- Leah, Clearwater
Who would have ever thought I would have confided in Carlisle Cullen? He was one of the creatures I despised enough. His undead kin were responsible for my father’s death. I couldn’t show them any mercy or even sympathy; yet his calm and collected face had melted most of my worries, and I had confided in him the dream that had sent my turbulent fear spiraling out of control.
When I had told him the story of the fanatical dream, Carlisle sat and listened with open ears and comforted me as reassuringly as possible, the icy chill of his skin a false relief, but somewhat appreciated.
There had been no malice in his eyes that could have forced me into a false sense of security. The doctor hadn’t even launched into a colourful story about how delusional and mistaken I could possibly be. He was simply sitting there and refused to deny his judgement of my predicament – I sworn I had seen the compassion and condolence in his eyes.
Now that I had thought about it in depth, my rational side told me that it was more than a mere projection of my imagination, but a reinforcement of the man’s words who had been in my bedroom. They would hurt my family if I didn’t oblige to his commands.
My throat clenched as I replayed his instructions over and over.
“Ouch, darn it,” I cried, pulling my scolded hand away from the crackling pan and cradling it to my chest, the ambush of spitting hot oil dangerously close to my arm. I had been dreading the demonstration of my culinary skills all day; never once had Seth touched the food I had prepared. Now, however, he was compellingly silent and willing.
Carefully, I flipped the egg over with the used spatula. Seth had a bad habit of eating eggs raw and tasteless without trying new ways to eat them; this would be the first time. I was hopeful that he would enjoy the tasteful – yet effortless – recipe of “Eggs over Easy.”
“Is that safe to eat?” Seth asked. The rumbles of his empty and yearning stomach were loud enough for me to hear and to acknowledge that he was hungry.
I chuckled lightly, masking my inconsistent thoughts. “Do you want to be the first to check if it’s poisoned, or me?” I mused.
Seth looked at me through a hooded gaze, a thin smile on this lips, and then went back to picking at a lose thread on his overly-washed gray sweater. The hood was pulled forward over his head – a messy tuft of dark hair – and his mind was lingering elsewhere.
Seth’s attention was hanging on to Mom; whatever conversation I tried to establish – such as the pack, Sam now picking up Emily’s mom since our family was in crisis mode… and Jacob’s strange behaviour – it always strayed back like an lost pet to that un-needed topic, which churned my stomach until I felt like retching up air.
Back at the hospital, once I had slept away my ultimate fears and suppressed desires, I finally managed to grasp a connection on my mobile. Seth was first in my list of people to call, and to my oblivious temperament I discovered he was punching out his sorrow, betrayal, worried and hurt feeling on tree’s.
A neighbor had called and told him, unnecessarily, that he would do anything to help us in these forlorn times. And then there was the Cullen’s. I had to tell them something, so I asked if they could keep a watch out. I received their apologies and then they were gone – it was as if they’re keeping something suspicious from me.
Seth was adamant in his endless demands to go and see mom at the hospital, the look in his eyes carrying a burden of stress and anxiety. However, I had used my artificial authoritative tone to keep him here.
“Dinner’s served,” I said, sliding the “Eggs over Easy” onto a large plate and pushing it towards Seth and his pouting face. He stared at me with wide eyes at first, apprehensive about the first taste; but it wasn’t long until the freshly-cooked smell enticed him to eat; his movements however were still strained.
“Do you think Mom will be alright?” he questioned, swallowing his food and asking in a small trembling voice, as if pleading for the release of his coiling worry. The cutlery was shaking in his hands. I knew this was about our father just as much as Sue.
I took a deep breath; this was what I had been waiting for. “She’ll be fine–”
“–How do you know that though?” he bellowed loudly, thudding his fist against the table, so it rocked on its heels, the glass of orange juice like a hurricane inside of a cup as it shook violently against the tables convulsions.
“Seth!” I replied, biting my bottom lip to hold back the coming of the stinging hot tears in my eyes. “Don’t say such trivial things.”
Pushing his hood back, revealing the stained tracks of dried tears on his cheeks, Seth threaded his fingers in his cropped hair nervously. “I wouldn’t, if you’d just let me see her,” he sobbed somberly, resting his head on my shoulder.
I grabbed his other fisted hand and held it tightly against my own palm; I could feel his thudding pulse through his fingers against my own repetitive heartbeats. They were then swallowed up in my own deceitful guilt. The pain that was visible in his face was heart-wrenching and the kindling warmth that had spread to my fingers and toes receded, bringing an arctic chill to my skin.
