Chapter 1: A Foreign Face
Dark, asperous rocks are phalanxed against the Pacific, and sculpted where they stubbornly stand. Among them are pools of ocean wash that managed to get through, but are now benevolent reflections of the stones. Up the hill rows of trees are set like sentries, their backs permanently bent, and yet they still stand gallant against any storm like guardians to the mountains behind them. Hovering amidst all this is a mist that invites one to step in closer and discover the mysteries of the coast, where mythical creatures might have once roamed…
It is quiet, and it is cold, much like any other day would be on the beaches of La Push, Washington. However, the weather has never stopped locals and visitors alike from enjoying the ever changing moods of the wild Olympic Coast.
Families gather for picnics while teenagers brave the bite of the cold air against their wetsuits as they wade eagerly on their surfboards. Children find the deepest parts of the rolling mists and become pirates or dinosaur hunters, or even wild animals; whatever their little minds desire.
On this particular day the beach is almost vacant. The sounds of the small waves crashing against the shore blur against a child’s laughter as she runs towards the water. Her mother shouts for her to slow down as she and her husband juggle the towels and basket full of food in their arms. A mid-teens boy shouts from atop one of the stand alone boulders to his friends, and he beats his chest with his fists in exaggeration. The group all whoop and holler while throwing their hands in the air and jumping to be the first to catch their friend up high.
“Too bad the sun stayed in today.” The woman smiles at her husband as she lays one of the towels down in the grey sand. He returns the smile and helps her settle down to sit.
“Mommy!” Their little girl shouts as she returns from the edge of the water. “The water is too cold!”
“It’s alright, sweetheart. We don’t need to go swimming today.” Her father answers. He sweeps his little girl into his arms and brings her down into his lap. He leans over to open the basket. “How about we see what your mother has put together for us.”
The girl smiles brightly and helps her father pull the items from the case. The strong aroma of fried chicken and potato salad surrounds them as they open each container.
“What did you bring for dessert, mommy?”
“Now that’s a surprise,” the woman laughs as she snatches the basket away before anymore could be revealed. The child pouts dramatically but soon erupts into giggles when her father tickles her sides.
“What is that? Is that a person?” the man speaks up before taking a bite of his meal, his eyes squinting as he focuses on the water ahead.
The family all turn their heads to look out towards the water. Sure enough, a figure emerges between a roll of soft waves. A head, gender unknown, comes up from the surface and hands slide back over their soaked hair.
“They must be crazy, being in the cold water!” the family laughs and continues on with eating their hearty, home-cooked meal. They make small talk and comment on the whirl of flavor in their mouths while a breeze catches the ends of their hair as it passes.
The figure in the ocean moves closer, the water now at shoulder height as they find the wet sand beneath their feet. From a distance its hands can be seen rubbing down its shoulders vigorously, as if it were applying lotion. Or cleaning itself.
“Honey…” The man trails off, his eyes slightly wide, as he stares out at the water again.
“What?” she turns around to view the person surfacing. At this point the water reaches her hips. Sure enough, the figure is a woman. A very naked woman.
“Oh god.” The mother turns in disgust. Her husband doesn’t know whether to laugh or to keep staring as the woman from the ocean approaches a little more, the water parting and ready to reveal everything between the legs.
“Stop staring!” his wife hisses through clenched teeth. Her eyes dart down towards the girl in her husband’s lap who is paying more attention to the drumstick in her hand. “Your daughter…”
“Well someone should go tell her to put something on, don’t you think?” he replies as he slowly pushes his daughter from his lap, careful to face her back towards the waves.
“I’ll do it.” His wife commands quietly while giving him a scrutinizing look. She stares at him for a moment, then grunts as she picks herself up from the ground and heads toward the other woman.
“Excuse me.” She says a little weakly. She isn’t heard. “Excuse me, miss!” she shouts. She thinks she probably sounds a little too agitated but she doesn’t concern herself for another second once the woman’s head turns in her direction.
The woman is young. Very young, the mother concludes as she approaches the girl in the water. She notices that her eyes are wide, like a deer caught in the headlights, and her arms freeze in position as if she were halfway on the route to covering herself up.
“Hello, sorry to bother, but I was just wondering what you were doing?” she says a little rushed.
The girl just stares in shock, her mouth moving a part so slightly it was barely noticeable as if she were searching for words.
“My family happens to be right over there,” the woman continues, “and I know this particular beach happens to be crowded with children during most days. And you’re here, in the buff! How old are you? What are you thinking?” she still rushes her words. She’s a little bit angry and a little bit worried, only for the sake that this naked person seems to be just a girl. And one she does not recognize. She stops when she reaches the point where the waves reach the sand, the girl only feet away from her.
The girl bites her lip and looks sheepish. Her mouth opens again, a little wider this time, but she pauses for a moment, then “Excusez-moi, désolé.” She smiles, then stutters to find more to say. “Um, sorry. I, uh, am not…” she waves her index finger in circles while her eyes scan the beach as if regarding her surroundings, “from here.” Her French accent is thick.
The woman places her hand over her mouth to hold in a laugh. “You poor girl. Darling, this is not like Europe. There are no nude beaches here. Anywhere…” she can’t help but giggle at the whole situation.
The girl leans forward, hanging on every word the woman spoke. Her eyebrows are peaked and her eyes focused as she tries to make sense of what was just said to her. “Désolé. Je suis tellement désolé! I’m so sorry! I, uh, did not know!” she succeeds in covering her top half as she folds her arms against her breasts.
The woman is convinced the girl is innocent, even though a little naïve. “Do you have any clothes? Something to cover yourself?” she asks. The girl stares at her strangely. “Do you have any...” she points at herself and tugs at her sleeve. “Any clothes to put on?”
“Oh,” the girl laughs sweetly. “No, no… clothes… Do you have une serviette? A… a, uh… a towel? Or a robe?”
The woman thinks for a moment and turns to look back at her husband who is watching the event unfold, and he in turn whips his head around as if he were just caught in the act. The woman rolls her eyes and returns her attention to the girl.
Upon further inspection, the girl looks only eighteen, maybe twenty at most. Her skin is creamy and bronzed so slightly, like a flawless kiss of the sun. She has raven hair that sticks to her shoulders and gleams with the coating of the salty ocean water. And her eyes are the deepest blue, like nothing ever seen. Compared to precious jewels, or the first stars glittering alive at dusk, they are completely inhuman. They draw the woman’s very breath from her lungs and send a wave of longing throughout her body.
The girl’s plump lips curl into a smile, and the woman sees in her eyes, so scintillating, that she still awaits an answer.
“Oh! I’m so sorry! Um, yes, I have something you can use. Just…” she pauses and holds her hands, palms out, as if to signify to stay put. “Stay right here,” she finishes. The woman rushes back to her family, and after a few hushed words with her husband, she returns with a large beach towel.
“Here.” She says and hands it to the girl.
Unlike the woman’s introverted and wary nature, the girl throws her arms up to yet again reveal her naked features. She takes the towel and takes her time to shake it of the moist sand as if the fact that she were nude, and reminded of it by the inquiring eyes, was not a bother. She wraps her slender body in the terry fibers and smiles so contagiously.
“Merci! Thank you so much!” The girl exclaims.
“You’re welcome,” the woman simply answers and turns to walk away.
“Is that your… family?” the girl picks up pace and follows in tow.
“Yes, that is my –”
“Oh!” the girl cuts her off and quickens her steps so that she is ahead and moving towards the family’s setup on the beach. “I must meet them!” she shouts.
As she approaches, the man stands up with a grin on his lips. He holds his hand out to the girl for a proper greeting.
“No, no, no.” She resists and hugs him instead. She plants a lingering kiss on each of his cheeks, dangerously close to his lips. “Vous êtes magnifique. Si beau! So handsome!” Her smile is bright and catching as she looks from the father to the young girl sitting and staring in awe.
“Thank you so much,” she continues and slowly backs away. “Merci! Au revoir!”
“That was the strangest thing…” the woman whispers to her husband as the girl turns and makes her way to the path leading away from the beach.
“Does she have a place to stay? Who was she?” he asks.
“I don’t know, and I don’t care. Foreigners…” the woman rolls her eyes then notices her husband is still staring at the bronzed beauty as she retreats. She slaps his shoulder with the back of her hand, “why are you so interested anyway?!”
The conversation between the married couple is soon drowned out by the growing waves as the girl continues walking. She comes to a group of young teenaged boys who are gawking at her. She can hear the whispered “dude, did you see that?” and “I think I’m in love!” as she passes.
The corner of her lips curl up into a mischievous grin when she hears one of the boys shout an “I love you!” in her direction. She turns to let her eyes scour over the group.
“Maybe in ten years, kid.” With that said, and all traces of her French accent gone, she continues her exit off the beach.
When she reaches the tree line and knows the patrons of the shore can no longer see her, she slides the leather wallet she had pulled from the husbands back pocket out from under the hem of the towel. She opens the folds and finds a one-hundred dollar bill, along with other small money, and takes it. She folds the paper and tucks it between her breasts, then tosses the wallet off to the side of the worn path.
The girl finds a white cotton sun dress in the backseat of a car in the parking lot for the beach at the beginning of the pathway. The windows were a quarter of the way down, so she reaches in and effortlessly pulls the item from the vehicle. She slips the dress over her head and leaves the towel to remain where her feet once stood as she continues on yet again.
It is not an exceptional day. The sun hidden behind the low clouds and the mist that envelops the entire town makes everything look grey. The overgrown fungus that swallows the roots of trees in its shroud, the moist and fertile dirt beneath her feet that gives easily with each step, and the wearing paint of an ancient truck that grumbles down the old road – Everything is grey. It’s as if the canvas has been wiped clean. All the greens, and browns, and reds and blues of the world – All the colors have been muted out. Emotionless. As if one can repaint their own world to fit their mood for the day.
Aside from the open air near the beach, there is no breeze. Nothing whispers by her ear or dances with the drying strands of her hair. There are no birds to sing and no crickets to chirp. Just the sounds of nothingness. No warmth settles in the air, and it isn’t cold, at least to her. It’s just a day, like any other day.
The girl walks barefoot through the woods towards the scent of food. She can hear voices and machines, and knows the center of town is not too far ahead. She keeps walking until she comes to a paved road. Just beyond the asphalt is a line of shopping centers. There is a convenience store for prescriptions and snacks connected to a few occupied gas pumps. Next door sits a quaint thrift store and then a café. Several businesses continue further down the streets, but the girls growling stomach reminds her of the last time she ate, so she doesn’t bother with further contemplation.
A bell chimes as she enters the convenience store. The clerk at the counter looks up from his newspaper to view the new customer. The girl gives a quaint smile and moves quickly to the back of the store, careful to not draw anymore attention to herself. She grabs a pair of cheap black flats from a rack containing miscellaneous items, and before ripping the tag off she furtively searches her surroundings for any cameras. Only one behind the clerk. No danger there. She quietly slides the shoes onto her feet then snatches a pair of sunglasses from the same rack and slides them over the top of her head after removing any labels.
She picks out a bag of baked potato chips after turning down another aisle and heads to the counter top. She places the bag of chips on the bar and greets the clerk with a charming smile.
“Will that be all for you today?” he asks.
“That’s it.” She replies.
“Don’t think I’ve seen you before. Are you from around here?” he asks as he pushes buttons into the old register.
The girl laughs lightly. “No, just visiting.”
“Family? And that will be seventy-five cents.”
“No, I guess you could say I’m just passing through.” She smiles again and hands the man a dollar bill.
“Well then, welcome to Forks, Washington! I hope you stay long enough to enjoy this town. It’s really much more magical than it seems.” He winks at her, a kind twinkle in his eye.
She holds in a laugh. “Forks?” she realizes, “I thought I was in La Push?”
“No, ma’am. La Push is about fifteen miles back West. You can just take that road –“
She cuts him off. “I know the way. Guess I didn’t realize I had wandered off this far.”
“Well alright then. I hope you enjoy your stay.” He smiles again.
The girl returns his gesture with a genuine grin. “Thank you,” she answers and turns for the door.
“Now you be sure to stay out of the woods, though, you hear me? ‘Specially at night. They say there are monsters in there. And we don’t want a pretty, young thing like yourself getting hurt, now do we?”
She stops at the threshold and turns to look at the man, a sly, beaming smirk playing on her lips. “I think I’m a little more terrifying than any monsters out there.” She says confidently. “Have a wonderful day!” The bell rings again and the girl disappears out the door, leaving the old man with a perplexed look written across his features.
The girl enters the café next door, setting off a similar bell to the previous store. There are very few people inside, and they all look up from their magazines and books to get a quick glance at the newcomer, but casually return their attention back to whatever they were doing.
“Hello there! What can I get you today?” A young, petite woman with strawberry blonde hair and hazel eyes smiles brightly from the counter.
The girl contemplates the small menu as she approaches. “Well, what do you recommend?”
“Are you more of a tea or coffee girl? Or maybe an Italian soda?”
The girl shrugs.
“My personal favorite is the blackberry jasmine tea. You would probably love it!” she offers cheerily.
“Sound delicious.” The girl smiles and watches as the other woman punches numbers into the register.
“That comes out to a dollar-seventy. Anything else?”
“Do you have any local newspapers or magazines I could read?” she asks as she hands over two dollar bills and slips a third into the tip jar.
The woman points to the back corner, “over there you can find the Peninsula Herald, and most of the magazines are pretty outdated.”
“So,” the woman speaks as she steeps fresh ingredients into a large ceramic mug. “What high school do you go to?”
The girl laughs lightly. “I’m a little old for high school.”
The barista eyes her strangely. “Are you from around here? I don’t think I’ve ever seen you…” she trails off.
“I just heard that from the man next door. This must really be a small town.” She shares another small laugh with the woman. “But no, I’m just visiting.”
“For how long?”
“Not sure. Maybe a week, maybe less.”
“I bet you will love it here. We may not have any shopping malls or host big social events, but this town is a lot more than it seems. There is really so much that you can do!” the woman exclaims as she slides the mug across the counter towards the girl.
The girl purses her lips and blows softly towards the steaming surface of the tea. “I’m not much for socializing any way.”
“Well I’m Taryn.” The woman offers her hand and the girl takes it for a friendly shake.
“Sarah.” She smiles.
“It’s nice to meet you, Sarah. And if you need someone to show you around, just come find me. I could show you everything Forks has to offer!” The young woman is contagiously bright and bubbly.
“I will. Thanks.” Sarah responds with another smile.
