Chapter 1: Summary
Author Note: Welcome! I know, publishing a Twilight fan fiction in 2019, who am I? Did I loose track of time? Am I crazy?
All of those are valid questions. And partly, yes I am crazy. My track record on stories to be finished is deplorable (thank god you only see the finished ones. This story in part, is something that I've been writing for a long time. In my head, in my notebook, on my computer, in my dreams, etc. So I figured, why not?
If you've read Bites and Claw Marks in the past this is a revamp of that abomination. You won't find it on any of my sites anymore. I have removed it for this. So please enjoy. Thank you in advance for any feedback. This one is more for me, but as always, if I'm posting it publicly it's also for you. <3
Also I'm an aesthetic bitch. So, don't be shook if you see lots of fancy images for no reason.
Summary (in full): Railey is the stunted child of David Katel, a shape shifter who has decided to be rogue as long as she knows. In their past they've had little conversations about her mother, the fact being she's dead.
Moving back to La Push is David's idea, his world starting to change more so as his daughter grows more into the woman she is, rather than the child he has been raising haphazardly. But the people he once knew as a young man have changed drastically, years appearing to be between them when they're in fact the same age. It's only customary for shape shifters to find their match and continue life as a normal human, so why has David clung so much to his form?
Railey's time in La Push is supposedly like any other place they've lived before. She's, however, never been around this many shape shifters in her life. When she meets friends of her father it doesn't go well, and she's shocked to find that Billy Black isn't her number one fan, in fact the opposite. He knows something she doesn't, a secret her father has been hiding from her well, until now. As the days slid by, and her father tries to grasp onto her childhood, she's haunted not only by what her father is, but what she can't seem to become.
Notes: Jacob is not in love with Bella in this story. He's not in love with anyone for that matter. He's just Jacob. (I wasn't a fan of the love triangle, kill me now). This will be an Author Universe story, some points hitting the movies/books, but mainly just my own thing.
Chapter 2: Chapter 1: Introductions
Railey Katel studied the six million different kinds of instant mashed potatoes, the small basket in her hands already loaded up with various kinds of junk food. The grocery list her father had sent her out with was crumbled and short, just the basics. Sighing deeply, she grabbed the one at eye level.
Her father hated grocery shopping, which was a genetic trait liked to think, as she hated it too. Heading out of the isle, Railey headed towards the freezer section, silently happy about having saved it for last. It was a good 80 degrees outside, with the humidity of Washington State making it even worse.
She missed Colorado already. At least there it was dry heat.
Her tank top was stuck to her skin as she headed towards the milk. Last thing on the list and then she’d be free. Shifting the weight of her basket from one hand to the other, she turned the corner in the small local grocery.
She figured anyone would stop and stare, as she was doing. He was huge, partially naked, and barefoot. His short brown hair was being pulled by his own hand as he stared at the various brands of milk, a lip tucked in-between his teeth. As though he sensed her, he glanced up at her, giving her a moments look before returning his attention back to the milk.
She knew what he was. He wasn’t the first shape shifter she had encountered in her life time, but he was definitely one of the youngest. Her father kept to a select circle, usually only meeting up with older guys who had put shifting in their past, their aging process returning to them as they lived out their lives properly.
She quickly walked towards him, not wanting to alarm him in any way. Grabbing a carton of milk, she excused herself as she got close to him. He glanced over at her for a moment, and she assumed he could hear her heart hammering. His sly smile told her she was right in her assumption. She didn’t return the favor, only looking him in the eyes for a second before moving around him and heading towards the checkout.
The only lane open had a little old lady in it, her hands shaking as she handed over a 20-dollar bill for her carton of eggs and gallon of milk. Railey found herself smiling as she waited patiently, unpacking her basket onto the belt. As she pulled the last item out and put the basket in the stand at the end of the belt, she felt the warmth of him as he stepped into line behind her.
Not acknowledging his existence, she shuffled forward and prepared her cash, wanting desperately to get out of the store as soon as possible. As soon as the lady finished checking out, the teller started at Railey.
“Is this all you need ma’am?” The teller smiled up at her, putting the last of her items into a paper bag. Railey only nodded, trying to ignore the boy just behind her. The teller wasn’t, the teenager shifting her eyes from Railey to the half-naked shape shifter regularly. He was probably on fire, already naturally warm, the summer air not helping. “I don’t think I’ve seen you around before.”
“No.” It was a croak from her throat and she found herself sighing, clearing her throat quickly. She gave the girl a smile. “I’ve just moved here.”
“Yeah?” She smiled, in return, taking the money from Railey and getting her change. “I suppose I’ll see you in school then.”
Railey nodded, tucking the change in her pocket before waving goodbye and gathering up her bag quickly. With distance between her and the wolf boy she felt the air returning to her lungs. She dropped the grocery bag into the back seat of the jeep, jumping up into the driver’s side quickly. The doors had been removed as soon as it had been dropped off at the house. Her father had told her about the weather, but the prospect of rain falling on her as she drove home wasn’t too bad when it was this warm out.
