The afternoon seemed to drag on forever. Minutes became hours, and hours seemed like days, as we waited for Jacob. All the wolves were spring loaded and antsy, as they sat together putting their
revenge plan together if “even so much as a hair on his coat was ruffled.” They
all pranced around the makeshift clearing, each one on edge and straining their
already acute hearing to pick up the slightest sound of either Jacob’s return
or a vampire advance.
I lay on the ground away from the group, as was my custom, while the rest of them let the testosterone and adrenaline drive them in maddened little circles. Any
second, I expected one of them to get dizzy and fall over. Only Sam was
standing still at the edge of the clearing without so much as a twitch of his tail.
I listened past the chaotic din of the others to isolate his thoughts. He was
worried, not only about Jacob’s safety, but also worried that Jacob’s brash
behavior would force the rest of the pack into a dangerous situation. Other,
more ardent, thoughts began to surface from the pack as well.
What if they already finished him off, thought Jared.
I’ll rip them all apart myself, if they did, Paul chimed in
The rest of the pack let out low snarls in unison, each member committing to the demise of the Cullen family. This new musing of Jared and Paul was causing the pack to
get rowdy. Sam turned around slowly, glaring fiercely at each one of us.
“That’s enough! Everyone calm down. We’re not doing anything until we know what is going on.” He commanded. Although the command was firm, it was not an
Alpha command. It silenced everyone momentarily, but a few minutes later the frenzy
picked back up with ever more fervor than before.
“I’ll bet Edward and his brothers ripped his head of before he even had a chance to phase. That’s why we haven’t heard anything, yet…he’s dead.” Embry
thought quietly, but you could feel the despair behind it.
“Dirty leeches” someone else added.
I pushed myself up to a seated position and looked around. I had had enough of this manly banter. How they managed to function in everyday life was a mystery- they were
“Can everybody just chill out, please?” I piped up. “I’m sure Jacob’s fine.”
Every wolf in the pack turned to look at me like I was insane.
“Fine? He’s with a coven of hungry leeches, and you think he is fine?” Paul snapped. “He went over there to kill one of them by himself. Jared’s right,
he probably is dead. Those nasty little ticks probably didn’t let him phase- that
one with all the scars probably fights dirty.”
I sighed, swallowing my irritation. You have to be patient with children, I reminded myself, and all men are essentially children.
“Do you really think the Cullen’s would risk a war with our entire pack because of one misguided, lovesick member?” I asked.
No answer. I could feel Sam’s thoughts heavily against my own, as if they were a pair of eyes boring into the back of my skull. He agreed, but he didn’t interrupt me,
so I continued.
“That’s what I thought.” I concluded in a matter of fact tone.
Paul, evidently the self-proclaimed mouthpiece of our little group today, offered up yet another half-assed conclusion.
“Whatever Leah, Bella’s blood sucking husband probably heard him coming and….” He trailed off at the end.”
Arrogantly I stood up and walked over to Paul, stopping only inches in front of him. I began walking around him in a slow circle, and even though he towered over me,
I managed to look down my nose at him.
“Seriously Paul, do you really think the Cullen’s would have to kill him to keep him from attacking Edward, if he was in his human form?”
“No, but they- “
“Exactly. They could easily restrain him, so there would be no sense in killing him.” I interrupted.
“Yeah, but what if Edward could hear what he was thinking…about Bella and all? What if he got jealous and lost his temper? I know if some other guy looked at Rachel
that way I’d…”
The rest of the pack was still silent, but I could feel the tension beginning to dissipate. I looked over my shoulder and shot Sam an exasperated look. Anytime, you want
to jump in here and help me derail Paul from his idiotic caveman
rationalization is fine by me, I thought. He looked over at Paul and then
back to me, but said nothing.
I rolled my eyes, and turned back to Paul.
