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I Choose You

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Chapter 1


Broken Doors and Broken Hearts



    Paranoia is just the mind playing tricks. 


    But Leah Clearwater was fucking done with tricks!


    It’s been exactly three weeks, four days and ten hours since she’s seen her fiancée, Sam Uley. The intense angry pulling at his features, his bulky frame trembling with a thick coat of sweat covering his dark skin. Ever since that night, the eighteen year old waited impatiently at the back door, which was still nearly hanging off its hinges when Sam ran through it. She made another mental note to call someone to fix it.


    Leah arranged a search party two days after, balancing on the edge of a mental breakdown. Flashes of pessimistic images flew through her mind constantly. Did he fall off the cliffs and drowned in La Push waters? Did a mountain lion get to the best of him? She feared what she would find when she did see him again… if she saw him again.


    Her eyes screwed shut, chasing the nerve wracking thought away. 


    She will see him, again. And then she’ll cover his face with kisses and jump his bones. Then beat his ass afterwards, of course.


    Leah jumped from the kitchen when the back door squeaked again. Tears burned her eyes, knowing it was just the wind and the loose hinges making fun of her again. 


    She hastily finished the dishes and grabbed the phone from the wall. The damn door was getting on her nerves.


    “Hello?” A deep ragged voice answered.


    Leah forced a smile, even though he wasn’t here. “Hey, Billy. Is your son there? I need my door fixed because—” Her throat went thick as the door squeaked. “It’s—It’s broken…” 


    A heavy sigh went through the speaker. “Of course. I’ll send him right over.”


    There was an unwavering, heavy silence and the question was lingering on her lips, desperate to be said. 


    “Did… Did you hear anything? A—About Sam?”  A warm tear escaped and was brushed away.


    “No, I’m sorry.” Disappointment flooded his voice, even though it was to be expected. A bad mixture of doubt and paranoia was starting to reel in, and it was going to crush her. 


    A silent sob shook her small frame, and slammed the phone back into its receiver. 

    An hour of sobbing later, there was a knock on the door. Leah rubbed at her face harshly, hoping to scrub away any traces of tears. 


    Fifteen year old, Jacob Black, stood at her door with a friendly grin and a tool box in his right hand. Small raindrops laid on the strands of his long hair, and he slightly rocked on his heels, and fidgeted with something in his coat pocket. 


    “‘Sup, Leah. Dad said something about your door?”


    She almost forgot how young Jacob really was, and second thoughts about trusting him to fix her door crawled in her mind. 


    “Are you sure you can handle this?”


    Jacob rolled his eyes, his smile getting wider (if possible). He let himself in, confidence booming from his lean figure. “Trust me, this is children’s work.” He double backed and gave her an apologetic look. “No offense.”


    Leah shut the door. “None taken.” 


    As Jacob went to work, switching out screws and bolts, Leah watched him with a cup of tea in her hands. She focused on the burn on her tongue, trying to stop her mind from drifting.


    She cleared her throat, shifting in her seat. “So, how’s Seth doing?”


    Her four year younger brother is now a freshman at the Quileute high school, and she could only imagine him running through the halls with big, bright eyes, messing with shit he shouldn’t mess with. Like actually using the restrooms and joining into other people’s conversations, or just being completely naive. 


    Jacob took a while to answer, either too focused on his work or hesitating to give her an honest response. 


    “Seth is doing great… at being a freshman, I suppose.” He chuckled. “The upper class men tend to pick on him though. I try to keep them off him.”


    Leah snorted.  “How? You’re only a sophomore.”


    Jacob turned towards her with a sly smile and a wink. “Being the Chief’s son gives you some perks. Nobody would even dare to touch the future heir to the throne .” His voice was thick with mock and play. 