“Seth,” I soothed, pulling my arms around him to comfort – and console – him like a sister such be. Seth looked up at me with tearing eyes; this was the first time I’d seen him cry since our father’s death. It made my heart clench tighter as if squeezed. “Mom has faced tougher challenges than this; we can’t let our worries deepen our fears anymore than what they are,” I said, holding back the battering force in my throat to spill everything I knew.
Seth shifted from my shoulder, wiping away the tearing sobs from his eyes. “Dad would have wanted us to keep our cool,” he added, leaning back towards the table where he gulped down the fresh orange.
“We can’t lose what we never had, Seth,” I added, rumbling chuckles from both of us, before it returned to an eerie silence.
I licked my own lips, my throat parched and rubbed dry like sandpaper with my tearless mopping. Stepping towards the sink, I grabbed the nearest cup and filled it with misty water, throwing it down in one whole gulp. The pain of this whole ordeal weighed heavier than the load of my pride, my selfish arrogance keeping me to tell anyone the whole story.
Looking through the murky panes of the window, I noted a family carrying a picnic basket and heading towards the small and dilapidated park. The father was tall and carried a sense of loyalty in his countenance; on his shoulders was a young girl, a fist-full of his hair in her bundled little fists. On his left was the mother, a length of black hair down to her waist, she was holding hands with a little boy with dark hair, who was clutching a toy-train in his hand.
“Carlisle said mom would be fine,” I assured Seth, turning around to face him. Has was busy finishing off his “Eggs over Easy” – success! He likes them! That’s a first. But my words had startled Seth and he was watching me closely.
Seth wiped his greasy hands on his jeans. “You saw Carlisle?” He questioned, half-way between traumatized and stunned – Seth knew I disliked the Cullen’s strongly and his reaction was very much expected. “Talked to him?”
I smiled warmly. “I did. He was very ki–”
“Leah Clearwater, were you about to say Carlisle was kind?” Seth chuckled, clutching his own chest in laughter, unaware of the absurdity of it. But it was true; I was actually going to say he was kind, even considerate, towards our problems.
“I – Alright you caught me,” I surrendered, holding up my hands. Seth watched, as if his eyes were recording this moment so he could put it on playback later. Oh yes, he would be enjoying this. Perhaps it was the illogicality and silliness of the events in North Vancouver that had changed my mind – although, the image of Julian still sent stern shivers down my spine. “Carlisle was sweet and caring, I have to admit I was wrong about him, but–” I affirmed, seeing Seth about to say ‘I told you so’ and declare himself victorious in his war to change my mind. “–he is still a vampire.”
Seth’s face didn’t even fall by the tag I added on the end, he just kept staring at me in mock-horror. “Who are you and what have you done with my sister? Are you a clone? A swamp monster?”
I burst out laughing, feeling everything leak away and replaced with a genuine and substantial delight. “You wish, squirt. Now eat up. Emily’s mom is staying over, remember, so I need your help cleaning.”
Emily’s mom, Tallulah, was a lady of organization.
If mom was around she would have made us scrub the entire house up and down before Tallulah arrives, which we did, but mom’d give us a break occasionally. We would have triangle–shaped sandwiches with coffee to regenerate the use of our arms, but this time we worked non–stop, the image of mom lying still and unmovable in the hospital bed pushing me forwards, despite the plea’s and squealing protests from my aching body.
When we had finished the whole house and it looked as if we had just bought it, furniture included of course, and polished everything with whitener. The kitchen floor even reflected our faces back almost like a mirror.
After the taxi had dropped off Tallulah, we warmly greeted her and showed her around, including the guest room, which would be hers for a while. Sam lingered behind, he was sewn to my shadow, following me wherever I went. Seth lagged behind. He knew I was going to see mom after this. I was half-expecting him to grab onto my ankle and plead to come, however he remained calm, or at least he hid his uneasy anxiety and growing angst.
“Are you alright,” Sam asked, placing a hand on mine as the taxi pulled into the hospital parking lot. “Do you want me to come in with you?”
My hand felt uncomfortable under his, it was as if our contact was now poisoned and each touch sent unease spreading through my body like a wild-fire. I removed my hand and looked into his earnest eyes. “I’ll be fine, Sam. I won’t be alone,” I stated.
