Lose Yourself.

I thought returning would be good, I thought it would be healthy—for the both of us. My sister, Haley, she deserved a life; a normal one. We both did. I was exhausted from running, from being someone I wasn't.

I needed to come back.

It wasn't long before I had her convinced that we needed to see Sam again—that he deserved to see us. Little did I know that returning home would change our lives forever.

I'm ready.

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1. Returning.

Home. It was that place where it warmed your stomach and cleared your mind. It was where you could be yourself. Where you didn't have to live up to any expectations, because to the people around you, you knew you were good enough. That everything you did amounted to anything you wanted. That was the place I missed most—that was the place where I longed to return.

"I still cannot believe you talked me into doing this." Haley pulled her sweater tighter around her thin frame as she joined me. "I was perfectly fine staying Miami, you know."

My sister wasn't very fond of returning—she loathed the rain. She loathed the dark, depressing atomosphere. She much rather prefered the sun, given her heavily sun kissed skin. Not that she needed sun, we were both tan enough. The plane faltered a little to the side; nothing out of the usual, but it still took Haley off guard. This gave her all the more reason to direct her glare at me.

"And," She said through her teeth, brown eyes seeming endless but deadly, "I hate planes. But it figures you would make me hop on one, for some stupid reason."

I turned to stare at her, this time my own glare set in place. I couldn't believe she just said that. For some stupid reason? Visiting home was not stupid. Visiting our brother and his fiance, was not stupid. What was ridiculous, was the fact that Haley didn't see the same value in returning to our birthplace like I did.

The only reason why we left was simply because our sister—Tiffany—and our mother were part of the building fire that caused several deaths. Sam, being old enough to take care of himself, already had a place of his own at Emily's. Haley and I stayed with them for a while, until I realized we took up a lot of non-existent space. I took the liberty of calling our aunt, who had surprisingly moved to Miami. So, within a week, we had said our goodbyes and took the early morning plane ride. I missed La Push, I really, truly did.

But, it's been years now, and I wasn't quite sure what I was getting myself into.

This could possibly be the best summer of my life, I was sure. The excitement was nearly killing me, my stomach was fluttering like crazy and I could feel the warmth spreading over my chest—it was such a wonderful feeling. I missed my friends, my old ones. The ones that mattered most, especially when I left.

Like Paul.

Paul and Sam weren't particularly close, neither were Paul and Jared. But he and I were roughly the same age, and had our fair share of classes together up until the ninth grade. Paul was one of my favourite people; I could be myself with him, which was rare, because I put on the facade that I was some easy-going, lighthearted teen girl.

I knew Jared. We weren't particularly close at any given time, but he was a great math tutor when I needed the help. He too was in a few of my classes.

Before Sam got together with Emily, he had Leah. They were the perfect high school sweethearts. Inseparable until Sam became a reckless teen, and left for a little over one month. When he came back, he tried to stay close to Leah, to make it up to her, but the moment he laid his big brown eyes on Emily, it was so clear what he was thinking. That night, he spoke to her, he charmed her. He visited her when she went home—came home late and seemed constantly worried. It wasn't until Emily told Leah that Sam had kissed her that Leah snapped and completely shut down. I felt for her, I truly did, because Leah and I were always very close.

Then, there was her little brother, Seth. He was only about a year younger then me, but a good six months older than Haley. Seth was a typically happy-go-lucky kind of guy, and idoled any superior.

Sam told me that he had developed close relationships with three others; Jacob Black, Quil Aterea and Embry Call. All of whom I knew, only through friends. Especially one particular friend, Teddy. She had a certain liking towards the three—said they were attractive. She particularly liked Embry. When she emailed me, she spoke so highly of him. From what I read, he seemed like a very shy, scrawny guy. Until she sent me a picture of Sam and the boys, and suddenly it crossed my mind.

Sam had to be part of a gang. Or some sort of other cult—I mean, all the people he now called 'friends' were nothing but meat. Solid, rock-hard meat. I knew that Jacob, Quil and Embry would be equally as buff and tall as Paul and Jared. And, undoubtedly drop dead gorgeous.

Before Haley and I left, I found Paul particularly gorgeous. At a time, Paul and I were an item. A very strong item, too. We started dating in the sixth grade, and then it ended the summer before we went into grade nine. He seemed tense, so on his toes that when he yelled, I silently took it in. What hurt the most was when he left.

He looked up to the cloudy sky and murmured, "I can't do it anymore."

I bit back tears, quiet sobs breaking through my throat. When I could, I managed to speak softly, "Whatever the reason, I'm sorry." I glared at the ground.

"It not that, Melissa. It's me—"

"It's not you, it's me, right? That's what it is?"

