One hand grabbed my wrist, the other pulling me right back into him as his power rolled over me in a suffocating wave. It radiated off of him; every pore, every cell of his being screamed dominance. There was no mistaking who he was.
The alpha. I had managed to escape the wolf inside only to deliver myself into the hands of a wolf far more dangerous. Panic rose up, thick and irrepressible, blasting through my barely held up composure in a crippling wave.
I had no chance. No chance at all. But that grim knowledge didn't stop me from trying to pull away, from trying to twist and turn out of his iron grip. It wasn't until he trapped me firmly and immovably against his chest that I finally turned my fear filled eyes upwards to meet his gaze.
Surprising soft, his dark brown eyes didn't hold the anger or violence I was expecting. Instead of being off putting, the darkness was intoxicating, giving his eyes a deepness and warmness that was enrapturing. The exact shade of brown as that of pine tree bark, with beautiful hints of russet, I couldn't move my eyes away.
Not even when he suddenly released me, staggering backwards in shock. His widened eyes didn't leave mine as he gave me a look of such intensity that I stopped breathing from the power. I was about to ask him why he was levelling me a look of such force when I felt it.
At first nothing more but a gentle tug on my heart, before it became an all-consuming yank. I felt as if a burning hot arrow had been stabbed into me, my lungs seizing up as they tried to inhale air that wasn't there. It was pushing on me from all sides, an indescribable pressure, power that was pulling and pushing and tugging and smothering.
But that was nothing compared to the weight. The sudden and immense weight that felt as if it had been dropped on top of me, making me stagger forwards as my legs failed, my vision flaring with blackness as my heart was pierced with what felt like a thousand tiny little knives.
Knives that suddenly disappeared as my seemingly endless fall was stopped by a pair of hot hands on my waist.
Relief. Blissful, body melting relief. My skin tingling where he touched me, an irrepressible sigh escaping my lips as I leaned into him. His touch; his touch making the blackness recede, making the knives disintegrate, giving my lungs the air they so desperately craved. The weight was still there, fading and less intense, but lingering in the background. The pull was still there, seemingly linked to the man who was keeping me upright.
The alpha. The alpha had caught me. The alpha was reeling with surprise; surprise and want and worry and contentment. I could feel him; feel his emotions, feel his very being.
It was like… It was like…
No. No, it couldn't be. He wouldn't have.
My brain was sluggish, resistant as I tried to regain my bearings. I could feel myself trembling, my eyes blinking blearily as if waking from the deepest of sleeps. But as I became more and more lucid, and my brain began to slowly and agonisingly try to process what was going on, I knew that he had.
I could feel it; feel the truth of it, the rightness.
He had imprinted on me.
Something was off. I had known it from the moment I'd woken up, senses flaring as my instincts screamed at me.
Something was different, something had changed. Something was going to happen. I knew it; I could feel it with every fibre of my being.
I just didn't know what.
All day I had prowled around the reservation, restless and on edge, my entire body tense with anticipation. Hours had passed, nothing had happened, and yet the feeling, the urge, just kept growing stronger.
It was driving me moderately insane; and by extension, the pack also. My pack; larger now, ever since Sam had handed his wolves over and stopped phasing. Well, almost stopped. It wasn't easy to try and block the urge to phase; to fight the wolf born instincts. But he was trying, and he'd gone a solid month now, and I was really hoping that whatever my instincts were picking up wasn't going to ruin his streak.
If only I knew what was setting my nerves on edge. It had been four years since our encounter with the Volturi, and things had been quiet since then.
But somehow I knew that was about to change.
I didn't know why I decided to accompany Quil when he left to pick up Claire. There was no reason, no logic in it. But something unidentifiable, unquantifiable, was telling me to go.
And so go I did.
And for the first time all day, the irrepressible restlessness finally began to fade.
I should have been glad; after a day filled with edginess, I could finally stand still without twitching or fidgeting. And part of me was relieved; relieved that whatever had me tense with anticipation had stopped making my nerves so high strung. But I couldn't help but think there was only one reason my instincts were finally calming down.
Whatever I had been waiting for was here.
I breathed in deeply, tasting all of the scents around me. There was nothing, nothing out of the ordinary. There was earth and rain and pine and pack, and a confusing myriad of human; too many different scents mixed and overlapping for anything to be identifiable. But there was nothing out of place; not even a hint of the sharp and sickly sweet that heralded a vampire's arrival.
The only scent I couldn't place was an intoxicating mixture of sugar, cedar, and flowers that lingered ever so softly in the air. I breathed in deeper, savouring the scent as I tried to locate the source; only to find my senses suddenly consumed as a whole wall of the aroma wafted over me.
Too much. Too strong. It smelled like heaven, but now the smell was blocking all my senses, making me blink in surprise.
And in the second I was overwhelmed by the scent, a small and soft figure suddenly slammed into me.
Warmth. That was the first thing I picked up on; nobody but pack felt warm to me.
And this was not pack.
Instinct made me grab for the figure even as she recoiled, inhuman reflexes almost allowing her to slip out of my grasp. She was fast – faster than a human – but not fast enough. Her pulse thrummed faster than what seemed possible as I gripped her wrist, pulling her back as the mouth-watering scent again washed over me.
Her. The heavenly combination of cedar, flowers, and sugar was her. And now that she was close, fighting as I trapped her against me, I could detect a fourth smell; a faint undercurrent, just the slightest trace.
Pack. She smelled like pack.
It wasn't possible; it shouldn't be possible. She was not pack. I was the alpha; I could feel every single one of my wolves, and feel the slight flutter that was Paul's imprint.
I couldn't feel her. But unexplainably, I felt drawn to her. I couldn't muster even a hint of anger or violence towards the half-vampire, and I couldn't help but revel in her delicious scent.
But my strange gravitation to her was nothing compared to the earth-shattering pull that I felt as she turned her fear filled eyes upwards to meet my own.
Blue. They were a stunning, consuming, sea blue; the colour of the ocean on those rare sunny days. A deeper and darker blue than the sky, but somehow seeming just as open or vast.
They were mesmerizing. I couldn't look away, and I didn't want to. Because from the instant her eyes met mine, the world had ceased to exist as I knew it.
I had been pulled – been yanked, been tugged so hard I almost staggered – towards the woman I had trapped against me.
But the pull was nothing compared to the weight.
This time I did stagger, releasing her with a gasp as I was slammed with something akin to an alpha order, but a thousand times more powerful. I felt my eyes widen as the force blasted through me, setting my veins alight as my blood burned, my heart stuttering as it was yanked from my chest, and stabbed with a burning hot branding iron.
Her. I was being marked by her. Her imprint on my heart.
I felt myself shudder as it rolled through me, tying me to her in every way possible. Forging its way through me and then flooding into her, making a searing connection so deep that for a moment I lost myself in the all-encompassing presence that was her.
I could feel her. Feel every inch of her. Feel every emotion, every breath, every beat of her heart.
And I could feel her falling.
I both saw and felt it as she fell forward, legs failing. And it was effortless, easier than breathing, to step forward and catch her, hands grabbing her waist and settling there as if they were made to hold her.
Her touch. Her touch was indescribable. Heaven. If heaven was physical, then it was her. She steadied the imprint; steadied the uncontrollable weight and consuming pull, alleviating my burning blood and pushing my stolen heart back where it was supposed to go.
Clarity. That was she gave me. Clarity to come back to my senses and process what had happened.
I had imprinted.