As she backed out of her parking spot and shifted into drive, her eyes moved towards the door. There he was, standing at the entrance, the doors sliding shut behind him. His brows were furrowed, watching her pointedly as the gallon of milk in his hand swung beside his leg. She couldn’t put into words the anxiety that washed over her as she quickly got out of the parking lot. She could feel his eyes on her neck as she drove away.
“Did you get everything?” Her father called out to her as she stepped in through the front door, letting the screen door snap shut behind her. He was in the kitchen still, probably under the sink trying to get the leaking to stop. She followed his voice, her suspicions correct.
Her father didn’t look like her father. Maybe a much older brother, at this point. Definitely not her father. He had chosen though, a long time ago, to continue to shift, to continue his life in his current form. So, as he pushed himself out from under the sink, she wasn’t met with old man groans and old man features. He smiled up at her, his youth very much intact as he pushed himself up off the floor to take the bag from her arms.
This was part of the reason they constantly moved.
“Not ten minutes into being here and I’ve already met one.”
She watched her father pause, his back to her now as he unpacked the bag on the counter. She waited for him to respond, grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge. She took a swig, leaning against the counter beside him, watching his side profile as he folded up the bag, deep in thought.
“I knew there would be a few.”
“We had to start somewhere Railey. There must be a coven in the area.”
She only nodded, staring off at the wall, deep in her own thoughts. Everything that had gotten them to this point was set in stone, and she had thought long and hard on many nights that she wouldn’t change any of it. But every new home made her think about what a normal life would be like, a normal encounter with the locals.
“It’ll be ok.” Her father’s charm was back, his large grin stretching from ear to ear as he gathered up the items for the fridge and put them away. She rolled her eyes, giving him a nod of understanding as she headed out of the kitchen and back outside.
The summer air whipped around her and she smiled softly to herself. The doors to her jeep leaned up against the tree in the front yard, and she figured she’d put them away before her father come out to remind her.
Heading across the grass, she gathered one up and headed back to the garage. The tree line was so close, the depths of the woods just on her right, the sun barely tucking itself in with the leaves. Dropping her first door, she peered out into the greenery, seeing the flash of something moving inside the trees.
She already knew though. He had been eyeing her extensively at the store, and she assumed he was checking her out now. They protected the people, so they needed to know who the people were. He didn’t know that she knew though, he had no clue, and she quickly put her suspensions away as she rounded back to the front. Years of hiding herself had passed, and she had perfected it by now.
Her father was there at the front of the house, the other jeep door in his arms. He wasn’t smiling though, his eyes staring at the trees much like hers had been moments ago. He pointed towards the house and she quickly obeyed, heading inside. She could see her father through the windows as he headed towards the back, leaning the second door up against the shed next to the first. He stood on the edge of the trees, watching the space in the woods.
She watched as the boy she had seen in the grocery store stepped out just a few feet to her father’s right. He had haphazardly pulled on a pair of jean shorts, cut at the bottom, the buttons undone. They had a conversation, soft murmurs in the summer shade. She watched cautiously as her father answered the boy’s questions, laughing at one point in time. It seemed to be going well, both sets of eyes carrying up to the window where she was watching. She quickly pulled away, chuckling at herself for the absurdity of wanting to hide.
Just minutes later her father was back in the house, a lazy grin on his face.
“There’s a coven just on the other side of town, towards the outskirt of Forks. The boy you met earlier was Jacob Black. His father is a very old friend of mine.” He crossed his arms over his chest, watching his daughter as she drained the last of her water bottle. “They’ll be joining us for dinner.”
“And who’s cooking this fabulous feast?” She already knew the answer. Her father couldn’t cook to save his life. When she had asked him why he hadn’t learned by now he merely shrugged, claiming he had been too busy saving the world in his youth to think about cooking. Not that she was any better, but if they didn’t want the food burned, she knew she would have to cook. “Well I’m going to unpack, and then I’ll start. What time?”
“Probably around 6. They’ll be here a little earlier for reunion though.”
She sighed, giving him a lazy smile, already knowing what he was going to say next. “Yes, I’ll be nice, no I won’t purposely hide, and yes I’ll make sure to remember my manners.”
Her dad just chuckled, shaking his head before getting back down on his knees to work on the sink. She watched him for a moment before heading upstairs. She headed into the first of the three bedrooms, dropping into the folds of her blankets and pillows on her bed. They had arrived pretty late last night and all she had wanted to do was sleep. The promise of a morning to come, where she could unbox the few boxes she had brought with her, was more than enough.
Railey forced herself up, dropping into the office chair that sat in front of three of the heavier boxes. With a smile she ripped the tape aside to look down at her books tucked away inside the cardboard. The built-in bookshelves on the far wall of her bedroom, underneath the A frame roof, was a perfect place to store all the literature she had devoured through the years. Her father had tried to buy her a kindle reader at one point but the screen couldn’t compare to paper and ink.
