A/N:You'd have had this chapter sooner if it weren't for my cockblocking laptop keyboard and it's rubbing off problem. Sorry for the wait. That is all. Oh, yeah, and sorry to the Quil lovers. You'll see why in a minute.

If I thought writing the last chapter was like giving birth to a needy, smutty baby, then this oneat 14,006 words and 30 pageswas like birthing needy, smutty twins.

WARNING: LEMONS GALORE.

[BANNER GOES HERE ON TRICKY RAVEN]

Lemon Listenin':

1st: "Just A Lil Bit" by 50 Cent

2nd: "A Warm Place" by NIN

"Baby, you got me feelin' right (ya heard me)

My mama gone, you can spend the night (ya heard me)

I ain't playin', Imma tryna fuck tonight (ya heard me)

Clothes off, face down, ass up, c'mon

All a - really need is a lil bit

Not a lot, baby girl, just a lil bit

We can head to the crib in a lil bit

I can show ya how I live in a lil bit

I wanna unbutton your pants just a lil bit

Take 'em off and pull 'em down a lil bit

Get to kissin' and touchin' a lil bit

Get to lickin' and fuckin' a lil bit"

~"Just A Lil Bit" by 50 Cent~

Huge thanks to meliz875, my pre-reader, for all her patience and hard work and late nights spent on this chapter with me. She's a trooper!

No beta and my eyes are exhausted, so if you find a typo, let me know or ignore it, I guess. No matter what you do, I hope you enjoy it.

.¸¸ . ✶*¨*. ¸ .*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨'*

Part IV: Nightmares and Dreams

.¸¸ . ✶*¨*. ¸ .*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨'*

The snow continued to fall, blanketing the frozen crust of ever-present mud churned up by the trucks and four-bys the folks used on the rez to get around during the incessant freeze-thaw cycle of a winter in La Push. The thin layer of old snow that remained from the last storm in the deepest part of the woods crunched like dry corn flakes beneath Embry's enormous paws.

His canter slowed to a trot as he approached the back of the Blacks' place nearest the forest's edge. Jake's head popped out from under the hood of the Rabbit parked in the open doorway of the garage at the sound of his pack brother's arrival.

"Emb?"

The wolf huffed a return greeting, pawing the ground in agitation.

"You need shorts?" Jake's forehead wrinkled in concern as he spotted the shorts tied to Embry's ankle. If he didn't need shorts, he would have phased out already. "Somethin' wrong?" Jake passed the wrench he held from hand to hand in an edgy gesture.

He felt Embry's anxiety. Just one more fucked up congenital Alpha thing he had to learn to ignore.

The wolf paced the tree line. The wolf was jittery.

Jake could see Embry's eyes. He knew Embry—the human—was puzzling something out.

Jake scratched the back of his neck and took a few steps closer to the tree line, squinting as he asked, "You want me to phase with you?"

The wolf stopped, tilting his head in thought, nodded once and retreated to a safe distance.

The distance was Jake's first real clue that he might not like what Embry had to say.

He dropped the wrench he was holding on the stack of milk crates by the door and disappeared behind the garage to phase.

Embry kept a tight lock on his thoughts, thinking only of the run over, the blissful quiet of the silencing blanket of snow as it fell…

"Dude, stop procrastinating and show me already," Jake growled when he phased in, his wolf huffing gruffly in rebuke, a reflection of his unity with the human Alpha. They were both feeling a little cantankerous suddenly.

The Alpha compulsion was too great. Even without an order, there was nothing Embry could have done to stem the flow of thought as it pulsed to life in the pack mind when Jacob's wolf spoke directly to his.

Embry closed his eyes as the day's events played out in his mind. He braced for the attack when Jacob saw what he'd done to his girl.

But it never came.

"She seems happy, satisfied, like she's enjoying herself," Jake mused. "Quil's an idiot, obviously, but … you made her happy." He shook out his fur, kicking loose the tension that had settled over man and wolf both before he lowered to his haunches to study his pack brother.

One of Embry's eyes popped open, watching Jake warily, cautiously maintaining the distance between them.

Jake laughed. Embry's wolf always seemed just a little more human than the rest, communicating his wide range of facial expressions in a way no other wolf could.

"You're laughing?" Embry was incredulous. He'd had his hands all over Jake's girl less than an hour ago—still smelled like her, in fact.

"You look like a cartoon," he chuckled. Then he sighed, "Am I pissed? I want to be, but you know that's not how this works. I only want the best for her. I want to make her happy. I want … whatever she wants, and what she seems to want right now is you."

"Jake…"

"Don't. Just don't, Emb." He shook his massive head back and forth in denial, scattering the freshly fallen flakes in his fur.

Embry snarled and phased out, yanking his shorts on angrily and stalking past him to the garage, snarling, "What the fuck, Jake? Why haven't you told her? None of this would have happened! It's so fucked up!"

Jake phased out, too. Following Embry into the garage, he picked up the wrench, still warm from use despite sitting out in the cold winter air since he held it last.

He hung his head, running his free hand over his face in frustration, resigned to doing- being whatever she needed him to be, "This is isn't what she wants."

"What? What isn't what she wants? This?" Embry threw his hands in the air, making a gesture as if to encompass the garage.

Jake shook his head, pacing to his work bench. He set the wrench aside, propping himself up with his palms on the edge of the worktop. He leaned into it, doing a few inclined push ups to burn off some of his nervous energy.

"Being stuck on the rez, mated to a wolf for life. If she did, imprinting wouldn't mean shit. She'd just make up her mind to carry on without it and make the most of it and trust me to take care of it, to be strong enough for her, but she's not. She's letting fate decide for her, so I've gotta give her what she wants, which obviously isn't me, or isn't just me. You've never heard that old saying, 'if you love something, let it go…'"

"'…If it comes back to you, it was always meant to be yours'," Embry supplied, nodding. "You're an idiot," he said succinctly.

Jake brought his feet back under him and stood, nodding regretfully, "Maybe."

"No 'maybe' about it. You're a moron." He punctuated the 'moron' with a finger jab towards Jake's face.

Jake chuckled darkly, "You'll get no argument from me. I'm whipped." But his wolf's hackles were raised at the implied insult from the subordinate wolf. The hand gesture was too dominant. His wolf didn't like it. Jake reined him in, Enough. He's not only 'subordinate', he's the next closest thing to a brother I've got. This is a human thing you wouldn't understand.

The wolf's lip curled in warning. He thought he understood just fine and while he, too, wanted what was best for the girl—Mate, he called her—he wasn't certain that was necessarily letting her have her way and choose an inferior wolf.

"And if she does say 'fuck it all' and decides she wants you with or without any guarantees on her own?" Embry asked quietly.

"Then I'll know."

"Then you'll know," Embry agreed. "You're still an idiot."

"Yup." Jake rocked back on his heels, lips thinned in a resigned line of acceptance to do what he thought would make his Bells happiest.

"You know she's probably at my house with Quil slobbering all over her and offering to show her his dick as we speak, right?"

Jake sighed, shoulders dropping in defeat, "Yeah."

His wolf snapped and gnashed its teeth, Mate! Mine!

He shuddered, fighting off the wolf's instincts to phase and go hunt the fucker down who would dare to approach his mate like a common bitch in heat.

Trembling to hold off the phase, he asked the wolf in shocked awe, Dude? What the fuck was that? You don't care if she dry humps Embry and lets him diddle her bean to while away the morning even though she nearly fucking bit him. Why the fuck is Quil any different?

The wolf paced, unable to explain the difference without the right words. This mating thing, it was more complex than the usual bite, fuck, kill. It had those words. It didn't have the right ones for this, though. It had to adapt if it wanted the human to cooperate.

Ours, it snarled.

I get it, she's ours, Jake pictured himself and his wolf side-by-side with Bella, him holding her, the wolf rubbing its scent along her back.

This was the thing the wolf needed. It watched as the human taught it how to convey abstract ideas between them without words or instinct to guide them.

The wolf shook its head, reiterating, OURS.

Then the wolf did something it had never done; it adapted, using its heretofore untapped imagination to show the human what it meant. It wasn't so different from strategizing for battle.

