The glass was still laying in tiny, glittering, specs on the floor of the bathroom when I stepped into the hall to find a broom and dust pan. I was halfway down the
hall, my hand completely healed, when I ran into the surprised faces of my
mother and Billy Black. My mother was holding baby Clair, sound asleep, in her
“Leah honey, are you okay?” she asked, concerned. “We heard something break.”
Her expression of worry ran
deeper than normal- she was constantly hovering over me, worried about my depression.
I think she believed I had anger management issues. She had even offered to
send me to a shrink, but then realized that broken-hearted- werewolf-
imprinting syndrome was not exactly, what you would call, a clinically proven, psychological
I forced a wide smile- which was much easier then I expected- at she and Billy as I past them in the hall.
“Yeah, I’m fine. I can’t say the same for the bathroom mirror, though. It’s busted,” I explained, trying to be nonchalant. I didn’t want to have to explain my
personal epiphany. “Don’t worry, I’ll get it fixed. Keep Claire off the floor
for a few minutes, okay? I don’t want her to cut her feet.”
I stroked my finger down Claire’s cheek as I walked by, wondering why she was here. Neither of them said a single word. They just stared at me, gaping in shock. I
turned the corner to the kitchen and grabbed the broom and dust pan from the
pantry. As I walked back towards the bathroom I greeted Billy, who had turned
slightly in his wheelchair to look me up and down skeptically.
“Hey Billy, how’s it going? I hear Rachel is back from college?
“Yeah, it’s great to have her home,” he replied in the proud, reverent tone that only parents used. “Can’t say the same about having Paul around, though.”
I chuckled. Paul seemed to have the same effect on everyone.
“You seem to be in a good mood today.” He added, but it sounded like more of an accusation than a compliment.
“Thanks.” I replied cheerfully. My mother balked in surprise at my jubilant response. I usually avoided conversation with her at all cost. These days I tended to avoid
conversation with just about anyone, actually.
I opened the door of the bathroom and began sweeping up the glass in fast, jerky movements. I popped my head around the corner again, looking at Billy.
“I haven’t seen Rachel in a long time.” I began, “How’s she doing?”
He crossed his arms over his chest and narrowed his eyes slightly. Clearly, he was just as surprised at my sudden interest as my mother.
“She’s doing really good-
aside from her choice in boyfriends, that is.” He grumbled. “She graduated
early, not that I’m surprised. She was always the little over achiever, and she
got a degree in Psychology. She said she may work at the school here on the
reservation as a guidance counselor for a while, until she decides if she wants
to go back and get her graduate degree.”
Psychology? I thought. Well, that held some promise. Plus, since Paul had imprinted on her, she was well versed in our legends. Maybe I could talk to her? She did have a degree, after
all, which meant she was somewhat of a professional. I just hoped that her
interests would cover damaged, bitter, ex-lovers who were flirting with borderline
insanity, and not just school children. It was worth a shot. What was the worst
she could say? No?
She and I had been good friends through high-school, right up until her mom died. She became really withdrawn after that, something that I was all too familiar with. Perhaps, that was why
she didn’t visit as often. I knew how bad I constantly wanted to escape La
Push, and the nagging pain and resentment I felt towards Sam and Emily. I
couldn’t imagine if it was my mother, and when I was her age. I was
still pretty torn up about my father- so was my little brother, but mom’s were
different; harder to lose, I thought. In that moment, thinking about Rachel’s
pain over losing her mother, made my pain over Sam seem petty- further proof
that I needed, and I was ready, to try and move on.
“Maybe I’ll give her a ring this weekend. I’ll see if she wants to catch a movie or something.” I suggested. “I haven’t seen her in forever, and it would be great to have some girl time!”
My mother’s eyes popped out of their sockets. Billy smiled wider, showing all of his teeth.
“Definitely!” he replied, enthusiastically. “She’d like that. I know she has wanted to get out of house, and it would give Jake and me some peace and quiet for a few hours. Not to
mention, it would cut down on the grocery bill. I can’t afford both of those
boys- they’ll eat me out of house and home.”
My mother and I both laughed at the same time. Seth was fifteen, and had the same appetite. We teased him that he could eat half his own body weight in one sitting.
My mother beamed at me- it seemed her suspicion of my inexplicable pleasantry was overruled by her happiness in seeing me so…well, anything other than angry. Then, she raised her eyebrows
quickly and gave a little start, as if she just remembered something very
“Oh, that reminds me!” She said, her face suddenly very businesslike. “Quil, just stopped by and told me to tell you that Sam, needs you…all of you, right away. Seth just left with him.”
Well, that explained what Claire was doing here. My good mood faltered just a tiny bit at the mention of Sam’s name. Think positive, I thought to myself. This was the first I had
smiled in a long time, and I wasn’t going to let Sam ruin it.
I took a deep breath, setting the full dust pan on the bathroom counter. Grabbing one of the leather cords I kept in the second drawer, I ran down the hallway and out the front door.