When the clock on her wall let her know it was nearing five, Railey stepped back to admire the work she had accomplished. Everything was tucked away where it belonged, save for the duffle bag on the end of her bed. She needed to do laundry though, so she left it there.
Heading downstairs she glanced over at her dad who was lost in the football game, a bag of chips in his lap, an open beer on the side table. This was one of the best places they had stayed at in a long time. When pulling up to the house last night, he had told her he had grown up in it, so history was what she was walking into.
She could only imagine a small version of her pops running around the kitchen while his mom cooked, but she couldn’t put faces in her imagination. He refused to go past her birth, refused to tell her anything of himself, and after years of teenage fighting and attitude she had given up asking.
Grabbing the steaks from the fridge she went to work, chopping up garlic and making a quick marinade for the meat. Before she knew it there was a soft tap on her front door and her dad was getting up. She briefly glanced over her shoulder to see a beat-up truck in the driveway before she continued on cooking.
The voices carried into the kitchen and she laughed at the antics of her father. She could smell the young wolf before he came into the kitchen, standing next to her at the counter, his grin on his face. He seemed less ridged, and maybe it was because of her dad. He nodded and she returned the gesture.
“So you’re Railey.” His voice was deep, a hint of laughter at the end. She nodded, turning off the burners and dishing out the food on to various plates. Jacob quickly took the two she handed him as she put the rest of the food on and plated up. “Your dad told me you’re normal?”
“Did he?” She peered up at him, shaking her head and rolling her eyes. “What’s normal?”
“Well you know, you don’t spend your evening hours on all fours with a lot of fur in-between your ears and toes.” He wiggled his brows, his teeth bright white in the setting sun. She found herself charmed, his easy going demeanor something she could get used to. She had met some older shape shifter who didn’t have a personality for nothing, and it made her smile.
“Well I guess if that’s normal, then that’s what I am.” She shrugged, grabbing the two other plates and heading out into the living room. She eyed her father, who was perched on the end of the couch, talking animatedly with an older looking man in a wheel chair. They both looked up as her and Jacob brought the food, easily taking their plates and continuing with their conversation. Jacob followed her to the dining room table where she sat.
“So,” he questioned, taking a bite of his steak and sighing, “how you like our lovely little area?” She watched him take his time, cutting the steak up in smaller pieces, counting out his chews. She found herself cracking up with laughter, his furrowed brows joining in the middle of his forehead as he stared up at her.
“Trust me, I’ve been eating around your kind for a while. Feel free to eat that thing in one bite, there’s four more in the oven for you.”
This seemed to make him smile as he quickly obliged, taking much larger bites of the steak. She entertained his questions, laughing along with him as he explained the dynamic of his pack. As the night continued on she was sure she would love this place, her father having given her such a high expectation that seemed to be being met. Jacob was easy to talk to, easy to get along with, and she felt for the first time in a long time, like she belonged where her father was.
Chapter 3: Chapter Two: New Friends
Railey looked up through her long lashes, hair falling in her face to stare up at Jacob. He was shirtless, his cut off sweats thrown on haphazardly, slung low on his hips. His hair was wet, and she could smell the sweat on him as he heaved slightly. He was beautiful, each muscle deeply etched out in his skin, the fluidity of his flexing something she couldn’t look away from. He had joked with her the first couple of times about her fixation with his figure, but she only shrugged, letting him know she appreciated the angles and the build.
“You been running?” She tucked her pen away in her notebook, putting it off to the side. Jacob unceremoniously sat down on the ground beside her, grinning from ear to ear still. He nodded as a response, staring up at the empty house that was airing out from the fiasco of the morning. “My dad tried to make breakfast.”
The wolf boy laughed, shaking his head as he leaned back on his elbows, stretching his legs out in front of him. The grass barely wrapped around his ankles, and Railey was sure she would have to mow it before the weeks end.
It had been roughly two weeks since her arrival in La Push. She had learned quite a bit from her visits with Jacob. He would show up randomly in the middle of the afternoon, let himself into her house, into her room, into her space. They’d talk about everything under the sun, girls, boys, friends, cars and football. He had been surprised that she knew her way around an engine, to which she pointed out the jeep she had built from bottom up with the help of her dad. He showed her some fighting moves, even shifted before her to let her get a really good look at the color of his fur. She confided in him that she had a theory about the colors matching up with the kind of soul the individual had, but it was just a theory.
They became fast friends, inseparable when he was there, he was quickly wiggling out of her things she didn’t tell many. Like the fact she had a short temper, that she knew absolutely nothing about her mother, and that she had set fire to one of her school buildings two years ago. It hadn’t been an accident either, and he simply said it was badass. She had thought in the beginning that maybe she would get tired of him but she didn’t. His personality was infectious, even though he constantly insisted on taking her to meet his friends.
“The pack is having a bonfire tonight, you should come.”
