The short distance back to my house seemed to stretch out before me like an endless expanse of space. My mind desperately searched for the words I would soon have
to tell my mother of how I, somehow, allowed her baby boy to abandon his pack
and stand guard for a coven of vampires. My nerves were stretched as taut as a
wire once I reached the tree line and phased back to my human form again. I
slipped my tank top over my head and yanked on my, now damp, jeans as I
stumbled through the trees and out onto the narrow dirt road in front of my
house. I climbed the front porch steps slowly, pausing only to calm my shaking
hand as it rested over the doorknob.
My mother was standing in our tiny kitchen cooking, as always. She turned to me and smiled, holding what looked like a large casserole. I’m not sure what the
expression on my face looked like, but she stopped smiling and hurried around
the small wooden table to wrap her arms around me, slinging the casserole
haphazardly across the surface in the process.
“Leah, honey what’s wrong? Are you okay?”
I nodded numbly as I let her guide me into a chair. I leaned forward, resting my elbows on the table, and let my face collapse into my hands. I hadn’t realized how exhausted I was until that
moment- the stress of all that happened in the last few hours hung heavy, and
almost tangible, around my shoulders. I tried to open my mouth to explain everthing
that had happened, but the words wouldn’t come out.
She reached out and stroked my short hair soothingly.
“It’s okay sweetie, you can tell me.” She prompted. “Is it Sam?
“You have no idea.” I mumbled into my hands.
She pulled back away from me and pulled up another chair. “You can’t let him get to you like this, Leah. I know it’s hard for you having to be in that pack, but you
just have to ignore it as best you can. It will get better over time, I
promise. I thought that with your brother in the pack now, you’d have a little
more peace, or at least an ally, but I guess I was wrong…”
Her words became a garbled meshing of noise after the mention of Seth. I inhaled sharply and then, without warning, I let loose a fresh, uncontrollable, torrent of
tears. I dropped my head in the crook of my arm and bawled loudly. The thought
of my little brother, my ally, my only friend it seemed, in the entire world
lately was an outcast who was fraternizing with “the enemy” and it was my
My mother waited patiently for me to pull myself together- at least until I was able to speak coherently-before she tried to push any further. But I didn’t give her a
chance to ask- I just blurted the whole story out; about Bella and her baby,
the order to kill her and the Cullens, Jacob’s mutiny, and then, as much as I
didn’t want to associate the word “mutiny” with Seth, I told her that part too.
I told her how it was all my fault; if I had been paying attention to him,
rather than picking a fight with Sam, I could have stopped him. To my complete
astonishment, she reached out and put her hand over mine. She looked at me for
a long time, silently contemplating what I had told her, before she spoke.
“It’s not your fault.” She said softly. I recoiled like she had slapped me. I was fully anticipating the wrath of a scorned mother. I was definitely not expecting to
“What?” I asked incredulously.
“I know you feel like this your fault honey, but Seth is not your responsibility, not in this sense at least. He’s Sam’s.” Her tone took on an acidic note at the
mention of Sam’s name. “I’ve always said that Sam wasn’t meant to lead- it is
not his rightful place in the tribe- and in situations like this it shows.”
I couldn’t even form a response. This was not the reaction I had expected. Screeching and yelling would have been more appropriate when one was told their child was
willingly associating with vampires. This was certainly not appropriate…it was bizarre.
My mother had never felt the contempt the rest of the elders did about the
Cullens, but she was hardly naïve. Surely, she must be slightly concerned for
her son’s safety. I tried to make sense of what she was saying but I could only
sit there with my mouth wide open, staring.
Taking in my reaction she smiled ruefully. “Oh, don’t act so surprised.” She said, scraping up some of the dried casserole cheese that had now congealed on the
table. “Perhaps this is just what this pack of wolves needs. Maybe Jacob will
take his rightful place among his pack now.” She suggested.
“Th-there can’t be two alpha’s in a pack.” I stuttered, still in shock from her lack of concern. “Didn’t you hear what I just told you? Sam and Jacob almost fought
each other today. Alpha’s fight till death, in case you’ve forgotten.”
She picked up the casserole off the table and walked into the kitchen to cover it with foil.
