PART FOUR: The Give
Wednesday 21st June 2006
The cold air coming in from the ocean tore through the trees, emerald leaves fluttering away as I stood over the cliff, watching the Olympic Park. The lakes were flat, ripping, reflecting the mountains and the dark stormy sky. I was the only one phased, alone in the pack mind. It was hollow.
For a long time we had all been comforted by being together. The pack was meant to be a whole. It was just how it worked.
Jacob was gone. Nobody knew where- only that he had taken off. I couldn't blame him really. He had to deal with rejection, heart break, loneliness. I had felt just a little of it. To live it, every day, must have been excruciating. We were without a proper Beta and so Jared had to take over. It was odd answering to him. I didn't like it.
Leah was moaning all the time that she could have taken off as well. That she could have left this all behind. But she never did, so I suppose family meant more to her. Mom was alone all the time now. Charlie, the police chief, came over with Billy most days.
I had been more quiet than usual. Eve had questioned me on it multiple times, but I could never bring myself to tell her the truth. Would it really change things so much? It gave me a definite goal, at least. I knew we would have a future together. I knew I would be hers for eternity.
It wasn't scary as much as it was overwhelming. Never has a situation like ours popped up. The guys, of course, have tried explaining it to me, but they would never understand. The pack mind could only show so much. It was suffocating every time I saw her, was near her, touched her. I was sure she was suspicious.
Giving myself time to think in this whirlwind life was something I valued greatly. Sometimes it felt as if I was losing my grip on reality. I moved with deliberate slowness to get back home. Being a wolf was fine and all- but there were times when I wanted nothing more than to sit with my imprint, no talking, just being.
I pushed open the back door to my house, yawning as I moved inside. I had been on patrol nearly all day and it always disabled me. Mom was sitting at the table, leafing through old books that were scattered around her, a mug of steaming coffee by her side. She glanced up when I came in and smiled- relief. She quickly got up, closing the book she was reading. I instantly recognised the front to be one of dad's favourites.
"Hi mom." I grinned as she came over to hug me.
"Hi. You hungry?" She asked, leaning back. "No, you're always hungry. I'll whip up something." She went to the stove, turning it on while grabbing stuff from the fridge. "How was patrol?"
"Fine as patrolling goes." I said, slumping into a seat at the table. "I was alone for most of it."
She nodded, moving around our humble little kitchen. I could hear some music from upstairs- sad, depressing music that made me want to roll my eyes. Leah.
I pulled over an old atlas dad used to look through a lot. His name was scribbled at the beginning- in childish letters, stating he was ten years old. I became silent as I looked through it. The pages smelt like the attic and looked as if they had been smudged with tea bags. His words were all over the maps, saying that he wanted to go there, and there, but most importantly there.The one circled in fat red tip marker was entitled, simply, 'home'. And there it was, the tip of Washington State, our little slice of the universe.
Mom set a plate of food in front of me with a sad smile, sitting beside me. "He always used to say that no matter how many places he wanted to go, home would always be the best place to be." She sniffed, resting her chin on her hand.
"But he never went to any of these places." I said.
She just smiled. "I know. He never wanted to, in the end."
That night, as I laid in bed, I thought of how clever my dad was. He never needed to leave town to find out who he was. He had met my mom, fell in love, and abandoned all those dreams for something greater.
He was a great role model. I only wish he could be here to tell me what to do about Evelyn. But he wouldn't tell me, no. He would barely say anything. He'd say something like 'your life is only as good as you make it'. And he would be right. Every damn time.
Somehow, I managed to make it through the night without having some ghostly visitor or religious experience. I awoke early, as I usually did, staring up at the ceiling as the light from the slight gap in my curtains made it's way up my wall and ceiling. The dust motes swirled in the air, reminding me of dancing embers of a fire. I just laid, not really thinking of anything. Just that moments like these mattered more than ever.
Then there was a soft knock on the front door and I pulled myself out of bed, grabbing a pair of shorts and putting them on as I jogged down the stairs. I opened the door, fully expecting Sam or something, when in fact a shivering Evelyn stood under the porch light, a woolly hat on her head, a thick brown coat around her.
"Eve? What are you doing here...?"
"Is that a t-trick question?" She mumbled, knitting her pale fingers together in front of her. "I-I couldn't sleep so I..."
"Eve..." I sighed, pulling her tightly to me, rubbing a hand on her back. Damn, she was freezing. "You're crazy, you know that?"
"P-people frequently tell me." She shivered against me. "I d-didn't walk... I used m-my dad's bike..."
"Oh, right." I glanced over to see it perched against the side of the house. I saw she had picked some flowers on her venturing- cow parsley, daisies, buttercups. But, most importantly, there was a bright blue-purple flower that she knew so well. Violets. I smiled gently, bringing her inside and closing the door.