“Ugh! Don’t me so dramatic! I know that it is painful for you to use your brain for something other than, oh, I don’t know,
breathing, but try. As much as I hate that you are putting me in a position
that I have to defend a coven of vamps, Edward and the rest of his family are perfectly
rational…beings.” I couldn’t bring myself to actually think the word “people.”
“And I’m sure if he was going to kill Jacob over something as petty as
jealousy, he would have done it last spring when the two of them made out with
each other…not even twenty yards from him.” I explained.
Paul bristled a little, having lost ground in the argument, but stupidly, he persisted further.
“Well, maybe he phased and then they all took him down.”
Was I really having this conversation? What a moron.
“Um, well then, obviously we would have seen that if he was in his wolf form, you idiot.”
I turned my back on him and walked back to my spot on the outskirts of the group. I laid down with a world weary gesture, making a show of being drained by his stupidity. He growled and stalked towards
me and I pulled back my muzzle in a mocking smile.
“Paul, give it a rest already,” Sam ordered. Paul whined tucking his tail between his legs and walked over to sit with Embry and Collin.
I laid my head on my paws and closed my eyes, forcing myself to be patient and wait for Jacob, but I could feel Sam’s gaze on me again. Except this time it wasn’t
boring into my head, it was softer somehow. I looked up and stared into his
brown eyes- even in his wolf form they smoldered- and I tried to ignore the
flip flops in my stomach, especially now that we were all in this form and
could hear each other’s thoughts. It was bad enough that I had spent so much
time pining over him, but it was humiliating to have to do it front of a bunch
of insensitive, macho boys.
I couldn’t pick up on any particular thoughts, but I could tell he was making an effort to keep whatever he wanted to think silent. I locked my thoughts up as well, but I
smiled- as best I could in this furry form- at him. His eyes widened and then
softened again- I hadn’t smiled at him in a very long time. In fact, I hadn’t
had a single thought about him or towards him that wasn’t lined with blind
hatred since he’d imprinted. Now that I thought back, I didn’t really hate him
at first, not the way I hated Emily at least. It wasn’t until the “accident”
I remembered that day all too well. It was right after the last fight I’d had with Emily. I had called her a traitor, and a hypocrite. I had disowned her,
kicked her out of my house and asked her to leave. And I wasn’t even sorry. If
she and Sam wanted to be together, if she wanted to stand by and tear my life
apart, then so be it, but I’d be damned if she was going to do it my
house, with the man I loved, and with me standing there watching! I had
left her standing by the front door in a flood of tears as I ran from the
While I was off venting my anger and frustration that evening, cursing her name to the high heavens, and damning her to the deepest pit of hell I could imagine, little did
I know that she had packed up her things and planned to leave the Quiluette
reservation and go home. She walked down the long path that ran behind most of
the houses on the reservation until she came to the little stream that led out
to the ocean, where she knew she would find Sam. That was his favorite spot
since he had first found out what he was. He and I had spent hours there. He
said that was the only place he could find his center, the only place that held
enough stillness and peace for him to be able to phase back to his human form
at first. Now this was he and Emily’s spot.
I had seen this scene, layered with guilt by Sam’s thoughts, play over and over in his mind since that fateful day. It couldn’t have been more than a few hours since
she and I had our fight that she had run down the small hill onto the
embankment of the stream where he stood.
She still had dark circles under her eyes, and fresh tears streamed down her pretty face. He turned to look at her and his heart just soared with excitement, and then after taking in her
forlorn expression he had nothing but concern for her. He wiped her tears away
with his thumbs and kissed her cheeks, and then the top of her head, hugging
her against him. She hugged him back briefly, but pushed away from him and moved
a few steps away before she spoke.
“I have to leave Sam, I just can’t do this. It isn’t fair to Leah.” She chocked out between sobs.
His entire face fell at her dejection.
“Is this your decision or Leah’s?” he demanded.
“It’s mine.” She said solemly. “You know I would be with you if I could, but I can’t hurt Leah this way. She is like a sister to me!”