“I never said Jacob’s rightful place was in this pack.” She corrected over her shoulder. “I said he should take his rightful place in his pack…which
is, sadly to say, just he and Seth.”
“You don’t know what you are saying!” I exclaimed. “Jacob may be the rightful alpha, but he voluntarily declined his birthright, which left Sam no other choice
but to take over. Jacob has zero experience leading a pack. Even if he did his
pack only consists of two. How is he supposed to protect Seth…or anyone, for
that matter, with only two wolves?”
My mother turned around to look at me with an ancient expression. She sighed wearily as she looked at me, like she was about to unveil a secret as old as the world.
“Leah, I know you don’t understand this yet and that is partly because you are so young. You all look at this as just a heavy burden that you have been forced to carry,
but our traditions exist for a reason. There is a reason that Ephraim Black was
the chief and not Levi Uley. Just as
there is a reason that Jacob Black should be the Alpha and not Sam- it is all a
matter of destiny. Some are destined to lead, and others are meant to follow.
Sam tries very hard to do right by his pack, and while his temper may be
more stable, he is still impetuous. Your father used to say while Sam’s
intentions were good, his instincts were off. Jacob on the other hand already knows
how to lead- he just didn’t want to embrace it at first because he lacked
incentive. Now that he has that, he is compelled to do the right
thing-even if that is protecting vampires to save a human. Sam
isn’t able to look past his prejudice to see the bigger picture, no matter how
hard he tries…but Jacob is. That is why this is his destiny and not
I sat there, very quiet, thinking about what she said. I guess in a way it made sense, but maybe I wasn’t able to see past my own prejudice. I had always
chocked up Jacob’s tolerance for the Cullens to his love sickness for Bella
Swan- it was really hard to see it as destiny, or farsightedness. All I
could see was that they were vampires- which, of course, was probably central
to my mother’s point, but I couldn’t help it.
“So, you think Jacob was right to defend a bunch of filthy leeches even if it meant abandoning his pack?” I questioned.
“Look, I don’t particularly care for them either. The idea of vampires creeps me out as much as the next person, but those “filthy leeches” you mentioned are the same
ones who came to take care of Jacob when he was hurt last summer. The same ones
who help us defend the people of Forks against the other rogue vampires who
pass through. As far as I’m concerned they haven’t done anything but serve on
the same side as us. It seems unfair to condemn them for Bella’s decision.” She
“I guess.” I mumbled.
She smiled the same unconvincing smile as before- the same wan smile she put on after my father died. She was remarkable; her son could be vamp chow for all she knew, but she was still
trying to be objective. In fact, she was just like Seth, or rather he was just like
her; kind, fair and always able to see past the bad in people to the good. Good
vampires?-who would have ever thought it?
“I still don’t see the effectiveness of a two man wolf pack.” I added. “I mean, Seth is so young. Jacob needs an experienced member if he is going to have any chance of
defending against the rest of the pack.”
“I though you said the pack wasn’t going to attack the Cullens?” She asked, her voice hardening as she said it. I was relieved that she was showing at least a little apprehension at the risk.
“They aren’t.” I corrected. “For now.”
She walked across the kitchen and stood behind me with her hands on my shoulders.
“Well, maybe soon Jacob’s pack will have three members instead of two…” She trailed off suggestively. I whipped around to face her, my eyes wide with shock. Was she really insinuating that I
“Have you completely lost it?” I demanded. “You would honestly want me to go? Just because the Cullens have formed the first ever vampire Peace Corps doesn’t mean they aren’t
dangerous, mother. What if something happened?”
“Like what? They aren’t going to hurt the only two wolves committed to protecting them.” She retorted.
I couldn’t argue- she was right. It wouldn’t make sense to kill your ally, and we had fought alongside the Cullens before without any problems. She stepped away and went to grab the casserole
from the kitchen counter, putting it in a large cardboard box with some other
foil wrapped dishes. Grabbing her car keys off the table she patted my head on
her way out the door.
“I have to take this over to Charlie’s for dinner. Billy said he hasn’t had a home cooked meal in weeks.” She explained. Then she added, “Just think about it, Leah. Maybe this is just
what you need.” just before the door shut behind her.