She grabs a newspaper from the rack and takes her tea to the small patio out front, if it could even be called that. It consisted of three tables, each with two chairs, and they are strategically placed on the wide sidewalk between the wall of windows of the café and the road. As she sits at one of the tables, she pulls the sunglasses from the crown of her head down over her eyes. She sips on the still sweltering tea and licks her lips of the sweet taste as she flips through the paper.
A large crowd of teenagers saunter by, most of which don back packs or messenger bags. The girls are laughing and chattering loudly while the boys grin and poke at them. Sarah lifts her eyes from the newspaper for a moment to watch as the kids flirt and play, oblivious to the world around them. Half of the group enters the café. Some linger behind on the side of the street while a couple wave their goodbyes and continue their trek down the road.
The conversation is a blur as Sarah focuses on reading the local news. Nothing too exciting, and she had expected nothing less. She does, however, notice when the teenagers grow silent.
Her eyes climb from the periodical again and are greeted with six new sets. The kids stare back at her in wonder, so she studies their expressions. They’re prying eyes are intrusive, full of questions and fascination. Desire is written across the males faces, while the girls look almost jealous, or disgusted by their counterpart’s reactions.
Sarah simply mounts her brow, lets her stare linger for a moment then directs her attention back to her reading. Within moments the dialogue between the teenagers picks back up and the woman is left alone with her tea and paper.
When Sarah finishes reading from front to back, the sun is beginning to settle for the night. The sounds of the woods coming to life heighten like a concerto wafting through an old abandoned theater. The streetlights flicker as their almost expired bulbs struggle to use the last of their potential. The town is quiet and the sidewalks are empty. Sarah hadn’t even noticed that the coffee shop had closed.
She leaves the empty mug and newspaper on the table and treads across the street into the woods, back towards the beach where she had started her journey.
What was once grey was now surrounded in blackness. The world has become a blur in the night, but her keen eyes can make out the terrain easily enough. She follows the path further into the woods letting her best senses guide her.
In the distance a long and low howl resonates through the darkness. Probably miles away, but clear as day to the woman. Sarah stops in her tracks, closes her eyes, and lets the sound carry in her ears. Her heart beats slowly and her chin tilts upwards, so slightly, as a soft and subtle smile turns her lips. She breaths deeply through her nose until her lips part to release the baited breath.
Moments later, a series of yips and calls are heard as a peculiar scent reaches Sarah’s nostrils. She smells the wolves, but their aroma is unlike anything she has experienced. She sniffles dramatically to take in a strong whiff, and realizes the smell is everywhere, completely surrounding her. Their stench is marked on the encompassed trees and the air is thick with their claim.
She cannot figure the numbers of the pack. She knows they are miles out, but will most likely not be long until they are near enough to sense her presence. This is their territory, whatever kind of wolves they are with their strange essence, and she decides it would be best to stay off the radar. She doesn’t want any trouble, which tends to happen when she’s around a wild animal.
The tawny beauty strips herself of the sundress and folds it neatly. She finds a crook high up in a nearby tree to place the article and removes the flats from her feet. She tucks all of the money into one shoe and the sunglasses into another before placing them with the dress.
Once her body is clear of any material, she begins to sprint barefoot in the opposite direction of the wolves. As she gains momentum her bones shift and split while a guttural snarl erupts from the back of her throat while raven hair crawls itself across her naked skin. She lurches forward. Large paws succeed her dainty hands as they reach the ground below, and in her place, a tremendous black wolf runs at full speed into the blackness of the night.
Chapter 2: Meet Jacob Black
Jacob reminisces about his past and current life, finding it hard to come up with a reason to actually view life in a positive way. But when he meets the new stranger in town face to face his own knowledge of the world is questioned, and so are his instincts.
The sun has decided to show itself today, marking the first day in a long time that actually feels like spring. The birds greet the break of day with their crooning while all other wildlife rejoices and basks in the newfound warmth. The beaches will soon be crowded with eager families and teenagers hoping to catch even a glimpse of a tan while they can.
Today is an exceptional day.
A warm, yellow light filters in through the large front windows, creeping its way through the quiet house. Each crevice and crack ignites in the glow, revealing old cobwebs in the corners and months of collected dust. As the sun peaks over the crest of treetops, the light stretches itself further into the old wooden home. It splays over a worn sofa and almost brings a new life to the tattered, red cushions, while even the dirtiest glass in the sink gleams at the touch.
When it reaches the last window facing east that was only moments ago blocked by the shadow of a large elm tree, the sunlight blazes into a small bedroom. The morning luster illuminates a taut, muscular frame cloaked in umber skin. Chocolate eyes squint against the welcoming light as they adjust to the change until they flutter open to revel in the brilliance.
He hadn’t slept much the night before, much like most nights. He was used to going weeks without a decent rest. So now, like most mornings, he lies on his back with his arms folded beneath his head and just stares out the window at the world outside. He could lay here for hours, half of the day even, just thinking. After all, he has led an eventful life compared to most and there is much to reminisce on.
He remembers when his name used to mean something, when his existence was actually noticed. Some feared him while others loved him. He was notorious and strong-willed, but he was also loyal to the bone and caring. He cared too much, he figured that out years ago. And now he was just a name, one that would probably be forgotten too soon.
Don’t get him wrong. He isn’t depressed or drowning every day in his sorrows. In fact, he is numb. He is emotionless and could care less about whatever is going on outside of his own life.
He no longer keeps friends. It’s just family and his own little rogue pack. Sure they were small in numbers, but they were strong and he was a good leader. He knew this. Occasionally he and Sam would coordinate, bringing their throngs together for training camps to set the new pups straight or for a threat that could prove too large for one of their circles.
His father, Billy, was still in great health and as wise as ever. Of course he is always worrying about his son, seeing as he rarely visits, and even being just on the other end of the reservation. Jacob just finds it hard to get back into the swing of things. It’s always so easy to revert back to his old self when he is around his father often. Old memories and feelings come swarming back, mainly memoirs of a broken heart, thanks to her.
Bella Swan. Or Bella Cullen, now. Jacob rarely speaks to the girl that once had his heart. His wolves still protect their family when necessary and the Cullen’s are there at any time when he and his pack are in need, but it’s kept to the business end of things, never pleasure. He just can’t stand to look at her anymore, now that she is one of them. His heart no longer yearns and the butterflies that used to churn his stomach ceased years ago, but he can’t help but feel sickened at the waste of a life. She had such a bright future and it was all thrown away, just like that.
For Edward, that pretentious prick. Though there were times Jacob considered him a friend. It seemed they had this unspoken bond, a matter of respect for each other as men and as warriors.
And now they had a real family together. As real as vampires and hybrids get, he guesses. Seven years ago Bella and Edward had a child. Little Renesmee. Jacob couldn’t help but think of the girl as a little monster, but a part of him was drawn to the fact that a part of Bella, the old Bella, was inside of her. Since he rarely saw the girl, she always looked so different, considering she aged so fast. It was always so strange to him, but again, the Cullen’s were nothing but business partners.
Jacob just couldn’t help but question when it was his turn. He was coming up on twenty-six and there were still no prospects. He has had many women, of course, but none that he felt drawn to for more than a few nights. When he was younger, he felt so attracted to even just the idea of love. Obsessed, even, with the thought of finding his imprint. His destiny.
This was no longer the case. He was just an empty shell, feeling nothing towards anything except for the will to work and protect those he does love. Deep down, maybe at the very back corner of his mind, he wondered when he would find her, but he would no longer search for it. There were more pressing matters than his puppy love.
His life was just dull. He has nothing to show for the last five or so years except for his role to play in the pack. The alpha. He cared about nothing but leading his numbers to continued safety. That was all that matters now.
Besides the Cullen’s, vampires rarely ventured into their territory anymore, so there really wasn’t much need for patrolling. However, Jacob felt it was their duty to not only protect themselves and the Cullen family, but also the surrounding towns. Whether it be a vampire or just a strange, mortal newcomer that had bad news on his breath, Jacob kept his pack in shape and scheduled a patrol for every day, even if it were for just an hour.
As the sun rises further into the clear sky and the shadows settle, he remembers what had kept him up most of the night. That scent he and Embry came across at dusk. It was certainly nothing like he had ever come across in his life. Due to the unknown origin of the scent, he had called in the troops.
He and his members searched for hours, chasing this alien odor all over the forests and to the beaches and back but came up with nothing. Though he felt that no trace was found should be alarming, Jacob only felt more enticed. Who could this have been? What was it?
One thing that he could absolutely testify was the stink came from a female, but she wasn’t human. She wasn’t a vampire, either, but there was something in her musky aroma that just seemed so animal, and it drove him absolutely insane not knowing who or what she was. The animal within him roared vigorously for the hunt, the need to find this girl, while the man remained intrigued and alert. Who knew what kind of ghastly creature could have been dragged in with the current this time around?
Jacob rises from bed and stretches his tired body as he makes his way to the jamb in his door frame. He grips the handles in his fists and lifts his body effortlessly, over and over again, his muscles visibly contracting and expanding in his bare shoulders and back. He knows there is no need for any kind of workout, a body like his comes with the blood coursing through his veins. But the activity distracts him and it keeps him limber. It even helps pass the time some days.
Only a single bead of sweat emerges from his hair line after a satisfying amount of pull-ups. He drops to the floor and goes into a whole routine of army-style pushups and crunches, keeping his breathing steady and his eyes focused on old knots in the wood floors. The sunlight coming in through his bedroom windows ignite the curves of his brawny chest and stomach and glows with every movement he makes.
It’s hard for him to actually work up a sweat with his naturally high temperature, but once his tan, unblemished skin gleams with the wet coat, he lifts himself up from the ground and makes his way to the bathroom. He removes his grey boxer briefs and starts the shower with lukewarm water before stepping in.
The water pressure is low as it collides with him, rinsing the grime and waste from his body. He steps under the stream and lets the water comb back his shoulder length sable hair. He takes a drink of the liquid as it courses down over his closed lids and finally drizzles over the curve of his lips. He grabs the bar of soap and runs it all over his naked body, lathering up the suds to scrub himself clean. His hands spread the soap from his neck to his shoulders and down each strong arm, then to his chiseled chest and across his abdomen. He reaches around to get his back then down to his thighs and in between his legs, the water following the trail closely to wash it all away.
Jacob feels refreshed now and his nose is tickled by the clean scent as he retreats from the bathroom. He makes his way into the kitchen clad in nothing but a white towel hanging low on his hips. He pours yesterdays coffee into a barely clean mug and steps out onto the front porch to greet the fresh air. It really is a beautiful day.
After he finishes his cup off coffee, he sets the empty mug on the railing and unravels the towel from around his hips, letting all of his naked glory be displayed to the open world. He takes in a deep breath then lunges forward to run towards the edge of the forest, but on all fours and in the shape of a monstrous, titian colored wolf. The ground shakes beneath his weight and the dirt from beneath his grand paws tears up in sprays as he passes.
Phasing has never been a hardship for him. Unlike most of his pack members, Jacob could phase in a matter of seconds and without the influence of specific emotions. It just came so naturally to him after his first time. This has proved to be a large advantage in many cases. However, one of the many complaints he still cannot get used to even after all of this time is the lack of privacy. He immediately feels the other wolf’s presence, through whatever distance between them, and knows it to be only a matter of moments before he speaks up.
“Hey Jake, what’s up?”
“Just out for a run. What are you doing out?”
“Same thing, I guess.” Jacob catches the other male’s visions of teenagers playfully terrorizing the beach. “Want some company?”
“No, Seth. I’m just getting in some exercise. Go have some fun at the beach.”
“Alright, catch ya later bro.”
After that his mind went void. The other man must have returned to human form to leave Jacob with a moment’s peace, and he preferred it that way.
He keeps his pace at a canter as he moves through the colorful woods, his eyes piercing straight ahead and ears listening to everything else around him. He can hear the laughter amid the crashing waves of the beach from miles away and the natural rustle of living things within the forest. Nothing to be alarmed about. It was just him and the open air.
Suddenly, Jacob stops in his tracks, the dirt rising up like a heavy splash in the pool of earth as his paws slide against it. His nose catches the smell from last night, the one that got away. His ears prick and twitch in every direction to listen while his nose surfs the wind for the aspect of where. His mind filters through all other scents and sounds to distinguish what he seeks until he hears the humming from a woman’s throat. Without taking the time to gather his thoughts he tears off towards the sound, her smell getting stronger with every long stride.
He smells the salt water and notices that her scent is leading him towards an ocean-fed estuary, its existence known by a very small handful of people due to its isolated location. When he gets closer he slows down to stalk the grounds. Better to be cautious, after all.
He comes to what he could tell to be at least a football field length’s away when he sees her for the first time. The young woman before him, and so far away, is completely in the nude. He sees her bent over the edge of the pool, pulling a white article from the water and twisting the content in her hands to wring it dry. She goes about her business completely oblivious to her surroundings. As if it mattered, anyway. No one ever came here. Except for Jacob, at this moment, led by her essence.
The woman turned sharply and her eyes darted in every direction as she held her frame stiffly. Had she heard him? Jacob crouched low as the woman’s breathing slowed but kept steady. Her head turned gradually as she scoured the forest and Jacob knew she was on alert, but she soon returned to her laundering. He took in the view and noticed that she was not familiar in any way.
She was slender with luscious curves and supple breasts that moved naturally as she whipped the white dress from its knots. Her black hair fell in soft waves to the middle of her back that bounced about freely as she carried on. Her heart-shaped posterior was tight and her legs were like mile long stems. Her tawny skin seemed to glow in the light of the sun. She was a vision, whatever she was. Jacob could only imagine the size of the hard-on he would don if he weren’t in this form. This thought then reminded him that where this woman was doing, whatever it was, happened to be on his territory and he had a duty to uphold.
Quietly, he makes his way towards the woman when she starts to hum inaudibly. As he closes half of the gap between them he rears up onto his haunches and shrinks back into his human form. The thought of his nudity causes him to pause for a moment, but there isn’t much else he can do. Besides, she’s in the buff too, so maybe the common ground will ease the situation.
He sees the muscles in her back tense, indicating that she is about to turn around when he comes to about twenty yards from her. He has absolutely no idea how this can turn out or what this woman was capable of, but Jacob couldn’t help the shout that bellows from his throat.
The woman turns fast to meet his gaze, her arms stiff and knees bent slightly, ready to take off at any second. Her vivid, blue eyes are wide as they take in the sight before her, raking from Jacobs head to his toes. Her lower lip quivers slightly as her jaw threatens to drop.
Jacob takes a hesitant step forward. “Who are you?” his voice is softer this time.