Railey couldn’t help rolling her eyes. Her answer was always no, but he would always try. They’d end up having a silent moment after she shot him down again and then it would be like it didn’t happen. She had never confided in him the real reason why, not sure she wanted to be vulnerable to another living person ever again. Although upset, he would understand, then he would help around the house, spend a few hours with her while her dad was at work, and then he’d be gone, sliding into the trees to turn into his true form.
“I don’t think so.”
“Your dad’s coming.”
“Is he? He didn’t say anything.” She scrunched up her face, narrowing her eyes at the boy. He just shrugged, his grin still there.
“My dad invited him two weeks ago, come on Rae. They don’t bite.”
“I’m not worried about their teeth.” She sighed deeply, leaning back against the tree they were under. She didn’t enjoy socializing, she didn’t particularly like making friends. She’d spend months learning their likes and dislikes. She’d be there when they needed to talk, she’d empathize with their struggles, she’d go out with them, hangout, fully submerge herself in the life of having a best friend and then she’d be gone. Her dad would announce roughly two days before they left that they were going. Their faces and names, hobbies, loves, and truths would vanish all too quickly and she’d have to move on.
She didn’t think people deserved to be forgotten like that, but she didn’t have any other choice.
Railey had had a total of five best friends before she gave up on socializing. She became the outcast at every school she went to, sometimes even taking it a step further. She hated being the cliché, but sometimes she couldn’t help getting into trouble when she knew her time was limited at any school her dad made her attend.
As she thought about it, brows furrowed in the middle of her forehead, she sighed. She wouldn’t deny her desire to be close to someone. Jacob was a rare exception, someone she hadn’t hoped for, but he just happened.
“Don’t say no Rae. I promise, you’ll love them.”
She didn’t want to love them.
Jacobs happiness was contagious and she found herself smiling. After a few minutes of silence they got their asses up and she convinced him to mow the yard in exchange for lunch. Heading inside she started preparing burgers for the grill as Jacob got the mower out and went to work on the front yard.
When he was done, she was done, plated burgers in front of him, a bag of chips thrown at his face as he took a seat on the front porch.
“So why aren’t you going to summer school?” He plowed down the first burger in seconds, leaning up against the wooden support.
“My dad hasn’t had time to enroll me into summer school, so I guess I’ll just be heading into the second semester of my senior year, struggling.” She took a few bites of her own burger, staring down at her bare toes that she wiggled in the air. “I don’t really want to go.”
“I don’t think anyone wants to go to school Rae.” Jacob chuckled, watching her closely. “I’m not looking forward to going back, I wasn’t all of this…” he motioned towards his physique as he paused, “before summer. But at least all the guys will be in the same boat.”
“I’ll have to watch all the ladies stare at you.” She chuckled, giving him a grin and a wiggle of her brows. He only rolled his eyes, finishing off his food before getting up to put the plate in the sink. On his way out he ruffled her hair, getting a glare and a swat to the back of his calf as he passed her.
“I’ll see you tonight right?” He called out over his shoulder on his way to the woods.
“Where you going?” She stood, shielding the sun from her eyes as she watched him slip into the trees.
“I got patrol! You better be there Rae!”
She wasn’t remarkable. Not that it mattered. Jacob and Jacobs friends didn’t have opinions that she gave two shits about, so she couldn’t really understand why she was standing in the full-length mirror now, examining her outfit and the way her hair hung around her face, dead to the world.
Rolling her eyes at her reflection, Railey ran her fingers over her exposed midriff. It was entirely too hot most of the time, and being around a fire wouldn’t help. Her long tan legs were exposed due to the short shorts she had on, a sports bra that had a crossing pattern on the chest on her top. She had thrown one of her dads many flannels that she had swiped through the years over top and left the buttons undone. It was entirely too big, and she had rolled up the sleeves so they didn’t drag down to her wrists.
Grunting at herself, giving up all together she turned quickly away from the mirror. It would have to do.
Her father was patiently waiting downstairs, his t-shirt still on the back of the kitchen chair. He had come home from work and then went for a run. He had asked if she would be inclined to ride on his back as he whipped through the trees like old times, but she didn’t feel like it. The anxiety of meeting strangers was keeping her on edge.
He had taken a shower when he got back, and she waited patiently for him to finish putting his shirt on before they headed out to her jeep.
“It’s supposed to rain tomorrow.”
She only shrugged, crawling up into the driver’s seat before putting her seat belt on. Her father only rolled his eyes, taking the passenger seat as his own. She watched him put his belt on as she pulled her long black hair up into a pony tail. She started the jeep up and backed out into the road, heading towards where her father directed.
He had mentioned, after getting back from work and getting a hard glare from her, that there would be a lot of elders at the bonfire tonight. The bonfire he had told Billy and company she would be attending without running it by her first. They were having a tribute for the pack, celebrating the vitality of the young ones and the work they had been doing. He mentioned something of a new born vampire army but she had tuned him out.