“Oh right,” he replied gravely, sitting back into the seat. “The doctor vamp is keeping an eye on you.”
“Carlisle is, yes. I asked the Cullen’s to help,” I answered. Sam eyed my curiously as the taxi stopped. He was right on one part; Carlisle would be watching, but even if he wasn’t around, someone else was.
I knew it was because I was always alert to their presence – the same musty scent amongst others; the edgy feeling I got when they were watching my every move, and the prickle on the nape of my neck when they vanished. “I better go,” I opened the door and slipped out. Goosebumps rose on my arms – my stalker is here, oh joys!
Sam pulled himself out as well, caught up and grabbed me by the elbow. I looked back suddenly alarmed. “What is up with you, Leah? You’re acting different. You never used to like these leeches.”
I shuddered violently, that word having a profound effect on me.
Sam’s teeth were clenched. “I want the old Lee-Lee back.”
My heart stopped beating and the blood was constricted at my wrists, my fingers frozen into fists at my sides. Sam had used the old nick-name he gave me when we were together, and happy, and now it sliced open old scars, letting long gone memories spill out and enrage me even more.
My legs were like half-melted wax, I couldn’t move. “Sam, I can’t – let go,” I instructed him, since my body wasn’t registering to any of my screaming mental commands.
His grip tightened for a moment, and then I knew why. There was a flurry of wind around us; like someone had just run past us and the sweet smell gave it all away. Darn you! Sam started to pull me away.
“Let go, Sam. I’m going to see my mom,” I demanded, pulling away before stepping back towards the sweet smell that – for an odd reason – didn’t seem so unbearable right then.
“Leah, are you crazy?” he shouted, gesturing towards the taxi. “Get in, you know that smell anywhere. You hate it!”
“Sam!” I put my hands on my hips. “I can fend for myself. Go home to Emily; I’m going to see my mom before it gets dark.” I spun around to leave.
“I’m coming with you,” he said and ran up to me then stood by my side.
Can’t you just see I want to be alone? “Sam,” I half-shouted, as I tried to contain my temper. “Go home, please,” I pleaded.
His face fell, and I mean literally fell. It was as if on that point, at that very moment, he lost all respect for me and who I had become. Did he really prefer the moodier, vamp–hating me, or the new happier Leah? I couldn’t tell, but one thing I knew was that I wasn’t going to allow Sam to get in my way ever again; not in the way of being happy, or in the way of my relationships. That part had ruined me and now I was finally healed.
Sam backed off. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled, his head bowed, then he climbed into the taxi and it shot off, as if an arrow being twanged from a bow.
I felt my heart sigh with relief, and then cold, hard eyes staring at me. “Was that really necessary?”
“You tell me, Leah. Did you want the ruffian gone, or not? I can get him to come back,” his voice was low and seductive, like a cat purring. He flicked his black hair from his face, his green eyes shining underneath like the color of stained glass.
“Can’t you listen to a girl for once? You may have loads of girls begging you to bite them, and you accept, but understand this: When I told you to stay away from me, I meant it, Julian,” I retorted acidly, my expression bitter.
Julian gave a light laugh. “I understood perfectly, Leah. But do you not comprehend that I vowed to protect you, and here I am. Be grateful,” he mused, clicking his tongue.
I pushed past him and walked onwards, his presence however irritated me and I turned back. “You can leave now, Sam’s gone, not that he was a threat,” I said sharply, jabbing a finger at him pointedly.
“Dear one, that young wolf-cub was not your threat, this threat is much bigger. You must come back home, to North Vancouver. It is safe there,” he replied, holding out his hand. “With me,” he added a bit too quietly for my liking.
Was Julian actually referring to my safety? I was with him, a vampire, and he calls this safety? “How do you know this? And when will this threat begin?” I demanded.
“It was in the prophecy, you are not protected here,” Julian fretted, a sullen fear even brewing behind his green contacts. I repeated my second question again, but more abruptly. “You will know: there will be blood, fire, death and in the background a five-pointed star.”
My insides froze: the five-pointed star! I remembered it clearly – hung around the intruder’s neck and glistening from the light of the full-moon. “I have to go see my mother,” I stammered, turning my back towards him and walking towards the entrance, my mind simmering in turmoil.
“Leah,” Julian shouted. There was a whisk of wind, then his hand against my cheek. For once the coldness felt good against my fever-hot skin. I didn’t flinch away.
Julian’s touch was smooth, and for a moment, I even felt dazed.