She doesn’t answer. Her nose twitches and her chest rises as if she were taking in a sniff. Her eyes widen a little more and she lets out a quiet gasp. The white dress is dropped from her hands and before Jacob could even process her reactions she is running away, and fast.
He takes a moment to compose himself and watches as her legs carry her weight at an impressive speed. He decides for a moment that it is probably best to not partake in a naked chase with some strange woman until an unsettling change sends a chill down his spine. The woman disappears behind a tight group of trees, and emerging on the other side in her place is a large black wolf which moves away even faster.
“What the fuck?” Jacob says under his breath.
He falters for a moment, trying to refine all of the facts in his mind. He finds himself chasing after this woman, or thing, when his legs decide for him on impulse. He is thinking far from straight when he explodes into his horse-sized alter-ego and quickly catches up to the black creature trying to escape him. She picks up her speed but Jacob hadn’t even been trying when he got this close, so with ease he is back at her haunches. Using all the power in his back legs he leaps forward to land with a thunderous hit to the ground and spins around, blocking her path. When she skids to a stop the wolves stare each other down.
Jacob thinks again on impulse as he sees the smaller animal lower its head and growl lowly. “Who are you?” He tries to communicate.
The female growls again and flashes her teeth, her raven fur rising between her shoulders.
“Can you hear me?” He tries again. He plants himself firmly and stands tall, looking down at the other beast, his head slightly cocked to the side in curiosity.
The female backs up a step and snarls, curling her lips back to bare all of her sharp teeth. The guttural sounds coming from her are savage and bone-chilling. Saliva gathers at the corners of her mouth as her lips move to expose even more teeth.
Jacob studies her closely and figures she is much larger than the average wolf, but still only half of his dimensions. She was even noticeably smaller than Leah, the runt of his pack. Although her size is nowhere near intimidating, her stance and her spirit is more vicious and fierce than any of his own wolves, and that was enough to terrify him. He watches as the female lowers herself and snaps her jaws with another admonishing rumble. She was ready to attack, obviously not threatened by his demeanor.
Jacob answers her with a growl of his own, but he keeps his voice low. She doesn’t even flinch. He tries telepathy again. “If you can hear me, just tell me who you are. Where did you come from?” He realizes he can’t even see images from her mind or hear anything of what she was thinking.
“Jake! Need some help?”
Jacob hears the urgency in Seth’s voice when it reaches his mind. “No, Seth. I’ll call if I need anything. Just listen for me.”
“Are you sure? I can be there in five – “
“I’ve got it, Seth.”
They exchange no more words but Jacob can feel his subordinate’s mind which he finds as a comfort. However, he is Alpha, and this is a situation that he can, and will, get under control.
The female remains unwavering and crouches as if ready to spring. He listens to the sounds from her throat and watches her stance. He sees the same blue eyes as her human form and they gleam insistently for a fight. Jacob decides he needs to figure this out fast so he takes a few steps back and phases out of his wolf form. The growling of the other wolf ceases as he stands straight and holds his chest out assertively. He watches as the animal before him steps to the side, sweeping back and forth, a soft whine sounding from her as if she were frightened but curious.
“My name is Jacob Black,” he speaks. The wolf lowers her head again and watches him tentatively. “I just need to know who you are.”
He hears the wolf exhale through its nose. She stands still, just watching him. He decides he will not reveal anything about his pack to her due to her unknown origin, but he needed to know about her, what she was doing here.
“I’m not going to hurt you, but I need you to tell me what your business here is.”
He watches as she seems to hesitate until, finally, the wolf molds back into the woman from the water. Her stance is anchored and confident while her eyes are questioning. She is fearless, he can smell it, and she doesn’t show any interest in the fact that they are both standing feet from one another in the nude. He waits as her eyes read across his features as she rocks her jaw in contemplation.
She takes in a breath before she speaks. “My name is Sarah Compton, and I’m just passing through.”
Jake feels relieved but refuses to let his imperative posture falter. “Where do you come from?”
The woman pauses for a moment as more questions brim the gleam in her eyes. “Alaska,” she puts it simply.
“And you’re just passing through?”
“Passing through to where?”
She was cooperating, but it was obvious to him that it was difficult for her to do so. Now, the curiosity was getting the best of him, so he springs the next question while ignoring the voice in his head telling him to slow down.
“What are you?”
He hears her breath hitch and her heart picks up a faster beat for a matter of seconds, but she swallows and keeps her composure. “What’s it to you?” She says it confidently, and it almost has him fooled.
A hardly noticeable grin turns the corners of his lips. “I protect these lands and all of the surrounding towns. So, Sarah,” he gently folds his arms in front of his chest. “I’m going to need to know what you are so I can get a better idea of what I’m up against.”
The woman sucks on her lips and her eyes fall to the ground for split second. She looks nervous but Jacob just continues to stare, waiting for her answer. She opens her mouth slightly but nothing comes out and her eyes dart to the ground again as if she were searching. When those brilliant blue orbs meet his again, she looks hopeless and surrendered. And then he hears her voice, so soft and bleak that natural being would probably never hear.
“I don’t know what I am.”
Chapter 3: What Are You?
Jacob stares, dumbfounded, at the woman before him, her previous words resonating deep in his mind. “I don’t know what I am.” His collectedness staggers for a moment as he repeats the words and tries to think of a counter-approach. He looks to her again and sees the discomfort in her eyes. She is unsure of herself and her surroundings and he knows he must be making it worse, but none of that is a concern at this point. He needs to know everything before he can figure out what exactly to do.
“How do you not know what you are?” He asks.
Now she is beginning to look awkward. “I just don’t,” is her reply.
He shakes his head subtly. “That doesn’t make any sense. What tribe do you belong to?”
“What are you talking about?”
“What tribe do you belong to?” he repeats a bit more heatedly. “In Alaska? I mean, that could be the only explanation -”
“Now you’re the one who isn’t making any sense!” she snaps, her body language is more assured. “What do you mean tribe?”
Jacob realizes he would need to explain himself further if he continues so he decides to change the topic. “Never mind. You say you’re just passing through,” he leaves an emphasis on the words she used. “Why here? Are you visiting family? Where are you headed?”
She sighs drastically. “I don’t know.”
“Do you know anything?” He can feel the anger bubbling deep in his loins as this stand off persists.
Look!” she growls and Jacob can see the raw aggression flash in her eyes. “I get the third degree, alright? I get it! But when I say I don’t know, then I don’t know.”
Jacob watches the seething female before him. Her jaw is tight and her rich, blue eyes are locked on him. Her presence is now strong and dauntless; he can feel the change in the atmosphere. He takes in a deep breath to calm himself, letting his shoulders fall as his lungs push out the air.
“I’m just trying to figure you out. I have the right.” He states as calmly as he can.
The woman scoffs. “The right? Listen, asshole. I don’t even understand what I’ve done wrong. I was just minding my own business when -”
“I told you I protect these lands!” His voice rises as he cuts her off. “This is my territory, and yes, I have the right to know who and what ‘passes’ through here.” He finishes in a mocking tone.
Sarah crosses her arms firmly over her chest and grinds her teeth. “Fine then. What are you?”
Jacob finds himself caught off guard. “Excuse me?”
“You heard me.”
What happened to this woman? Upon first approach she was timid and inarticulate. Now he can smell the animosity radiating from her and she was rendering him speechless. She was absolutely wild, like some kind of feral beast on the loose.
“Well, we’re not talking about me.” He tries.
“I’m curious.” A devious grin turns her lips. “You’re so adamant about knowing me, so it’s only fair that I know you, and what -” she leans forward to accentuate the meaning. “You are.”
“I’m not answering that.” He states defiantly.
She drops her arms and deliberately points a finger at him. “You don’t cooperate? Neither do I. I’ll just leave your precious territory and we can forget this happened, alright?” She turns around and begins to walk away.
“Wait!” the word parts his lips before Jacob can even think. However, it works. She stops but doesn’t turn around. He sighs exasperatedly and makes his way towards the woman, stopping within a few yards behind her.
“Listen, this kind of shit never happens around here. We -” he stops himself. “I wasn’t prepared for… you. And I didn’t mean to lose my temper. I just need to treat every stranger like a threat unless I know the whole story.” He pauses to let her soak his words in. When she doesn’t move and he can hear her heart beat slowing he finishes. “Can we start over?”
She clears her throat with exaggeration but keeps her back turned to him.
Jacob rolls his eyes. “Please,” he says through gritted teeth.
Sarah turns around to face him, her demeanor is softer. In their close proximity Jacob can see the intensity in her blue eyes. They are breathtaking and exotic and beyond comparison to anything he has ever known. He lets himself get lost for just a moment then fights his own site from moving further down. Due to the sudden change in mood he knows he would openly devour her exposed body with his eyes in appreciation.
Sarah seems more collected than him as she just studies his face until she speaks. “Tell me what you are.”
“I already told you too much just by showing you.” Jacob answers.
“How do you think I feel?” she retorts delicately. “I’ve never… You weren’t supposed to see this.”
“It’s kind of hard to miss,” he laughs but cuts it short. It’s not the time for play he chides himself.
Their eyes meet again when Sarah lifts her gaze, her brow rises in scrutiny. “You think I don’t know that? I just recognized your smell from last night and I freaked, so I ran. I happen to be a lot faster on all fours.”
“But not fast enough.” There he goes again with the jokes. What the hell?
Her brow quirks again and he doesn’t lay any blame. He doesn’t even know what exactly he is doing. He watches as her eyes continue to search through his and he catches a glimpse of a new emotion, or a new thought. She looks lost and uncertain and this only piques his interest more.
“Sarah, why are you here?”
He didn’t expect such a blunt answer and this causes his thoughts to stumble for a moment. “Running from what?”
“Everything.” Her tone sounds defeated as her eyes once again drop to the ground between them.
“Are you alone?”
“How long are you planning on staying in this area?”
“I don’t know.” Her head turns as she studies the surrounding trees as if she were searching for an answer and then her eyes are back on him. “I don’t mean any harm. I just happened upon this place and it seemed nice, so I thought I might stay for a week or so. Nothing more.”
Jacob lets her words sink in as he feels a sudden comfort settle in his bones. “Can I trust you?”
She blinks and her face twists with befuddlement. “What do you mean?”
“Can I trust you to not doing anything stupid? To not cause any trouble?” He can’t even believe the words coming out of his mouth. He didn’t understand what was going on with him. Why was he letting this woman get to him? It was like he was under some kind of spell that compels him to understand and consider her situation. He then notices that she is still eyeing him strangely.
“Look,” he begins. “I’ll leave you be as long as you can honestly tell me that you’re not here to cause any problems.”
Sarah nods. “I’ll just leave in the morning. I don’t want to be a burden.”
“Stay or go, it doesn’t matter to me. Just know that you won’t be bothered.”
“And what about your friends?” she asks skeptically.
“I know you weren’t alone last night.”
“Oh,” Jacob mentally curses himself. “Don’t worry about them. I’ll spread the word.”
“Okay.” Sarah nods again and turns to leave but stops on a second thought. When their eyes meet for the last time Jacob sees a flash of that untamed nature again and he barely catches the sultry lace on her last words. “See you around, Jacob Black.”
Sarah doesn’t leave any room for a response as she walks away without turning to look back. Images of the tall, strapping, and very naked man play in the memory reel of her mind. She can’t help but feel the pull in her stomach; the want to see, and smell, and feel again. It has been so long. But there was an uncertainty there as well and it wasn’t settling right.
As she reaches the creek where she had dropped her commandeered belongings she hears the abrupt howl in the distance. She knows it sounded from Jacob, still in the same spot she had left him, and the sound churns something within her. She absentmindedly brushes her arm against a tree and twists to subtly scratch her back against the bark, letting the sensation of touch course through her body. Her groin spasms and a smooth gasp slips from her lips. When the realization hits her, she picks up her speed and tries to leave the recent memories behind.
When Jacob can tell the female has reached a safe distance and is continuing to move further away he morphs back into his wolf form and lets loose a fleeting howl, then awaits the arrival of his pack members. He sits for a moment in silence, letting his conversation with the newcomer settle into his mind. He burns the image of the strange woman into his memories and relishes in her lingering scent of woods and morning dew. Everything about her was so natural, as if she were born of the earth itself.
“Christ, Jake. Why don’t you keep that to yourself?” A bored voice calls out.
“Calm down, Leah. It’s important.” He answers.
“Damn, who’s the hottie?” Another voice chimes in. “Please tell me you’re hitting that, Jake!”
“Seriously Embry? How old are you?” Leah asks, her tone dripping with annoyance.
“Take a chill pill, Lee. I’m just messin’.”
Jacob sighs in frustration. “Cut it out and get your asses over here.”
“Yessir!” Embry answers.
Jacob can hear all of the questions swarming in his wolves’ minds and he catches glimpses of some of the male’s versions of what they would personally do to the image he has of Sarah. On a regular basis he weighs the pro’s and con’s of his “gift”, but more often than not he concludes with the thought of it being more of a curse, especially in moments like these. The whole lack of privacy is still difficult to grasp, even after all of these years.
Seth is the first to arrive being that he had already been nearby, and Quil completes the assemblage as he trots lazily into the circle. Jacob watches his collection of five while they settle and ready their attention for whatever orders he may give.
“I’m sure everyone remembers that scent we tried to track down last night,” he pauses for the collective ‘Yes’s’, ignoring that most of their tones are bored. He lets more images of Sarah run across his mind, trying to keep full body shots to a minimal.
“She’s beautiful.” Seth breaths while Embry and Quil shift awkwardly on their haunches.
“Let’s get on with it.” Leah tries to prompt Jacob in getting to the point.
“I don’t -”
“What’s her name?” Quil cuts him off as his curiosity grows.
Jacob groans, irritated. “Sarah. Now I -”
Jacob is interrupted again by a swarm of chattering and memories from his pack, mainly from Leah and Quil, and Seth attempts to voice what they are all thinking. “Like your mo-”
“Yeah, I get it!” Jacob growls, his voice bellowing in his subordinates ears as silence falls once again. “Now listen. I don’t want any of you going near her, understand?”
“Why? Is something wrong?” His beta asks.
“Yeah, who is she?” asks Embry.
“I don’t know.” Jacob answers simply.
“What is she doing here?”
He can hear all of the questions picking up again and he tries to pick apart all of the voices blending together, hoping he can give as many answers as possible. “I don’t know,” he thinks again, and when flashes of his earlier encounter begin playing throughout his head again the entire mood shifts at a particular point.