“I know you’re not happy that I didn’t tell you, I’m sorry Railey.” He sighed deeply now, letting the wind dry his hair as they sped down the road. She glanced over at him for a moment, her ability to stay angry with her father for long, very limited. “I know it hasn’t been easy over the years. Every time you make a friend, I move us. At least here your friends are aware of the situation.”
She took his bate, giving him a smile and a nod as they continued down the small dirt road off to the right to get to the beach. The salty ocean air stung her nose, and Railey was suddenly much happier. Although her favorite place to be in the world was in the Colorado Mountains, there was a beauty about the ocean that always made her feel at home.
They parked next to a beat up old pick-up truck, the tailgate down. Two tall and well-built boys were taking a cooler out, glancing over at her and her father as they pulled up. She made work of getting her seat belt unhooked but before she could pull herself out of the jeep Jacob was by her side, leaning up against the door frame.
“I had my doubts, but here you are.” He grinned; she scowled.
“Yeah yeah, you’re lucky you orchestrated this outing with my father ahead of time.”
“What are friends for, but to make you get out and meet people?” He offered her a hand and she stared at his upturned open palm for a moment before sliding her own hand into his. He was fire of course, she had gotten used to the temperature because of her father, but it still spread up her body and gave her a rush. He pulled her from the jeep, nodding to her dad a hello that was returned. Before she knew it, Railey was padding her feet through the sand, her flip flops still in the jeep where she had left them.
Jacob pulled her along the beach, steering her towards his father, who was tucked in with a group of four other older gentlemen around a table. She gave them a short wave, only Jacob’s father did not return it. Her brows furrowed as he watched her without a smile before turning his attention to her father.
She didn’t have time to ask Jacob what was up with his dad, as a girl’s voice grabbed her attention when she yelled out for him. A tall brunette, skin very pale, was walking towards them, a smile on her lips. Jacob pulled Railey around to face the girl, tucking her into his side as the brunette finally made it to them.
“Railey this is Bella, the stranger who moved in before you. Bella this is Railey.” Bella grinned, extending her hand that Railey quickly took to shake. Jacob had told her about Bella, the vampire girl as the pack liked to call her. She had a thing for the cold ones, and she had vowed to become one as soon as she graduated. Jacob hadn’t exactly been pleased about the idea but Railey didn’t push him to explain himself, just nodding to let him know that she understand his upset.
“It’s nice to meet you, Jacob tells me your father is a rouge?” Bella glanced over at Railey’s father, a brow raised in confusion. “He doesn’t look old enough to be your father.”
“Don’t let him fool you, he’s well into his late 50’s. He just chooses to shift, and be one with nature as he would say. Shape shifters, as I’m sure you know, are pretty stagnant in their current time line when they continue to embrace their wolf side. So he’s stuck I guess.”
“So strange.” Bella chuckled, still glancing over at Railey’s dad, who laughed alongside Billy and the other guys. Railey loved her father, but it was getting harder and harder to explain to people that he was in fact her dad. She had joked around with him before about calling him a brother to make the normal people happy, but he had shot the idea down almost instantly. It had upset him so greatly she hadn’t brought it up again.
“You’re telling me, he’s like a brother, not a pops. One day I’ll be calling him son.” Jacob laughed at her joke, finally dropping his hold on her shoulder as Bella asked him a question. Railey listened as best she could, but her eyes drifted to four bodies that stepped out of the tree line just across the giant sandy beach they were all on. They were all half naked up top, muscles well defined like Jacobs. Only two of them were smaller, not as built. She figured they were recent shifters.
“Yo Jacob! Who’s the girl?” One of the four jogged over, grinning at her as he finally stopped in front of her. He extended a hand, and she found herself sliding her small one into his.
“Rae this is Embry. The clown of the group.”
“Hey now, I’m offended.” Embry covered his heart with his free hand, giving Jacob a pout before returning his attention back to Railey. “Don’t listen to him Miss Rae, I’m very well rounded.”
“I try not to listen to Jacob most days, so no worries. It’s nice to meet you Embry, I’m Railey.” Embry laughed loudly, pulling her suddenly to himself for a tight hug. She felt the air leave her lungs as she was engulfed in his muscles and warmth. His voice was muffled and she tried to push herself out of his hold, finally getting some distance between them. She was frazzled but she found her own laugh, rolling her eyes as he apologized for the size of his hug.
“Jesus Embry, did you have to suffocate her?”
“Oh shut up Jacob.” Embry grunted, giving Railey a smile, concern still on his face though. She laughed, giving Jacob a soft shove that did absolutely nothing. His body was far too big for him to even flinch and he chuckled at her attempt. “Come on Rae, I’ll show you to the food.”
The idea of food peeked her interested and she gave Jacob one last glance to make sure he was good with her going. He nodded and turned back to Bella who gave Railey a small wave before following Jacob over to the bonfire. Embry scooped Rae’s hand up in his own and pulled her along. They passed the elders, Railey dropping her eyes when they passed Billy, not wanting to see the leering look on his face again. She did however glance at her father, not missing the grin on his face. She waved him on, giving him a small glare but he only laughed.