The room was painfully quiet, only the hum of the air conditioner could be heard in the background. Just what I need, I thought to myself. Maybe she was right. I stared out the window as
the light was fading to dusk outside, and a light rain pattered on the roof. It
was only just this morning that I had been standing in front of that bathroom
mirror, literally breaking through the bitter shell I had formed around myself.
Why not join up with them? I thought back to the conversation Sam and I had in
the forest before I came home; the pain and the misery rushing back to me. What
would it be like not having to see his face everyday? Not having to share his
thoughts, or obey his commands?
Then I thought of having to obey Jacob Black and the thought left a bitter taste in my mouth. And having to share Jacob’s thoughts? The idea of listening to him pine over Bella everyday,
and feel him struggle through his torment of her possibly becoming a vampire
was almost enough to stop this idea in its tracks. But I thought of my own
pain, and how I was forced to swallow it each day, only to curl up with it again
every night. The idea of that feeling being gone- even if the only way to get
rid of it was to focus on someone else’s for a while- was nearly irresistible.
I could even imagine the expression on Sam’s face when he realized I was gone,
and it was satisfying. It would be his turn to feel abandoned, to finally feel
betrayed by someone close to him and…..
I shook my head violently, clearing that line of thought from my mind. I refused to do this out of spite. If I was going to make this decision I would make sure it was solely for my own
well-being and not for revenge. This was my time now. I had already overcome my
fair share of heartache, and maybe, this time, I could even help Jacob through his. Perhaps,
while protecting my brother at the same time. They say that helping others is
the best way to help yourself, so why not?
I stood up slowly and turned around taking in the view of my cozy little home for, what I imagined, may be the last time I laid eyes on it for quite some time. I gazed at each nook and cranny longer than necessary, trying to memorize every line, every chair, and every family
photo before I stepped out not knowing when I would return. I walked down the
hallway to my room and opened the door.
My clothes from the night before were still draped over the back of my vanity chair. A full hamper of clothes sat ready for the wash in the closet. I took in the scent of my vanilla perfume
on the dresser as I walked over to the large oval mirror and stared at the
photos wedged into the frame. Several strings of cheesy, photo booth, pictures
of Emily and I were trapped between the wood and the glass, and spanned over
several consecutive years. I pulled one of the older ones out and looked at it.
We were probably twelve or thirteen, we both had braces and bad haircuts, but
we were happy and like sisters in those pictures. It made me sad to think about
how times were simpler then; before boys, before jealousy, and before love. We
were just fun, silly, happy, little girls enjoying the annual carnival, and now
look at what had become of us.
On the top of the vanity lay the more recent pictures. I picked up my favorite picture of Sam and me. It was two summers ago on the beach with all the La Push kids before graduation. Sam and I had managed to sneak away from the group and found a secluded little spot beside
one of the tide pools to snuggle into. I could still remember the way the salty
air smelled as he pulled the camera out in front of us to take our picture; he
turned his head to kiss me on the cheek at the last minute. I sighed. There
would be no more of pictures like this. He was no longer my Sam…he was Emily’s
Sam now, but somehow, for the first time, I felt okay with that. I put the
frame back down in its more appropriate new position…facedown.
They say that epiphanies are rare, and I don’t know why, but at that moment the strangest sense of peace settled over me as I stood in my tiny bedroom. All of the sadness, the depression, and
the futility I had been wrestling with over the past year melted away and fell
off me, like sheets of water, onto the floor. It even triumphed over my earlier
revelation I had in the bathroom; instead of determination I now had
conviction. There was no longer the question of trying to find the old
me; I could already feel her breaking through this wretched shell. My mother
was right; this was exactly what I needed- to be part of a new pack…part of a
new life, altogether. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but deep down I was
elated to be part of an unknown.
Subconsciously, I had already formed my plan and I found myself blindly walking out of my room, down the hall, and out the door, stripping off my clothes as I went. I couldn’t take the
risk of phasing and alerting the pack to my plan but, the minute my feet
crossed the road and hit the forest floor my legs started moving into a flat
out sprint…straight towards the Cullens side of the border.