“I know,” He said sincerely. “I love Leah too, but it isn’t the same anymore. I have no control over these things. Leah is an understanding person. She knows what it
is like…she was there with me from the beginning. Just give her some
time…she’ll come around.”
Emily put her hands over her
face and bawled into them, shaking her head back and forth.
“No she won’t, she hates me! She won’t even talk to me.” She wailed.
“She’s just hurt right now, that’s all.” He said reassuringly.
She pulled her tiny hands away from her face and her eyes were frantic. They darted all over the place, never settling on any one thing in particular.
“You should have heard the things she said to me, Sam! They were just plain hateful. I’ve never seen her so cold before- it was like somebody flipped a switch inside
her, it’s like she’s made of ice. But she’s right!”
He frowned, clearly upset by her statement. He wrapped his arms around her shoulders.
“Aww, c’mon. I know Leah and it couldn’t have been that bad. What did she say?”
“She said I was a hypocrite and a traitor to my own flesh and blood. She said I betrayed her. She said she hates me and that I have it coming. She told me I was nothing
to her anymore.” The words were tumbling out her mouth, now.
“I’m a horrible person!” She sobbed into his shirt.
Sam was visibly upset now and his hands had begun to shake on her shoulders, but he took a few deep breaths trying to steady himself.
“Look, she is just really upset right now and mad at everyone. I have a part in this too. It isn’t fair for her to put this all on your shoulders. I’ll talk to Leah.”
She pulled her face back away
from his chest and stared up at him, her eyes wide.
“No!” she exclaimed. “That won’t work…it’ll just make it worse. I have to leave, Sam. This isn’t going to work. I’m so s-sorry.”
Sam’s face crumpled into a mask of sorrow as she turned away from him and walked up the trail. He took two quick steps grabbing her by the arm and turned her around to
“Please don’t go.” He begged. “I’ll talk to Leah and make her understand.” He was staring at the ground frustrated and shaking harder now. Emily looked down at
his hand on her arm and tried to pull away.
“It won’t work, Sam. She is my cousin and even though I love you…family comes first.” She whispered to him. She leaned up slowly on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek. His
beautiful face looked like it would crack in half from the pain as a huge tear
rolled down his cheek.
“You’re breaking my heart, Em! I can’t exist without you.” He pleaded.
His entire body was shaking to the point of vibrating. He tried taking deep breaths and put his hands on his temples to calm himself down, but he kept gasping at the air and shaking even
Emily pulled her arm away softly and ran her fingers through his long hair and down his cheek trying to help, but the tears were streaming down his face now too.
“Leah’s was right. You many not have a choice, but I do. She asked me to leave so I’m going. I’m doing this for her. I’m sorry!”
That was it, he had broken his hold on self control, and with one loud desperate yell his whole body rocked and convulsed with wild spasms. His arms flew out in
front of him and he rocked back onto his hind legs. His arms and hands changed
to paws and he leaned forward, clumsily trying to find the ground with his
front legs, but Emily was too close and couldn’t get out of the way in time.
His left paw came crashing down on her face, gashing into the skin, and
knocking her to the ground. She screamed out in pain and horror as she scrambled
to her feet with one hand, and ran towards the house holding her face with the
I got home much later that evening and she was still on the couch with all the elders, including Sam, gathered around her. At first I was furious. Who where they to
console her? She was the deceitful one not me. So what if she was upset?
She deserved it!
It wasn’t until I saw the tribal doctor stand up, with a handful of bloody gauze, that I realized something was very wrong. I took a closer look now, surveying the
room. Emily was on the end of the sofa with her head limp against the pillows,
and my mother was holding something to her face that looked like an icepack.
The rest of the tribal elders were whispering soothing words to Sam, who sat hunched
on the floor at her feet. He had his face buried in her lap and he was crying.
At that moment the doctor walked by me to throw away the bloody mess he held in his hands.
