Sam slammed the door on his way into the house and headed straight for the sofa. He'd been moody lately---well, more so than usual, and I knew it had something to do with the pack. But it wasn't like him to just walk right past me like that. I knew I shouldn't take it personally, but I was a little hurt.
"Bad morning?" I asked.
"Yeah," he mumbled, dropping his head into his hands and slumping down. Suddenly he sat up straight and looked at me, as if he'd only just realized I was there. In the next second he was leaning over me, kissing me tenderly like he always did when he came home, and I immediately forgot the hurt feelings I'd had.
"I'm sorry, I'm just a little distracted" he said, stroking my face, running his fingers lightly over the scars that caused him so much pain. I'd forgiven him long ago, but I could see it in his eyes every time he looked at me. He would never forgive himself.
"Want to talk about it?" I asked.
"No," he replied. "What's for lunch?"
"Salad," I said with a grin.
He groaned. "Didn't anyone ever tell you that wolves are carnivores?" he asked.
"Guess it's a good thing I heated up the leftover pot roast!"
"I need your help," Sam said between bites.
"I was wondering how long it would take you to ask," I said.
He tried to glare at me, but I knew better. Sam could be a little intimidating if you didn't know him, but he was really just a big softie.
"It's about Jake," he said.
"Oh, are he and Paul fighting again?" Those two had been fighting ever since Jake had joined the pack, but they always walked away friends.
"No, it's about Bella."
"The vampire girl?"
"Her name's Bella," he replied defensively. "Jake's got some kind of bizarre relationship with her."
"I know," I said. "He's been in love with her for months, and she's still in love with that vampire."
"I'm not so sure about that," he said, and then he sighed. "I shouldn't be telling you about this."
"It wouldn't be the first time," I reminded him.
"I just don't get it. She kissed him--"
"She kissed him?" I asked. That was a surprise. I knew the others called her his girlfriend, but it was pretty clear he was the one who had a thing for her. And it didn't seem to go both ways.
"Did he imprint?" I asked.
"Woman, will you let me finish?" he said impatiently.
He waited while I tried not to laugh at him.
Finally he continued, "They were making out---more like rolling around---on the sofa, and she told him to stop. He did, and then she said it was too much, and then she started yelling and crying, and she ran off. Then, we were out on patrol and found her at a party with another guy. Jake nearly lost it right there. She disappeared that night, too. One minute she was with the guy---I think his parents own that Outfitters store---and then the next minute she was gone. I found her down the beach, and she looked almost as bad as when we found her in the woods that time."
"Well, beginning of a relationship can be difficult, especially when you've been friends," I offered. Sam looked guilty for a second, and I realized he was thinking about Leah. Sam and I had been friends...sort of...when he was dating my cousin, Leah. But I came to visit once, and he imprinted on me, leaving her heartbroken. We didn't talk about it much, but I knew it still bothered him. He loved me, but he hated hurting her. So did I.
"She went out with him again, too---the other guy, not Jake. I warned him, but he followed her anyway, and I think the other guy---"
"His name's Mike," I interjected. 'Other guy' was getting a bit old.
"Who?" he asked.
"The other guy. If his parents own Newton's Outfitters, then his name is Mike."
"Oh. Well, I think Mike kissed her and she got mad at him too. Even screamed at Charlie! Jacob went back to her house later---I think she was drunk or something---and she started yelling again. I can't believe he didn't phase. He was so close. But they started talking, and she said something about keeping their clothes on, and then they were making out again. Until she started yelling."
"Wow," I said. I was at a loss. Sam's version of Jake's memories made Bella sound insane. Then again, she had dated a vampire.
"Tell me about it."
"Well, something had to upset her. Did you see what happened right before she got mad?" I asked. Unless she really was insane, there was probably an obvious explanation that Sam was just too male to identify.
"Just what I told you."
I doubted that. "Okay, well...then something's missing. When did she tell him to stop?"
"After he...grabbed...copped a feel."
That was probably it right there. "Did he do that again at her house?" I asked.
"No, but I'm pretty sure he was thinking about it."
Of course he was. Men! "Well, then, that's your answer. He needs to keep his hands to himself."
"That's all?" he asked, as if it was too simple a solution.
"That's a pretty big thing, Sam. If they're just starting out, and Bella's not used to that, she's not going to react well."
"That's an understatement."
"She really seems like a sweet girl. Kind of quiet, though. I wonder..." As far as I knew, Bella hadn't dated anyone but the vampire since she'd moved in with Chief Swan. I didn't know what her life had been like in Arizona, but if she'd never been with anyone except him, that could only mean one thing.
"What?" Sam asked impatiently.
"I think Jake's got the wrong idea," I said. "Do you think she's a virgin?"
Sam looked disgusted. "Why the hell would I be thinking about that?"
"It's just a question," I laughed. For a man who was about to get married, he was awfully uncomfortable talking about relationships.
"Not for me, it isn't," he said.
"Well, what if she is? And even if she's not, that doesn't mean she's ready to sleep with Jake. You have to talk to Jake about this," I said.
"No, I don't," he insisted, adamantly setting his shoulders back.
"You're the Alpha. You have to," I said. "Unless you want it to get worse."
"Can't you talk to him?"
"He'd probably be more comfortable talking to a guy. Less awkward."
"Oh, sure, it's not the least bit awkward for me," Sam said sarcastically.
"You listen to me, Sam Uley," I said, reminding him who the real Alpha was. "Something's wrong with one of your pack. You can either ignore it and hope it doesn't get worse, or you can do something about it. Those boys look up to you."
"Fine," he said, defeated. "But you're coming with me."
He shoved another bite of roast into his mouth and tried that useless glare again. Why was it that I was the only one who knew what a pushover he was?