I woke up and it was still quiet. My sleep was peaceful. Well as peaceful as it would be with leeches so close. I came around and stretched and had hung out relaxing a little bit. Then Seth was there.
Ready to take over? Seth asked.
Yeah. Go get some sleep. I took off running. I was on the western perimeter when Jacob rejoined the pack mind. Morning, Jacob, I greeted him.
He quickly replied, Good you’re up. How long’s Seth been out?
I didn’t have to answer because Seth did.
Then Jacob’s thoughts turned to me. Let’s make a deep run. Then Jacob gave orders for Seth to do a, perimeter run. He agreed and was off.
Off on another vampire errand. I grumbled.
Jacob questioned me. You got a problem with that?
My sarcastic tone already tipped him off. Of course not. I just love to coddle those darling leeches.
He ignored me and proceeded on. Good. Let’s see how fast we can run.
I smiled. This actually made me happy. Speed was my advantage. Okay. Im definitely up for that.
I tried to avoid getting close the house. I left that path for Jacob and Seth. I raced to meet up with Jacob.
Nose to the ground, Leah. This isn’t a race, it’s a reconnaissance mission.
I rolled my eyes continuing to run. I can do both and still kick your butt.
I know. Jacob quietly agreed and I laughed.
We ran along together quietly. There was nothing. Jacob was just focused. I stayed on his right side, keeping pace. Then I finally broke the silence.
We’re getting pretty far out here. I thought.
Yeah. If Sam was hunting strays, we should have crossed his trail by now.
He was right and I knew it.
Make’s more sense right now for him to bunker down in La Push. He know’s we're giving the bloodsuckers three extra sets of eyes and legs. He’s not going to be able to surprise them.I thought.
This is just a precaution, really. Jacob thought.
Wouldn’t want our precious parasites taking unnecessary chances. I thought with a sarcastic tone.
Nope. Jacob thought back.
You’ve changed so much, Jacob. Talk about one-eighties. I couldn’t believe it. Such a softy for the vampire’s now.
You’re not exactly the same Leah I’ve always known and loved either. Jacob’s thoughts pure.
True. Am I less annoying than Paul now? I asked.
Amazingly . . . yes, Jacob said.
Ah, sweet success. I smiled
Congrats. Jacob said then everything went quiet.
We ran quietly for some time. Nothing was going on. Our thoughts remained quiet. It was nice to get away from the regular perimeter run. There was no rush to our day. I was trying to fight the hunger that ached in my bones. Jacob thought we should hunt. So on our way home that was the plan.
Yum, yum, I thought sourly.
Then Jacob tried to make it easier. It’s all in your head. That’s the way wolves eat. It’s normal. It tastes fine. If you didn’t think about it from a human perspective-
I rolled my eyes. Forget the pep talk, Jacob. I’ll hunt. I don’t have to like it.
Sure, sure. He agreed just to shut me up.
I stayed quiet for a a little bit. Then Jacob started thinking about turning back.
Thank you, I said suddenly in a different tone.
For? Jacob was confused.
For letting me be. For letting me stay. You’ve been nicer than I had any right to expect, Jacob.
He was a bit caught off guard. Er, no problem. Actually I mean that. I don’t mind having you here like I thought I would.
I snorted and chuckled. What a glowing commendation!
Don’t let it go to your head. Jacob smirked a little.
Okay-if you don’t let this go to yours. I paused for a second. I think you make a good Alpha. Not in the same way Sam does, but in your own way. You’re worth following, Jacob.
He was left speechless.
Er, thanks. Not totally sure I’ll be able to stop that one from going to my head, though. Where did that come from. Jacob asked me.
I didn’t answer him. I thought about what he told Jared a few mornings ago. I thought about Bella’s limited time. I didn’t want to go back to La Push. Jacob promised him I’d go back.
I want to stay with you, I told him. I really shocked him. He stopped dead in his tracks. I ran right past him. Then I had to stop myself and back up.
I won’t be a pain, I swear. I won’t follow you around. You can go wherever you want, and I’ll go where I want. You’ll only have to put up with me when we’re both wolves. I paced anxiously back and forth in front of him. My tail moved back and forth nervously. I wasn’t sure what his response would be. I just couldn’t go back to La Push.
And as I’m planning on quitting as soon as I can manage it . . . maybe that won’t be so often.
He stood there speechless as I continued to pace. My heart was starting to beat faster.