“Is that your pops?” Embry came to a stop just by the grill, dropping her hand to rub his palms together. He glanced over at her father, his brows furrowed as well.
“Yes. I’m sure Jacob’s talked about him.” She reached around him to grab a bun, not wasting any time in getting herself a burger.
“He’s talked more about you. I’ve never met a rouge shifter before though.” She waited for him to finish getting his food before following him to the picnic tables. Two other boys were there, deep in conversation. As Embry and Railey approached they got quiet, excusing themselves as Embry took a seat.
“Oh come on Sam! She doesn’t bite!” One of the two looked back, giving them a small smile and wave before continuing on after his friend. Railey watched them go, confusion on her face. They stopped at the edge of the woods, still deep in conversation. “Don’t worry about Sam and Paul, they’re worry warts they are. They think the end of the world is coming almost daily."
She turned back to Embry, putting the two out of her mind entirely. Very much like her encounter with Jacob she was quickly becoming fast friends with Embry. His demeanor, his personality, all of it came together and made her slip right into his friendly atmosphere almost instantly. Jacob joined them after a while, Bella in tow as they sat down and ate with them. Railey was introduced to Seth, his sister Leah, and Quil. All of them welcoming, all of them asking her thousands of questions of what it was like being with a rogue.
Not one of them though ever pointed out that she herself wasn’t a shifter, and she took solace in their acceptance. Her mood sky rocketed as the night moved on, the fire, the people, the food, all of it coming together.
Chapter 4: Truths and Sorrows
“I don’t know about that Jacob.” Railey rolled her eyes, hands on her hips, hair on top of her head in a massive haphazard bun. There was engine oil on her hands, the distinct onion smell of differential fluid in the air. Her clothes were streaked with oil, dirt, and ketchup from when Jacob had thrown part of his food at her earlier when they had taken a lunch break. One of his many vehicles was sitting in front of them, naked under the overhead light. He had four non-working vehicles now, this recent purchase something she had gone with him to get.
It had been a month since the bonfire. She had spent every single day with Jacob, Embry there most of the time as well. They had been all over the reservation, into Forks, and all along the coast. They had offered to take her into the big city but she declined, wanting to stay away from the hustle and bustle as much as possible. School was starting up in just a week, and the realization had hit the boys hard.
She spent her afternoons either listening to Jacob tell her about what had been going on with his pack, or she spent time listening to him and Embry talk about the war that was coming. She had heard stories of newborn vampires, from them and from her travels, but she had never been so inclined as to meet one. She figured her father wouldn’t allow something so dangerous to get close to her anyhow.
The purchase she was trying to help Jacob get running had been three hours out, back in the woods deeper than they already were. They had talked all about Bella, Jacob stuck like a sore thumb on the subject of her wanting to become a cold one. Railey had listened diligently, nodding and saying what she needed when he asked her opinion. He was venting, and she didn’t mind being the sounding board.
She suspected he was in love with Bella Swan, regardless of how much he kept calling her a friend. The words he used for Edward were nothing pretty, and Railey couldn’t help but chuckle softly to herself at the immense anger he displayed when talking about the Vampire.
“Just hand me the damn wrench, I wanna try.”
She obliged, stepping back, a grin on her face. He was gonna drop the oil pan, cause he figured it was bone dry. She had told him they needed to flush it first, but he did what he wanted; something she had learned over the short period of time of knowing him. True enough, as soon as he dropped the pan the sludge of gelatinous oil was falling from the bottom of the jeep on him, the cursing coming on strong from underneath.
“I’m sure you know how to change oil Jacob, but I don’t think that’s right.” Railey held her sides, the laughter falling fast from her lips. She found herself sinking back on the stool, watching as Jacob pulled himself out from under the old jeep, a murderous look on his face. But the strength of his glare was lost what with the oil streaks on his forehead, dribbles of the gunk on his chin.
“Come here, let me give you a hug.”
“Oh no!” Railey shot up quickly from the stool, tripping backwards to get away from Jacob. Her laughter filled the space as she dodged him, both of them screaming manically as she jumped over the sofa and used it to protect herself.
“Jacob.” The stern voice of Billy Black put a somber effect on their happiness in seconds. Jacob turned to give his father his attention, Railey glancing over at the man at the entrance. His attitude towards her hadn’t changed. She had asked Jacob about it one afternoon, and he had simply said that his dad was weird about people sometimes, but that it would fade.
It hadn’t faded.
“There’s been an attach, Embry is up at Sam’s.” Jacob quickly dropped his tools, looking for a rag to wipe his hands off. Railey grabbed the one he had thrown at her earlier and tossed it to him, watching him as he frantically cleaned his hands and looked around at his things. She stood quietly, looking from Billy to Jacob.