It pictured Mate—Bella; then the human, Jake; on one side, and on the other, the other human, Embry. It tugged him reluctantly by the hem of his shorts, pushing him into place beside Mate, nudging him until he wrapped his arms around her and she sighed, returning his embrace. The wolf came around to the other side, then, nudging the human Jake closer as well until he was pressed flush against her back, tucking an arm between her and Embry across her beautiful fair shoulders and holding her at the hip as she leaned into Embry and stretched like a cat into Jake's heated touch.

Mate, OURS, the wolf gestured to the three of them with its muzzle.

Jake blinked in shock when it finally sank in, what the wolf was trying to convey, what it was agreeing to.

"And he's not going to have any qualms about fucking her if the urge to claim is strong enough, despite the imprint effect," Embry continued, almost unheeded.

Jake did catch that last part, though, and growled menacingly.

So did his wolf, rumbling a warning to the human, Mate…

Embry looked at him curiously, "That bothers you?"

Jake gave one sharp nod, trying not to grind his teeth, fists clenching so hard, his knuckles popped and cracked under the strain.

"But me being with her doesn't bother you?" Embry edged cautiously away, putting the Rabbit between them just in case while he watched Jake fight for his humanity.

Jake shook his head 'no'.

"And you don't think that's odd?" Embry pushed, sinking into a defensive crouch and waiting.

That question got Jake's attention, snapping his wolf out of its obsession momentarily, giving Jake the chance to process what Embry said.

He looked up at Embry, "Did you show me everything? Everything, Emb?"

Embry thought back over what Jake had seen when they were phased in together, tilting his head and mentally cataloging the conversation in the pack mind, "Yeah, why?"

"Because my wolf is totally okay with you slobbering all over Bella, but the thought of another male going anywhere near her makes him go fucking apeshit. He likes you with her. Me, too, but there's a distinct delineation between you and others. It makes me wonder why that is. You didn't mark her? When she came? Her back was to you. No urge to bite?"

"Dude … no. I would never. I mean, yeah, the urge was there. It's always there when I'm alone with a girl during her fertile days-"

"Hold the fuck up. Fertile days? Bella doesn't have fertile days. She's on the shot. Sue said it was best because it prevents her ovaries from releasing eggs and she doesn't have to remember to take a pill every day."

"Then why does she smell so fucking good all of a sudden?" Embry wondered out loud, shaking his head. He stayed behind the Rabbit, but rose from his defensive position to hash this out. It felt significant.

Jake shook his head in confusion, "I don't know. I noticed it yesterday. It's the reason I thought some distance today might be good. I was worried my wolf was getting addicted or something. I almost marked her without permission when we were together last night."

Embry snorted, running a hand through his hair as he paced slowly behind the Rabbit, "You must be rubbing off on her or something."

"What?"

"She was chewing on my neck earlier, damn near bit me before I stopped her."

"Bella had her teeth on your throat?"

Embry nodded, amused, a grin splitting his face as he remembered the feel of her tiny tongue and teeth nibbling his throat. He squirmed, adjusting his stiffening cock in his shorts.

"Did your wolf freak out?" Jake demanded, striding across the room, leaning both hands on the hood of the Rabbit.

Embry drew back a step, shaking his head in denial, "What? No. You saw what happened."

"Yeah, I was just checking. You responded the way a human would. You pulled away, didn't chastise her like a wolf; you didn't nip or try to put her in her place," Jake mused aloud.

"What the fuck? Why would I snap at her? I asked her to stop. She stopped. She bites the shit out of you all the fucking time. Has your wolf ever lashed out? What are you getting at, Jake?" Embry may have been a wolf longer than Jake had, but his temper still ran as hot as the would-be Alpha's when he got frustrated or riled up enough and it was bubbling, barely contained under the surface as he stewed over the true Alpha's accusing words.

Jake shook his head, kicking at an oil stain on the floor and rubbing a hand over the back of his neck, "My wolf doesn't lash out becau-"

Embry cursed when his phone rang … until he saw who was calling. He hastily answered it, his worried eyes darting up to catch Jake's as he answered, "Bella?"

Jake's face darkened and his head came up another inch, looking out the garage door towards the woods as he rubbed a hand over the side of his neck and the other began clawing at his chest.

"Embry," she cried, "you need to come back, RIGHT NOW. Something's wrong with Quil!" her voice echoed strangely like she was calling from the bathroom.

Jake's eyes flashed the lambent gold of his wolf's. He was on the verge of phasing when his phone rang, too.

He was choking, gagging to hold the wolf at bay. Fully alert and in the moment, all he could process was the wolf's thoughts that something was wrong. Wrong on its lands, wrong with one of its brothers, its mate…

He couldn't even remember where he put his fucking phone, but Embry was quick to understand what was happening, thankfully. He snatched it up from the workbench just as it rang the second time.

Quil growled into the phone when Embry answered, then shouted, "Emb?! GET JAKE!"

Embry looked to Jake to make sure he was keeping it together. His eyes cooled and he knew there was just enough of Jake left to cope with a crisis. He handed the phone over to him and put his own back to his ear, listening as Bella told him everything Quil had said to her listening with half an ear to Jake's conversation with Quil to try to understand what was happening and how to help.

"Quil, what's going on?!" Jake roared, the phone's protective plastic case straining in his grip as nightmare scenarios spun out in his mind, all of them centering around his mate, his Bells. Bella needed him. It was the catalyst he needed to conquer the Alpha wolf―so he could take care of his girl. Torn between talking Quil down from whatever was scaring the shit out of Bella and snatching the phone from Embry's hand to try to soothe his mate, Jake's mind was at war with itself, master of his wolf or no.

"Bells, shh … Listen, Jake's got Quil on the phone. He told you to put my shirt on, right? You're in the bathroom, right? Do that. Put the shirt on. Then I want you to lock the bathroom door."

The sound of Quil's wolf's fight came through the phone loud and clear for Jake and Embry. He was clawing at the surface, skin rippling and bones breaking. They could hear Quil fighting the phase, but he couldn't hang onto the phone any longer. The destructive sound of boards breaking came through the phone as Quil panted heavily, fighting tooth and claw for control.

His words pushed out like gravel scraping over sandpaper as Quil onto his humanity with everything he had as his face turned crimson and he writhed and growled into the fallen phone, "I need the order. Do it now! FUCK! ORDER ME NOT TO MARK BELLA."

Bella's voice was a near whisper in Embry's ear, "Embry, what do I do?"

The plastic case on Jake's phone strained further and Embry's eyes widened. He snatched it out of Jake's hand, hissing, "If you destroy it, you won't be able to order Quil. Now pull your shit together and do it."

Jake reined the wolf in and growled into the phone, "DO NOT PHASE. DO NOT MARK BELLA. Do you understand? Answer me." There was a pained yelp through the line, followed by heavy panting.

Hurriedly, Embry put his own phone back to his ear, "Bells, put the shirt on right now and look on the back of the door. There should be some shorts of mine there. Put them on. While you're up, I still want you to lock that door. It won't stop him, but it'll slow him down if the order doesn't hold."

"What do you mean it won't stop him?" she asked in a tiny, scared voice.

The tension in Embry's chest released as he heard a relieved, "Yes," hissed through the phone in Jake's ear, but in Quil's human voice. It was strained, but it was Quil. Both of their shoulders sagged in relief.

Bella was going to be okay.

Jake started jogging, Embry hot on his heels as he answered, "Bells, we think Quil's okay now. He called us just in time and Jake gave him an order over the phone, but I don't want you to leave the bathroom. Stay away from the door. Don't answer it if Quil knocks. Don't even speak to him. Just stay put. We are coming for you," he said as he and Jake strode out of the garage together, tucking their phones into elastic bands at their wrists and dropping their shorts. They stepped out of them and ran.

—-{}❆{}-—

Bella didn't know what to think. She'd never seen any of Jake's friends so out of control. She thought about running, but she knew that was the worst thing she could do if Quil's wolf was out of control. He was still a predator and he wouldn't be able to resist the thrill of the chase. Death was a very real possibility if she ran.