“What’s going on?” I whispered to him as he past.
He opened the lid on the metal trash can and tossed the gauze in. Then he walked over to the sink and began washing his hands.
“There’s been an accident. Emily was attacked by an animal down by the stream. We think it was a bear, by the size of the claw marks on her face” he explained in a
hushed whisper over his shoulder. “I stitched up the wound as best I could but
it is going to leave some permanent damage. She was really shaken up so I’ve
sedated her. You can talk to her when she wakes up.”
I felt my stomach do a complete flip. Her face? Permanent damage? I tried to make the words make sense but they were just swimming around in my head. We had never
had a bear on the reservation before, this couldn’t be right. The only large
animals we had on the reservation were wolves, and they weren’t even real
wolves they were people. But nobody except tribal elders and myself knew about
that, and of course Sam, but….
Just then it all snapped together; Sam’s crying, the tribal elders trying so hard to soothe him, the claw marks.
“Oh!” I inhaled the word sharply, abruptly breaking the silence in the room. Sam’s head popped up off Emily’s lap and he stood up, marching over to me and grabbing me
roughly by the arm. He practically dragged me out the front door out onto the
I didn’t wait for him to tell me what happened, I already knew. “Sam, you didn’t?” I asked incredulously. I could feel the tears well up in my eyes. “Please say it isn’t true!”
His eyes blazed with fury as he looked down at me. I cringed away from him, and took a step back.
“Don’t pretend that you are concerned for her now! Not after what you said to her earlier.” He was whispering loudly, but the heat of his anger made it seem like shouting.
I planted my feet and put my hands on my hips. I was confused by his anger towards me. It wasn’t any of his business what I had said to her- that was between us.
“What does that have to do with anything? This isn’t my fault!” I snapped.
He took another step closer to me so he towered over me. I could feel the heat from his body on my face and arms.
“If you hadn’t told her to leave this never would have happened.” He accused. “She was trying to leave because of what you said to her and I got upset and..and…” He could finish his
sentence. He lifted his enormous hands over his face and began sobbing.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He was blaming me? This was absurd!
“Don’t you dare blame me for this.” I hissed at him. “I didn’t ask for any of this.
You chose her, you both left me broken and bleeding without even a second thought. She is my cousin, Sam! What did you expect me to do, just crawl quietly away and die while you two run off into the sunset together? Did
you expect me to give her my blessing while she got to live out my fairytale? I
don’t think so! After everything that’s happened I think I deserve a right to
say how I feel. Just because I know how it works doesn’t mean that you two
shouldn’t be held accountable for your actions.”
He was shaking from the crying and collapsed onto the top porch step. He didn’t say anything as he looked up. He just stared off into the distance at nothing. I
could feel the anger bubbling up inside me again. How dare he take this
out on me, especially after what he did! I stomped down the porch steps and
turned defiantly on my heel to face him. He didn’t meet my gaze.
“You have nobody to blame here but yourself, Sam. I may have said what I said to Emily, but that is not the issue. I didn’t make her leave, it was her choice, and I didn’t make you
lose your temper either- you do a good job of doing that all by yourself. Blame
me if it makes you feel better, but deep down you know the truth, and you will
have to come to terms with that someday.” I said quietly, and then I turned on
my heel and left. We didn’t speak for a long time after that.
“Do you mind?” Sam’s thoughts pulled me from my reverie, and I looked over at him. He was standing over me now, with his tail between his legs and I could feel the pain my memory
had caused him. I hadn’t realized I was recalling it so vividly.
“Sorry.” I muttered to him- and I really was sorry this time.
“Don’t mention it. I probably owe you an apology after all this time.” He replied. Just then his posture tightened and he whirled around to face the other direction.
“What is it?” I asked.
But no sooner than the words were out of my mouth did I realize what it was. Everyone could feel the silent shudder of the air, and the presence of a new mind joining in. Someone had
phased. Jacob was back…..