“Come on Railey, you can ride on my back.” His words surprised not only her but Billy as well, who was quick to protest, telling Jacob this was pack only. “She’s his friend dad, she’s going.”
Railey had no time to think, her hand grabbed by Jacob as he headed outside of the garage. She stood by the door as he rounded the building, giving him a moment. He stepped back around in wolf form, and she gathered up his shorts from the grass before sliding onto his back. He stood up quickly darting into the trees in record time, Billy still in the gravel, watching them go.
She couldn’t comprehend what was going through Jacob’s head. She clung to him tightly as he pushed through the trees with practiced speed. They leapt over rivers, dove under broken branches, streaming past backyards too quickly for anyone to notice. Her heart was hammering from the speed and also from the thought of Embry being injured. If he was laid up, hurting, everyone called, it had to be bad. She felt her hands shaking in the fur and she closed her eyes, steadying her mind as she held on tightly to Jacob.
When he slowed she opened her eyes. She could make out a house just on the other side of the sparse trees. Sliding off Jacob’s shoulders when he came to a stop, she dropped his shorts and headed out into the clearing, spotting Leah and Seth beside the stairs to the porch. Her steps were joined by Jacob’s as he jogged up to meet her pace. As they moved closer more bodies came into view, all of them fixated on the front door.
Embry screamed loudly, Railey’s shaking hands getting worse as her heart stopped. She found herself wanting to rush inside the building and see what was wrong; a silly though as she chided herself. Embry was surrounded by his people, and they would help him; but she felt compelled.
“Both his legs, and his arm were broken.” Sam stepped down from the porch, glancing from Railey to Jacob, his eyes narrowing on Jacob. “It reset by the time we got to him so they’re breaking them again.” If Jacob had noticed the attitude of his Alpha when his eyes landed on Railey he didn’t let it show, his eyes on the door just like everyone else’s.
“Who did this?” Jacob questioned.
“He said it was a vampire.”
“She was strong. He said she overpowered him in no time, enjoyed breaking all his limbs as he tried to get away.” Sam’s eyes flinted to Railey, watching the girl stare into the void of the porch, trying to block out Embry’s cries. They all grew silent, waiting on Embry’s excruciating procedure. As the minutes ticked on, the pack sat, loitering on the stairs and the ground, growing restless from time to time, getting up to walk around.
Railey took a seat on the ground, leaning her back against the large tree that stood solid in the front yard. She felt out of place, barely knowing the names of the boys around her let alone anything else. Her ride had been Jacob though, and she wasn’t entirely sure where she was. She had texted her father to let him know, a simple reply of ok from him. She watched Jacob pace from left to right. He would join her on the ground for a few minutes, giving her a small smile of gratitude before rising once again to pace.
When the front screen door snapped shut, someone standing in the door frame that Railey had never seen, everyone’s attention was on her. She was a beautiful girl, the scar across her eye noticeable. Railey could tell by the way Sam stepped forward almost instantly, crowding the woman, who had shaking hands and sweat on her forehead, that she was his imprint.
“He’s going to need to rest for some time. I’ve reset all the bones, but he’s going to need to heal.” She gave them a small smile, nodding when Sam asked if he could go in. They all waited impatiently as their alpha headed into his own home to check on Embry. When he returned, he was running a hand through his hair, a wince in his step as he glanced at all the faces.
“I want you and Seth to relieve Paul from patrol Leah. He’s been out all night, he’s the one who responded to Embry. Tell him to come back here.” They didn’t budge right away, a question lingering in the air that Sam didn’t register right away. “He’ll be fine, but we need to get the bloodsucker that did this. Now go. I’ll send reinforcement once I get done with the counsel.”
Without another moment of hesitation both Seth and Leah headed out, their figures disappearing into the trees as a large pickup truck came from the long driveway, breaking into the clearing. Railey rose, recognizing the driver as her father. He jumped out from the truck after turning the engine off, rounding to help Billy out. The truck was followed by another car, two other older gentlemen climbing out to approach the porch.
“David.” Sam shook hands with Railey’s father. She watched as they exchanged stern glances, David asking how Embry was. Their conversation was a blur to Railey, Jacob now beside her, his warmth enveloping her as he wrapped an arm around her shoulders.
“Railey.” She looked up when her father called, his eyes finding her quickly, a soft smile on his lips. She didn’t hesitate to bound into his arms, sinking into the familiar warmth of her father. She felt her skin flush, but she didn’t mind, he was there and she only then realized she had been terrified all the moments leading up to now. “Thank you for texting me. I was in route to the store when you did.” He pulled back and ran a hand down her arm before turning to Billy and the counsel, all of the men staring at her. They knew something, judging by the look in their eyes, by the way they seemed to be analyzing her. She shifted slightly where she stood, trying to sink behind her father.
“I think it’s best she leave the reservation David.” Billy’s bitter tone cut like a blade.