So she did as Embry instructed. She found the old, worn boxers on the back of the door and tugged them on. As she stood by the door, she heard movement from across the hall. Bile rose up in her throat as fear gripped her heart and she backed cautiously away toward the far wall. Mind working at 90 miles an hour, she tried to figure out what else she had at her disposal that would discourage the wolf until Jake and Embry arrived. If she could just slow him down for a minute or two…

The wolf must have been responding to something about the way she smelled, otherwise Quil wouldn't have been screaming at her to cover her scent with Embry's. If it was a scent thing…

The hamper in the corner caught her eye and a grim smile tipped up the corner of her lips. If she was lucky, Embry had gotten changed in the bathroom earlier. She flipped up the lid quietly and there, right on top, were the sticky shorts Embry had removed in a hurry when Quil arrived. She imagined the scent would still be quite potent to another wolf. Gingerly removing them from the hamper, she folded them lengthwise so the zipper faced out and laid them on the floor. She pushed the shorts right up to the crack beneath the door, hoping it would act like a filter that Quil would have to breathe her scent through.

Shuddering delicately and trying to ignore the fact that she'd just used wolf jizz as crazed wolf deterrent, she retreated to the small space between the sink and the wall, hoping that if Quil did phase, the space would be too small for him to reach her easily. Drawing her knees up to her chest, she pressed her eyes to them, blocking out the light, and waited for help to arrive, trying not to hyperventilate.

—-{}❆{}-—

Quil's breaths slowed and his eyes cooled as he came back to himself. He clicked the phone off and slipped it into his pocket, or tried to. His shorts had nearly burst at the seams as he'd struggled not to phase. He dug through Embry's laundry basket and helped himself to another pair of basketball shorts. They were snug because Embry was so slim and Quil so bulky, but at least he was covered.

Turning to survey the damage, he winced. Embry was going to lose his shit when he saw the floor and wall. The sound of breath hitching caught his ear and he tilted his head in lupine interest. The order had quelled the wolf, but the human knew that sound and it broke his heart. He heard her pulse racing and a shuffling sound. He moved toward the door and her breath caught in a nearly soundless gasp liked she'd heard him move. Scrabbling noises against the floor followed by a creak and the soft rustle of fabric met his ears. He crept on silent feet to the door, not wanting to scare her again. As he reached the door and opened it quietly, he saw the closed one across the hall bend out slightly and the little sliver of light below the door disappear as the scent of pure, undiluted Embry-lust poured into the hallway from beneath, practically obliterating Bella's scent.

"Clever girl," he whispered to himself as he stepped into the hall and lowered himself to the floor against the wall. He tried to formulate an apology, but nothing seemed adequate.

Keeping it simple, he figured, was his best bet, and hoped she didn't have a heart attack at the sound of his voice as he spoke in an even tone just loud enough for her to hear, "Bells, I'm really sorry, honey. I don't know what happened to my wolf, but it's okay now." He hastened to add, "You don't have to come out, though. Jake and Embry will be here any second and it'll be okay. I just don't want you to be scared anymore."

It was quiet for a few seconds and then he heard a watery sob that she caught and reeled in before sniffling out a broken, "Thank you, Quil."

And then she cried.

Quil had never heard Bella cry. Ever.

Pressing the heels of his palms into his eye sockets, he choked down tears of his own as he listened to her sob quietly locked behind a bathroom door that would barely have registered much less slowed him down without the order. He had no idea what the hell had just happened, but he suspected what might have if he hadn't reached Jake on the phone in time. The thought of what his wolf had nearly done made him sick.

He didn't trust his wolf anymore, that was for good goddamn sure.

His trust in himself was shaken, too.

Sniffling, trying to make some fucking sense out of what had just happened, he missed the sounds of his brothers approaching at breakneck speed—didn't even realized they had arrived until a buck ass naked and furious Jake had him by the throat and threw him down the hall. The back door splintered like matchsticks as he tumbled down the back stairs to the snow-covered ground below.

It was getting deep. He struggled to stand, but the unexpected flight and landing had snapped something in his ankle that would take a few minutes to heal.

Quil saw Embry pause briefly at the bathroom door and speak quietly through it to Bella. He disappeared inside just before Jake's fist slammed into his face. Taking the hit, he braced himself and waited for the next, thinking he deserved whatever Jake could throw at him.

More than.

He stumbled, going to one knee, his ankle screaming, but he rose to his feet again, looked Jake in the eye and nodded, a silent sign that he was ready for the next. Jake drew his arm back and roared, the air whistling past the taut skin of his clenched fist as it connected again and again, methodically beating his friend almost to the brink of death; the sounds coming from Quil reduced to burbles through the fountain of blood he was choking on and spitting up.

Both of them exorcising their demons the only way they knew how.

A horrified cry broke through their self-loathing-addled brains and they both looked up into cinnamon brown eyes peering out of an ashen face, peeking from behind Embry who was using his body as a shield to keep her safe, assuming the human fight would end when someone phased and the battle would get exponentially worse when Quil's wolf came out to fight back.

—-{}❆{}-—

"Bells? Honey? It's me, Embry. Everything is okay now. You can unlock the door. Jake's got Quil out back," he said gently, not wanting to startle her anymore than necessary. He was sure she'd heard the crash of Jake and Quil destroying his back door and he needed to know that she was okay. He heard her whimper and knew she was nowhere near the door. He couldn't blame her. He grabbed the doorknob and turned until the lock caught, twisting just a bit further until he bent and gave so he could force his way in.

Murmuring in dulcet tones to reassure her it was just him and she was safe, he opened the door just enough to slide through. He didn't see her at first, curled up as she was between the vanity and the wall behind the hamper. His scent billowed off the clothes, but it was strongest right behind the door. He clicked it closed and looked down, only to find his ruined shorts from earlier stuck underneath like a draft blocker.

He smiled a bit sadly at her quick thinking, wishing he could have done something differently so it would never have been necessary.

His scent would do more to keep Quil's wolf at bay than any lock could, being the more dominant wolf of the two of them. He looked back at the hamper—another scent barrier she'd used to layer herself with his scent.

Everything's a weapon when you're the tiny, smart girl surrounded by monsters.

The wolf chuffed with pride. The girl was smart and understood the wolves. She would make a good mate.

Embry silently agreed with his wolf, she really was worthy of being the Alpha's mate if Jake ever pulled his head out of his ass.

The wolf huffed, pissed, growling, Our mate.

With a roll of his eyes, Embry brushed off his wolf's ongoing obsession and moved some scattered clothes out of his way.

Concerned about spooking Bella after her scare, he lowered silently to one knee and slid the hamper aside, freezing in place when he heard a whimper come from behind it.

"Bells? It's okay. You're safe now," he crooned, running the pad of his fingertip over the back of one of her hands. They were clutched tightly around her legs, face buried in her knees. She raised her head and Embry broke, inhaling a shaky breath when her eyes met his, her face red, tear tracks marring her usually pretty pink cheeks. Her hands slid up her legs to grip her knees, her fingers shaking. He pulled his hand back, unsure if she'd welcome a heated wolf's touch after being traumatized by his brother's wolf.

He was just about to get up and back away to give her some time alone when she launched herself at him, sobbing into his neck, "Emb-b-bry…!" It all came pouring out, all her terror and helplessness and distress. It poured over him and his wolf. The wolf came to the rescue once more, unleashing a comforting rumble in Embry's chest. The soothing sound and comforting purr-like growl almost instantly easing Bella's hysteria.

His arms folded over her tightly, he rocked her gently, rubbing her back in soothing strokes until she quieted, sniffling occasionally into his shoulder.

When she came to her sense, she froze, asking timorously, "Umm … Embry?"

"Mmm hmm?" he mumbled, rubbing his cheek over her soft hair.

"Are you naked?" she squeaked, her fingers tightening reflexively on his ribs as she sat in his lap with his impressive length pressed between them, her legs anchored around his waist.

He chuckled, reddening a little when he realized he'd forgotten to grab a pair of shorts before he busted in the bathroom door.

He started to let go of her to go grab some shorts, but she clung to him like a burr, refusing to let go.

"Okay, then. You can come with me," he decided, rising and moving across the hall to grab some more shorts from his laundry basket. Bella held on like a starfish while he bent over to put on his shorts.

When he stood, he took a moment to survey the damage, whistling and muttering, "I hope Jake gets a few in for me."

"What?" she said, brushing the damp hair out of her eyes.

"I said I hope Jake gets a few in for me while he's out there."

