- Leah, Clearwater
I was careful to duck under the spearing branches to ensure that no crinkle of crushed leaves would betray my presence. There was a tug at my throat and I looked back warningly. The hem of my jacket was caught. I eased it free and gave a sigh of exasperation.
The outline of the five boys was visible through the lattice of green leaves and twigs. The shine of their tanned skin and cropped black hair all too familiar. I shivered with delight. Why had I been away for so long?
One of the figures was particularly pleasing to see; I took three more large strides and emerged from my hiding place. “Afternoon,” I greeted.
“Leah,” Seth said through smiling lips, frantic with happiness. He ran to me and pulled his arms around my chest and hugged me fiercely, his grip never loosening. “You’re finally back, mom’s been so worried, I didn’t–”
“Seth, I can’t bre-a-t-h-e,” I panted, interrupting him before he stepped away, circles of blush painted on his cheeks. “Calm down and cool it, mom’s alright. I was there ten minutes ago. And you didn’t know I was coming because I didn’t tell anyone,” I continued, running my fingers through my hair.
He smiled nervously. “Why didn’t you tell us? I could have taken the day off patrols,” he replied, then looked back at Sam with the wide puppy-dogs eyes I had missed.
Sam looked at me and grinned warmly, as if he had somewhat missed me in the way my old body had mourned for him relentlessly – like magnetic opposites where no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t pull myself close enough to him. “Of course you can have the day off, Seth. Welcome back Leah. How was Vancouver?”
“Great,” I answered, the back of my throat tightening as I thought of Daniel and Julian. “I really enjoy it. College is, well – educating. I have an apartment, new friends, a job, things are looking up.” I noticed their faces swelled with a subtle jealously. “I do miss la Push however, the ocean air here is such a luxury. So fresh.”
“Were glad you’re back,” Embry called, brushing mud from his knees. “It’s been kinda lonely without a female wolf around. Plus, I think Jacob here has missed racing with you; he’s been practicing since you left.”
Jacob’s back stiffened and he finally raised his eyes from the ground. “Shut up Embry.”
“Chill Jake, I was only joking. Jeez, you can be such a sour-puss sometimes.”
I looked at my old pack-leader, Jake. It was true he had grown again – a lot – but it wasn’t only his height that had grown, but also a strong tolerance towards me, and I didn’t know why. His eyes were dark and fathomless when he looked at me, his lip curling and his voice strained. I waved feebly. “Hey Jake. How’s Renesmee?” I tried to ask politely.
“She’s fine,” he snapped, before stalking away into the bushes and changing. The last I saw was a shred of clothes floating in the air quietly like a cloud of burning cinders and his russet brown fur darting in the direction farthest away from me.
My heart lurched painfully. “What’s wrong with him?”
“It’s that time when he gets at the full height of his drama-king attitude,” Jared joked, coming forward to hug me warmly.
Quil was in the background, his burly figure noticeable in the clearing. I gave him a quick hug. By the end I was flushed with excitement – the thought of being home for a while, even if it was the anniversary of my father’s death – was a sort of blessing. Quil had a faint shimmer to his lips. I raised an eyebrow before asking, “Has Claire been busy with your face again?”
“Dammit, is that stupid lippy-stuff still on me?” He questioned, trying to rub it off fiercely with his arm. “I look like such a girl.”
“A very good-looking girl,” Seth joked, stepping beside me and taking my hand in his. I had missed Seth so much.
I looked around the small gathering of the wolves, pulling a strand of my now long hair behind my ear – it was curled in soft coils and for once I thought I even detected a hint of flattery in their thoughts. “Are you heading towards Emily’s? I need to see her. I’ve missed her cooking,” I said, rubbing one hand over my stomach.
Seth turned to pull me away before Sam called after me. I turned around pulling my grasp from Seth’s wrist and walked towards my old sweetheart. The spark that used to flare underneath my skin like explosions of fireworks in the sky was no longer present, but a dull thrumming of forgiveness took it’s place. “I wanted to say how great it is to see you. You erm…look wonderful,” he said, then pinched the bridge of his nose awkwardly.
“Thanks,” I blurted out, my eyes stinging listlessly. “It’s great to see you too; I’ve missed seeing you guys.” If I was correct, I thought I distinguished a hint of edge in the way his jaw was clenched – as if there was something hidden underneath that was being dug up with my every word.