He sighed, "But it's true! I have—" he stopped short, his breathing heavy. He looked almost pained as he spoke, "I have commitment issues, Melissa. Us, that was great. Honestly, you were my first girlfriend—and most memorable."

I stared up at him, "But?"

"But the distance you're putting between us is too much—I'd hate not being able to see you. And, we're going into high school. I want options, and I'm sure you'd like the same." He sighed when my face soured up into distaste. "I thought you might like it better if I did this while you were here, and not over the phone or computer. This isn't easy,"

"Yeah, right." I muttered, much to quiet for him to hear.

"And I really hate seeing you this vulnerable, but I have to do this. I just.. can't be the boyfriend. I can be you're best friend. I can be you're brother." He grabbed me quickly in a tight hug, his arms slightly tighter then usual. "I will always love you, my number one girl."


I really hated him after that. It was difficult to face anyone after that, and for the longest time I was nothing but miserable. I put my aunt and Haley through some grief, but they didn't understand—Haley wasn't leaving much behind. She didn't miss the rain at all.

I did. And I was so glad I was returning.

- - -

He looked much different now, and it wasn't all that difficult to spot him. What, with being all tall and muscular, and the only person wearing a t-shirt. I felt almost ridiculous wearing a heavy coat. But nevertheless, I approached Sam with a happy smile and an ungrateful sister following behind.

"Hey, Sam." I said, not bothering to wrap my arms around his neck, but settled for his mid-section instead.

He chuckled deeply, "You look more like mom every time I see you." He hugged Haley, too. She was a little less enthusiastic.

"Hey." She muttered, wiping her nose with her sleeve. She glanced around the airport, her arms folded tightly to her chest.

Turning back to Sam, I smiled warmly. "How's Emily?" Emily was someone I missed, very much. But, I always knew that Haley and Emily were closer.

Only because Haley had a loathing towards Leah.

"She's good. We're getting married soon, hopefully."

My eye's widened. This was not something he had told me over the phone, "Married? Since when?"

"Since last September." He smiled, wrapping an arm over my shoulders.

"When did you become friends with Jared? Or Paul, for that matter."

He shrugged, "It was just one of those things. Where you meet someone, and you feel like.. you've known them forever."

I looked up at him, eyes wry, "You have known Paul for forever, Sam."

After gathering all our luggage, we made way to the parking lot. Sam made a point to parking as close to the exit as he could, which both Haley and I were thankful for. He packed our bags in the back of his truck and held the door open for both Haley and I. With it only being a small cab, and Sam being as huge as he was, Haley and I were squished a little too close for comfort.

It noticeably got warmer in the truck, and with what Sam feeling like he was running a fever, I was dying underneath my sweater and shirt. There wasn't much leg room, either, but I settled on locking my ankles and folding my arms.

"You look a little.. pale." Sam looked over at my face quickly before returning his eyes on the road. "Are you not feeling well?"

Haley snorted, it was a nasty sound. "No. She doesn't really tan much anymore."

He looked confused, "But we're naturally tan—mom was really, really dark."

"I know," I sighed. "I've just been working a lot—you know, trying to save up some money? And I guess the plane food really got to me—my stomach isn't settling well."

He nodded, "Smart thinking." After a while, we fell silent. We finally arrived in La Push, meaning that our ride would come to a thankful and much needed stop sooner than I thought.

Sam purposely took a longer route, though. He drove by First Beach and took a detour up the cliffs, then came down onto the main road and cut through the unpaved road in the forest. It surprisingly led to the beautiful wooden house I remembered from years ago, and he pulled up against the trees. I wasn't very shocked by the small group of people—but I was thankful that it wasn't as much as I had expected.

When I was finally let out from the stuffy cab, I breathed in the cool air happily. Nothing had changed—my unsettled stomach froze and for a beautiful, slow moment I felt so much at home.

I smiled towards the short, young woman standing outside of the house with her slender hands placed neatly on her hips. Her arms were bare to the cold, but she seemed fairly unfazed by the amount of wind that pricked my skin happily. Emily had never looked more beautiful, and it was so nice being able to finally see her again. "Hey, Emily." I easily fit myself into her thin arms, and was instantly consumed by the beautiful smell of both flowers and breakfast—real breakfast.

When we pulled away she looked at me and sighed, "You do look like Sam."

Haley snorted, "Sam says she looks like mom. Guess I'm the runt of the litter," She smiled softly and wrapped an arm around our brothers fiance, "Good to see you, Em." Naturally, Emily had always fit right in at home when it came to Haley—don't get me wrong, I love Emily. Her cooking was amazing, and she always made sure to make plenty. And she was kind, and big-hearted. A lot of the time, I wondered how she put up with Sam. He ate like a pig.