I’m happier now, as a part of of your pack, than I have been in years.
Then Seth quietly thought, I want to stay, too. I like this pack.
We waited for Jacob then he thought back finally. Hey now! Seth, this isn’t going to be a pack much longer. We’ve got a purpose now, but when . . . after that’s over, I’m just going to go wolf. Seth you need a purpose. You’re a good kid. You’re the kind of person who always has a crusade. And there’s no way you’re leaving La Push now. You’re going to graduate from high school and do something with your life. You’re going to take care of Sue. My issues are not going to mess up your future.
Seth tried to argue with him. But-
Jacob’s right. I seconded.
Jacob looked at me. You’re agreeing with me?
I nodded. Of course. But non of that applies to me. I was on my way out, anyway. I’ll get a job somewhere away from La Push. Maybe take some courses at a community college. Get into yoga and meditation to work on my temper issues. . . . And stay a part of this pack for the sake of my mental well-being. Jacob-you can see how that makes sense, right? I won’t bother you, you won’t bother me, everyone is happy.
Jacob turned back and started heading toward the west. This is a bit much to deal with, Leah. Let me think about it, ‘kay?
Sure. Take your time. What else could I say? “No Jacob I demand an answer right this second.” This was a lot to ask of him. We started back to make the run back. I stayed silent on the way back. I was letting him think everything over.
While we were running back a herd of black-tailed deer crossed our path. The sun was coming up finally. I sighed and lunged. I took down the largest one. I was starving but disgusted at the same time. Then Jacob showed me to think wolf form. Eat in wolf form. This was the animal I was at the current moment. I did. I let myself become the wolf. I ate quietly. Once we were both full I thought. Thanks, went and cleaned my muzzle and paws on the wet grass. That wasn’t so bad, thinking your way.
Your welcome. Jacob thought back.
We got back to the perimeter. Seth was barely awake.
You headed back to the bloodsuckers. I asked Jacob.
Maybe. He thought.
Seth had crashed and hard. It was just mumbles in his head then, quiet. I let down my guard a little. I could see what was happening. Seth probably couldn’t, but I could. I took in a deep breath.
It’s hard for you to be there, but hard to stay away, too. I know how that feels.
I waited for a response from Jacob.
You know Leah, you might want to think a little bit about the future, about what you really want to do. My head is not going to be the happiest place on earth. And you’ll have to suffer right along with me.
I thought about how to answer him. Wow, this is going to sound bad. But, honestly, it will be easier to deal with your pain than face mine. I had finally opened up a little.
Fair enough. he responded.
I know it’s going to be bad for you, Jacob. I understand that-maybe better than you think. I don’t like her, but . . . she’s your Sam. She’s everything you want and everything you can’t have.
He didn’t know what to say. He stayed quiet for some time. It was almost like he was in shock.
I know it’s worse for you. At least Sam is happy. At least he’s alive and well. I love him enough that I want that. I want him to have what’s best for him. I sighed. I just don't want to stick around and watch.
Jacob sighed. Do we need to talk about this?
I think we do. Because I want you to know that I won’t make it worse for you. Hell, maybe I’ll even help. I wasn’t born a compassionless shrew. I used to be sort of nice, you know.
My memory doesn’t go that far back. He thought.
We both laughed.
I’m sorry about this, Jacob. I’m sorry you’re in pain. I’m sorry it’s getting worse and not better. I felt bad for him. Nobody should have to feel this way.
I quietly thought about the things that were worse. Him losing the only girl he ever loved. The only one he ever pictured spending his life with. He was watching her wither away. He watched as she lived out what remained of this life. He watched her being happy with this new family of hers. It was hard to admit it, but she was happy. She had what she wanted. She’d live forever. She would achieve something, if she lived. Then Jacob started to become hopeful. He hoped one day he could look at it like I was. Then I saw him poking fun at the blond vampire. The blonde jokes were amusing. Then I saw the blond’s face while she was with Bella. I saw how she hovered around her. I really focused my thoughts on that. Then it dawned on me.
You know what’s crazy? I thought.
Well, almost everything is crazy right now. But what do you mean? Jacob asked.
That blonde vampire you hate so much-I totally get her perspective.
Once I said that, I thought Jacob might actually come after me. I could just imagine him ripping my leg off. Then he imagined biting me.
Hold up! Let me explain! I quickly thought.
Don’t want to hear it. I’m outta here. He was ready to take off.
