- Leah, Clearwater
He wandered through the crowd knowingly; it was like he was walking through a field of moving asteroids and he still knew the correct path. Glances from all around were glued to his retreating figure.
“Hey honey, you’re about to spill your drink.” Ben’s voice split my concentration. I was in pure, raw agony. I couldn’t think, breathe or even speak without stammering. Everything from La Push had been building inside of me, then suddenly it blew up in my face and now I’m imprinted. The very thing I wanted to avoid and to get away from.
“Um, sorry,” I mumbled quietly putting my face in my hands. I felt like silently weeping.
Ben put a reassuring hand on my shoulder; I could see his concerned glance from behind his blonde hair which covered his eyes. “I would be feeling like crap as well if I learnt my crush was getting it on with some thin stick figure,” he chirped in.
My eyes widened in anger, “What did you just say?”
“You didn’t hear? Everyone’s talking about it; I thought you would have heard. Jeremy told me about it at the counter; he’s so full of gossip…” Ben trailed on dreamily.
“Which plastic doll is he playing ‘Ken’ with?” I asked, momentarily distracted from my inner turmoil.
I started to feel feverish as I thought about it in detail. “Erm…Tara Leigh, she got her claws out before you had a chance. Don’t get down, that piece of artificial plastic won’t get far with him. And he’s totally not worth you now, Leah.”
I groaned into my cup as I took another sip of my Espresso, biting my tongue when it turned out to be too hot. I took another glance over towards the other side of the coffee shop and snapped my head back as soon as he caught me gawking at him like an idiot. Completely foolish, why did I just do that! Does he know I imprinted on him? How is he feeling about it? That’s if the feelings aren’t forced upon him. “My day is getting better and better,” I responded, my voice thick with sarcasm.
“Have you noticed the new guy?” Ben asked curiously, changing the topic of the conversation. “He’s just simply scrumptious, I could eat him up.”
I raised an eyebrow at him and wagged a finger disapprovingly, “Well I guess Jeremy won’t like that and maybe I should tell him as he’s walking this way anyways.”
Ben instantly jerked around in the seat to check; then he ran his fingers through his hair nervously, straightened his crinkled Band T-Shirt and pulled on a confident smile. “I didn’t say I liked him that way, Leah. Now Sssh,” he hissed under his breath.
“Go get him tiger.” I made a quiet roaring sound and made the claw motion with my fingers. He punched my shoulder playfully and then turned to look at Jeremy who was three steps away from the booth we were sitting in.
Ben stepped from the booth and they both walked outside for a chat. I was left alone, again, with my imprint staring at me from the other side of the room. My heart leapt into my throat and I had to swallow several times to force it back down into my chest. It was beating rapidly like the fluttering wings of a moth that was attracted to a flame. However, this time if I got too close to that flame, I would burn out and die.
I had to be careful around this boy. I didn’t want to imprint, so I’m not going to, I thought to myself. I’ll simply not reciprocate the feelings this boy is forced to feel because of the imprint. It might hurt temporarily, but I’ll do anything to stay happy and not to crawl back into that dark hole I used to be stuck in.
I then caught him staring at me – big brown, fathomless eyes that screamed stay away from me. I flinched violently, clasped my hands around the straps of my rucksack – ringing them tight in my grasp – and then I pulled myself up quickly and left the room so fat it must have looked like a blur. I could still feel his glare on my back as I left, the usual his eyes burning holes through my soul junk.
I strode around the corner into the back alley; my shoulders stiff, spine straight and my head held in as much dignity that I could muster up then I screamed into my hands until bolts of violet shone before my eyes. After I wiped the strained tears away from my face I gathered myself together and found Ben and Jeremy coming from the coffee shop. “Where have you been girl? I’ve been looking for you everywhere. I’ll see you later,” he winked at Jeremy, pecked him on the cheek and came towards me.
I laughed faintly hysterically, “So he finally caved in to your charm, I’m guessing?”
Ben blushed furiously, his skin semi-permanently blemished rosy. “That’s why he came over. He wanted to ask me on a date. It turns out he has liked me for the past few weeks,” he winked cheekily and chuckled ecstatically.
“I’m happy for you. Really.” I put a hand on his wrist and pulled on a happy smile. “By the way, do you mind telling our lecturer I feel ill today? I need to go home.”