    A small laugh escaped her lips, and the smile didn’t leave as Jacob continued to rant about the hellish days of high school. He did dramatic hand gestures to prove his point, looking absolutely ridiculous. His impressions on his English teacher with a horrific nasal voice really made Leah’s laughter break through. The different kinds of tears stung her eyes as she clutched her stomach. Even a small drop of tea fell onto her sweats. When she couldn’t hardly speak, nor breathe, she caught Jacob watching her with a warm smile. It was then she realized that he was doing this on purpose. This lanky, fifteen year old boy was providing her with a distraction, replacing her gloomy mood with simple joy.


    And she has never been more thankful.    



    Jacob left hours ago, and the clock struck six in the evening. Another knock on the door interrupted Leah’s profuse cleaning. The floors were swept, the counters were reflective, and the entire house smelled like pine sol and scented candles. Leah convinced herself that when Sam does come back, she wanted the house to look perfect as if nothing changed and she was going through turmoil. But in reality, she needed to keep herself busy, at all times.


    And that’s why she called her best friend.


    Emily Young stepped through the house with bags weighing her down. Leah quickly went to her aid, letting excitement flow through. Her cousin made sure to grab their favorite movies, snacks, and books, anything to fill in silences and provide distractions. 


    “I’m sorry I’m late. It’s a long drive form the Makkah Rez.” Emily dropped half of the bags on the couch. “Ooo, it smells good in here.”


    Leah scoffed at herself.  “Yeah. But thanks for coming, Em. I really needed… this.”


    Emily instantly enveloped her cousin into a hug, not able to contain her need to comfort others. Leah always knew that Emily would make a great mother, always putting others' needs before her own and making sure everyone else is taken care of. Leah was almost envious of her selflessness. 


    They went headfirst into binge watching, and stuffing their faces with kettle popcorn and Hershey chocolates. Every movie was an action film; romance wasn’t an option. Emily showed pictures of her one year old niece, Claire, and Leah reminded herself to spoil the toddler later. 


    They were on the verge of a sugar rush when the phone rang. Emily popped up from the sofa, volunteering to answer. 


    “Leah’s house!” Emily beamed. 


    Leah rolled her eyes playfully, knowing that this house wasn’t necessarily hers. Sam bought this house six months ago, in preparation when they were married. Everyone commented on how they were moving fast for eighteen and nineteen year olds, but they were ready , already into deep to quit or slow down, 


    Emily’s smile dropped. Her slanted eyes widening, and her posture stiffened. 


    The air shifted and it was almost too thick to breathe. Leah muted the TV, trying to make sense in the sudden mood change. When they locked eyes, Leah knew. 


    Sam Uley’s been found.



    Dead or alive? Dead or alive? Dead or alive?


    The words became a mantra as she sped through the streets of La Push. Emily tried to reassure that things are going to be okay, that Sam was okay. But the frantic teenager was past listening. As if her head was being held underwater, everything was suffocated, blurred from reality. She had one focus point, and that was the love of her life. 


    She couldn’t get to Old Quil’s house fast enough. Every move she made felt like she was caught in a bad dream, her body moved like bricks and the ground resembled quicksand. She was sinking in her thoughts, every single one darker than the last. 


    She doesn’t remember knocking on the door, but it swung open.


    A sob disturbed the night, as Leah Clearwater threw herself into Sam Uley. 

    He was alive. He was breathing, and he was safe. 


    “You’re okay! You’re—You’re okay!”


    A shuddering breath escaped his lips, as he held her tightly. She could barely breathe but it didn’t matter. The inescapable warmth of his arms was enough for her to forget the world, and so she did as she pressed her lips onto his. 


    But it didn’t last forever. 


    Emily let out a sigh of relief behind them. “I’m so glad you’re okay! Leah was worried sick.” 


    Sam broke the embrace to send Emily a reassuring smile, probably preparing to send a ‘thank you for looking out for her.’ But once he looked at Emily, his face went slack. His bronze skin turned pale, and something snapped. 


    Leah backed away from Sam, with her eyebrows furrowed. She watched Old Quil walk out the house with a knowing expression, and it transitioned into pity towards the tear soaked girl. 


    Leah knew. She absolutely knew that something changed. She felt every string connecting to Sam snip. And she was suddenly floating through a state of numbness, with no gravity to hold her down.