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Giving In

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"You know I'll have to go back to him at some point. He will want me back."

"Yeah, I know. But can we not talk about it now? I was enjoying your company..." …watching the shadows flicker over your skin. Silence encompasses us again.

I start to trace random patterns on the arms that surround me, trying to forget that these moments are fleeting and will eventually cease . She will end up being part of my past, like the others—she will go on with her life, find true love, and die. Yet, I am stuck in this continuum of existence, neither aging nor dying. I find it harder every day to drag myself out of bed, put one foot in front of the other, go to my endless stream of meaningless jobs only to crawl back into the empty sheets alone.

The meaningless sex no longer makes me feel connected to the others that inhabit this world. Slowly the arms pull away and a sigh escapes my partner. I guess the "some point" is now, and heisn't the one who wants to be back together. Next time you choose someone—because you know you don't have the self-control for there not to be—make sure they are actually lesbians, or at least bi enough that they don't crave cock after a few hours of being with you.

"Hey, maybe I should invite Jim to join us next time. I know it isn't really your thing, but you should give it a try. You might like it."

"Are you saying you no longer want me as your dirty little secret?"

"When have I ever said you were a secret? Jim has known what we've been doing since our first date!"

Shocked, I pull away from Perri. I turn to look her in the eye and say, "How could you? You know I don't want anyone to know I'm here! I thought we had an understanding—we fulfill each other's needs and then go on with our everyday lives. There is no future between us. How can you not understand? The first night we met, I told you that I would only be here six months, a year max. "

Standing up, I search for my clothes. Finding most of them sprawled on the floor near the door of the hotel room, I stomp over and start to pull on the cutoffs. I can feel my control over my emotions slipping. Fearing a change is imminent, I quickly slip into my hoodie, grab the car keys and rip open the door.

Perri, confused about what had just happened, wraps the sheet around herself and starts after me. "What do you mean? Leah, you can't just storm out! Come back here. We can work this out. If you don't want to be with Jim, I won't force the issue. But you should at least meet him for coffee. He wants to know who else I'm spending time with."

Taking a calming breath, I turn back to Perri. "You can go back to your white-picket life now. It's been nice. Don't bother calling again. I'll be changing my number within a day."

Once in my Rav4, I glance at the clock: seven a.m. I might as well grab some food before finding the next spot to kill time.

A beam of sunlight streaks across my eyes, waking me from a dreamless slumber. Feeling disgusted with the lack of nighttime rituals the night before, I head to the shower to wash off the muck of an eighteen hour drive to Jackson, Wyoming. The warm water beats across my back, reminding me how stiff my muscles are. Shifting and exploring the nearby wildlife refuge is probably a better idea than exploring the mountain in human form. At least there won't be any humans to deal with on the refuge. I might even be able to do some hunting or, at least, scare a bunch of elk.

I throw on clothes and head down to grab a bagel and coffee from the continental breakfast included with the cheap hotel room. On the way out to my Rav4, I stop off at the front desk, hoping to ask about taking some extra water bottles with me today. Even after ringing the bell multiple times, nobody shows up. Great! Now I have to find a convenience store in this rinky-dink town.

Nothing worse than dealing with local Casanovas, thinking they are a gift to women everywhere when in actuality they are a dime a dozen. I continue my internal rant about the shmuck at the store as I press on down back roads north toward Flat Creek, my father's old fishing gear prominently displayed on top of all the other sentimental stuff I can't seem to part with, hoping it will help me blend it.

During a cursory surveillance of the area, I don't see another soul around. I quickly park and get out of my vehicle. Double checking to make sure I have the bracelet with the spare car key on it, I strip and shift to wolf.

On four legs, I head toward the reserve. The long grasses are still green with small patches of mud that I delight in splashing in. A few critters and birds scatter as I play and stretch. The sun traverses overhead as I continue to chase the lizards and a few lingering elk.

Knowing the reserve is closed to the public, I don't think to carefully watch where I'm going. The sound of the spring and an intense pain in my left hind leg are the only indications that I should have scouted a bit before prancing around. I can't contain the howl that leaves my mouth.

Minutes trickle by as I continue to watch blood soak my fur and the ground beneath me. So instead of some supernatural end, a greedy human will cause my demise. Huh. I would have figured I'd find a way to off myself long before humans killed me. Not like I have much to live for anyways.

Music blasts from a small speaker not far away, dragging me from my thoughts. I search the horizon, spotting yellow eyes peering at me. If his speed didn't inform me what creature stood before me, his glittering skin surely clued me in. Could this day get any worse? First a human hunting trap, now a yellow-eyed vamp. I doubt there is anything that would make this moment more humiliating.

A blond one steps up beside the first. I bet she will be more sympathetic, more willing to end the monotony of pain I've been stuck living with. I beg her with my eyes to put me out of my misery.

"Emm, that isn't a regular wolf. It's one of those damn mutts from Washington. We can't leave her here."

I ignore whatever else they start commenting on. It seems like they are only going to do what they want anyway; so much for suicide by vampire. What did I ever do to deserve this existence? Not even my enemy is willing to kill me or at least let me die by human hands.

I rest my head back down on my paws as they discuss something. I don't know what. I have no desire to pay attention to their tiff to find out either. The first one walks over and introduces himself as Emmett Cullen and the other as his wife, Rosalie. Why does he think I care who they are? They aren't going to help me. She just said that they weren't going to leave me here. Guess this means that I get to be on friendly terms with them or others of their kind.

Emmett comes closer, mentioning the removal of the trap. Does it really matter? I heard you earlier. Do whatever it is you want and leave me be.

He is gentler than I thought he could be as he carefully lifts the captured leg. The moment his fingers slip between my fur and the teeth, I pass out.

The next few days fly by in swirls of pain and cold and hunger. When I finally became aware of my surroundings, I notice growls and a blond in a protective stance over me. I can tell it isn't Rosalie: the curves are less defined, the stretch of the torso not long enough, the blond hair more red.

I must have moved enough to alert her to my awakening. She shifts her gaze from the others in the room to me. The moment our eyes meet, the throbbing in my leg fades. I try to reach up and touch her only to realize I'm still in my wolf form.

"Don't move. I will protect you. They will do no more harm to you."