he's not looking back. It's all she wants. Just a look to know that they're okay. "I'm fine," she lies. It's so obvious it's untrue; her voice is shaky and makes it sound like she's been crying (which she has), and as much as she wants to remain strong for him, especially because he isn't, she can't.
"I'm fine," she repeats, "even though my boyfriend's been gone for weeks. Are you okay?"
Sam doesn't even answer her question. "This is probably gonna hurt, but this—us—we—ugh." He sighs and starts over. "We can't be together anymore."
Leah's expression doesn't change. She didn't hear that. He didn't say that. He couldn't have.
But he did.
"I, uh…" he continues. "I'm not supposed to tell you this, but I phased."
"What the hell is that?" Leah asks, her voice barely a whisper. She's been confused for weeks now only for him to return and confuse her even further.
"Don't tell anyone I told you this," he says, his eyes low and his hands stuffed into his pockets. "Please."
"They won't understand, anyway," she counters, "because I sure don't."
"Just please," he says, "don't tell."
One summer night, in mid-July, Leah wrapped her arms around Sam's torso and amorously caressed his neck, peppering her sweet kisses and carrying him away to heaven.
"What is…?" he asked between breaths. "What is the cosine of sixty-nine?"
Leah smiled against his neck. "Point-nine-nine-three-three-three-nine."
Much to her surprise, Sam wasn't just a dumb freshman (soon a sophomore) boy. He wasn't dumb at all. Leah was studious, and he could keep up with that.
After their first date, which Leah reluctantly went to, Sam and Leah hit it off. They found out they had a lot in common, but a lot of differences at the same time. After they had become a couple, they were the cool kids, and everyone knew it. Sam was kind of old school, and Leah was kind of on the new shit. It was interesting, and it worked. It worked well, at that. One of Leah's favorite qualities about him, though, was that he was scholarly. Not nearly as scholarly and ambitious as her, but still very much so.
Ironically enough, Leah wasn't feeling studious tonight, though. She memorized most of her trigonometric tables, and now they were just fooling around in his uncle's car. Sam had illegally parked on First Beach after illegally driving around with Leah in the dark in his uncle's car. He was taking driver's education and his permit didn't allow him to drive around at night or without a licensed driver, but there he was with Leah, trying to get a little bit of trig practice in. Or at least, they had been.
Sam dropped his practice booklet to the floor of his—meaning his uncle's—car and brought his hand to Leah's. Their fingers laced together, and Leah sat up as she sat on his lap. She looked down at him, and small smile appeared on her face. She brought her lips down to his and kissed him slowly, carefully, making sure to get every taste. She was seeing colors—no, seasons—and everything was vibrant. Atomic. Nuclear.
Sam's other hand went to the small of her back and stayed there. She pulled away to look at him, and she was blushing. Leah Clearwater was actually blushing.
"I love you," he told her.
"We're fifteen," she contradicted.
"I still love you, and I don't have to be eighty years old to know that."
She couldn't argue with that. In all honestly, she wanted to lock him up inside her heart, but she wouldn't say that. She couldn't. She loved him, but it was too soon for her to admit it, wasn't it?
"I think I love you, too," she finally said.
He grinned and kissed her, his hands finding a place in her waist-length hair and never leaving.
They survived the nuclear seasons. They really did.
Leah's bottom lip quivers as she attempts to find the energy to be mad at him, but she can't. When he initially left, she was angry for days. She's burnt out now, though, and it kind of scares her. She's drained.
"Where were you?" she demands. "Why were you so distant before you left me for days, anyway?" He doesn't reply, so she keeps spitting out questions. "Why didn't you come back? Why didn't you come back just once—once—to explain yourself? Sam, why did you do this? Did you think I wouldn't mind? Did you think I wouldn't care?"
He looks at her now, and his eyes are hard, but he is still silent. He's waiting for her to get it all out of her before the real heartbreak comes in, though he knows that's going to cause an earthquake in itself.
"Was it something I said?" Leah asks. "Was I… was I too much? Don't just fucking look at me like that, say something, Sam. Sam?"
He stays silent.
"Sam Uley, don't just look at me like I did something wrong and don't say anything. Say something. Please? Please…"
Her words drone on and on, and Sam realizes his own mind is burnt out. That's just it. They're both burnt out, and he can admit it, but she can't.
A seventeen-year-old Leah met a seventeen-year-old Sam at his car after school, and she was squealing and waving a piece of paper in the air. The second he saw her, he ran to her and hugged her. He wasn't sure what she was so excited about, but he was happy for her, anyway.
She wrapped her legs around his torso and kissed him, not caring if anyone saw. She was happy and he was happy and that was all she needed.
"What's going on, girl?" he asked her.
"I got 'em!" she exclaimed. "I've actually got 'em!"
She jumped down and put the piece of paper in his face. It was her high school transcript, and a note at the bottoms stated that she had earned all twenty-two-and-a-half credits required to graduate, and she was only a junior.
"Lee-Lee, that's great!" he said, hugging her. They both grinned as he lifted her in the air and spun her around.
"I know!" she replied. "All I have to do is take my state tests next year, finish a project or two, and grab that diploma. My classes for next year are all mine to choose."
Leah and Sam both did a running start program, an eleventh grade program to get all their credits in much quicker than they would in school, and Leah's was completed. Sam's almost was, too, but Leah just got hers done, and she was so ecstatic. She would let the entire world know it.
The two teenagers started driving back to Leah's house to tell her mother, and when Leah climbed into Sam's—not his uncle's—car, she asked about colleges, specifically which ones he would be applying for.