“Wait a second, right there!” Embry stands excitedly, his tail twitching behind him. “Did you guys see that? Is she one of us?”
Jacob pauses, realizing he had completely forgotten about the most important piece of the puzzle. He openly remembers the point where he had first approached, causing the female to run away. The moment she disappears behind the trees and emerges as a wolf is replayed, over and over again, as he lets the image sink into his packs minds.
“Shit, Jake…” Leah’s concerned voice trails as she tries to gather her thoughts. “What does this mean?”
“Is she one of us?” Seth repeats Embry’s previous question.
“I have no idea,” Jacob lets out a breath he didn’t realize he had been holding. “I don’t think so.”
“I don’t care what she is, the chick is gorgeous!” Quil exclaims.
“Amen to that, bro!” Embry laughs along with his friend.
“Cut it out!” Leah snarls at them and looks back to her leader. “Jake, what do we do about this?”
“Nothing, for now.” He swallows. “I just don’t want any of you to go anywhere near her. Don’t talk to her, ignore her scent -”
“But what if we bump into her?”
Jacob gives Embry a pointed look and grunts. “Em, you have never bumped into anyone. Just stay clear of this girl, alright?”
“And if you do come across her, for some reason,” he continues. “I want you to call me. I don’t care when or where. I’m not risking any of you getting hurt.”
He lets his boys whine in protest for a moment before he sends them home, asking Leah to stay behind to further discuss the situation. He has full confidence in his beta and is proud of how much she has grown in the past years, even letting loose a little. He chuckles at the memory of his friend’s old uptight nature as they take long strides under the dying light of the sun.
“I wasn’t so bad back then, you know?” her voice sounds in his head.
“Yeah, whatever you say.” He guffaws and he hears the warning growl from her throat.
“How about you try being the only female in a pack of adolescent males with quick tempers and raging hormones, huh? And then Sa-”
“I’m just giving you a hard time, Lee.” Jacob winces at his comrade’s train of thought, the images of Sam. It had been so many years and it was easy for Leah now. She had moved on. But there were times the feeling of a fresh heartbreak would return, much like any normal human would experience, and his entire pack could feel it.
“Don’t feel sorry for me, Jake. I’m over it.” She was obviously playing off of his current emotions.
“I know,” is his reply, but his thoughts remain on their former leader.
“Are you going to tell him about this?”
“I’m not sure. I mean, I’m thinking he has an idea, already. Her scent is strong and he has probably come across it himself.”
“Maybe you can come up with some ideas? Together, I mean.”
Jacob knows Leah is only trying to help, and Sam would be the last person she would suggest going to. But he is wise in his youth and usually had a good sense about things when they all used to run together. Well, most of the time.
“I think I’d rather take this to my father. He has an answer for everything.”
Leah slows to a stop and watches him for a brief moment. “What are you thinking?”
Jacob stares blankly ahead. “I don’t really know.”
“Well, what did she say? Did she give you any answers?”
“No, not really. She seems to not know anything, either. Strange, don’t you think?” He turns to watch her nod in agreement. “She isn’t human -”
“Obviously,” she grunts.
“She said she doesn’t mean any harm, but how can we really know that?”
“I don’t understand why you didn’t just rip her to pieces.”
“It’s a bit more complicated than that, Leah.”
“So? The Jacob we all know doesn’t ask questions, he just acts.” She pauses for effect. “For all we know this girl could be dangerous, Jake.”
Jacob shakes his head slightly as he lets the vibes his body experienced while talking with the strange girl return to course through his nerves. “Something tells me she isn’t. I mean, she is a threat in the way that we don’t know what she is, but I don’t think she is dangerous. She’s wild, that’s for sure, like she isn’t afraid. Even caught me off guard a little bit. She kind of reminded me of you, actually. A total spitfire.”
Jacob knows his friend would be grinning arrogantly by the pull of her emotions at that moment. In fact, a brief montage of her most unstable moments played in her head.
“I doubt she could keep up with me.” She finally states matter-of-factly.
Now it’s Jacob’s turn to face his friend as he speaks with a serious tone, “I mean it, Lee. She’s totally wild. I’m trying to listen to my instinct on this and it’s hazy. I don’t understand it, and I know that makes no sense at all, but please trust me on this. Keep away from her.”
“I don’t think I’m the one you need to be worrying about, Jake.”
“Then help me keep the others in line. Quil has Claire, so he’s all talk, but Seth is still young and Embry…”
“I meant you, Jake. I’m worried about you.”
Jacob snorts. “What? Why?”
“Listen to yourself. You’re all over the place! You talked to this chick for what? Five minutes? And already your screws are unraveling. You’re starting to remind me of how you were with Bella and -”
Jacob cuts her off with an admonishing growl, unable to come up with words to express the anger building up inside of him. Leah takes a step back to reconfigure her thoughts and carefully treads as she explains.
“Jake, I’ve told you this a hundred times and I’ll say it again. You’re a great leader. I would follow you to the death for the good of our families and I know the others would, too. But you’re a loose cannon, and when you’re head isn’t straight we all get a little squeamish.” She quiets for a moment as she lets her alpha take in her words and calm down. “I just want to know how to handle it before it becomes a problem.”
A long and heavy sigh brings itself from Jacob’s lips. “But she said she’s leaving in the morning, so maybe it isn’t a big deal.”
“How do we know that for sure?”
“You’re right. I’ll talk to my father in the morning. I need some time to clear my head.”
“I would talk to Sam, too, if I were you. It couldn’t hurt to have as many opinions as we can get.”
“Good.” Leah laughs lightly. “You were starting to sound like a little bitch.”
“Don’t even start with me, Lee.” Jacob warns in a joking manner as he picks up the pace again towards home, Leah in tow.
“I’m serious!” Her laughter grows. “I was beginning to think I needed to knock some sense into you.”
“Whatever, Jacob. You know I can kick your ass nine ways ‘til Sunday before you could even lift a paw.” She gives him a playful shove nearly knocking his feet out from under him then takes off at full speed.
“Now who’s running away like a little bitch, Lee?” He calls out as he watches his friend disappear into the thick forest. The only response is her fading cackles.
Jacob takes his time getting home. He wanders the trails at a steady pace as the sun sinks behind the mountains, spreading the comfort of darkness throughout the land. His land. He picks up on Sarah’s scent at every turn as it blends in with the surrounding aromas, as if it were meant to belong there.
The female has already covered a large portion of the woods over however long she has been here. He wonders about her story and about how and why she was here. He thinks of his pack and what they must be feeling right now. Are they curious? Are they frightened?
He wonders about Sarah and how she must feel in this environment. Is she frightened? Why did he care?
The only thing that he is sure about was something within him is drawn to her. Some unspeakable force pulls at his loins and fogs his mind. He has no idea and it is absolutely confusing, infuriating even. He knows he needs to speak with his father about this, Billy would certainly have an answer. But his curious mind is pulling in all different directions, and before he can even fathom what his body is doing he is moving. Moving towards the female’s stench where it grows fresher.
Chapter 4: Of Dreams And Ecstasy
“Darling, wake up,” a sweet, whispering voice breaks through the gossamer web of her subconscious. “Little one.” She hears it call again.
Her eyelashes flutter against her plump cheeks as her eyes try to fight the will to remain closed. When they do open a woman comes into her focus. Her long, blonde locks fall freely across her shoulders and her hazel eyes are soft.
“Hello, my darling.” The woman coos as she wraps her into a warm embrace, lightly playing with the ends of her black curls with her fingers.
“What is it, mommy?” the girl asks, looking into the woman’s kind eyes.
“I have a surprise for you.” She smiles.
The little girl’s eyes widen as a gleam of excitement envelops her deep blue irises and her pink lips part to reveal a large smile. “Really?” she shouts.
“Yes,” the woman whispers and places a finger over her lips. “But we must be quiet.”
The girl awkwardly covers her mouth as she giggles and nods her head. “Okay.”
The woman leads her down the rickety staircase into the front room while leaving only a single light in the hallway on. The light is yellow and illuminates the stains and tears in the wallpaper lining the structure. The rest of the house is dark, but the girl can make out the form of luggage laid out by the door as they approach.
“Mommy, what are those for?”
The beautiful woman crouches before her daughter and takes both of her hands gently into her own. “We are leaving here. I’m taking you some place new. Some place different.” Her voice is sweet and her kind smile does not wane.
The excitement in the girl’s eyes falters for a moment as she takes a cautionary step back. “What about Joe?”
“What do you mean darling?”
“I -” she turns her head up as if gesturing to the rooms upstairs. “I don’t think -”
“Listen to me.” The woman grabs her attention again by pulling her lightly by the hands. She locks their gaze, hazel and blue, and speaks sternly. “I will never let that man lay another finger on you again, do you understand me?”
Her daughter’s eyes lead to an old soul, and she watches as they search her own for the confidence she seeks. She watches her throat move as she takes an empty swallow and a piece of her heart breaks at the struggle she sees before her. She knows what is best for her daughter, but the little one is full of fear, even if she fights against showing it.
She cups her rosy cheeks in her hands and lets another soft smile brighten her features. “I will keep you safe, my darling. No one will ever hurt you again.”
The girl nods and smiles in return, obviously believing fully in her mother’s words. “Okay.”
“I love you.”
“I love you too, mommy.”
The little one carries her mother’s purse to feel she is of some assistance with loading the car. The lullaby used to sing her to sleep every night hums in her throat as she skips to the pavement, oblivious of the tense aura surrounding her parent. Her mother continues smiling as she buckles her into the backseat, keeping the tears and the worry at bay.
“Are you ready?” she meets her daughters gaze through the rearview mirror as she awakens the old engine with the turn of her key. She watches the animated nod of her little head and shifts the car into drive.
“Where are we going?” the voice from the backseat pipes up upon reaching the city limits, her eyes taking in the view from the windows.
“I’m taking you someplace special, my little cherub.” Her mother answers and subtly wipes the stranded tear from her cheek.
“Are we going to see Farmor and Farfar?” her voice raises to almost a squeal at the thought of her grandparents.
“I don’t think so, my love.”
“But I miss them. We haven’t visited them in a really long time!”
“I know. We will soon, okay?”
“Is it because the cemetery is far away?”
“It is very far, darling, you’re right. But we can’t because we have somewhere else to go.”
The car falls under a silence for a moment as the girl twiddles her fingers and pops her lips. The air is thick for the woman as she tries to keep her focus on the road and the glimmer in her daughter’s eyes. She tries to keep every mile left behind out of site and out of mind.
“Mommy?” she hears again.
“Did Farfar die of a broken heart? Because Farmor died before him?”
“Yes he did, darling. But why are you thinking of such things?” She turns her eyes back to the rearview mirror and watches the little girl shrug.
“I just think it’s very sad, but it’s also very sweet.” When her eyes lift to meet her mothers she smiles until her cheeks turn pink in the passing streetlamps. “He didn’t want to wait anymore to see her again, huh?”
“You’re right. You are such a smart little angel!”
While the mother’s eyes focus on her little girl smiling in the backseat, she notices that her attention darts forward and her bright expression fades. “Mommy?” she whispers, her words laced with uncertainty.
The woman turns her eyes back to the dark road and holds in a breath. Everything moves in slow motion, as if time were trying to stop itself, when the silhouette of a large animal comes to life in the reach of her headlights. She pumps on the brakes, no sane or collected thought in mind. Just a mess of images and ideas of what and why? The animal remains still as the car approaches at high speed, its eyes staring back, burning through their souls. It doesn’t look frightened or concerned. It just stands there as the tires scream against the asphalt.
The car turns off the road as the woman behind the wheel loses control and shatters the darkness in its path. It breaks effortlessly through the metal barrier that is meant to keep traffic in line. The tires leave the ground as it hits the edge of the cliff, and they lapse into an indefinite freefall.
The mother turns in her seat as much as her belt will allow to face her child’s thrashing body, her blonde hair up in waves around her head as the wind takes it in its pull. She reaches a hand towards her daughter and screams before they make contact with the ground below. “Sarah!”
Sarah’s head snaps up so fast as she awakens that she hits her head against the tree. She reaches a hand to rub the back of her scalp and tries to slow her breathing down. Her hair is heavy and slick from the current downpour and as she breathes through an open mouth, the heaven-sent droplets slither their way down her face into the swell of her lips. She closes her eyes softly as she sucks in the rain.
Once her pulse has quieted and the shaking has subsided, she takes a gander at her surroundings. She looks down first and sees that she has somehow nestled herself into the crook of a giant tree, at least twenty feet from the ground. She sees a flash of light in the night and can make out the edge of the freeway, only a few rows of trees ahead. The headlights flash like a strobe while it passes each obstacle in her eyesight as it drives down the road, the sheets of rain glowing bright in its wake. She takes another deep breath and looks up towards the growling sky, silently cursing the freak weather changes.
Wasn’t the sun just out and not a cloud in sight? Now the moon takes its place and brings along with it a fierce force of nature. Luckily, she figures, she can obviously sleep through anything.
Her jaw goes rigid and her eyes droop to nothing in particular as she recounts the dream only moments before. It was one of the only reoccurring pieces of her life, even after all of these years, but not the only scenario that has played out in her sleeping mind. She can explain in great detail the numerous fantasies, involving the same cast that live within in her mind. Maybe because they were, in fact, memories, and her subconscious is continuously haunted by her dark past.
She has watched every single unchanging sequence thousands of times, as if she were some sort of surreal entity only present to be tortured by the same tragedies, over and over. She can see them, and feel the pain and hear the words as if they happened only yesterday, but no matter how much she screams or tries to push her family or even her younger self, she cannot change it. It will always play out the same way no matter how much it hurts. She can’t close her eyes and turn away and she can’t erase them from her memories. They will forever be burned into her like invisible scars.
She thinks back to that day, when she was eight years old. She remembers waking up shortly after the mangled form of the car came to a stop. She lets her eyes close as she slips into an awakened state of lucid dreaming, a trick she has found herself highly capable of.
“Mommy?” the little girl coughs through the rising smoke. She can hear the hiss of the steam as it lifts from the metal trap. She pulls herself free from the seats that pinned her down in the crash. “Mommy?” She can hear her mother’s voice sputtering in whispers as she crawls to where the front seats should be.
When she comes to her mother’s battered form she can’t fight back the tears that had been stinging her eyes. Her body is twisted in a way that looks humanly impossible, even to such a young girl with a wild imagination. She leans forward to peer into her mother’s eyes, the pupils dilating and constricting frantically as they try to focus. The woman’s lips move subtly and a sound comes from her throat as she is trying to speak.