Eyes narrowing, she bit out through clenched teeth, "Out where?"

"Umm …" Embry shifted uneasily, hands cupping her butt to try to avoid fidgeting. "I'm pretty sure Jake's out back beating Quil within an inch of his life for scaring the crap out of you."

"What…?" she breathed, horror dawning on her face. She wiggled, "Put me down, Emb! We have to go stop him! He'll kill him!"

"Bells, it's not safe out there. Someone could phase too close to you…" he warned, setting her on her feet and blocking the door.

"He's going to kill him, Embry. Your best friend is going to kill your other best friend. Jake will stop if I'm there. He won't want me to see him acting like a monster. We have to save Quil! It's not his fault!" She shoved and tugged to get his cooperation, but he wouldn't budge. She gave up, finally, throwing her hands in the air. "Ugh! What am I doing?! I don't need your permission or your help!" She slipped below his arm and stalked out the door, hurrying down the hallway, Embry hot on her heels, shocked that she'd gotten by him so easily. It was like … like he couldn't say 'no' to her, not when it mattered.

He passed her as she stepped out on the porch, standing just slightly ahead of her and surveying the scene before turning to block her from moving down to the yard. Arms held out in warning, he kept her from running into the fray, but only just barely, before she got a good look at the carnage.

Quil was coughing up and choking on his own blood, not even bothering to fight back while Jake made hamburger meat of his fists on Quil's face.

Bella cried out in dismay and Embry's arms tightened around her, "Bells, don't. Neither of their wolves are stable right now."

Jake growled at Embry, furious at the sight of the hands restraining his mate.

Embry threw his arms up, "Just trying to keep her safe, dude."

Quil swayed as he rose to his feet again—like he had all the other times, catching Jake's attention. He turned back to his task, preparing to land another blow.

"Jacob! What are you doing!" Bella struggled against Embry, trying to get to Quil and Jake.

"Bells, please don't do this…" Embry implored. "I can't keep you safe if you won't cooperate."

"Stop them, Embry. You have to stop them," She yelped at the sound of fist connecting with bone again. "Please make Jacob stop!"

"Okay, okay. C'mere," he held his arms out and she went into them willingly.

The muffled thunder of enormous paws in the freshly fallen snow announced the imminent arrival of another wolf. Small and light grey, it came to a halt, nearly overbalancing comically at the tree line as its eyes surveyed the inexplicable scene and Jake continued to pound on Quil.

Secure in his arms, Bella felt Embry turn. He spoke barely above a whisper, "Jake, you're scaring her. You're scaring Bella. I know your wolf wants to kill him, but she doesn't want you to kill him. You can't kill our brother."

His even tone and calm voice were a palliative balm for a few precious moments.

Everyone held their breath.

Bella looked into Jake's eyes and quaked with fear in Embry's hold. There was none of her Jake left in those eyes. He was all wolf, like when Quil's wolf had won the battle for his eyes while the battle for control of his body raged on. She whimpered tearfully, retreating into the security of Embry's warm embrace.

It was Jake's breaking point.

His mate sought comfort from his brother.

He'd failed her again and shown her exactly what the monster inside looked like.

He looked at the pulpy, bloody mess of Quil's face and backed away, eyes dropping to the ground, shoulders hunched. He withdrew to the sanctuary of the woods. Stumbling at the tree line, he couldn't even meet the eyes of the four of them as he turned and jumped, phasing mid-air and loosing a long, mournful howl as he fled. The wolf needed to run and Jake let him have his head, giving himself over to his wolf.

Quil dropped to his knees, panting, eyes glassy. He swayed, but was caught in the strong, capable arms of Leah before his face hit the snow.

"You idiot. What did you do this time, Quil?" she whispered to him, cradling in his head in her lap as she sat in the snow, not the least bit concerned about the cold. She continued louder for Embry and Bella's sake, "I've never seen Jake like that. What the hell happened?"

Bella moved to help, but Embry stopped her with a large hand on her belly, "No. I can't order him to behave around you. I'll explain it to Leah once you're safely inside. You have to keep your distance until we know what caused this. I need you to get back inside. You've got to get some warmer clothes and you should check in with your dad before it gets too late. He'll get suspicious if he doesn't hear from you now that the weather is getting bad."

She nodded, shivering as she realized all she had on was Embry's T-shirt and boxers. Reluctantly, she allowed him to lead her inside. He retrieved her bag from his trashed bedroom and set her up to change in his mom's room so he could go check on Quil.

"I'll be right back. Stay put until I come for you, okay?" he begged.

She nodded and he headed for the door.

"Embry?" she whispered.

Catching himself in the doorway to slow his moment, he turned back, "Yeah?"

Words barely audible above a sigh reached his ears, "Is Quil going to be okay?"

"Bells, honestly, in a few hours, you'll never be able to tell when happened out there just now. He'll have a big, juicy burger or three, drink a gallon of Sue's sweet tea. and heal up in no time. Don't worry, okay, honey?"

Nodding silently, she sat on the little chair by the window, curling up on her side into the back of the chair. She drew her knees up to her chest and tried not to start crying again as the images of Quil's battered face flashed through her mind.

The window fogged with her warm breath. Hesitantly, she reached out with one fingertip to touch the condensation, the stinging burn a sharp reminder to her of how cold she was. Not the she cared, but it mattered to Embry, so she'd put some clothes on.

In just a minute.

Finger screaming with the stinging cold of the glass frozen by the storm raging outside, it was a salve to her tortured thoughts. It seemed like she brought nothing but pain and heartbreak. And trouble, always trouble.

She spelled out on the thin pane of glass her regrets to Quil. To Jake. To them all.

I'm sorry.

—-{}❆{}-—

Embry wasted no time. He headed out back and spoke quietly to Leah. She sat on the bottom step where she'd dragged a barely conscious Quil and tried to prop him up. He lay sprawled across her and the steps, bleeding all over her cheap, ugly T-shirt dress.

"So, you heard?" Embry murmured.

"I was on patrol. It was a pretty noisy ass-beating," she shrugged.

"Is your mom home?"

"She's probably just getting home from the clinic. You want to call her?"

"I'll call ahead if you want, but I think you should take Quil over there, get him away from Bella and keep him away until we figure out what the fuck is happening to him and why. Jake nearly ripped his face off trying to rearrange it with his fists because Quil scared her by trying not to mark her. Problem is, something might be wrong with Quil's wolf around humans, so he can't be alone with your mom either."

"Fuck," she breathed, stroking Quil's shaggy curls away from the blood that was beginning to coagulate at the corner of his eye. "What brought this on?" She studied Quil's slowly healing face as she awaited an answer.

"Lee, I wish I knew. I'd carry him over there myself, but I'm on Bella duty right now and Quil's wolf is reacting to Bella like he fucking owns her. That's why you need to stay with your mom while she works on him. He could give her the slip or have some weird reaction to another human. We don't know. I have to keep the two of them apart for sure until I can talk to Jake and figure this thing out," he rubbed a hand over his chest to soothe an ache he hadn't noticed until now and looked up at the house, deep in thought. "I better get back to Bells. She's still pretty freaked out."

"Jesus," Leah shook her head, tenderly cradling Quil as he started to come to and some of his gashes began to knit themselves closed. She whispered to him quietly, "Quil? You up for a walk to cool off and go see my mom or you want me to carry you?"

He laughed weakly, muttering deliriously, "Hot girl wants … me."

Leah rolled her eyes and Embry explained, "He means 'hot girl wants to carry me'. It's, like, a compliment."

"Comp'imennn," Quil nodded, slurring. "Girrlll … hot … asssss… Hot-ta-ta ass girrlll."

She looked to Embry for the translation, but he shrugged, "Don't ask me. Maybe Jake rattled his cage just enough to finally admit he thinks you have a hot ass."

She snickered, "Only time he'd be brave enough to think it was okay."

She looked suspiciously at Embry, "You better not be fucking looking either, asswipe."

"Hey, hey! Not me! I've got … I've got enough on my plate right now," Embry's gaze drifted back up to the house and Leah paused.

"That girl's got nothing for you but a world of hurt," she warned quietly, hefting Cassanova Quil into her arms. "You deserve better than the girl who knows exactly what she wants and fears actually getting it all at the same time. She's a bucket of fucking work, that one."