“Dad what are you – “
“No Jacob.” He cut his son off, staring intently at Railey. She felt the hold from her father grow tighter, his natural instinct’s being threatened as Billy glared at his daughter. “She’s not been truthful with you son, believe me. She needs to leave. She’s the cause for this.”
“Billy, I ask you not to speak to my daughter like that. We’ve been nothing but respectful since we arrived.”
“Yes, David, I don’t deny that. But you know what her mother was.” He shook his head, removing his searing eyes from Railey to look at David. Railey felt the lump in her throat drop as her body tingled. Her mother, Billy knew her mother. Staring up at her father, Railey watched the pieces move around in his mind as he formulated his response. He didn’t want to disrespect those that called this place home, no matter how much he wanted to be here. “You know that destruction and chaos followed her everywhere.”
“Railey’s is not like that.” David cleared his throat, bouncing his eyes from Billy to the others, pleading with them silently for some kind of support. “I swear it, on my life. She’s not like that.”
“Don’t swear something you won’t part with, David.” Sam stepped in, looking at Railey with the softest of looks in comparison to the others. She felt as though she was an insect, under a light, being stared at by a multitude of eyes as she spun in circles. “Maybe if she were to stay here, for a period of time. Let us... witness her being. Maybe then we can make a decision.”
“Sam, do you dare bring her kind into your home? Do you not know the destruction she could bring?”
“If she were to Billy, it would not be intentional.” Sam looked at Jacob, giving his pack member a nod of understanding. “Jacob has backed her enough for me to know that.”
“Dad.” Railey finally found the words, her voice soft in the murmurs of the counsel. He looked down at her, taking her arm and guiding her away from the older men who all muttered and glanced at her.
“Railey, I know you know the subject of your mother is sore for me.” He cleared his throat, looking her deep in the eyes as he sighed. “I’ve not been honest with you from the start, and I’m really sorry for that. I kept telling myself that when you got older, old enough to understand, that I would explain to you everything. But that time came year after year, and the gap kept growing and I couldn’t bring myself to remember.”
“Dad... what am I?” Railey felt tears prickling her eyes. When she had woken up this morning, being rushed out of the house by Jacob, who wouldn’t let her even eat breakfast, she had not thought that this is where her day would take her. Despite the warmth of the summer day, her father standing no close, Railey shivered.
“You have to understand Railey, that there is a lot in this world that exists, a lot of things that you’ve seen but a lot you don’t even know about. Your mother... she was one of those things that we didn’t fully understand when we met her.
She walked her way into the pack and set herself in with a lot of practice, wrapped herself around me and I... I got you. So I can’t hate her as much as I want to. But she had a power about her, a connection with the world. She was in tune with the woods, connected to the soil, the sky, the wind.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Railey, do you remember when you were five and you climbed that tree that was covered in fire ants. And you didn’t get bit. Or that time you fell into the river and I thought I had lost you but you just... you just climbed out down at the end without a scratch and I was so relieved. Railey...” He covered his eyes, his hands shaking. She had never seen her father like this, tears in his eyes as he smiled down at her. “You’re just like her, and I’ve been denying it for so long, Railey you’re just like your mother.”
“She was what most would call a witch. Some cultures call them healers, some of them call them shaman’s, but she was in tune with the world. She could make things... happen.”
“I’m a witch?”
“Yes, and no. You come from a very powerful heritage on her side. Your mom was very strong. Railey, I don’t want you to think you’re...bad. Billy, he’s just biased. A lot of bad things happened when your mom was here, but I was too blinded by my love for her to notice them. Railey you’re not like that.”
Railey couldn’t look him in the eyes. Her body trembled, her ears filling up with air as his continued words seemed to blur. It was like her head was under water, the murky feeling washing over her. She couldn’t make sense of what he said, couldn’t make sense of the words he was saying. Such things didn’t exist, but... she found herself realizing all too quickly that there of course were people in the world who didn’t believe in shapeshifters. After all her father turned into a half ton wolf, why couldn’t she be a witch?
Her feet were backing up on their own accord, she wanted distance. Her father’s sorrow filled eyes followed her as she nodded, heading back to the tree to take a moment. The eyes of them all followed her, their hushed conversation about what she was still carrying on. They all knew, everyone fucking knew. Jacob was watching her with sorrow just like her father deep in his eyes, and she wanted to push them both away.
No, no one would feel sorry for her. She turned away, averting her gaze to the trees as she tried to compose herself. She wouldn’t cry, she wouldn’t let them see tears. As she felt the droplets of water hit her cheeks a form stepped from the trees on her left, breaking up the green with russet skin tone. She recognized him as one of the boys who had avoided her at the bonfire, one of the ones Embry had called out to as he walked away. She couldn’t remember his name, his dark hair a mess on his head as he fiddled with the hem line of his sweats.
He seemed to notice her suddenly, eyes looking up to stare her down. She saw the hard-facial lines soften; she watched his body go slacken as someone called out to him. Paul. She liked his name. Her body hummed, a warmth she hadn’t experienced before coming from nowhere.