“Mommy?” the girl tries again as she turns her head to bring her ear closer to her mother’s chest, listening for the sound of her heartbeat.
“Angr…” the child hears the moan come from her mother as she presses her head to her breast. “…boda.”
“Can you hear me, mommy?” she moves forward to hover directly over her mothers face trying desperately to get her mother to look at her rather than through her.
“I…” she hears from her mother again, the words coming out with her jagged breaths. “… invoke thee.”
“Mommy!” she tries to shake her mothers frame with her little hands, the tears flowing heavily from her blue eyes as they fall to their deaths on the woman’s charred flesh.
“Sarah…” she whispers back through a long exhale, and her eyes go blank as her head falls limp against the seat.
Sarah shakes her head violently and grabs fistfuls of her raven hair as she presses her hands hard against her temples. No more, she thinks. No more.
She can’t tell the dripping rain apart from her tears when the first bolt of lightning illuminates the surrounding trees, bringing a life to the forest for that brief moment. Her eyelids flutter as the slick water spills over them and her body quivers from the slight chill but she quickly recovers. She will leave this place once her mind is clearer, when she can have a better sense of where she can go to next. It is away from these smells and people that she knows she must flee, and away from him.
Jacob Black, what a dolt.
He towered over her at his unknown height, in both forms. His skin was flawless and looked smooth to touch, while the color was like that of a bronzed sculpture. He was molded like a perfect sculpture. Every curve and ripple of his taut muscles and the structure of his frame; it was measured to perfection.
The boy was certainly built like a god, no use in denying that.
And his eyes. They were of dark chocolate, so dark they almost gleamed like the blackest of coals and they seemed to burn right through her and into her soul. They were so alive and filled with wisdom, even when he seemed to be at such a young age. He was cautious of her, but she could also tell that he was highly intrigued. He was strong, not only physically, and accepting of who he was. She envied that trait.
The fact that he was something like herself was terrifying. Sarah had never come across anyone like her, and after all of these years, now it happens? What was stranger is that he wasn’t exactly like her, it was something different. But he wasn’t human, and that was enough to classify him in the same type of category she cast herself into. She didn’t know what he was, but it was safe to say he was far from human.
However, it wasn’t the unknown that frightened her the most. It is what she knows that causes her to want to run and never look back. She can’t remember the last time it happened, but it’s obvious that all of the testosterone in the surrounding area is bringing her into a long awaited heat. She has experienced it countless times in the past, and while she would only need to steer clear of the spell it would put on a wild male, she would always keep herself distant from people as well. She knows what it feels like to blindly jump into hungry sex when a natural phenomenon is controlling her want to reproduce, and she will continue to try avoiding it at all costs.
Now with Jacob, because he is different, she fears the part of him that is so gorgeously human. She knows it can take only one look and there would be no turning back, she would ravage the boy. What she finds more intimidating is his other half, his animal. One smell or taste, and it would know, even if he had never personally experienced anything like it before. She just needs to stay away, for the benefit of them both.
She needs to get out of here, away from this town. Away from Washington. She doesn’t bide well with the unknown, she takes it out on herself all the time considering she still has yet to figure her own origin. The intimacy between the male’s pack of friends, whatever they are, is evident, along with Jacob’s need to protect what is his; this land. She does not wish to intervene and she does not want to see anyone getting hurt. She needs to get out of here, once she can clear her head.
She leans her head back against the tree, the steady pace of the rain not seeming to let up anytime soon. The white cotton dress sticks to her skin and her shoes grow heavy on her feet as they soak in more water. When she takes in a deep breath through her nose to take in the pure, untainted scent of the storm, all of her senses go into a blur and the hairs on the back of her neck stand on edge. Something familiar reaches her sense of smell, an odor that she has come across in passing many times before. It is floral and putrid, like a douse of too much cologne covering up the stench of death.
She presses herself forward, one hand in front of the other along the branch with her legs bent and tucked beneath her, moving along slowly with the agility of a feline, careful to not make a sound. Her eyes carefully study her surroundings as they grow dark and a low growl emits from her throat as she tries to catch a glimpse of the carrier of the smell. It has always been just a faint whiff, or a ride along a quick breeze, but she has never found the source. The wolf inside of her claws and snarls, begging to be released to hunt it down.
Her head turns quickly towards the snapping of a twig and she smoothly pulls back to hide in the shadows of the foliage. She watches with intent as something approaches from that direction, her muscles tense and preparing to pounce. When another familiar scent engulfs her senses, the large copper-coated wolf appears below, its head turned up and eyes directly on her frame.
“What are you doing here?” she shouts as softly as she can above the wailing of the wind.
The wolf just groans and backs up a step, jerking its head to the side as if it were trying to communicate.
“Just get out of here. I told you I’m leaving tomorrow.” She sputters as the water finds its way into the corners of her mouth. She watches as the animal below her transforms into the godly boy with umber skin and wild, sable hair that now clings to his shoulders. His onyx-like eyes squint against the rain falling into his face as he peers up at her.
“What are you, some kind of cat?” he smiles. “Come on down from there.”
Sarah stares at the male below her, dumbfounded by his friendly approach. “I’m doing just fine up here, thanks.” She tries.
Jacob licks his lips and his brows furrow. “Listen, you can’t be here. You need to come down.”
“I told you I’m leaving in the morning.”
“I know, that’s fine. I already told you I don’t care if you stay or go, but you can’t be…” his voice trails as he looks around, gesturing to the area. “You can’t be here.”
Her head leans to the side. “What do you mean?”
“There’s a lot of history with this place, and a lot of things that I can’t explain, but right now I just need you to come with me.” His voice is calm and convincing.
“What is that smell?” she has a hard time keeping her curiosity at bay. “It smells like death. It’s all around here.”
“I can’t tell you that.” He simply states.
She watches as the boy sighs heavily, his stare is unwavering. “I just can’t. Now come on down to me.”
Sarah feels her wolf stirring within, pushing at her loins and searing through her skin. She inhales sharply, trying to keep herself collected. “No, I can’t.”
Jacob has a hard time seeing clearly through the dark and the sweeping rain, but when he catches a clear glimpse of Sarah’s face he can see that her blue eyes are darkened and her nostrils are flaring. “It’s just not safe for you here. I can take you -”
His words stop when he hears the sound of maniacal laughing echoing around him, and he knows it is coming from the wild female before him.
“I don’t need protection.” She huffs. “I can’t promise the same for you.”
“This isn’t a game, Sarah.” He tries to remain calm and keep the authoritative tone of his voice. Why he was even caring was completely mind boggling.
Her laughter dies out and she sinks back into the shadows of the tree. “Get away from me.” He hears her growl with warning.
Jacob may know only a thing or two about women, but he knows a lot about aggression, and when anything warns you off like that, it’s best to comply. He takes a slow step back, being careful to keep his eyes locked to the rigid frame of the girl. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” He says with a sly grin, then turns to run off into the night.
Sarah’s eyes don’t leave the spot where the male once stood for what feels like hours. She just sits, perched high up in her sanctuary, staring and trying to keep what little grip she has left on her human sanity. She’s howling on the inside, an internal battle she wasn’t wanting. But the moment her eyes close and glance at the direction he had disappeared, she knows she has lost.
In one fluid motion she jumps down from the branch and tears off into a determined sprint, holding on to his lingering scent that leads her closer. She runs through the dark woods, her feet gliding effortlessly over the giving mud of the forest floor. Her nose guides her to him while the ache in her groin pushes her to be faster. The rain slows to a steady mist as she dodges trees and leaps over their fallen comrades, growing closer to where the male resides.
She comes to a stop when she reaches a small clearing surrounding a small wooden cottage, the warm lights from the windows splaying out over the open field. She finds herself at a pause while the one ounce of her human instinct left tries to put up a last fight, but she moves slowly forward when it becomes no use. She approaches the steps up to the porch, and once her foot makes contact with the damp wood the front door swings open.
Jacob comes out of his home in a rush, his eyes wide with alert and his nostrils flaring. He takes in the sight before him and finds it hard to remember breathing. Sarah stands at the threshold of his porch, one foot on the first step. Her breasts are heaving with the panting breath she takes and the look in her eyes is unreadable.
“So you decided to take my advice?” he asks with a smirk.
The girl just stares at him and lifts herself onto the first step. Her brow twitches and the flash of a devious grin plays on her lips, but it’s gone in a matter of seconds. Jacob swallows the lump threatening to grow within his throat as he watches the female approach. There is something confident in her step but she moves slowly as if she were cautious.
He lets his eyes drop to view her attire. The white cotton dress is soaked to the core and clinging to every curve of her body, leaving nothing to the imagination. Her long, black hair sticks to the sides of her face and lets the remnants of the water it holds trickle down her collar bone into the swell of her breasts. And then he notices there is something different in the air, a change in her scent. He can smell the aspen and dew grass of her odor, but there is a sweetly tangy haze that hovers above it all. He lets his eyes close and his nose takes in a breath so long it hurts as she moves up another step.
Sarah watches as the male before her tries to piece everything together. She can feel his senses going haywire and can hear his heartbeat increasing its rate. Her eyes move down from his face to his chest, and continue traveling south as she drinks in the sight of him. When their gaze meets again, his eyes are clouded in black and there is an untamed force cloaked in their shine.
Jacob wouldn’t know how to explain it. He has never felt such sensations, but his wolf knew exactly how to handle it. He let his animal take control, and he jumped.
When their bodies make contact, Sarah’s force sends Jacob back into the house with a crash against the door frame. Their lips meet as they devour each other hungrily, emitting moans from either being. Jacob grasps the hem of her dress at the breasts and tugs effortlessly, ripping the fabric from her skin. Sarah hooks her thumbs in his shorts by his hips and pulls them down until letting them drop to his feet. They growl and groan as they move further into the house, fisting their hands into each other’s hair and pulling like reigns.
Jacob moves from her swollen lips to her neck, leaving a hot trail of open kisses in his wake. He reaches her pulse point and suckles and nibbles at her wet skin, causing a series of barbaric moans to slip from her lips. Sarah bows her head and nuzzles her nose into his neck, then without contemplation sinks her teeth into his flesh. He can feel her core convulse against him at this action and grunts in her ear, then mimics her act. He burrows into her collar bone and when the metallic taste reaches his tongue he growls in return.
He stops when her breath hitches and lifts his head to meet her gaze. Her lips are stained with his red mess and her eyes are swimming in ecstasy. He watches as her gaze drops to her mark on his shoulder and her eyes grow wide as the wound reduces and begins to seal before her. Her eyes return to meet his and a sly smile appears on her lips. She raises her hand to cup her fingers over the tear in her flesh from his teeth. He watches in a stunned silence as inaudible humming attacks his senses.
When she removes her hand the bite is gone and a single strand of blood runs down her shoulder. She slides her finger against her skin, collecting the drop, then brings it to her mouth where she sucks it up in her swelling lips. She feels the male twitch between her legs as he watches, his solid chest heaving against her bosom. With a domineering snarl, Jacob grabs her hips and turns her violently over. He bites hard into her shoulder again as he sweeps all of her hair into one of his fists, pulling her head back against the nape of his neck, and he drives himself into her. A scream rips from Sarah’s throat, but not of pain. A scream of sheer and utter frenzy, like that of a feral animal.
Four hands search and grope at every inch of exposed and searing skin. Two pairs of lips suck while teeth graze, and a set of throats groan and emit noises that are completely inhuman. Against the wall, on the shivering old dryer, across the kitchen counter, over the railing of the porch. Hair pulling, scratching, biting, thrusting... The pair explores any surface and corner they can reach during the few short moments in between that they pause in excuse to catch up on breathing.
Blue eyes blaze through chocolate as larger fingers entwine around a smaller set. Shades of tanned skin sweating and molding as one. Firm, supple breasts pressing against a solid, toned chest. All thoughts are void and forgotten. Just two bodies entangled in a heated passion. A dance of lost lovers.
No words are exchanged, save for the continuous screaming of each other's name. All worries are gone. No dreams are remembered. No family, no friends, no other living beings. Nothing but two swimming souls, riding pinnacles and peaks over and over again.
Chapter 5: Desires and Revelations
Their flesh is raw and bodies spent when he pulls out of her for the last time, spilling his seed onto the curve of her slick thighs. He holds himself up on his tired arms, hovering above her shivering figure as they try to collect their breathing. Sarah’s eyes remain closed as jagged breaths shake her frame and Jacob watches as the female beneath him sweats at his expense. He bows his head and rests it in the mess of her tangled hair, his cheek pressed up against hers.
Her lids lift slowly to let her eyes adjust to the lack of movement and she glances at the heaving male she is pinned beneath, feeling his warm breath in puffs against the lobe of her ear. Her hands find their way to cup his shoulders so gently, barely even making contact. A quiet sigh parts her lips as she tries to find the right words to speak, but she comes up with nothing. She notices her skin beginning to feel sticky with the change in the atmosphere, almost as if they were dwelling in a sauna. Had it always been this warm?
Sarah huffs through her nose when she applies a gentle pressure against his shoulders, calmly shifting his frame to the side as she slips out from under his heavy form. She positions herself on the edge of the mattress for a moment, her bare back turned towards him. Without another thought or before he can muster up anything to say she lifts herself from the wrecked bed and walks out of the room.
Jacob watches in a slightly stunned silence as Sarah moves about the house. First, she leaves the room without a word and is now collecting her belongings from the living room, all while the girl refuses to even attempt making eye contact. His eyes remain fixed as she pulls the white dress over her head and hears her groan after getting the garment situated.
He swings his legs over the side of the bed when he finds the energy to move and shifts over to the wooden dresser in the corner. He pulls on a pair of black boxer briefs as he moves to the door, leaning his shoulder against the frame and crossing his arms over his bare chest. He watches with a raised brow as the young woman stands frozen in the middle of the room, seeming to be lost in thought. She swallows thickly.
Jacob cannot help the growl that rolls from his mouth when he notices the dress is still damp from the burden of the storm, now long since passed. He can see every curve and every shade of her skin beneath the fabric, and it doesn’t help that there is now a tear in the elastic top of the gown causing it to sag around her breasts, letting them hover naturally. “Did I do that?” he asks huskily as the woman examines her attire.
“Yeah, thanks.” Sarah mutters. “This was kind of my only article of clothing.”
‘What’s with the drastic mood change? PMS much?’ Jacob bites his tongue when he remembers voicing these choice words to Leah years ago and how much pain he was in for the remainder of the day due to her reaction. Considering he finds Sarah slightly more intimidating than his Beta, he thinks it is probably a wise choice to keep his thoughts to himself.