"Leah … is that boobs … shirt … happy to see me?" Quil muttered nonsensically as his arm brushed against Leah's chest.

She snorted, "Idiot," and tightened her grip to trap his arm between them so it couldn't wander while she walked.

"You want to take my Jeep?" Embry offered, concerned for his pack sister. He hated dumping the Quil mess in her lap, but he couldn't leave Bells alone, unprotected and possibly in shock after her ordeal with Quil and then witnessing Jake losing his big Alpha marbles on Quil. "I don't know how it'll be on the roads, but having my Jeep's gotta be better than carting his hamburger ass the mile back to your house through the woods."

She waved him off with a hand under Quil's shoulders, "I'll just run him over to the clinic and call my mom from there. It's not far and the clinic staff knows what's what with the pack. They'll get him settled and clean him up while we wait for her."

"If he needs anything-"

"I'll take care of it," Leah promised. "He'll be fine in a few hours. You've got your hands full with the danger magnet, there." She nodded toward the house.

Embry's feet pulled him several steps closer to the back door without his awareness before he caught himself. Shaking it off, he looked to Leah whose head was cocked curiously, watching him in fascination.

Tipping her head back and motioning to the house with her chin, she told him, "Go ahead. I've got this."

As in all things, Embry didn't have to be told twice. He looked at her gratefully, and dashed to the stairs, taking them three at a time. He disappeared inside as Leah stood there, thinking he was acting an awful lot like Jake all of a sudden. That girl, she thought, shaking her head and high-stepping away through the drifting snow with her arms full of bloody werewolf. That girl will either be our savior or our downfall. Only time will tell. Jake needs to pull his head out of his ass and tell her what she did, even if she didn't mean it. Even if she makes a different choice in the long run. Time for somebody to take responsibility for this shit and fix it once and for all.

—-{}❆{}-—

Embry returned to the bedroom where he'd left Bella, expecting the worst. Curled in on herself and rocking almost imperceptibly in the chair he'd left her in, she wasn't far from it. She had managed to get changed into some purple stretchy yoga pants and a soft black cotton jersey tank from her bag. Tumbling brown curls framed her worried face as she read a message on her phone.

Looking up at the sound of Embry's deliberate footfalls, she explained in a muted voice, "My dad called. This storm's going to be some kind of big, freak meteorological event, like a Pacific hurricane with three feet of snow and tornado-force winds. He said there's already been a dozen accidents and he's going to be out all night dealing with more, from the sound of it. He doesn't want me on the road to drive home, so he told me to see if I could crash at a friend's out here tonight."

Embry's stomach leapt into his throat, then settled. Of course she meant Jake's. That's what Charlie would have meant.

"I… I'm not sure…" her lip wobbled a little before she caught it with her top teeth, keeping her eyes on the floor while she fiddled with the seam of the pants at her knee.

Embry moved to sit in front of her, his head still at eye level even though he sat on the floor, "Bells, you can stay here if you want, until we figure this out. For as long as you need to. I can make a few calls, see if the others can cover my patrols. You shouldn't be alone til we know more anyway."

"I … could I make you dinner? It'll give me time to think before we talk about all of this and I- I guess I'll think about staying here, too," her voice wavered and she tucked a loose curl behind her ear, dropping her eyes to the floor.

"Whatever you need, honey," he promised, tipping her chin up with a finger. "Come on. Let's go raid the freezer. Mom stocked up before she left."

—-{}❆{}-—

Ms. Call had indeed stocked up. Bella found everything she needed to make a meal of Embry's favorite foods. She made meatloaf with homemade Thomas sauce, cheddar mashed potatoes, candied carrots, and fresh-baked bread. Concerned about making sure he had leftovers to pick at with his mom gone for the week, she also made three extra meatloaves and baked four spare loaves of bread so he could have meatloaf sandwiches whenever he wanted.

While she kneaded the bread and her hands were occupied, Embry plied her gently with questions. Her voice trembled, but she told him everything, blushing when she got to the part about walking in on Quil jerking off and saying her name.

Embry snorted at that, but the smile slid off his face quickly as she continued.

When she was done, she was relieved, but her body shook at the remembered fear, those moments in the bathroom when she knew it was pointless to run.

She said as much.

Embry itched to to touch her, to make it okay.

Then her very real fear of Jacob in the backyard, when she'd been truly afraid of the monster in him for the first time in her life. Jacob had seen it in her eyes and she hated that he thought she'd seen him as a monster, even if only for a moment. She loved him, monster and all.

She told Embry that, too.

The burden shared, she felt a little lighter, but she still cried. For Quil. For Jake. For herself. She needed the release; two fat tears rolling down her cheeks unleashed a waterfall and her tiny body shook as she let it all out.

Embry had no words of comfort to offer. He couldn't imagine feeling so helpless. Holding her while she wept, he did the only thing knew how—silently offering to shoulder as much of her burden as he could, promising to keep her safe from Quil's temporary madness and help her fix things with his other best friend.

—-{}❆{}-—

"So, you gonna stay?" Embry mumbled against her temple when she finally settled down.

A night in a bed with a werewolf just down the hall sounded really appealing after all the nights she'd spent alone recently while Jake patrolled looking for Victoria. Even though their relationship was casual, they still slept together quite a bit whenever they could. Charlie was well aware that they slept in the same bed sometimes.

He wasn't aware that they were slightly more than friends. Charlie still thought of Jacob as a kid. Jake slept on top of the covers and he always kept a few inches of space between himself and Bella when they were aware enough to maintain that boundary. Not that he hadn't found the two of them from time to time in each other's arms, but it was only natural, he thought. Everybody knew Jake was a big hugger. Jake also had very good ears and could dress and be on top of the covers long before Charlie could climb the stairs or get out of bed in the morning. If Charlie wasn't complaining about finding Jake in her bed occasionally, far be it from them to straighten him out as to why.

Brushing her fingers through the hair at the nape of his neck, she sighed, "I'd like that."

"I'll go make up my bed with fresh sheets for you-" he began, but she cut him off with a whimper. "What, honey?"

"Can I- Would you mind if I sleep on the couch? I don't know if I could sleep in there. After…" her lip shook, fingers twisting nervously in the hem of his shirt in the back. Cool little fingers brushed his heated skin and lit up his senses like a bottle rocket.

"Bells, that couch is old and lumpy. You'll look like Quasimofo in the morning. I'd offer you Mom's, but-"

"No! Oh, no. I couldn't sleep in your mom's bed." Shaking her head, she started backing out of his embrace.

Tightening his arms, he drew her back in, bargaining with her, "How about this? How about … um … I'll go straighten up my room, new sheets and all that, and I'll blow up an air mattress and stay in there with you?"

She shifted from foot to foot, her face a mask of uncertainty, "Embry … it's unsettling. It's not just about the thing with his wolf losing his poo. It's not every day you walk in on a guy, you know? A guy you found wanting you, saying your name like that while he tugs one out listening to you playing a little solitaire yourself in the tub, you know?"

"Can't say I do," he tried not to chuckle, but one escaped.

"Emb…" she whined. "He freaking finished while I stood there in shock. I mean, he looked right at me when he came. It was…" she squirmed, "really disturbing."

"I know it's weird, but, honestly, it's not even the first time Quil has been caught making Beef-stroke-it-off in my room," he said with a laugh and a shake of his head, running a soothing hand across the little strip of bare skin below Bella's tank top.

Giggles burst from her throat against her will. Little bursts of warm air puffed against his throat with each one. Fighting to hold them in only made it worse. Throwing her head back, she let it all out—the laughter every bit as cathartic as the tears had been earlier.

"Okay," she finally agreed, kissing the bare skin of Embry's shoulder. "I'll stay, but I'm on the air mattress."

"No deal," he shook his head, placing a hand between her shoulders blades and dipping her back a few inches so she could see the mischief in his eyes as he said, "It's the first time a girl has agreed to spend the night with me. I only get bragging rights if you sleep in my bed."

It was another ploy to make her laugh. She knew he'd never brag to the others about her sleeping with him—if she ever did. He was too good for that, so much like Jake that way, she thought with a sigh.