"Good morning Evelyn." Came my mother's voice from the stairs.
"Hi." Eve whispered shyly as my mom came down the stairs. Her hair was pulled into a rough ponytail, my dads blue kimono around her. She also wore my sister's old red fox slippers.
"I'll make you two some hot chocolate, okay?" She yawned, moving into the kitchen and turning on the kettle. I smiled sadly. Mom never could sleep any more.
"Why didn't you come last night?" Evelyn abruptly asked. I gazed to her.
"I had to patrol... and I was so tired Eve... I'm so sorry." I captured her cold hands in mine. "I thought you would be asleep already."
"I... I sometimes think if I'm not good enough." She frowns, unlocking her hands from mine and travelling to the kitchen. Quickly following her, I ignored the curious gaze of my mother as she placed two mugs in front of us.
"Eve, no please don't think that!" I began to feel all breathless as I sat next to her at the table. "I'm so sorry Eve! Please don't think that..."
She glanced to me, her sea-coloured eyes watery. My mom quickly assessed the situation and left hurriedly to the living room, turning on the TV to the morning news. I sighed, slumping in my seat. Eve looked down to her drink, watching the mini marshmallows dissolve.
"Logan got accepted to Seattle University. He... he never even told me he applied. He moved to some flat with his friend in Port Angeles temporarily while he kept going to Seattle to visit restaurants and meeting his teachers..." She sniffed, pulling up the drink and sipping it. "He's faded away before... but this time it's different. He wants to go."
"Eve..." I whispered, reaching forward to take her thin, slightly warmer hand. She looked to me, sniffing gently.
"Sorry. I never like imposing on you."
I shook my head, giving her a sad smile. "Don't think that. I always want you here."
"Really?" She asked, genuinely surprised.
I chuckled. "Yes, really."
She smiled softly, squeezing my hand before letting go. We both downed our drinks, placing them in the sink before making our way to the living room to sit with my mom. I hung up Evelyn's coat, bringing over a blanket from the airing cupboard for her. It was an old one- something Leah and I would snuggle under if we were ever sick. She smiled at me, nudging my shoulder with her head as I sat down next to her. We talked a little about the news with my mom for a while. I began to hear Leah roaming around upstairs and eventually she made her way down.
To my surprise, she poked her head through the door, looking at us.
"Mom, where did that grey tank top go? You know the one-"
"With the stitched up side? Yeah, its in the laundry still." My mom replied.
I rolled my eyes. "You almost never wear anything apart from that thing."
She gave me a look, coughing into her hand. "Hypocrite." She grinned, closing the door. Eve let out a burst of laughter beside me and I looked to her with narrowed eyes.
"It's true!" She laughed, clutching her stomach. I glanced to my mom, seeing she was looking away with a tight smile that showed she was trying not to laugh.
"Ergh, I can't say anything around here." I moaned, standing. "I'm going to get dressed, then. Thanks, guys."
"Aw no, Seth!" Evelyn tried to grab my wrist.
I looked to her, giving her a smile. "I'll be right back."
As I was coming down the stairs in fresh clothes, I saw the mail man outside place some stuff in our box. Rather than have my mom do it, I opened the door, smiling quickly at him before grabbing the mail. It was mainly bills and brochures. I gazed down at the New England lodge for a moment as I walked back to the door. I shut it behind me with my foot, flicking through the wad before a thick cream envelope came forth. It was addressed to me, my name in curly, delicate font. I curved my eyebrow.
Coming into the living room, I handed the usual post to my mom, still looking at my envelope intently.
"What's that?" Eve asked as I sat next to her.
"I dunno..." I mumbled as I opened it. Silk was woven into the soft cushion-like paper and I felt bad for ripping it open.
"Isabella Marie Swan and Edward Anthony Masen Cullen together with their families request the honour of your presence at the celebration of their marriage..." I said, though my voice grew fainter with every word. "You and one guest can attend on Sunday the thirteenth of August." I sighed a little, glancing to Eve. A smile was on her lips.
"Wow. They're getting married. That's great."
"It is." I nodded, grinning at her. "Though, I know Jacob's gonna be depressed as hell..."
"Seth!" My mom exclaimed.
"Sorry." I said without thinking. She sighed, giving up on me. "Do I have anything fancy to wear?" I asked, glancing to her.
"I'm sure we can find you something." She smiled, her dark eyes twinkling. "Oh, I do love a wedding."
"Me too!" Eve snatched the invitation from me, her eyes wandering over the writing.
"You should be my plus one." I nudged her. "You have lots of pretty dresses. And I want you to meet Edward."
"Okay." She smiled softly, hugging my arm, resting her head on my shoulder.