“Bye! Tell Rachel I’ll call her tomorrow,” I called over my shoulder. I hoped they heard me in my rush. Thankfully, I didn’t have to put up pretense in front of my mother or Billy- they knew what
Seth and I were.
I darted across the yard and into the bordering trees, pulling my shirt off over my head as I ran. Once inside the safety of the trees I began pulling off the rest of my clothes. Ugh!
I thought to myself. The boys had it so easy. They all walked around half
naked, with only a pair of shorts on. I felt like I was in a cologne
commercial, half the time. They didn’t have to worry about, bras and
underwear…or shoes. They didn’t care that they looked like muscled up
vagabonds, but I did.
I slipped off my shoes and my jeans, and the rest of the under garments, and laid them neatly in a pile by the tree, only tying my shirt and underwear around my thigh with the cord. I hoped it wouldn’t
start raining. It was virtually impossible to put pants on once they were
soaking wet. I had too many items of clothes to tie all of them around my leg like the
boys did. And I had made way too many nearly-naked dashes from the tree line to
the house in the past. The neighbor boys were beginning to look at me in ways
that made me uncomfortable, even when my clothes were on. I made a mental note
to tack a garbage bag to one of the trees for future use.
Now that I was down to my birthday suit in the middle of the woods, a feeling I could never imagine myself getting used to, I centered myself and began to concentrate on phasing. The heat
emanated from my chest at first, like a fireplace of hot coals, and ran down my
arms and legs, vibrating in spasms, eventually making its way up my throat and
over my head. The heat increased and rocketed down my spine like lightening,
until it felt my skin would burst, and then, instantly, it was over. The heat
melted away and only the soft shimmer of the transformation remained, as I saw
my hands change to small grey paws, and then hit the ground with a soft thud. I
stretched my back, lifting my haunches in the air, and then shot out into the
forest with lightening speed.
I listened carefully, for a hint as to what this meeting was all about. Sam rarely called the pack together unless there was serious problem. I could hear the thoughts of the others, but nothing
to give away the motive behind the meeting. It was just the normal noisy
babble. I concentrated harder.
I picked up the thoughts of Jacob Black first. Probably because he was only a few yards away. I made a point to run a parallel line to him so I didn’t cross his path. Of course, he was
moping. Wasn’t he always? I was sure in anyone’s mind’s eye that I was the most
miserable and depressed member of the pack, but lately Jacob’s ran a very close
second. His thoughts centered around one thing, and one thing only. Bella Swan.
And today was no exception. He was already in full-on pity party mode.
Secretly, I felt sorry for him, and luckily I was able to sensor my thoughts around the pack. Sure, I didn’t have total control, but I did have the ability to limit what thoughts were on public
display for everyone to witness. Boys, ha! They were so simple. They were only
able to think one way- no wonder women were such a mystery to them! Their sole
thought process was always blunt and to the point, with zero finesse. They
didn’t have the skill at veiling their thoughts like women did.
Just like all women (even when they are little girls) are able to say one thing, but actually mean something else entirely, which allows us to get what we want. We always appear to be a
conundrum to men- and the pack plural was no exception.
It was sad in a way. All of them were so frustrated all the time. Whatever they thought, and the second they thought about it, there it was- out in the open wolf forum. They were nothing
but a bunch of open books.
Jacob’s thoughts caught my attention again. They were louder than the others, and more violent too. He was thinking about the wedding…again. And how he wished he would have killed Edward
Cullen…again. Even though I was getting tired of this re-run of his, I could
feel the pain and desperation behind his thoughts, and it scared me.
So self-absorbed all the time, I thought to him, deliberately letting it sound like a jibe. I hoped it would distract him
It worked, but he only had time to get in one tiny dig before Sam silenced us.
Can it, guys, he said
Why did I always have to get grouped in with guys? Would it have been so hard to say our names? I heard Jacob’s thoughts again and I smiled to myself. He thought I was being
touchy. Easy for him to say- what if he was the only male wolf in a pack of
females. I wondered how kindly he’d take to being grouped in with the girls?
We made our way east to a small clearing, and I dug my claws into the dirt and sped up at the very end- I didn’t miss the opportunity to rub in my superior speed to Jacob, or anyone
else for that matter. If they all got to be bigger, at least I was faster. The
rest of the pack caught up and we formed a small circle. Sam began, informing
us that Bella and Edward were back from their honeymoon. Right, like we cared.
Evidently, they had returned last week, but Charlie hadn’t had a chance to see Bella. She was claiming to be sick. Ha! Well, maybe she was mentally. Any girl who chased after vampires had
to be mentally unstable. But we all knew this was her alibi for becoming a
vampire. This meeting was to decide if we would allow this to slide, or if it
broke the treaty.
Jacob was across from me and I saw his head drop slightly as he pawed the ground, making divots in the dirt. He was worrying about the logistics of her “death.”