—-{}❆{}-—

While she sent her dad a text to let him know she was crashing with one of Jake's friends for a few nights, Embry changed out the old blue striped sheets on his bed for a set of soft pale green sheets. They were made of something that felt like the material of her favorite old band T-shirt from the time her mom had taken her to see Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians open for the Dead the summer before she turned nine.

It was a nice memory to trigger of a simpler time as she got cozy and tried to make herself comfortable again in his space. Embry had loaned her an old pair of thick hiking socks that were so long, she'd pulled them up over her knees. Worried she'd overheat, she decided to sneak off to the bathroom with her bag to change into some sleep shorts. Embry had already seen her in less, so she didn't feel as self-conscious as she might have in the tiny coral shorts that said "Schlitterbahn" across the bum—another Renee acquisition from a road trip two summers ago to the famous water park. The "Schlitterbahn" had given them both a case of the giggles. Bella had no idea her mother bought them until she opened a box the following Christmas and found them inside with a framed picture of the two of them on the water coaster. Renee knew by then that Bella was leaving to live with Charlie for the last few months of school—had just told her, in fact—and Renee wanted her to have lots of fun memories of sun and fun to take with her to dreary Forks.

Bella smiled fondly. If only her mother knew she'd found her sun in a garage in La Push and the fun came to join them not long after when his two best friends strolled in to meet her for the first time. That's what Jake and Embry were to her—sun and fun, in a place that was often anything but.

The re-made bed with the big fluffy duvet was calling her name. After helping Embry blow up an air mattress that she regarded suspiciously as being way too tiny for a werewolf, he assured her it was plenty big enough and that no bed was really long enough for his lanky frame these days anyway.

Looking askance at him, then to his relatively new king size bed, she had to admit that it wasn't long enough—if he had to share—but if he slept alone, he could sleep corner to corner and he'd fit just fine.

It was on the tip of her tongue to say so when he interrupted her brooding thoughts. "No, it's fine. I've slept phased in the forest after a long patrol before. Seriously, I can sleep just about anywhere. This, this is the Hilton compared to some places I've slept wolf," he said with a smile, pointing to the air mattress.

He had changed as well, into just a thin pair of boxers. There was a sheet on the air mattress, but no other bed covers which was easily explained away by his body heat, she supposed, but she had to ask, "You're sure you won't get cold on the floor with no blanket?"

"Bells… No. One-oh-eight-point-nine, remember? Rain practically evaporates when it hits me." He motioned her over to his bed after his was made up to suit him. "Go ahead and get comfortable. I'm just going to check in with the pack one more time before I hit the sack."

Straightening her little black tank with a tug at the back to pull it down to cover her back as she climbed into bed, she moved tentatively, crawling up the acre of bed and tucking her feet under the edge of the duvet and top sheet.

She curled up on her side and pulled the pillow down to clutch at one end while her head rest on the other.

Embry laughed a little on the inside. She looked like a little kid curling up with a teddy bear.

"Try to get some sleep," he said, kissing her forehead, brushing the little cowlick out of her eyes with the tip of his nose so he could press another to her temple. "I'm just going to grab my phone and make a few calls in the living room so I don't disturb you."

A little hand darted out from beneath the covers, catching him by surprise. "Don't. Don't go. Please?"

"Bells, I have to call-"

"You can call from in here. I don't mind."

"Okay. I'll get my phone and be right back. Okay?" He squeezed her hand in reassurance and stepped out, grateful for wolf speed for human tasks for once.

It took mere seconds. Bella didn't even have time to settle into the pillow again before his return.

He turned the lights off, leaving the door open a crack so the light from the bathroom across the hall could spill in just in case she needed to get up for some reason in the middle of the night. She smiled that Embry would think of that knowing that with his eyesight, he wouldn't need the light for himself.

While he sat at the end of the bed and made made his calls and sent a few texts, Bella turned over. She was at the far edge of the bed. She took up hardly any space, she realized as Embry stood quietly and clicked his phone off before placing it on an improvised night stand by his air mattress—a chair so he wouldn't knock over the glass of water that sat on it in his sleep.

"This is ridiculous, Emb," she said as he tried to lay down quietly on the squeaky air mattress.

"What?" he sat up, a look of worry crossing his face.

"Me, alone in your bed. I take up like eight inches of space. Come up here with me. I won't bite."

"Bells, that's not what I'm worried about…"

"Then what is it?" she asked, scootching up the bed to rest her back against the headboard.

"I didn't think you'd want anyone that close to you so soon after the thing with Quil. Even me," he admitted ruefully.

"Oh. Oh, Embry, no, honey. No. C'mere," she insisted.

After some more squeaking and maneuvering, she felt the far side of the bed dip before she slid a little towards the center and his greater mass.

She felt rather than saw him reach out. He didn't touch her, but she knew his hand was there, knew right where it was before she tentatively reached out, too. She tucked her hand inside his. Growing brave, she slid closer at the same time that he had a similar idea. They laughed at their uncertainty and finally settled together in the middle of the bed.

There was something she needed to know before she could rest though, "Emb?"

"Yeah?" his warm breath tickled the hair at the crown of her head.

"I know you spoke to Leah," she tried to swallow, but it got stuck in her throat. She managed to croak, "Is Quil okay?"

His hand stroked her hair away from her face as he placed a kiss on her forehead, "He's fine. Embarrassed, mostly. He has no idea what came over his wolf. He said to tell you how sorry he is." He chuckled, "He also said to tell you you're like a really hot sister to him and he thinks maybe his wolf has a little crush on you."

"Embry, you and I both know no imprinted wolf is going to have a little crush or develop a sudden obsession like that overnight," she worried.

"No—I know—but let's not borrow trouble from tomorrow, okay? Let's just take each moment, like this one right now, and enjoy it while it's here. Breathe in, breathe out, move on.*"

That sounded pretty reasonable to Bella. She lay her head on his chest and fell asleep thinking how nice it was to listen to the comforting thump of his heart.

He smiled into the hair at the top of her head as he felt her finally relax into the breathing patterns of true sleep. He soon followed, drifting off after her, moments later, with her little paw still tucked inside his own.

Bella drifted for a time, between wake and sleep, feeling nothing but the reassuring cadence of his pulse beneath her head as the beat eventually slowed and became the bass, the heat slicked her skin with sweat, and her body rocked into a new tempo as visions formed behind restless eyelids.

—-{}❆{}-—

I feel the thumping bass in my chest like a living, breathing thing. Its familiar beat reminds me of something, something just beyond my grasp, elusive, lurking in the shadowed corners of my mind.

Hot hands, bodiless hands, reach out from the dark, tracing my curves as I move sinuously to the beat, feeling the music with every part of me. I let it lead me, spinning around, leaning into those hot hands. They touch, everywhere. It suddenly feels like there are four instead of two. Burning hot hands. Hands I feel like I should know, but the thought drifts away almost as soon as it comes because I'm about to come, too.

The hands work my body between them while I continue to bump my hips back and forth to the grinding music, feeling it pulse in my solar plexus as two hands work my nipples, thumbs and forefingers deliciously wet and feverishly worrying the sensitive nubs to hardened peaks as the other two hands explore my soft, perfumed flesh.

I don't normally wear perfume. I choose unscented things. Someone, someone prefers my natural scent, my honeysuckle, he calls it.

My body is warm already, hot from the exertion. The music fuels my need to move, My body pulses with every beat as I curve into the seeking hands, encouraging their hedonistic exploration as I gyrate just out of reach of that tingling sensation that tells me someone is there, just a hair's breadth away, perched in that chair that I know sits just beyond the spotlight I'm in, waiting to draw me in to bump and and grind on his lap, to dance solely for him, exist—for a moment—only for him and his pleasure. My clit throbs as two fingers find it in the darkness, an arm wrapped around my waist from behind draws me against a chiseled chest and rock hard abs.

I gush.

I sway.

Raising my arms, I pull the hair off the nape of my neck, twirling it in one hand and piling it on my head out of the way while I pop one hip, the other, and back in thumping mimicry of the beat.

I let go of my hair, running my hands down my torso, realizing for the first time that I'm naked.

I can see myself.

If I can see me, I could see the hands, the arms, more.