"I don't think I'm gonna go to college," he replied honestly.
Leah frowned. "Why not?" she asked.
Sam sighed. "My mom's been feeling kind of sick lately, and you know about her depression…"
Leah wanted to roll her eyes, but she knew that would be rude, even if the moment called for it. Allison Uley had always been a little off, and Sam had always been tending to her. Leah never knew he would actually not go to college for her, though.
"I guess," Leah replied.
"I'm sorry," Sam said.
"Not to you."
Leah sighed and looked at him. "You're right, and I'm right, too. You can do better."
Sam considered that for a second. "I guess I can," he said, "but my mom comes first."
This made Leah feel upset. Sam could do better—he had all the opportunity to, as well—but he wasn't, and that was his own fault. There was no way to talk him out of it, though. One similarity they shared was that they both stuck to their decisions. Leah just knew how to make better ones.
"I waited for you," Leah informs Sam. "Just know that."
"I know," he replies. "I'm sorry."
"I fucking know you're sorry!" Leah yells. "I waited for you for nights on end. I called your house a shitload of times, too. Your mom always answered and she never knew where you were. Not even once. She just kept telling me she was sorry." And that's true; all of it is. Sam's mother never knew where her son went, and she probably doesn't even know where he is now. Nobody does, Leah bets.
"Are you gonna tell me where you were?" she asks. "Or why you left?"
Sam's eyes are lost, someplace else… definitely not on Leah. "I…" he falters. "I don't know."
"Christ, it's late… Who's this?"
"Oh! Leah! What's going on?"
"I d-d-don't think he's c-coming back."
"Lee, are you crying?"
Leah took a deep breath. "Yeah." Then she continued to sob. Emily shushed her gently, and tried to get her to talk coherently.
Emily Young, Leah's cousin, tried to comfort Leah that night. Sam had been gone for weeks, but Leah hadn't gotten used to it yet, and she'd woken up that night sobbing like a child. She hadn't gotten over Sam leaving without a word. She would never get over it.
"He's going to come back," Emily assured Leah, giving false hope. She didn't think he would come back, either, but one of them had to be positive, and Leah was in no position to be anything close to positive. "I promise," Emily added.
"I—I—I don't know," Leah stammered. "He—he hasn't been home in w-weeks. I don't know what to d-d-do. I c-can't s-s-sleep, Em."
"Stay on the line with me," Emily told her. "Stay with me until you fall asleep."
Emily hadn't known about Sam disappearing until now, and she didn't know how else to feel about it than pitiful. So the next day, she left the Makah reservation and drove to the Quileute one to see her cousin. They were like sisters, after all.
Emily found Leah balled up on the floor of her bedroom. Bags were under her eyes, and just the sight of her made her want to cry. Leah looked up at her, and it was like she didn't even know she had arrived. In all honesty, she didn't.
"I'm sorry," Leah whispered.
"Don't be sorry," Emily told her. "You're gonna be okay?"
"I don't think so."
"I know so."
That afternoon, Sam came home for the first time in weeks. In a bit of a poetic way, or because he had nowhere else to go, he went straight to Leah's house. Emily answered the door, and when Sam saw her, it was like he was a blind man, seeing the sun for the first time. The two stared at each other strangely, and the gaze wouldn't break.
Leah appeared at Emily's side. "What's going on, Em?" she began, but then she saw Sam. "Oh my God," she breathed.
Sam blinked erratically. "I… I've gotta go," he said. Then he turned around and left like he forgot his entire purpose of being there in the first place.
"What was that?" Leah asked Emily. "Was that… was that really Sam?"
Emily just shook her head. "I'm not sure. Was that really him?"
"At least Emily was there when you weren't," Leah points out as she and Sam continue to stand on her porch. "I mean, for a little while. You know, after the first time you came back, she stopped talking to me. She never even called."
Sam takes a deep breath. "About Emily," he begins.
"What does she have to do with this?" Leah demands. "What did you do to her?"
"I, uh… I imprinted," he admits.
"What does that even mean?"
"It means we can't be together anymore," he states.
"Did… did you leave me for her?" she asks quietly.
"Yes—I mean, no. I mean…" He sighs. "It's complicated."
Leah crosses her arms across her chest. "I've already wasted a lot of time on you," she says. "It wouldn't kill me to waste a little more."
"We can't be together anymore," he repeats. "That's it. Leah, I'm sorry."
She can feel her heart breaking. The splinters poke her insides, and tears fill her eyes.
"I'm sorry," he says again. "I really am."
"No, you're not," she denies. "You're just fucked up."
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," he exhausts over and over, like it will make the words hurt less. He takes a step forward to hug her, but her arms remain crossed. She shoves him away, her bare arms contacting his. He really is burning up. She hopes he catches on fire.
"Go away," she tells him. "Go away, and don't come back. Ever."
"I'm sorry," he tells her. "Leah, I'm sorry." He tries to hug her again, and she shoves again, but he doesn't budge.
"Get out!" she shouts. "Leave me the hell alone!" She wears a tart expression on her face. How could have things been so perfect, only to be demolished so quickly? She doesn't understand, and she's sick and tired of wanting to.
"C'mon, don't frown like that," he says softly.
"Don't tell me what to do," she sourly replies.
"Can you smile for me once?" he asks. "Just so I know you're sort of okay?"
So she doesn't smile. She is definitely not okay, and she shouldn't have to fake it for anyone. Now she won't.
As far she knows, she just might not smile again.
"Goodbye, Sam," she tells him.
"I'm not your fucking Lee-Lee."