The static vibe of the room shifts in an instant as Jacob’s human instincts suddenly kick in, his wolf clawing back into the dark and hidden confines of his mind, thus leaving him to pick up the mess. His nerves are flooded with discomfort and he clears his throat after it goes unintentionally dry. “Where are you going?” he asks as smoothly as he can.
She doesn’t make an effort to move the hair that falls in front of her eyes and her head keeps low as she speaks softly. “I told you I was leaving in the morning.”
“Oh.” Jacob was never good at hiding his disappointment, although his curiosity is what keeps him more intrigued at this moment. Why was she even here? Not that he was complaining, although if he really cared, that probably should have been a question to ask before they repeatedly ravaged each other.
“Well,” she lifts her gaze to his with a cheeky smile. “Goodbye.” And she was gone, as fast as she had come. Again.
He doesn’t understand why she was so formal with her parting. It renders him baffled and even his inner animal is cringing as it muses over the complications of a feral female. “Thanks for nothing.” He directs inwardly in a hushed voice.
Jacob doesn’t know how long he hovers in the doorframe leading to the bedroom as his body reacts to a whirlwind of emotions. His fists clench with the fury for leaping into bed with the strange woman, no matter how enjoyable it had been. He has had many women and has been content with the possibility of never finding the one. It almost seems destined to be that way. But Sarah’s lack of pure humanity sets her apart from the usual mold. Her supernatural nature makes her a threat. She can never know what he is, what he does. It is forbidden. She is already treading thin lines just by being here. So why didn’t he push her away?
He sucks his bottom lip between his teeth and chews lightly as he feels the concern in the pit of his stomach. He worries for his pack, for Sam’s pack, and even for the blasted Cullen’s. There have been so many legends, some proving to be dangerously true while others are purely mythical, and Sarah did not fit in with any of it. The woman came out of nowhere, from nowhere – ‘Alaska?’ he thinks – and it was evident that she was not like him, like any of them. Sure, she was some kind of shape-shifter, but that just left even more unanswered questions. And she seems so in-tune with her animal, her wolf, unlike any of his pack members. It was as if it controlled her, like the wolf was the dominant entity and Sarah was just a part of the prestidigitation.
And her healing ability – He has never seen anything like it. What else was she capable of? What kind of magic was she born from? These questions, and so many more, caused him to fear for those he knows and loves. If she doesn’t leave in the morning like she keeps promising, he worries of what could happen. The possibilities were endless and most scenarios caused his flesh to boil. But what if she did leave?
His heart sinks towards his diaphragm and the beat skipped causes his lungs to momentarily strain for air while his skin vibrates with a numbing sensation. He feels a pull, a sort of longing for Sarah. Her presence had stirred something within him, feelings and desires he had never even chanced a second thought with. He is fascinated with the unknown where it was concerned with her, no matter how much he tried to tell himself to stay away and think of his pack. His family. He wants to know her in every aspect, figure her out and all of her magic and hope that she is far from dangerous. He wants to feel her back in his embrace.
Jacob wildly shakes his head to rattle the thoughts bombarding his mind and causes the wood to groan as he leans more of his weight into the doorframe. He turns his head to take in the sight of what once looked like his home. The stack of mail that was messily, although methodically, sitting on his kitchen counter the previous morning is strewn about the floor. His old red couch that usually sits in the middle of the room directly in front of the small television is pushed up against the wall and half of the cushions are missing, and his table lamp lays broken on the ground. He squints his eyes and notices a set of distinct claw marks in the wooden floor by the couch. Was that him, or her?
He shifts his stance to peer into his bedroom and is welcomed by an unnatural sight. On a normal day his bedroom was kept tidy, as much as it could be for a mid-twenties bachelor. But now the mattress lies crooked over the box-spring, the lip of the far side sagging towards the floor. The flannel fitted sheet has been pulled from its purpose, clinging to only a single corner while the rest of it spills out onto the floor and the flat sheet lies in a mangled heap at the foot of the bed. He counts three out of four pillows; one in the window sill pressed up against the cheap blinds, another wedged between the mattress and the headboard, and the third is entangled in the sheets. Random papers and miscellaneous items litter the floor, and he can’t help but grin wolfishly at the view.
To top it all off, the lingering scent of sex is thick and hovers throughout his small home. He can smell her sweat and the heat between her thighs as if she were still there which causes the all too familiar pull in his gut. It has been less than twenty-four hours and he can’t help the longing, the need, to be near her. What the hell was wrong with him?
Was this… imprinting?
All of the guys who have been lucky enough – or as Jacob has recently declared as unfortunate – to have imprinted had all explained it the same way. The imprint becomes their world, their everything. No one else matters in comparison and nothing keeps them grounded save for the strength of the imprint. It is unbreakable and the most powerful form of love. It is the wolf’s involuntary method to finding their soul mate.
Sure, his thoughts have been deluged with Sarah all day, and he keeps wanting to be close to her, but certainly there is an explanation for that. There has to be. It can’t be an imprint. The whole process is ancient; he would know exactly what it is when it happens, right?
Jacob shakes his head again as he chides himself and walks towards the bed. He figures he can clean up in the morning, seeing as there is no more than two hours left until the sun rises. For now he needs his rest. He needs to tame the wild argument within his mind. He stands at the foot of the disheveled bed and lets his body fall freely onto his stomach, his cheek pressing heavily into the mattress and his arms back against his sides.
Among the chaos and the unwanted emotions, and the theories on his possibly imprinting, one factor terrifies him the most, but he tries to keep that in the furthest corners of his sanity while his eyelids grow heavy. Sarah stirs something within his wolf that he has never felt before. His alter-ego has never wanted to be more in control and as experienced as he likes to think he is, he is at a complete loss for what to do. Before letting sleep consume him he decides that in the morning he will seek out his father to try and get some answers.
Sarah can’t sleep, even if she tried to force it. There is too much commotion in her train wreck of a mind and her nerves all out of whack. Luckily she was able to stabilize the miniscule grip on reality she happened to conjure up and high tail it out of there, away from Jacob, before she did something else stupid. She feels that her body’s compulsion for sex has been fulfilled so now she can leave, before the desire replenishes itself without her own accord. And she’s leaving fast.
The sun has already claimed its rightful place in the morning blue of the sky by the time she reaches Forks. Unfortunately, thanks to the constant, dreary weather it seems the clouds from last night have decided to stick around and settle around the town, causing that grey tinge she became familiar with on her first day in the area.
She figures she should get herself a new outfit and ditch the dress, then try her hand at hitchhiking her way out of town. She is a little bit rusty in the manipulation department so it could be fun to brush up on her techniques. Not to mention it may be a good idea to get drunk on a new stranger’s stench rather than happen upon even a hint of Jacob. She would probably turn around without a second thought and barge her way back into his bed. No, not again.
First she stops by the café to say a quick hello to Taryn and divulge in a cup of steaming coffee. After a short and simple conversation and new directions, she takes her drink to-go and makes her way towards the center of town to find the small clothing boutique that the barista had raved about. Upon arrival at the store, she finds it quaint and welcoming, and notices a vast amount of styles to choose from. The amount of clothing is almost overwhelming compared to the tiny size of the shop.
After perusing through countless wracks and tables of outfits, she settles for a simple pair of denim shorts with a sable green racerback. She pays for the items, along with a set of black sneakers, rather than trying to sneak them away from the watchful eyes of the employees. She tells the girl behind the counter to keep the receipt and changes in the bathroom, leaving the dirty white dress behind in the trash can.
A small television catches her eye as she walks by a large window on her way back to the highway. Sarah stops in the middle of the sidewalk causing the couple behind her to break their hold on each other’s hands and part around her like an obstacle, only to meet again and embrace each other even tighter as they continue on their way. She cocks her head to the side as she waits for the program on the screen to unfold. She watches as a large elk grazes in a filed of long grass, and the scene cuts to a man adorned in full camouflage hiding in the brush as he steadies an archer’s bow in his hands. She can’t hear any sound through the glass but continues to view intently as the man waits for so long, just watching his prey. It cuts back to the elk which continues to eat, completely oblivious to its impending doom. After the man on the television shoots his arrow and strikes down the animal with one swift and precise motion, the program cuts to a montage of targeting and kills with the weapon.
She becomes entranced by the video playing and loses her sense of surrounding and time, not even hearing the door that leads to the store open.
“Hey there,” a gruff voice wakes her from her stupor.
Sarah rips her eyes from the screen to the man standing in the doorway. He is very lean and slightly taller than her and his choppy grey hair hangs in tufts from underneath his camouflage baseball cap. The lopsided grin on his face is friendly.
“See somethin’ you like?” He asks.
Sarah looks to the television and back. “What is this?”
The man leans forward to peer around the display window and get a look at the program. “Ah, you an archer?”
She shakes her head as her eyes wander back to the screen, falling under another trance. “No,” she manages.
“It’s a good sport. You interested in learnin’?”
Sarah continues to stare at the box as if she is drawn in by its features until a hand waves in front of her face, shaking her from her spell. “What?”
“Come on in. I’ll show you what I got.” The man leans further into the door to open it at its full tilt, revealing the entrance and waiting for the woman to enter before him.
Sarah’s nose is bombarded with the smell of solvents and gun powder as she steps further into the shop, her eyes scanning all of the equipment. She shivers and turns away at the sight of the gun cabinet near the register. She focuses her attention on the display in the far wall, taking in an assortment of stuffed animal heads and photographs. She takes another step when she feels the man’s presence behind her.
“I’m gonna take a guess and say you’re a beginner, so this right here is the best piece of equipment for a rookie.” He pauses to let her turn her attention on him. “AW Deluxe recurve Take Down bow with a wood handle, got a twenty pound draw weight. Now I’d say you’re ‘bout…” his voice trails as he looks her body over quickly, leaving Sarah feeling slightly agitated. “You probably weigh ‘bout one-thirty-five, right? Well you can probably handle a draw weight of thirty, maybe thirty-five pounds max, but since you’re just startin’ out its best to go with a smaller size and weight.”
After the man’s rant Sarah’s insecurities disappear. He was so involved with his craft it was like he was just speaking out loud to himself. She watches quietly, and in a state of awe, as he openly admires the weapon in his hands.
“And it’s easy as cake! You just grab the grip here, like this, and pull back on the line.” His stance holds firm as he shows her to use the piece while her eyes find their way to another bow behind him. The design and mechanics look much more complicated than the simple piece of wood he holds in his hands, and it looks heavier, like it may actually cause damage. It was an intimidating item.
“What about that one?” the man turns his head to find what the woman is pointing at.
“You mean the Hoyt Powerhawk compound bow with carbon handle? Yeah, things a beauty, but I think she may be too much for a youngin’ like you.”
Sarah ignores the man and takes the bow from where it hangs and admires the craftsmanship as she carefully holds it in her grasp. A flash of what the employee showed her followed by a recall of the program she had watched causes her to brain to instinctively jolt her body into reaction. She firmly clasps one hand around the grip as she points the weapon towards the back wall and raises her other hand to hook her finger around the bow-string.
The man tries to reach calmly for the merchandise. “Don’t hurt yourself, now. That’s a sixty pound -” His words drop from his mind as he watches the small-framed woman effortlessly pull back the string to its full length, her cheek pressed up against the cables and her eyes hard set on the back wall. “You look like a pro.” He laughs more to himself.
She throws a smirk over her shoulder as she lowers the device and releases the tension in the line. “I’m a fast learner.”
“I’d say so. What do you say? You interested?”
Sarah turns hesitantly on her heel to greet the man with a raised brow. “Excuse me?”
The man laughs lightly. “In the equipment – you interested? Or do you wanna find somethin’ smaller, like a knife or a revolver?”
“No!” The taken aback look on the mans face tells her that she probably answered too quickly and she can still feel the lingering stress from her voice. “I mean, no. I don’t like guns.”
“Alright, fair enough.” He holds his hands up, palms out, as if in surrender then points to the bow in her grip. “You wanna get that?”
Sarah admires the weapon for another moment before placing it back in its place on the wall. “No. I’m leaving town any way.”
“Ah, that’s too bad. You woulda looked real good with that Hoyt. Where ya goin?”
Sarah shrugs as she slides her hands into her back pockets. “Not sure.”
The man nods his head and sucks in his cheek, his features shallow in thought. “Well, the name’s Terry, if you ever come on back. She’ll be waitin’ for ya.” He gestures towards the bow again.
“Thank you.” Sarah gives him a genuine smile and leaves him behind as she exits the store. She isn’t sure how long she had conversed with the friendly employee but from the glow of the sun through the haze it seems to be mid-afternoon. She pauses for a moment on the pavement to give one last look to the row of small businesses, but the moment all aspects of her surroundings flood her senses, images of the native adaptation of Adonis assault her mind. The way his perfect teeth gleamed when he smiled, the flash of raw and uncharted emotions in his dark eyes, his unblemished and chiseled frame as he hovered above and below her while he pleasured her repeatedly with a dangerous expertise – Sarah is in trouble.
“Get the fuck out of my head!” She grinds out before treading back towards the highway where she figures she can walk along for a few miles before waving down a random stranger and their car. And then she can get the hell out of Washington as fast as possible.
After passing the café she begins the approach to the small convenience store and gas station. Her feet involuntarily stop mid step while her muscles tense, her nose obviously commuting directly with her motor skills before connecting with her brain, but when the spark ignites she realizes why the sudden halt. That damn smell again. Her jaw goes rigid and her eyes pierce forward, all of her senses taking it down a notch to let her nose and ears do all of the work as she picks up her pace again, heading towards the gas pumps with a new determination. The closer she draws, the thicker the scent grows and the more it tickles the hairs in her nostrils. She fights the overwhelming sensation to sneeze at the sickly-sweet tinge and the want to gag from the putrid stink of death. Once she clears the far corner of the store she stops in her tracks to look frantically in every direction.
The road and the woods beyond are deserted as far as she can tell, and only a silver Mercedes rests idly by the four gas pumps. Sarah feels excited and panicked all at once, straining herself and her heightened senses to finally get a look at the smell that has been haunting her for most of her life. Although, she notices, there is something vaguely different here, something a little off. The aroma is the same, but it’s not. It is all too confusing, but she needs answers. She just wants to know.