I turned to face the three other standing welcomers—particularly the male. He had a slight resemblance to someone I'd seen before. He wouldn't be here if I didn't know him. The woman, too. She was remarkably toned and beautiful. Her eyelashes as long as feather dusters, so much equally as perfect as the oldest of the three. Her face a lined with few wrinkles, but they were the story of a fighter and a passionate woman. I suddenly had a very strong understanding of the family in front of me—and was very happy that I could soon call them my own, as well.

"I remember you," I said quietly, stepping forward to touch the short yet smooth hair of a former close friend. "You look so different, Leah, so independent."

She smiled a little, but made direct eye contact with me as she said, "Is that a bad thing?"

I shook my head, hugging her tightly. She was hesitant, but nevertheless wrapped at least one arm around me and breathed out, "No, it's not." She looked at me, as if needing reassurance, "You look incredible."

"As do you, Melissa. You're so grown up, now." Sue didn't restrain herself when she pulled me into a firm hug. "Both of you! It's unbelievable how different the pair of look now."

"You haven't aged a day, Ms. Clearwater." Haley said, returning the same strangling hug I had received.

A deeper, much more masculine voice cleared it's throat and I stopped to look up at Seth. "You," I said, pulling my hair away from my face, "Have changed the most. When did you start growing? Or get muscles?"

He chuckled, his teeth gleaming perfectly against the red-brown of his skin, "When I hit puberty."

I shook my head, "You know, Seth, anabolic steroids are really bad for you."

He snorted this time, much more clean that I could've managed, "Just filling out. Wouldn't be such a shocker if you came to visit us more often." The emotion was sudden. Quilt filled me, and it was only a moment before I looked away uneasily.

"Easy," Sam warned, his arm already placed firmly around Emily's waist. "I smell food. Let's get inside before the rain picks up."

When I sat down, a large plate with mass amounts of egg and meat were placed in front of me. I thankfully smiled up at Sue, and took my time savoring the first good meal I've had a in long time. When I finished, both Haley and I decided to look for one of the available rooms Sam had mentioned. Comparing the two, I couldn't decipher a difference between them, nothing but the window in of them jutted out. I decided to go with that option, only because it opted for a rocking chair set in the corner. I left my bags by the door, and settled into the already-made double bed.

- - -

"Melissa," For the slightest moment, I was annoyed. Something warm was touching me, and it was destroying the personal relationship between me and the cool air. "Melissa, wake up."

My glare shifted up to Sam leaning over my bed. "What?"

He smiled warmly then said, "About time. There are some more people downstairs I want you to meet," He turned to hallway and disappeared.

Quickly, I ran my fingers through my hair and pulled my sleeves down over my hands. I bounded downstairs after Sam, the wooden steps creaking with pressure. I could see them before I reached the bottom—three large boys sat at the tiny round table, their backs bare and smiles wide. They paid little attention to me—Haley sat between two, quiet and stiff.

"Melissa, this is Jacob Black," Sam motioned to the largest of the three. His cropped hair was spiked up, arms folded across his visibly muscular chest. He smiled, thick lips showing a set of beautifully white teeth.

"I know—I remember you." It had taken me a moment, but I suddenly remembered spending a large amount of time with Jacob, due to Leah and Sam being together. Leah's father, Harry, and Jacob's dad, Billy, spent a lot of time together, so I was forced to spend several Saturday afternoons and summer evenings sitting with Jacob in his garage or running away from him and his friends in the forest. I can't remember how many times I got myself lost. "And you," Quil smirked, his eyebrows rising as he looked at me.

"You've changed a lot—but you're still small, and probably just as clumsy."

"You got that right," The room erupted with laughter, due to Haley's comment.

I glared at the table until I looked up at the last boy—but for the life of me, I couldn't remember who he was. "I'm sorry," I said, brows pulling together, "but I don't remember you." It was really unfortunate, too, because the moment I looked up into his large, brown eyes I saw something more. He was beautiful! His tan skin radiant, arms filled with long, round muscles. The look he gave me, the intense moment we shared filled my body with heat. I felt as if he were stripping away all the layers of skin, peering right into my core.

"It's Embry." His voice filled my head, thick and smooth like velvet. At that moment, that exact moment I felt the world around me shift. It wasn't gravity holding me to the earth anymore—things inside me, worries, insecurities—all cut and drifted away. My common sense made no sense. No rational thought. Just an intense hum of heat inside me.

"Embry.." Thoughts came rushing back, memories pieced together.

"We didn't talk much—but I used to be the one to find you after you got lost."

I pulled my brows together, "I thought you always found me," I said standing behind Jacob.

He laughed, "I thought it wouldn't matter who found you—you were always asleep anyways."

I sighed, "Thank you, Embry." I sat down beside Quil, resting my hands on the small table overflowing with plates filled with food. Returning home was definitely something I didn't regret—I was going to enjoy myself.

I was ready.

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