Wait! Wait! I pleaded. C’mon, Jake!
Leah, this really isn’t the best way to convince me that I want to spend more time with you in the future.
I rolled my eyes. Yeah! What an overreaction. You don’t even know what I’m talking about.
Jacob was on the edge right now. He could snap at me any moment.
So what are you talking about?
Then the emotional pain took over again. My wall was back up. My anger was raging through my thoughts. I couldn’t keep it in anymore.
I’m talking about being a genetic dead end, Jacob.
Jacob looked at me. I don’t understand. He was lost.
You would, if you weren’t just like the rest of them. If my “female stuff”-I thought the words with a hard sarcastic edge-didn’t send you running for cover like any stupid male,so you could actually pay attention to what it all means.
Oh. Was all he got out.
You know why Sam thinks we imprint, I thought a little calmer now.
Sure. To carry on the line. This response was what I expected from Jacob.
Right. To make a bunch of new little werewolves. Survival of the species, genetic override. You’re drawn to the person who gives you the best chance to pass on the wolf gene. Jacob stayed quiet as I continued. If I was any good for that, Sam would have been drawn to me.
Jacob stopped running because he could see my pain.
But I’m not. There’s something wrong with me. I don’t have the ability to pass on the gene, apparently, despite my stellar bloodlines. So I become a freak-the girlie wolf-good for nothing else. I’m a genetic dead end and we both know it.
Jacob argued with me. We do not. That’s just Sam’s theory. Imprinting happens, but we don’t know why. Billy thinks it’s something else.
I hated this idea. All these possibilities.
I know, I know. He thinks you’re imprinting to make stronger wolves. Because you and Sam are such humungous monsters-bigger than our fathers. But either way, I’m still not a candidate. I’m . . . I’m menopausal. I’m twenty years old and I”m menopausal.
I was making him uncomfortable. You don’t know that, Leah. It’s probably just the whole frozen-in-time thing. When you quit your wolf and start getting older again, I’m sure things will . . . er . . . pick right back up.
I sighed. I might think that-except that no one’s imprinting on me, notwithstanding my impressive pedigree. You know, if you weren’t around, Seth would probably have the best claim for being Alpha-through his blood, at least. Of course, no one would ever consider me . . .
Jacob quickly snapped back at me. You really want to imprint, or be imprinted on, or whichever? He demanded. What’s wrong with going out and falling in love lie a normal person, Leah? Imprinting is just another way of getting your choices taken away from you.
I quickly replied. Sam, Jared, Paul, Quil . . . they don’t seem to mind.
None of them have a mind of their own. He replied.
You don’t want to imprint? I asked him.
Hell no! He didn’t hesitate.
That’s just because you’re already in love with her. That would go away, you know, if you imprinted. You wouldn’t have to hurt over her anymore.
Do you want to forget the way you feel about Sam? He asked.
I thought about it for a moment. I think I do. Jacob just sighed. But back to my original point, Jacob. I understand why your blond vampire is so cold-in the figurative sense. She’s focused. She’s got her eyes on the prize, right? Because you always want the very most what you can never, ever have.
Jacob quickly replied. You would act like Rosalie? You would murder someone-because that’s what she’s doing, making sure no one interferes with Bella’s death-you would do that to have a baby? Since when are you a breeder.
That wasn’t how I saw it.
I just want the option I don’t have, Jacob. Maybe, if there was nothing wrong with me, I would never give it a thought.
You would kill for that. He demanded.
He couldn’t see what I did. That’s not what she’s doing. I think it’s more like she’s living vicariously. And . . . if Bella asked me to help her with this . . . I paused and considered it. Even though I don’t think too much of her, I’d probably do the same as the bloodsucker.
Jacob snarled loudly.
Because, if it was turned around, I’d want Bella to do that for me. And so would Rosalie. We’d both do it her way.
Ugh! You’re as bad as they are! Jacob was disgusted.
That’s the funny thing about knowing you can’t have something. It makes you desperate. I sighed.
And . . . thats my limit. Right there. This conversation is over. Jacob wanted nothing more to do with me at the moment.
Fine. That’ was it.
Jacob phased back to human. Seth was asleep. I continued to keep running. I kept up my patrol. I was honest with Jacob. I told him the truth and how I felt. I told him what I saw. I never really thought about it when I told him. I let him in. I let him into such a deep part of me. Now he couldn’t care less. I was back to square one. The brick wall was even thicker this time around me.