“How do you feel ill?” He started acting all professional-like. Testing my temperature, having a shocking gasp when my temperature was blazing hot (although that’s a wolf side-effect) counting my heart beats from my wrist – although very unsuccessfully – and then finally giving in with a sigh of heavy relief. “Get yourself home; I’ll deal with the lecturers temper tantrum if she has one.”
I pulled him into a warm hug, “Thank you, Ben. Have fun on your date tonight. You have to tell me everything tomorrow.”
“Oh I will,” he added a mischievous grin. “I’ll meet you here at twelve. See you later!” He waved me goodbye and set off for Astronomy. Another plus for not attending was I didn’t have to see Joshua with Tara draped over his shoulder like curtains. Not a pretty sight.
It turns out my body alarm didn’t need an afternoon nap at the apartment, so instead I pulled myself along to work. I was gratefully added to the line of the staff for this afternoon, even though it was my day off. I pulled my hair up into a ponytail (it had grown out now and it was past my shoulders) and threw on my work pants and shirt.
I pulled my weight that afternoon; busted loads of tables, took in several large orders, got some generous tips, got my butt slapped by some lad that I felt like punching – I cornered him later – and got whistled at, but of course, I just scowled and walked away. There were some positive and negative factors to working here. After a few hard hours of work I parked myself at one of the stools at the bar and heaved a breathless sigh. Leon moved himself along by my side and started wiping the counter down with an old oil-stained rag. “What’s up, Leah? Regret working on your day off?” he chuckled.
“Not really, I’m just tired and I’ve had a really iffy day. I just want to go to sleep and forget anything ever happened.”
I could see from a distance, dust covering the speckled surfaces of unused dark green champagne bottles, the faded blood red ribbons that were tied around the necks of the bottles and the bright yellow labels. “College, boy or family troubles?”
“None actually, my troubles are not quite of this earth.”
“Oh heavens,” he shouted mockingly. “You’re not an alien, are you?”
I shook my head – nope, I’m a shape-shifter who can turn into a wolf. “Nope I’m not. Don’t worry; I wont abduct you in your sleep.”
“You better not, I’ll be having good dreams tonight and waking me up will get me really annoyed.”
My work day ended on a laughing note and I was glad of that. All of my imprint troubles seemed to be melting away and when I left the restaurant I hurried down a quiet and desolate alleyway and felt a familiar shiver down my spine. It felt good to be back! My two legs transformed into four paws, my face into a long muzzle with snapping jaws. My wolf coat was longer now since my hair had grown, I’d have to get it cut again. I padded back and forth feeling the wind curling through my fur, the concrete underneath my weight and the new strong smells of the city – Grease, burning tires, garbage, the sewers…
I ran back to my apartment through a maze of back alleys, if I was seen in the city it was certain that animal control would be called. Soon enough I found myself at my door. I changed back, using the clothes stashed near a plant pot by my door I pulled them on. I was just pulling my top over my head when I heard a low growling from behind me.
I spun around on my heels to find a pair of yellow animalistic eyes watching me intently; I threw myself against the wall – although I wasn’t as scared as I acted. The eyes disappeared and I heard a low chuckle echo in the darkness. “Who’s there?” I demanded.
“Don’t know who I am yet, do you? Maybe I should introduce myself.” From the shadows emerged my so-called imprint – his chocolate hair dented to one side, his lips in a somewhat cruel, yet surprising smile. He was stark naked. I looked away, instantly embarrassed. “I thought you’d be used to seeing this sort of thing?” he questioned, gesturing to his body.
“What do you mean?”
He took a few paces nearer to me; my skin was alight with wild electricity. “With your pack, I mean. I’m sure you saw stuff like this before,” again, signaling his nude body.
Oh god! How does he know? And why doesn’t he put any clothes on. I had enough of naked half-men back at La Push. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Well maybe we should start over. My name’s Daniel, and I am just like you.”
I was about to ask how he is similar to me when all of a sudden; his skin melted away and instead of Daniel standing naked in front of me, a black prowling panther was strolling in front of me. Its hungry eyes at my throat.
The panther growled. A shape-shifter just like you, Daniel replied inside of my mind.
“How is that possible?”
Welcome to my world, my imprint. His voice was bitter and it sliced through me. That was around about the time when I blacked out.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter: HERE