“Your mother will live, heart-attacks do not run in your family so she will survive,” he revealed, and then vanished before I could blink. I touched my cheek and stood there for minutes on end, as I waited for the cold edge to leave my skin, and to once again be replaced by the taunting heat.
Her breathing was just as before, paced and almost sleep-like, as if she was in a long-term nap. She even acted out the part well; occasionally mumbling or talking in her sleep. So far it was only quite incoherent rambles. It was somewhat comforting to hear her voice, even if she wasn’t awake.
I had pulled the chair up by the side of her bed and sat there for nearly an hour holding her hand, praying for the release of this ever-lasting sleep and for her to wake up.
My mind whirled: Could it be one of those Disney Princess things where only her true love could wake the princess from her eternal sleep? Charlie could try, I guess, but my dad was her only true love.
And he was gone.
I ran my fingers over her knuckles soothingly.
Carlisle had even been in to check up on myself and Sue, but even he couldn’t do anything to help bring her back to us. There had to be something….something Julian had said that I hadn’t caught.
Julian had mentioned my father and his heart-attack, but what does that have to do with anything? My mother had the same and if I didn’t find a cure, I’d never be-able to tell her how sorry I was, or ask her to call me every name relating to a bad daughter as possible.
For once, I wished the walls in the omnipresent room would cave in and collapse around me. First this, and now Julian’s prediction of La Push chaos:
Blood…fire…death….and a five-pointed star!
Who thought coming back to La Push for my father’s remembrance, and other reasons, would be so confusing and problematic.
“Test results.” The voice was faint but I knew it from anywhere. I threw my head up and watched my mother mouth words, some of them forming on her tongue, others being lost. I stood up, tears already welling up in my eyes.
“Mom,” I sobbed, jerking her wrist slightly to see if she’d wake up.
She didn’t stir, just silent words pouring from her cracked, dry lips.
“Harry…results…fake..accident…report.” Those were just a few that came out, as my heart twisted.
The rest was senseless babble about house chores, bills to pay, myself and Seth, Charlie and a name I hadn’t recognised before, but my attention was elsewhere. Julian’s words stirred in my head.
“Your mother will live, heart-attacks do not run in your family so she will survive.”
Questions burst through my mind and in a flash everything came together. My heart was racing at new incredible speeds.
If what I was thinking was truly possible, I’d need evidence. To get the proof I required; I’d need someone to help me; someone without body-heat and a stealthy personality. There was only one man, or creature, for the job.
“Julian,” I breathed.
I knew within an instant of saying his name that he would come. It was like a telepathic connection.
Climbing onto the hospital bed with my mom, I curled up against her and shut my eyes, just wishing everything would disappear.
“Leah, wake up,” a soft voice called in my ear, a string of hair being pulled off my face. My eyes flashed wide open, my body alert. Julian’s face was inches away from mine, his cheek almost pressed against my own. Warmth against cold. “Are you awake?”
I helped myself up and rubbed the sleep away from my eyes. “I’m fine. What time is it?”
“Quarter to ten at night,” he replied looking at his watch. I muffled my slight giggle at the thought of a vampire wearing a watch; I was then silenced by my instant silly reaction.
“Seth and Tallulah are by themselves, I have to go home,” I whispered. Julian helped me to my feet; I felt unsteady and gripped the support rail of the bed to keep me upright.
Julian was watching me intently, a shiver ran down my spine, but I pushed it firmly back. Had I forgotten about Daniel? My chest twisted at the thought of him. “You can go home if you wish. Now what did you call me here for?”
“Call yo–” I went to start, but I quietened myself. He wasn’t going to help if I insulted him too much. “I need your help.”
“Tomorrow, you want to go home. I’ll order transport for you,” he stated, rather gentleman–like.
Was it me or had his attitude changed dramatically since I saw him in North Vancouver? “That doesn’t matter, I’ll go home and then I’ll sneak out. They’ll never know, Seth especially.”
He nodded cordially and drew a finger over his lips and tossed the key. “Fine, so what is on the agenda for tonight?”
“We’re going to break into the coroner’s office,” I stated plainly, my voice determined.
- Why is Sam acting out-of-character?
- Will Julian’s predictions come true? And what will happen?
- What does “Fire, blood, death and the five-pointed star” symbolize?
- Who’s was the other name Sue muttered in her sleep?
- Why are Leah and Julian breaking into the coroner’s office? And what does Leah need evidence for?
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