As she is about to take her next step leading her in the direction her nose has chosen, she hears the familiar bell signaling the opening of the entrance to the mini-mart. Exiting the store and strolling gracefully towards the Mercedes are three laughing women. One is alarmingly petite with short and stalk straight brunette locks, another is taller with long chocolate waves, and the third is about the height of the latter with similar colored hair falling in ringlets down her back. Sarah watches as they smile brightly, there skin all sharing the same ivory tone and their aura intoxicating. The one with the curls has a rosy tint to her cheeks and looks to be in her late teens but there is something child-like in her coffee brown eyes while the other two don the same golden orbs. And they are ridiculously beautiful, perfect even, like celestial beings come down to Earth to shatter the dreary mood with their bell-like giggling. Sarah feels drugged by their presence.
These women cannot be the source of the smell. They are too angelic… Who are they? What…
It doesn’t take long for her to shake the helpless feeling when she notices that the short ones eyes are on her. Their gaze connects like an electric current and the pixie-like woman seems to lapse into a momentary daze until she finally smiles brightly. The black specks buried in her aureate eyes pool to what should be their normal size while Sarah cannot help but stare back, motionless. Her smile seems knowing and warm, like she can see right through Sarah and she knows some sort of delightful secret. But as fast as the smile spreads it begins to falter, finally being replaced by a look of utter sadness. The sorrow that wades within the little ones eyes is heart-breaking and Sarah fights to swallow the lump growing in her throat.
“What is it?” The other one with the same eyes takes her friend’s shoulders in her arms, a look of curiosity reading across her features. She follows her gaze to the woman frozen in her place only feet from them and her lips form a loose line.
“That’s so sad.” If it weren’t for Sarah’s excellent hearing she probably wouldn’t have even caught a trace of the short one’s whispered words. She watches with a bated breath as three pairs of eyes stare with an unreadable expression until finally climbing into the sleek car. Sarah waits for the doors to close and for the sound of the engine roaring to life, and finally for the vehicle to drive off and disappear around the corner before she can find the will to move again.
She is almost jogging by the time she reaches her destination, nearly knocking the door off its hinges before slamming all of the money from her pocket down onto the glass counter. Her eyes are blazing with determination and certainty as she collects her breath and grins at the man. “How much for the one I liked?”
“Decided to stick around, huh?” Terry raises a brow.
“Yes, now how much?”
“That Hoyt right there’ll cost ya about four hundred.”
Sarah groans and feels the confidence begin to drain from her nerves. “Shit,” she mutters under her breath.
“How much you got?” Terry cranes his neck to get a better look at the wad of cash in her hands.
Sarah unfolds the bills and lays them on the counter. “A little more than eighty.”
“That’s all you got?” he picks with another quirked brow.
“Yeah, I’m not from around here so -”
“Figured as much.” He chuckles. “Tell ya what. I’m gonna give you my old recurve to practice with. It’s seen better days but it’ll do the trick. You just gotta buy all the fixin’s to go with it, and be sure to return it in the same condition I give it to ya in.” He chides.
“No, I can’t -”
Terry holds a hand up to stop her. “It’s alright. You look like a darn natural with that thing, figure it would be a real shame to let a raw talent like that go to waste. So what do ya say? We got a deal?”
Sarah can’t help the smile and the short laugh that cuts through her breath at the unnecessary act of kindness. “I don’t know what to say…”
“Just say thank you.” Terry slaps his hand on the counter in finality before disappearing through the door leading to the office. Minutes later he emerges with a bow that looks similar to the one he had first showed her. Sarah immediately notices the chips and bruises in the older wood, but her eyes grow wide with delight nonetheless. He lays the bow on the counter and reaches for a long and narrow rounded case on the lower shelves.
“These here are the cheapest arrows we got, but they’ll hold up just fine, long as you don’t handle ‘em bad. And remember you gotta have a license before you do any kind of killin’.” He pauses to throw a wink. “That’s all you’ll be needin’ for this set, so just hand me a twenty and be on your way.” Terry smiles and slides the equipment closer to her.
Sarah quickly hands him the bill without hesitation and snatches up her new purchases, or rentals rather, and looks at the man with a soft admiration. “Thank you so much. I don’t understand why you’re being so kind, but thank you.”
“Ya don’t need to understand.” He waves his hand towards the door and laughs. “Now get on out of here and have some fun.”
Sarah ends the conversation with a polite nod and makes her way to the door but stops when she hears his voice again.
“Ya didn’t tell me your name, sweetheart.”
She bows her head and suppresses a laugh before turning back to face him. “It’s Sarah.”
“Sarah.” He says quietly to himself as if his mind ponders. “I like that. So what made ya decide to stick around, Sarah?”
She shrugs and gives him a sideways grin. “I think that will always remain a mystery.”
Chapter 6: Breakfast And Playboys
Jacob is unsure of why he couldn’t find a restful sleep only hours ago. His brain had been a mess with all of the new questions surfacing, so it makes sense if that were the case. After all of these years of knowing he suddenly feels completely out of the loop, as if the entire world that he thought he understood only days ago is nothing but a joke. Or maybe he is the joke? He can’t shake the paranoid feeling that everything is plotting against him, waiting in the shadows until the perfect opportunity to laugh in his face for his naivety. But what in the hell could he have done? He’s only living by what he has learned, what he has been told.
He thinks it could have also been the heavy stink of Sarah’s arousal and no matter how many times he tried to relieve himself his erection remained taunted and at it’s peak. Of course there had been no satisfaction for him. Just the muttered curses from under his breath and the constant ache between his legs, serving as a reminder that every so often one’s body chooses to be defiant.
As if on cue, Jacob tugs at his shorts to adjust himself as he moves about a kitchen that is not his own. He pours the mixture of chopped potatoes and vegetables into the searing pan, watching as the items hiss and spit when they make contact with the layer of melted butter. The heavy aroma of peppers and garlic immediately invade his surroundings as he turns down the heat on the stove. He moves to the counter and opens the carton of eggs, cracking all twelve and emptying their contents into a glass bowl.
As he prepares his station for a smooth and organized execution, he begins to wonder when he had grown up. He knows it’s been years since he started taking better care of himself and essentially acting like an adult, at least the majority of the time, but he had never actually stopped to think about it. To notice it. He thinks it has something to do with being in this particular house.
Jacob can hear the slow and muffled movements of another presence in the far room of the house as he places the leftover sausage into the microwave. He begins to nuke the meat and listens to the sound of thin rubber rolling against the old floorboards growing louder until it stops just outside of the small kitchen.
“It’s always a pleasure to get woken up at six in the morning to an unannounced visitor. Enjoying making a mess in my kitchen?”
Jacob can’t help the grin that slides between his cheeks. “Nice to see you too, Dad.”
“Been a while.” He can hear his father’s wheelchair moving again from behind him and when it stops by the dining table he turns to meet his eyes.
“Yeah.” Jacob nods. “What have you been up to?”
“Oh, you know,” the older man shifts in his seat. “Just getting by. Signed up for tap dancing lessons last week. It’s all been a real blast.”
Jacob laughs, glad that his father still keeps up with his own sense of humor. He matches his elders smile and takes in the friendly face that he hasn’t seen in at least a month. He notices that there is more silver in his long black locks than he remembers from last time, and the skin seems to droop at his once sharp edges. But his dark eyes remain as wise and knowing as ever, alive with a charged energy that practically screams magic.
“You’re looking good, Dad.”
“You too, Jacob.” Billy nods and the men appreciate each other’s presence for another moment before Jacob returns to his task. He stirs the food in the pan, causing another uproar of sounds from the heated grease.
“Smells good. What are you making?”
“Breakfast.” Jacob replies shortly. “You’ll like it.”
Another silence falls between them and the younger man can’t help but feel awkward. It has been a long time since they have actually had something of substance to speak about, considering nothing happens in their lives anymore. Jacob knows everything he needs about the legends and the history of his people, something that was required especially of him considering he would someday be chief. Although, he hopes, that day will not come soon. They’ve talked about girls and money and love, and Billy would help Jacob with schoolwork and with any other problems a young, growing man may come across as any father should. But those days have long since passed.
They continue to visit and do things together on occasion like family would, but for years there has just been nothing to talk about. There has been no excitement since the whole Bella fiasco and Jacob has had a firm grip on running his own pack for so long now that he no longer needs guidance. Or at least that’s how he feels. Now, they struggle to find something to talk about - the weather, local news, or recent gossip on the reservation. Jacob loves his father, and Billy in turn loves him back, dearly. However, there comes a time in most lives when things just become boring, to put it in simple terms.
But today will be different. Jacob needs his father more now than he has since he was a teenager. He just hopes he can handle his conclusion.
Billy parks himself at his dining table as Jacob serves him his dish, receiving only half the amount that is piled onto Jacob’s plate. He thanks his son and the men begin their meals in silence.
“So how are things at the shop?” Billy breaks the quiet after making a noticeable dent in his serving.
“They’re good.” Jacob replies through the corner of his mouth as he chews then swallows. “Business hasn’t picked up much lately but Seth is working on some marketing ideas.”
“That’s great, Jacob. So I take it Seth is still in school then?”
“Yeah, he’s still doing that online thing. Strange to think he’s the only one of us who will be getting a college degree.”
“I hope you don’t think less of yourself because of that.” Billy gives his son a pointed look.
Jacob shakes his head. “No, of course not. School was never my thing. ‘Sides, I’ve got responsibilities.”
After meeting his father’s gaze he realizes that his words didn’t sound as he thought he made them out to be. “Dad, seriously, I wouldn’t give this up for anything. I love what I do, no regrets.”
Billy lets his stare linger for a moment as if he is reading his son’s very soul until a final nod breaks their contact so he can return to his food.
Small conversation filters in and out through their breakfast until Jacob devours the last morsel from his plate. Billy takes his last bite and without question Jacob gathers the dishes and takes them to the sink where he begins the process of cleaning up his mess. He does this quietly as his father wheels himself through the front door and onto the porch, greeting the morning cold against his old, weathered skin. His chest falls as he lets a long sigh release from his lungs. He knows his son is here for more than just a random visit. He can see it in his tired eyes; he can feel it in his aura. Something is troubling his offspring, and he doesn’t know how much longer he can dwell on Jacob’s inept reticence.
Billy knows he won’t have to wait much longer to get whatever it is that rests on Jacob’s mind to his tongue when he hears the faucet shut off and heavy footsteps falling towards the door. He just isn’t sure if he will have to coax it out of him, or if his son will speak up on his own. He watches the younger man linger in the doorway for a time, his gaze downcast and jaw tight.
“Tell me your thoughts, Jacob.” Billy speaks. “What has you so bothered?” The curious look the elder receives only causes him to chuckle lightly as his son moves to sit on the wooden bench beside his chair.
Jacob rubs the back of his neck and stares forward into the yard he grew up with. So many memories and promises of adventure to a young soul. “I don’t even know where to start, Dad.”
Billy cracks a smile. “It would make sense to start from the beginning, wouldn’t it?”
“Yeah, thanks,” he laughs in response. “So there’s this girl -”
“Haven’t we already had this conversation?”
“Dad, seriously?” Jacob admonishes.
Billy holds up his hands in defense, a crooked smile forming on his lips. “I was just trying to lighten the mood, Son.”
He huffs through his nose and rolls his eyes, squaring his shoulders and clearing his throat. His father’s humor and take on life was making him more nervous. But why was he nervous? He’s only looking for the possibility of answers, something that he can hold onto and believe. So why? It’s not like Sarah is even a temporary fixture in his life. She isn’t fixed to anything. He just needs to learn of what else is out there besides the kind he already knows, and maybe even get a clue at figuring out the origins of the girl. That girl with the soft, tawny skin and wild, ebony hair, her blazing blue eyes swimming with secrets. His senses flood with the smell of her wetness and the sound of her frenzied moans; he remembers vividly the feel of the beauty beneath him.
Jacob shakes his head vigorously and squirms in his seat, trying to hide his uncomfortable predicament, emitting a groan from his throat that relays his irritation clearly. He spares a glance at his father who is watching him calmly, his expression unreadable. “We came across her scent in the woods two nights ago,” he starts. “It was our monthly meeting when out of nowhere none of us could concentrate anymore. This smell just came barging in, so we started tracking it and found nothing.”
He pauses to look at Billy and is greeted with the same concentrated expression. He figures his next words will probably cause a stir in the old mans composure. “Thing is, we could tell it was a female and that it wasn’t human. But she wasn’t a bloodsucker, and she wasn’t one of us.”
“Peculiar.” The change in his father’s features is subtle as he takes in the information.
“Very.” Jacob quietly agrees. “So yesterday I’m out for my usual run and I happen to stumble upon her. She was cleaning her clothes or something out by that estuary, I don’t know. Any way, she turns and runs and next thing I know she shifts into a black wolf.”
Jacob gauges his father’s reaction carefully, taking in his widening eyes and that his jaw has gone slack. “What?” is all that he can manage.
“Yeah, she phased into a damn wolf. She isn’t fast like us, and nowhere near as big as us. But I have never seen so much aggression. She was so wild, Dad. It almost scared the shit out of me.”
Billy’s eyes drop and his son can tell that he is searching through his own mind and history for possible answers already. He waits to hear his father speak.
“What happened? Did you follow her?” He asks calmly.
“Yes. I talked to her a little.”
Their eyes meet again and Billy’s brow lifts slightly. “You didn’t reveal yourself to her, did you? You didn’t tell her anything?”
“No Dad, I didn’t say anything. But -”
“But what, Jacob?” The warning tone laced within his father’s words is evident.
“I’m not stupid, Dad.” He retorts. “I know how important it is to keep our secret, especially now that there is obviously more out there that is unknown.” He doesn’t mean for his inflection to sound accusing but he can’t help it. “But she did see me. I chased her in my wolf form. I guess I got excited and caught up with the situation. I mean hell! She morphed into big ass canine, too! But I didn’t say anything to her about us, I swear.”
Billy nods after letting out a long exhale. “What happened next?”
“I tried to communicate with her through our form of telepathy, thinking that maybe she was one of us. But she couldn’t hear me. So I phased back and got her to talk to me.”
“What did she say?”
“Well apparently she has no idea what she is either. She said she is from Alaska and that she’s just passing through here. Says she’s on the run, but from what I don’t know.”
Another long pause falls between the men. Jacob watches patiently as his father mulls over the facts he has presented. “I’m sorry, Jacob.” Billy finally shrugs. “But I think I’m at just as much of a loss on ideas as you are.”
He lets out a breath he didn’t even realize he had been holding. “You have to have something, Dad. Anything? I mean, with all that you know and everything you have taught me, you have to know something!”
“Right now I don’t, but I will look into it. Is she of a Native descent?”
“I don’t know… I think so.”