So she would die of this disease, as far as Charlie knew. Would they let him view the corpse? They couldn’t let him touch the cold skin- he might notice how hard it was. He
didn’t notice but everyone else had tuned in exclusively to his thoughts now.
Would they bury her? Would she dig herself out, or would the other bloodsuckers come for her eventually?
His thoughts were morbid, but I had to admit, none of us had considered that level of complexity before. Seth began to advocate for Bella, a line of defense that didn’t sit right with any of us.
Nobody really liked his affection for the vampires, but he did have a point,
and Sam was taking Seth’s side. I sat still, listening to the banter between
Seth and Jacob.
What are you going to do when Bella fights with them, huh? You gonna be the one to take her down? Or will you make one of us do it? He thought. None of us missed Jacob cringe at that
thought, but nevertheless he crouched down and snarled at Seth, trying to
intimidate him. It didn’t work. Seth stood his ground, playing the bigger
person, before Sam jumped in and shut it down.
The rest of conversation continued along the same path, each wolf agreeing that Bella had chosen her own path, and that she was well informed. I sat down, slightly outside the circle as Sam gave
the Alpha command that we, the pack, were not going to attack the Cullen’s. I
was perfectly at peace with this course of action. If Bella Swan wanted to walk
the earth for eternity as one of the undead, more power to her. Normally, I
wouldn’t have been so cavalier regarding any other human, but she had chosen
her side long ago. Jacob was just having a hard time letting go.
At that moment, Jacob tucked his tail and ran away. What a surprise. He said he was going wolf and although nearly everyone begged him to stay, I knew better. He ran away swiftly,
disguising his thoughts, focusing on how to go ‘all wolf’ as he had done in the
past, but I was too skilled at veiling my own thoughts not to pick up on subtle
underlying tenor beneath them. This was all a mental ruse to keep the pack out
of his head until he phased.
The empty feeling of the pack after Jacob left lingered in the air like thick fog, and all of his brothers let out sad whines and whimpers of confusion, once they could no longer hear him.
That was strange, Sam thought.
Where did he go? I thought he was staying wolf, like last time? Quil joined in.
Maybe he went to tell Billy bye this time.
Over the next two hours they all took turns offering up scenarios, but they were all wrong, and I knew it. I yawned loudly, hoping to show my obvious boredom with the banter. I was ready
to go home so I stood up and stretched before I made my way back to the circle.
I took a seat in an empty space beside Paul, and out of sheer impatience,
rejoined the conversation.
You don’t really think he’s doing any of those things do you? I thought rolling my eyes. Everyone stopped talking at once and turned to look at me, skeptically.
Well, think about, I began. He wants the pack to take out the Cullens so he is probably on his way there now. I said, looking directly at Sam. I ignored the ache in the pit of my
stomach as I stared into his eyes. No sooner than I had finished the last word,
the hair on his back bristled and he glared at me.
He’s can’t disobey the Alpha’s command, Leah. I have forbidden any act of violence against the Cullen’s.
I sighed, exasperated.
Yes, oh lofty Alpha, you did forbid it. But your specific words were that the pack was not to take any action against the Cullens.
Sam and the rest of the pack
looked at me with blank expressions. Obviously, this was not sinking in.
I swear, you boys are so dense it is criminal! The pack is forbidden to take action, but not an individual member….I let my sentence trail off suggestively. Surely, they could
understand where I was going with this now.
It took a few seconds, but eventually recognition flashed across their faces, and low unanimous grumble erupted.
He wouldn’t do that! Seth argued. You’re just making accusations, Leah. How can you know that for sure?
Because it clever, and it the only way to get what he wants. It is just a matter of semantics; he knows he can’t challenge Sam, so he’s finding a way to work around him. He’s
thinking like a girl. I replied smugly.
Paul was standing slightly in front of me and turned around to glance at me mockingly.
If you mean he’s being emotional and neurotic, then absolutely, he’s thinking like a girl. He turned back around and barked out a loud laugh. I stiffened in defense at first, but cowered down,
slinking over towards him. He let out a loud yelp as I sank my teeth into his
He turned quickly trying to take a bite out of my shoulder, but I neatly dodged his attack, and circled around behind him and nipped at his tail. He howled in frustration and embarrassment
as the rest of the pack began silently laughing.
Paul, Leah, cut it out! The double timber of the Alpha command ripped through both of us and we cowered down on our bellies at the same time, whining. As humiliating as it was to be
commanded into submission, by an ex-lover, I had to admit that it was probably
for the best. I wasn’t worried about Paul so much as I was about Jacob. He had
been gone for a while now, and the tension was already building. No one wanted
a war with the Cullen’s, especially not me. I wanted to move on with my life,
and this was promising to throw yet another glitch in that process.
What do we do now then? Quil thought quietly. I could hear the worry and desperation in his voice. Do we go after him, and try to stop him?
Sam turned his big furry head around to face all of us.
No, we wait……
you said Charlie turned in his wheel chair and you asked Charlie about Racheal getting back from collage. you mean Billy?