I turn to find a shadowed silhouette in a chair just out of reach. Two hands grip the arm rests. He watches me as the other two hands continue to search and probe every part of me, looking for weaknesses, trying to pull throaty moans from me as the other watches.

I like that he's watching. I want to give him more.

I grab the hand that is circling my clit with skilled fingers, brushing it aside to use my own. The hands move aside deferentially, one wraps around my middle, holding me up, displaying me for the one who watches. The other hand twists itself into my hair, pulling my head back, baring my throat, bowing my body back into a seductive arch.

I spread my legs, but continue to rotate my hips, working my clit in opposition to the sway of my pelvis, running my other hand down the sweat-slicked flesh of my throat, my breasts, my belly.

The scent of honeysuckle envelops the room like a cloud, the clinging sweetness must be pleasant to the owners of the hot hands still behind me.

I feel more.

The hardened length of an eager cock.

I lick my lips in anticipation.

I lick my lips for my audience.

I want him to watch that cock disappear between my lips.

I lower my free hand to reach back. The hands pull me close, rubbing that length of silk-coated steel against the cushion of my ass.

One of the hands disappears for a moment, reappearing quickly as it gathers the moisture from his cock.

I feel the hands spreading me gently, running a hot finger down the crease of ass, stroking me, running a searching digit around the rim curiously, waiting to see my reaction.

I jump.

A voice whispers in my ear, "Later."

My pussy drips.

The shadow, the one watching from the chair leans forward. I still can't see his face.

It doesn't matter. Hands touching me again. That's what matters. Just don't stop touching me. That's all I need. Touch. Fuck. Touch me. Never stop touching me.

The shadow's hands reach for me, turning me around. He draws me down to his lap.

He's naked.

I shudder in anticipation.

He rubs the tip of his cock along my dripping crease, splitting my lips with a gentle thrust, a testing one.

He doesn't want to hurt me. He knows he's big.

And I'm so very small.

The burning stretch is exquisite as he enters me, pulling me down flush to the base. He arranges my legs so I straddle his, baring me for the inspection of the other.

The hands now in front of me, the ones belonging to the whisperer, return to touch my breasts, pinching my nipples for good measure as the one behind me guides my hips, rocking me in his lap, one hand curved around the front of my hip to work my aching clit. A handI'm not sure whosestrokes lower, running seeking fingers over my quivering belly and soft curls.

He's gathering moisture. My pussy is full. My back is turned. I wonder what he could possibly have in mind-

"Bella," the whisperer's voice calls to me.

I know that voice, but that's impossible. Why would he be here? This is a strip club and I'm naked. He's not old enough for a lap dance, is he?

"You're sixteen, right?" I ask.

"Yup, just had my birthday in September—right after yours. Don't get distracted, Bells. You better hang on tight if you wanna keep your seat on that hard dick you got there."

I smile, dropping my hands behind each flank to grip one of my shadowy lover's thighs.

He moans and thrusts up into me hard.

A reminder: he'll fuck me his way and I'll take it and like it and scream for him.

"You know why they call me 'Baby' Clearwater, Bella?" his face finally comes into view as he poses his question.

"No, Seth. Why? Is it because you're the youngest?" I ask as I ride the cock beneath me—not Seth's. The shadowy other. I squeeze him with my inner muscles to let him know I haven't forgotten him and he releases a low growl.

Ah… another wolf, I realize. Not that the stinging stretch of the enormous horse cock between my legs would have indicated otherwise. Only wolfboys come in this size.

"Uh-uh. S'because I like boobs. Love 'em. Can't get enough of 'em. Think about 'em all the time. Especially yours," he runs his hands up the sides of my breasts, squeezing them together gently, appreciating his handiwork as they come together nicely to create a little valley between the pillowy mounds. He ducks down to run his tongue along that cleft, leaving a glistening trail of his hot saliva in its wake. He pulls back an inch or two and blows on the damp flesh, watching my skin prickle with goosebumps and my nipples harden once more in response.

I tip my head back, a low moan of desire issuing from my throat as my lower belly tightens in anticipation.

My pussy throbs once, twice, three times, pulsing with the slick evidence of my need.

The pace of the cock inside me quickens as the friction lessens with each new flood of arousal from my pussy. He moves me so quickly, a suction forms between us, and I can can feel my tight channel drag over the head of his cock with each pass. He begins to pant, closing in on his release.

"Whadda ya wanna do, Bella?" he murmurs in my ear.

"Just wanna see your cock, Seth. Just like the others. Got somethin' to prove to Jake now," I purse my lips, dropping my gaze to his long, hard dick.

He's naked.

Was he naked before?

"You just want to see it? That's all?" he taunts me, one hand stroking his foreskin down and up, over the head, like a glove.

I want to run my tongue inside that warm fold of skin, pull it back gently, and nibble at the silky, sensitive flesh underneath.

But he has other things in mind.

"What do you want, 'Baby' Clearwater?" I ask on a deep exhale as the hands of my shadow lover grip my hips hard, slamming me down on him in a punishing rhythm.

My breasts bounce with every thrust and Seth's eyes gleam in contemplation.

I run my tongue down the taut, fevered skin of his rock-hard abs, but he stops me.

"Not like that," he says, grabbing me by the arms and pulling me back up to my full height as I bounce on that hard cock.

Gotta be a wolfboy. No human has that kind of stamina.

"I'm a more visual creature than my brothers, Bella. I like to see all the action," he tells me a smoky voice, roughened with the necessity of rapid aging.

He pushes my breasts together and looks at them for a moment in wonder before he lowers his head and licks the valley in between. Long, slow licks, nipple to nipple, with lots of saliva. My skin cools and tingles, but it never has a chance to dry. He squeezes them together again and I feel the hard, rounded end of something…

Oh… Oh, Seth… I smile in pleasure now that I understand.

I let go of the thighs of my other lover and push my breasts together for Seth.

"No," he says. "Let me. You'll need your hands."

The promise of that makes me shudder.

I can only imagine.

"Lean back a little, but tip your chin down. Can you do that?"

I can.

I reach back, one arm circling the neck of my determined shadow lover.

I turn my head and press my lips to his throat.

He growls.

Warm, sticky honeysuckle runs down my thighs as I drench him again.

I like this game, I think with a snicker.

Seth holds my breasts together firmly and thrusts between them, his length making it possible for me to lean forward and wrap my lips around the head.

He moans. His head, a pendulum swinging above the broad expanse of unyielding caramel shoulders.

His shaggy hair falls in his eyes. He flicks it impatiently out of his way, determined not to miss a second of the feast for his eyes sprawled out before him in the lap of the other.

He picks up speed, thrusting harder, faster.

His grunts beat out a tattoo, a tribal beat that matches the one in my throat as I try to take him in, hold him with my mouth.

I can't hold him in my mouth at first. It's frustrating. I want it, so I keep at it until he shortens his strokes. I hollow my cheeks and reach forward to fondle his tight sack. I can only imagine how much it must ache, the way my pussy aches, the greedy bitch. She always wants more.

He groans and hisses, "Touch yourself, Bella. Your other hand. Strum that clit while he fucks you."

I do.

Moving my hand from his balls to his hip for balance, I need no encouragement to stroke myself. There's so much moisture, a swipe of my fingers is all it takes and I'm rubbing my clit furiously. My belly tightens and I know I'm close.

I grunt with every thrust now. I can practically feel the cock beneath me in my throat from the force of each thrust as Seth fucks my mouth.

My shadow lover tries to to fuck me into oblivion.

Seth's breathing is becoming erratic. My other lover is bucking wildly into me.

I can feel my pleasure barreling down on me like a freight train when Seth whispers, "Let go, Bella. Come for us."

Another voice moans in my ear, my shadow lover finally revealed, "Yesss… Fuck. You're so wet. So tight. No imprint fucks like you. The Alpha's bitch. You're made for this. Just this. Only this. Come for us." His voice changes, deepens, becomes more serious, "If not for us… do it for him. Make him claim you or we will. Take what's yours. Ask him about the mark."

His teeth sink into the tender white flesh of my throat and I shatter.

I shatter at the sound of Paul's erotic intercession, screaming my pleasure, my pain, giving myself over, knowing he's right. They're mine, I'm theirs. This is meant.