“Now who’s coming for some of Emily’s cooking,” Jared howled, already running ahead through the forest of clawing branches, beckoning us to follow hurriedly.
Everyone chased after him, barking a laugh as Jared tripped over a jagged rock outcrop and landed on his chest before hauling himself up and racing after the others in a speedy pursuit. I walked slowly behind with Sam at my left, his eyes looking beyond the tree’s, searching for Emily with a new found fortitude in the way he held his gaze.
I was now comfortably numb around Sam; but the sudden brush of warm skin and the jerk of his arm away was painful. I noticed the thick chord of veins pulsing briefly in his neck. “If you want to run ahead with the others, you can. I just want to walk for a while to savor this feeling,” I said with a soft smile.
“What feeling?” He eyed me curiously.
Our steps were closely matched and I felt like slowing behind him to hide away in the shadows. “Just being home. I’ve missed La Push so much, even after adapting to my new life.”
“What have you missed most?” He turned his head to look at me with a sober expression.
“To feel loved once again, to have the people I care about the most around,” I admitted, as we stopped walking and we stood still, our figures so close together I could hear his labored breathing. The silence between us was somehow penetrating.
He bit his lip. “You weren’t loved in North Vancouver?”
“I–Well, I-” I stammered, my voice seeking to hide in my throat as my foot slid across the ground nervously. Should I tell him? It’s not like he’s going to care regardless? “I didn’t mean it like that, it’s just things have ha–”
“Guys, over here!” Emily yelled as she came running towards us waving frantically, and the long scar that trailed down the side of face glittered like a silver wire. I shuddered off my uneasiness and smiled ecstatically. When she got to us, Emily embraced Sam tightly as he spun her effortlessly in the air and they kissed passionately – my own chest tightening as Daniel and Julian’s images slotted themselves next to each other in my mind.
“Leah, how are you?” Emily cried, coming towards me with her arms outstretched after her lips had parted from Sam’s. But the love was suffocating as it smothered the air.
“I’m great,” I responded. “How are you doing? I heard you are busy planning the wedding?” The words came out laced with exhilaration as I pulled my arms away from my friend, my cheeks burning.
Emily seemed to bounce on the spot with excitement. “Has Sue been spilling the beans already? I asked her to keep it a secret.”
“She told me, yes,” I answered, starting to walk towards the house slowly, keeping my eyes to the ground. “But, what has my mom got to do with your wedding?”
Sam chuckled darkly. “Sue is helping us plan the wedding with Emily’s mom, who is due to fly in any day now. They have been talking over the phone constantly trying to agree on the arrangements.”
“Oh,” I heaved a sigh. “I never knew. Oh well, I thought the Cullen Pixie would be doing everything?”
“You mean Alice?” Emily chirped.
I nodded stiffly, an abrupt and hasty chill sending shivers up my spine. Sam even noticed my sudden change in expression. “Alice is helping, but we’ve given her strict rules as to what she can do,” Sam answered, taking swift glances behind us as we moved towards the house that was now visible. There was something the wolves weren’t telling me? Jacob, and now Sam?
When we reached the house the smell of rosemary, daises and buttercups reached my nose – the flower boxes filled with delicately colored flowers side-by-side like brothers and sister’s joining hands. Emily and Sam disappeared inside as they were tangled together, and I lingered at the fringe of the forest – my heart beating rapidly.
“I will beat this,” I murmured to myself quietly.
I headed towards the house, my soft footsteps defying my hanging conflicted mood; coming back to La Push and all of this in one day was so much to cope with on to top of everything I had suffered from in the past weeks. Before I stepped inside, I felt my stomach coil as a pair of eyes watched my disappearing figure from the protection of the green giants.
The sky was as midnight black as Julian’s hair, and the stars winked at me like shards of glitter. The moon was a crescent and the craters resembled small hollows in the moon’s face as if it had been weathered by old age. I padded up the steps to my mother’s house, the light in the kitchen bright and it made my eyes water as I came closer towards it.
“I hope she can warm up my dinner,” Seth yawned, stretching his arms after wiping away the sleep from his weary eyes.
“Didn’t you just eat a whole pan of home-made soup at Emily’s,” I snorted, my limbs exhausted. “You can such a pig.”
Seth rapped on the door before opening it, then trudged inside. “We’re home,” he shouted.
“I’m in here,” Sue called from the kitchen, her voice coarse and rough as if she had a bad throat. “Your dinner is still warm, Seth, and Leah, there’s a sandwich in the fridge if you want it.”