“Up in Alaska there are many native tribes, and if she is a descendant of any of them that could help narrow the research. The majority of the indigenous people believe they were created or descended of particular animals, and it would make sense that we are not the only… Shifters I guess is the best word to describe it. Unfortunately our elders have not done much research or teachings of outside tribes unless there was a connection or experience of sorts, so off the top of my head I have no answers for you.”
Jacob leans forward, digging his elbows into the crooks just above his knees and simply nods in response. His eyes glaze indicating that he is deep in thought.
Billy reaches forward to place a hand on his sons shoulder. “We will figure this out, Jacob. But in the meantime, I want you to stay away from her. I understand that you make the rules and command the pack, but from father to son, I think it may be best to keep a distance until you know a little more about what she may be.”
Jacob swallows the mass growing in his throat. “I’ve already told the others to stay away, to ignore her scent. We already had a meeting about this.”
“That was a wise decision.”
The turmoil rising up within his mind and instincts is causing his frame to tense and his composure feels it will shatter in a matter of seconds if he can’t get a grip on his thoughts. He knows there is more to tell his father, but he feels uncomfortable divulging in specific details, such as the insanity of last night. It was personal, and he feels as though sharing his memories of this experience with his own father may be a bit over the line. However, there were certain things that he needed to tell him, like how Sarah made him feel.
When he feels Billy’s presence pulling away, every wall he was trying to build comes crashing down and before he can gather his words his mouth works without his consent. “I had sex with her.”
His fathers silence and stony expression terrifies him. He expected an outburst of sorts or an immediate lecture, which is something he could handle. At least then he would know exactly how Billy feels about the news. But this – not a single word or even a look – is frightening and causes his nerves to bundle and strain against his already cautious mentality. He can’t tell if he is angry, or if he understands, or worse… if he is disappointed. He watches and waits to hear his father say something, anything, but when no words split the thick tension he decides it is best to continue.
“It was last night,” he begins quietly, carefully treading as he explains. “She had been in the Cullen territory so I asked her to come with me, or to leave at least.” He notices his father shift uncomfortably in his chair. “Don’t worry; I didn’t say anything about them either. But she didn’t listen to me. She just told me to go away, and she looked crazy! Like some feral beast ready to pounce. So I left her and went home, I couldn’t think of anything else to do. She terrified me.”
Billy nods, indicating that he is listening and wanting his son to press on further.
“She ends up following me home and there is something different, something that I hadn’t noticed before. She smelled…” his voice trails as he tries to find the right words, thinking it best to keep a low rating on his recount of events. “She smelled different, and then I snapped. It was like I had no control over my body, and then… Well, I’m sure you can figure out what happened from there.”
“Mm hmm.” Billy murmurs before he finally speaks. “I just don’t understand, Jacob. I know you’re not exactly inexperienced with women,” he pauses to pass a pertinent look at his son. “But I know you’re smarter than this. You knew she wasn’t ordinary and yet -”
“Look Dad, I know.” Jacob cuts him off, clearly frustrated with his fathers scrutinizing and uncomfortable with the conversation in general. “But like I said, I had no control. I’m not really concerned about the sex or what happened with her, any way. The only reason I brought this up is because I have more questions on things I don’t understand.”
“What’s it like to…” again, he struggles to find the words. Not that he doesn’t know how to ask, it’s only that the subject makes him anxious. “What is it supposed to feel like when we imprint?”
The exasperated sigh that wracks Billy’s body and the hand that he runs down over his face confirms for Jacob that he’s screwed. His father is annoyed and most likely disappointed. “That’s something I feel you should ask someone who already has. All that I can tell you is what is recorded in the legends and word-of-mouth. Why do you ask?”
He quickly turns away from his fathers analyzing eyes, remembering that he has never had much confidence when facing his judgment. “Because I need to know what it is supposed to feel like. I mean, I thought I would know what it is exactly when it happens since it’s such a big deal and like, this ancient magic, you know? But I have no idea if I did or not. All that I do know is that I cannot get this girl out of my head.”
“Do you feel a pull towards her?”
“It’s hard to explain. I do, in a sense, but I don’t. The wolf in me goes absolutely insane whenever she is close.” He stops to take in a deep breath. “I don’t know how to explain it, but this whole thing is actually scaring me. My wolf is scaring me. It feels like there is this battle for dominance growing within me. I can’t help but feel more like an animal rather than a man who happens to turn into a big fucking dog. I can feel it swelling up inside of me, molding into every curve and muscle trying to rip through this shell of a body. I feel like this, me right here,” he waves his hands gesturing around his torso. “I feel like I’m just a cage holding it back and it’s only a matter of time before I snap.”
“So you’re telling me that you’re wolf is acting up and you’re having a hard time controlling it, and it’s all because of this girl?”
“Yes.” Jacob nods towards his father’s perplexed features. “I can feel it wanting to get out, to make all of the decisions. I just don’t get it. I thought we and our wolves were supposed to be one collaborative being?”
“That’s the thing about imprinting. As far back as I can find every member of the tribe who has ever phased has had problems here and there with completely controlling their wolf, but never to the extent you have described. And when an imprint is made it is supposed to bind the man and wolf, for they have found their soul purpose for living, therefore a common interest and reason to fight. It is meant to tame the wolf, in a sense. So what you are telling me is just…”
“Well, it’s strange. It’s unheard of. So I can understand why you are so hesitant.”
“Great.” Jacob mutters. “Guess it looks like I’m screwed.”
“You said she was just passing through, right? Did she say when she was leaving?”
“She took off after we… you know… and said she was leaving town. But I can’t help the feeling that I’ll be seeing her again, like she isn’t leaving.”
“I don’t know if it is because she trusts you, or if she is drawn to you in a way that you are to her, but from you have told me it’s too late to warn you off. My advice is for you to try and get to know her, get as many answers as you can.” Billy says smoothly until he continues, his pitch dropping. “But keep the pack out of it. I don’t want to see any one get hurt, and while I worry about you of course, I have a feeling you will know how to take care of this if the time comes.”
Jacob nods in understanding. “Okay. For the time being can you please try to find anything you can? Even if it’s not about her, just what else can be out there. After all, I figure if we and those blasted leeches exist, what other monsters are lurking around, you know?”
“I will do my best, son.” Billy smiles reassuringly and watches the younger man’s eyes surge with curiosity as he stares out passed the front yard. “Have you talked to Sam about this?”
“I think it may be best that you do. He is another Alpha, so he and his pack have a right to know what you do. Besides, he may be able to help you out on this imprinting problem.”
“I guess.” Jacob shrugs, hoping his father will drop the subject of his former leader from years ago. Billy quickly takes the hint.
“For now, tell me about her. What did you talk about? What does she look like?”
The elder mans heart immediately swells when he sees the starry gleam flash in his son’s eyes and the toothy smile that breaks his frown. “God, Dad, she’s gorgeous. Like, otherworldly beautiful. She’s got these deep blue eyes that…” Jacob tries to stop the vomit-like splurging of words that fall from his mouth but he literally can’t. “She’s exotic, and small in both forms, but she can definitely hold her own. She’s like this little hellion pent up on all sorts of fury. She reminded me of Leah, just more dangerous.” He can’t help but chuckle at the thought.
Billy smiles knowingly and suppresses a laugh. “What’s her name?”
Jacob slowly brings his eyes to his father’s for the first time in long moments and doesn’t try to mask the sudden onslaught of emotions he knows will be shining in his eyes. The feeling of sadness and loss morphing into that of awe and memory. “It’s Sarah.”
He can hear the elder’s heart skip a beat and watches the infectious smile grow on his lips. “What a lovely name.” Billy whispers.
“Yeah, I thought so.” Jacob places a large hand on his father’s knee. “I’m going have to get going though. Duty calls.”
He nods. “Yeah, I’ve got a Bimmer that’s due to be done by this afternoon.”
“Well enjoy, son. And I hope to see you again soon. Maybe come by for dinner this weekend?” Billy squeezes his hand before Jacob stands to remove himself from the porch.
“That sounds great.” A genuine smile graces his features.
“And Jacob?” He turns around at the driveway at his dads call. “Earn her trust. Maybe she can give you more answers than you think.”
“I love you, Jacob.”
“Love you too, Dad.”
Jacob rushes home to quickly shower considering he was too distracted earlier to bother with such a tedious task. He thinks that talking about Sarah out in the open helped his situation immensely considering he barely had to touch himself to relieve his hard-on. It was painful at first but he ignored it, glad that he didn’t have to go on for much longer and worrying about how much worse it could have been. Once he is satisfied with scrubbing all alien scents from his skin he climbs out of the shower and throws on his desired outfit before running out the door to his Volkswagen. Before starting his short drive to work he sniffs at his arm, hoping no trace of Sarah can be found to potentially raise even more unwanted questions from his coworker and best friend.
It is half passed eight by the time he reaches his garage only six miles from his home, a territory that he and his partners had specifically chosen five years ago when they started their business. It rests off the side of the road, no other building in sight, and sits comfortably near the halfway point between La Push and Forks. The location itself tends to drive a steady amount of traffic to their door, literally speaking. Forks, being another small town, is home to only one mechanic shop that lays near the center of town. Whereas “La Garage” welcomes visitors who are already on the road with country-felt signs and even a small billboard a few miles down the highway, all thanks to Seth and his brilliance of course. It doesn’t hurt that the shop is ran and operated by three young and Herculean men. Embry likes to think it’s the buff and brawns that bring the customers, not Jacob’s endless talent with machinery.
As usual Jacob is the first to arrive to work. He unlocks the steal door to the garage and leaves the front office to Embry for whenever he decides to show up. After organizing the tools he will need for the old lady’s ninety-eight BMW 528i he unlatches the hood and raises the bonnet, taking a look at the engine he has been tuning up since last week. He quickly gives it a once over to analyze the remaining work then jumps in with his eager hands after turning the dial on the radio to raise the volume.
He wipes the thin sheen of sweat from his brow with the back of his grease stained hand after nearly an hour of tinkering with the vehicle. He heard Embry moving about the office twenty minutes ago and knows it is only a matter of time before his friend moves to the back to start badgering him with questions. Therefore he began to work vigorously on his project, hoping to get most of the work done before he can get distracted.
“How’s is hangin’, broski?” speak of the devil.
“Just working, Em. Maybe you should try it sometime.” Jacob turns his head to peer at his friend examining a ratchet.
“Nah, I’m too pretty for work.” Embry sets the tool down and moves towards his friend. He nods his head to the beat of the music wafting through the room until he catches on to the lyrics. “Dude! Really? How do you expect us to gain clients when you’re blaring this shit from the garage?”
Jacob lifts his head and looks at the boom box on the shelf and laughs. “Do you really think someone will turn down the best service to their car just because of the music the mechanic is listening to?”
Embry’s mouth falls open. “That guy just clearly sang ‘In the beginning there was semen’. That’s hardly your typical music.”
Jacob only laughs in response.
“Whatever. I just have no desire to hear what the rest of the song is about.” He moves to the Ford pickup in the center of the room where he lifts himself to sit on the hood.
“Probably not a good idea to be putting dents in our clients cars.” Jacob mutters.
The other man waves his hand dismissively. “Minor detail. ‘Sides, it’s not like you couldn’t just pop it right back out.”
Jacob snorts. “Right. That should be your chore from now on, seeing as you’re the cause of the damage.”
“No can do, Jake. I’m the salesman, you’re the mechanic. I can’t chance messing up this perfect face.”
“Then stop damaging the goods!” Jacob weakly throws a small metric wrench at his friend before the man jumps down from his perch. They share a set of laughs when Embry throws the tool back and hits him in the shoulder. It’s been this way since they can remember. When they decided to open up shop, Jacob was already an experienced mechanic so it was no argument that he would run the back end of things, where Embry has always been good with people. He is a natural flirt and has the looks that could put Prince Charming to shame, so naturally it made sense to let him run the office and sell the potential clients. And being that Embry bores easily he tends to find himself in the garage bothering Jacob with random conversation.
“So what’s going on, bro? Did you find anything out?” Embry takes to leaning against the grill of the pickup.
“You know, that wolf girl? Mistress hottie with an attitude?” Embry licks his lips absentmindedly. “I was thinking maybe you talked to your Dad or something.”
“Yeah, I talked to him.” Jacob grunts as he forces a stripped bolt to turn in his grip. “He’s got nothing.”
“Mm hmm.” He mumbles in return and pauses his task to grip the bridge of his nose between his fingers, clenching his eyes shut to try and fight off the exhaustion.
“Dude, you look like shit.” Embry huffs as he takes a moment to examine the dark bags under his friend’s eyes.
“I didn’t sleep last night.”
“Oh really now? Why is that?”
Jacob lifts his gaze to watch Embry waggle his eyebrows. He swallows thickly, hoping he can’t be read easily at this point. He thinks it is best to not divulge in the details he shared with his father with his pack members, best friends or not. “Don’t know. I just couldn’t sleep. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately.”
“Sure.” Embry simply drawls. The look in his eyes makes it clear that he doesn’t believe Jacob’s words in the slightest, but he decides to drop the subject. “Mind if I come over after work? I got these bomb-ass tenderloins and you’re the only one with a grill.”
“Sure, sure.” Jacob shrugs and returns to picking apart pieces of the engine.
“Cool, dude. I’m gonna head in and do some work. And by work I mean read the shit out of the new Playboy.”
Jacob’s movement comes to a stop as he lifts a scrutinizing brow at his friend.
“What?” Embry shrugs and shows his palms. “There’s some funny shit in there. And I have personally benefited from some of the tips on how to pick up women. You should give it a try sometime.” Before retreating back to his office he winks at his friend.
Jacob shakes his head and laughs under his breath at his friends antics before returning, yet again, to his work. He lets the sounds coming from the stereo swallow the silence from the room and his lips form around the words as he sings silently along. For once his mind isn’t occupied by Sarah, that’s why he loves his work. It lets him focus and forget about all the bullshit that comes along with the package of life. And he can practically taste the meat that he and Embry will be charring this afternoon. He reminds himself to pick up some beer on the way home.
A smile works its way onto his moving lips until he realizes his mistake. He is allowing Embry over to his home and he hasn’t had a chance to clean since last night, since the heated and messy sex bomb blew through it. His friend probably won’t even have to step inside to catch a glimpse of the drugging smell, not to mention the sight of it. After cursing at himself quietly, he begins to think of any possible excuse to send Embry packing to someone else’s grill. However, the thought of potentially not getting a chance to devour a nicely blackened tenderloin does put a damper on things.
Jacob can’t help the groan that rolls from his throat. Is the food worth it?