—-{}❆{}-—

"No, no not only that. More. I'm more. Love him. Jacob…" she murmured sleepily into Embry's throat, nipping at the taut skin over the pronounced tendons there. She turned on her side, disturbed by the images in her dream, by her reactions to them, by the things whispered at the peak of their shared passion. "No, not mine," she continues, "Jacob, Embry … mine."

Embry smiled in his sleep and turned over, spooning up behind Bella, unconsciously quieting her distress with the caress of a hand over her twitching hip as he sank back down into the strangest and most perfect dream.

Bella tucked herself into his welcoming heat, mumbling, "Jacob. Embry … yours."

Embry's hold tightened and he roused just enough to croon the reassurances she needed, "Shh… s'just a ni'mare … I'm here now, m'here." He buried his nose in her throat, rubbing gently, tickling the soft spot below her earlobe with his warm nose, he murmured, "Go t'sleep ... s'okay. Sweet dreams, Bells." He kissed her and she drifted again, implicitly trusting in him, even in sleep, to lead and she would follow him into dreamland.

—-{}❆{}-—

Embry murmurs in my ear, "You ever ridden a wolf, Bells?"

"Just ... just Jake's," I whimper uncertainly, wondering where this new dream scenario will take me next.

"I'm not talking about riding my wolf, honey," a slow, lazy grin spreads across his face as he slides inside me, lifting my torso until I get the idea and pull myself upright. He grabs my hands, lacing our fingers together to give me leverage.

I push myself up with his strong, sure hands and my hips begin to work without conscious thought, a rocking, circling grind, seeking the hot friction of his lower abdomen against my clit as I push my body up and back, bowing backward so all I can see over the long slope of my breasts and peaked dusky nipples are his eyes, those intense eyes, hooded with lust, staring back at me. Dragging deep, panting breaths over his full parted lips, his tongue flicks out, moistening his lower one. It glistens and all I want to do in that moment is suck the damp, fullness of it between my lips, sink my teeth into it. I want to taste him, Embry.

So I do.

He lets go of my hands, his hands sliding down my lower back, gripping my ass, lifting me to grind my pelvis hard against his as he does the circling now. His lower abs catch me in just the right spot and I'm coming mindlessly as he captures my surprised cry in the depths of his seeking mouth.

The sharp tang of desire is muted in the first flush of orgasm. I rest my head in the crook of his neck, licking at that spot again, my spot, my cool breath raising goosebumps on his skin thereonly there. I continue to ride him, slower now, my movements more deliberate, luxuriating in the feel of his hard, silky length working a delicious friction in my soaking channel. It's like every nerve-ending within me is magnified and all I feel is his cock and that delicious, unabating ache for more.

Hot hands grab my ribs, gently lifting me upright once more so he can see my face. His hands return to mine, holding me up. His pleased smile is infectious. I rock harder as that slow grin spreads to my face, too, before I throw my head back and snap my hips, catching him by surprise.

He moans, "Fuuucck, so good, honey. Yeah, just like that." He groans, thrusting up to meet my rotating pelvis, building up the burning friction we both crave.

"Embry, mmm … more," I beg, closing my eyes.

My breathing becomes choppy, little breathless grunts escaping every time he thrusts hard up into my willing body, battering my cervix with his throbbing length.

He tips his chin down, pulling himself together, expression turning serious, "You really think you're ready for more?"

"More?" I pant. Isn't that what I just asked for? I wonder. eyebrows winging up in surprise as my grip tightens on our interlaced fingers.

His curl into mine in a reassuring gesture, "Mmm … yeah. Lots more," he gives a sharp nod, pointing over my shoulder with his chin.

I follow the line of his gaze to the bronze god standing at the end of the bed, stroking his cock lazily, eyes hooded with lust.

"Jake," I breathe in disbelief and … pleasure, I realize, still rocking on Embry. I'm glad Jake's here. I want this. I want them. I look down at Embry, then back at Jake, wondering if I could really be that lucky. Could I have both? No regrets? No guilt?

Jake presses his hard body against my back, kneeling behind me on the edge of the bed, one hand sliding around my ribs, dipping down the long, smooth expanse of my belly to rub me just above where Embry and I are joined. He lets his hand drift, touching my soaked lips stretched taut around Embry's cock, stroking us both.

Embry groans, not the least bothered by his Alpha's sensual touch.

Jake gathers our combined wetness on two blunt fingertips, pulling the moisture up my slick folds to rub the pads of those blazing hot fingertips in frenzied circles around my throbbing clit.

I feel his length press against my back, the moisture at the tip sticking to my skin, making me shudder with desire.

Embry squeezes my hands to pull my attention away from Jake long enough to ask, "Tell us what you want, Bella. Do you want us both? You want us to make love to you-"

Jake cuts him off, whispering in my ear, "Or do you want us to fuck you, show you what we've been dreaming about doing to you for weeks?"

"Both of you?" I catch my lip in my teeth, waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for them to crack up and laugh it off as a joke.

They don't laugh.

"You want both?" Embry asks slyly, letting go of my hands to run them up my torso, cupping my heaving breasts in his hands. "You only have to ask."

Never once had I needed to beg either of them for the intimacy of their touch. Until now.

"Yes," I exhale loudly., chanting my answer like a litany, "Oh god, yes. Please. I want both and both. Love me, fuck me, make me forget, show me, just once, here, that I'm enough."

I let myself go, let them take over, rocking me between them. Jake forces a place for himself at my untried opening. Thank god it's a dream this first time. There's no pain, only pleasure as he enters me. Pressure.

Embry moans again, "Fuck, Jake! She feels so good, so tight." He throws his head back, the corded muscles in his neck straining as he tenses and relaxes, panting, "I can feel you. Fuuucck, I can feel you both." He changes his grip, holding me tenderly in one arm, reaching out with the other to steady us, gripping Jake tightly at the thigh.

I feel Jake's thigh flex in response and I know, he feels Embry, too.

Jakes moans in answer to Embry's outburst, rocking an endless rhythm opposite Embry's as they push and pull me between them.

The friction—FUCK!—the friction builds, it climbs. It almost burns, but it's a good burn. The very best kind.

Embry's reverent whisper is low, but I can just make it out. "Love your beautiful body, Bells. Your pussy's so tight with Jake inside you, too. I'm gonna come, fill you with come. Me and my wolf. God, what I wouldn't give to see you grow full with my pup," he growls. "So beautiful."

Jake leans over my back, pulling me up against his chest. Embry takes the opportunity to roll my nipples between nimble fingers, bringing me ever closer to the edge as Jake croons for my ears only, "You were meant to be worshiped, Bells. Every part of you, every way, every day for the the rest of our lives, I will worship this body with mine. Love it with mine. There will be pups, but first there will be loving. Come for me now and I'll give you more and more and more. Come for me, Bells."

Their teeth clamp down on either side of my throat simultaneously and I come and come and come some more.

They howl into their marks together, hitting their peak and forcing me over once more as I call out their names and scream, "Yes! Yours! More!"

—-{}❆{}-—

She woke up to Embry crooning quietly and holding her tightly against his chest.

His hand was under her tank top, just below her breasts. The other was pillowed beneath her head. He wanted to touch her, but he was maintaining his tenuous hold on her established sleeping boundaries until she gave him permission otherwise.

"Embry," she whimpered, shifting a little under the blankets.

"Are you okay, honey?" he asked just before the thick scent of her arousal wafted up to his sensitive nose as the duvet moved.

The fly of his boxer shorts gave way as his cock lengthened and hardened from her nearness and her obvious arousal. It pressed against her back, sticking obscenely to the skin bared by her tank top riding up in her sleep.

"Jake, Embry, yes, yours," she murmured sleepily, rubbing her ass against a dick hard enough to hammer nails.

Embry was the one whimpering then.

"Embry," she gasped as her eyes popped open.

She took a moment, orienting herself, before one tiny hand slid behind her back, down his abs, and gripped his bare cock as it poked her in the back.

She sighed, like that was all she needed, wanted, as she writhed against him, determined not to lose the thread of her dream, "Yes, Embry. Ohhh… yes, more."

"Yes?" he squeaked.

"Now," she demanded.

.¸¸ . ✶*¨*. ¸ .*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨'*

*With thanks to Jimmy Buffett for the loan of some sage advice.

Review if you like, folks. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.