I smiled back with appreciation and grabbed the snack and bit into it hungrily. Seeing the wolves eat so much had made my stomach grumble from my lack of attention towards its needs. “What are you doing?” I asked between bites, shuffling towards my mother, noticing official papers fanned out across the table.
Sue heaved them up and stood up, her eyes heavy with lack of sleep, “Nothing really. Now don’t you kid’s be up too late, you need your sleep.”
“Goodnight mom,” Seth spluttered, particles of his half-eaten dinner falling to the floor. I rolled my eyes.
When Seth was finished, he cleaned his plate and we started up the stairs, our footsteps quiet as the faint sound of our mothers snoring sauntered to our ears. “Seth,” I questioned, holding onto the banister to keep me from falling from my tired legs. “What’s up with the pack?”
“What do you mean? Nothing’s wrong. They’re all just busy preparing for the wedding and for dad’s remembrance.”
I shivered, goosebumps rising on my skin at the mere mention of why I was supposed to be there, but I was now there for a completely different reason and I was going to put it to good use.
My breathing was heavier and it sounded deep and almost like an intruder’s, my heart beat never raced like that. “What about Jacob? What’s up with him? He never used to act like that. Is he still, you know, pissed that I left?”
Seth stumbled up a step. “No. He’s happy you have a better life now.”
“Then why?” I demanded. “Everyone’s acting so secretive; it’s getting old and annoying. I just want the truth.”
We reached Seth’s room and he pushed the door open. “There’s no secret, Leah. Goodnight, we can talk this over in the morning. I’m too tired,” he said through a yawn and then retreated towards his bed where he fell into a deep sleep almost instantly.
So everyone was asleep in the house besides myself, and somehow it felt strangely alien, as if I’d never seen this place before. But rather it was the fact that I needed to familiarize myself with my surroundings. The rough feel of the wallpaper, the faint flicker of car lights through the windows, the soft carpet between my toes and the eerie silence that crept through the house like a sinuous snake.
I tiptoed into my room quietly, pushed the door shut and locked it until it was secure. It smelled strongly of detergent and even in the strange glow, the room still looked unfamiliar and suddenly I felt alienated.
With trembling fingers I went to push the light on by the switch but I was pinned to the wall by a pair of rough shadowed hands. The voice was detached and as cold as a sharpened blade. “Be quiet,” he hissed.
“Who are you?” I demanded though clenched teeth, my chest tight with fear.
“You’ll know in time,” he answered. “Now listen to me, and listen well.” He tightened his grip and I felt the blood being restricted from my fingers. I whimpered softly. “You are not, I repeat not, going to acknowledge your friends strange behavior but are rather going to pass it off. You can’t trust them.”
I heard my mother and Seth shuffle in their beds and my heart leapt into my throat. “My mother and brother? You’re not going to hurt them?”
“My friends will smoother them in their sleep if you try to escape, so don’t even think about it butter-cup. Promise me you won’t look into the recent La Push matters and I will be on my way.”
He cursed under his breath and pushed a hand over my mouth. I didn’t struggle with him out of fear for my families lives, even though I knew it was against my nature to be so passive. “Don’t even think about asking that question again. Now do you promise?”
From the corner of my eye I could see the faint glisten on a necklace around the intruder’s neck – it was a five pointed star. “I-I promise,” I staggered, my voice uneven.
“Good,” he responded, stepping away from me. I could feel his acidic stare boring into my eyes. He must have good night vision. “We will go now, but if you back down on your word, I swear we will be back,” he sneered and then I heard the window shut and he was gone.
I clambered from my position and on unsteady feet I ran to my mother’s and Seth’s room. They were fast asleep, their eyes closed peacefully with no sign of an intruder.
Taking a surprised turn back to my room, I climbed onto my bed and sunk underneath the sheets, trying to sleep, but throughout the night my eyes continued to imagine the federal figure of the man standing in the corner of the room – his malicious yellow eyes glowing like a cats.
1. Why is Jacob angry with Leah?
2. Why is Sam acting strange around Leah?
3. Who was watching Leah from the tree’s when she went into Emily’s?
4. Is Sue hiding something from her children?
5. What is Leah’s reason for coming to La Push besides her father’s remembrance?
6. Who was in Leah’s room?
Feel free to follow me on Twitter: HERE