'What are you doing?' I skidded to a stop at the sweet and deep rumbling sound of Jake's voice, spinning on the spot to see him watching me as he leant against a nearby tree. My eyes were wide as my gaze met his, shock still flowing through my veins; how on earth had he crept up on me?
I could feel his presence, his proximity, but I had been so immersed on my running that I hadn't noticed. Or rather, I had noticed, but it hadn't registered. It was disorienting to realise he could sneak up on me so easily; and slightly worrying. I liked to think I was on alert for these sorts of things, especially in La Push.
Yet here he was. Straightening up from his relaxed position, his eyes alight with amusement, the wet strands of his hair messily arranged in a way that made his already attractive face even handsomer. Even through the rain it was easy to watch him as he walked over to me, my body still frozen in surprise.
'You didn't answer my question.' He said, making the statement a question. I blinked, shaking my head slightly to clear it.
'Sorry. I was surprised to see you.' I couldn't hide the hint of confusion from my words, and Jake gave me a curious look, a silent question in his eyes. 'I thought I would have felt you coming, like before.' Without me knowing, we had started walking, the rain still falling as we made our way through the trees.
'So why didn't you?' He asked.
'I was distracted. But even then…' I trailed off, thinking, glancing at Jake as I did so. 'Why is it that you're the only one who can sneak up on me?' He grinned.
'I suppose. But you're not the only one with supernatural abilities.' He thought it over.
'Well, maybe it's because I'm extra good at being sneaky. Being alpha's got to count for something, right?' I laughed, my smile wide as I agreed.
'Right. So, what are you doing out in the rain?' I queried.
'I asked you first.' I smiled softly at his words.
'I was running.'
'In the rain?'
'I like the rain.'
'You like being soaked and getting sick afterwards?' He asked, confusion lacing his tone. I shrugged.
'I like feeling the rain. And as for getting sick; I've never had a cold in my life, I doubt I'm going to get one now.'
'The same reason you don't. Temperature.' I grabbed his hand in example, and we both smiled at the contact.
'That doesn't explain why you were running.'
'I like to run. It calms me.' Jake blinked, looking surprised for a moment, before he grinned.
'That's the same reason I like to run.'
'Really?' I asked, and he nodded. 'Then you should run with me then.'
'Run where?' He questioned with a grin, both of us pausing as the trees we had been walking through opened up onto a deserted beach. The rain was still sleeting down, making it hard to see the grey, murky waters of the roiling ocean. The wind was stronger here, blowing the rain into us with force, but neither of us shivered from the cold. Our hands were still interlinked, and it was with reluctance that I slipped my palm from his to point down the beach to the just visible copse of trees at the end.
'Over there. Come on, I'll race you; though I fully expect to lose.' He grinned with amusement.
'If you know I'm going to win, why do you want to race?' He asked with confusion.
'Because it'll be fun to verse someone who's faster than me for once.' I replied, moving a few steps down the beach, and turning to face him. 'So, are you in?' I enquired, brushing my wet hair out of my face as the wind blew through it.
Jake grinned. 'Definitely.' And with that, he strode forward, sliding into a run effortlessly between one step and the next. In barely a second he was breezing passed me, taking my hand and pulling me along behind him before I'd even finished turning around. I had to repress a yelp as I was suddenly jerked forwards, and I thanked the heavens for superhuman reflexes, as without them I would have undoubtedly found myself tripping. As it was, I managed to slide into step with Jake; just in time for him to give me a blinding smile before he tore ahead of me.
Grinning despite myself, I pushed myself into a sprint. We were both practically flying across the beach, the rain slamming into us but not doing a thing to hinder our speed. I'd thought I was enjoying my run before, but this; this was better. Better because not only was the speed intoxicating, but because Jake was running with me. His very presence made me happier; made an already thrilling activity even more exciting.
And it didn't matter that he was – as I had predicted – winning, because when he reached the trees at the end of the beach, me just a second behind him, he turned to give me yet another enrapturing smile; one that I was sure matched my own. His eyes burned with the exhilaration, alight and dancing in a way such that I couldn't tear my gaze away from his.
'I guess you were right about me winning.' He said, and I raised my eyebrows.
'You doubted it?' He shook his head.
'No. But I've learnt to expect the unexpected when it comes to the supernatural.' I nodded, fervently agreeing.
Despite the full out run, neither of us was breathing heavily; the advantage of inhuman stamina, I suppose. Just in case we hadn't already been sopping wet, we were now thoroughly drenched; I felt as if my very skin had soaked up the water. And as much as I loved the rain, and how it felt pounding against my skin, being completely soaked wasn't the most enjoyable experience. My hair was plastered to my cheeks, and I was constantly brushing it out of my eyes as the wind played havoc with it. I was torn between wondering if I would ever be dry again, but wanting to spend more time with Jake, and it was with the hope that maybe I could have both that I spoke.
'Did you want to come back with me to the house to dry off? I don't know about you, but I'm feeling very-'
'Wet?' Jake cut in, looking pleased, and I laughed.
'Well, we won't get dry standing out here.' He said with a grin, and with a quick jerk of his head to indicate for me to go first, we once again began to walk through the trees.
'You know, I don't even know your full name.' I said, and Jake's head turned to give me a curious smile.
'Jake.' I gave him an amused look at his reply.
'That is not your full name.' He grinned.
'Jacob.' I said softly, trying it out, which for some reason made him smile widely. 'So what, no middle name?' I asked, and he laughed quietly.
'You're being very thorough.' He commented.
'Well, since I think you've asked me about twice as many questions as I've asked you, I've got ground to make up. Plus, I'm curious.' He smiled again at my words.
'Ephraim.' I stopped dead in my tracks at the name, surprising freezing my joints and leaving me staring at him in shock.
'What?' I gasped, as Jake turned to face me with a look that was a mixture of confusion and curiosity. He had immediately caught onto my surprise thanks to the imprint bond, and had paused next to me after taking just a step more than I had.
'Ephraim. My middle name.' I was still gaping at him, my eyes wide and locked on his. I wasn't sure why I was so surprised, but it had been just so unexpected to hear my father's name that I couldn't seem to process it. I knew I had to speak; had to say something because I was still frozen, and concern was slowly blooming in Jake's expression. But it wasn't until he stepped towards me and put his hand on my shoulder, his touch jolting me out of the shock and sadness that had overwhelmed me, that I recovered the ability to speak.
'That was my father's name.' I whispered, so quiet that if Jake hadn't been a werewolf, I wasn't sure he would have been able to hear me. As it was, he now looked nearly as surprised as me, his nearly ever-present grin falling away as he stared.
'My father. Ephraim Black.' I repeated, and Jake's eyes widened even more than they already were.
'As in alpha of the last wolf pack Ephraim?' He asked, his tone strangely unreadable. I nodded. 'He was your father?' His voice was soft now, almost a whisper.
'Adoptive father.' I said with a slow nod. Jake was still staring, his expression one of deep thinking. It remained that way for several seconds, before being replaced with a small grin as his eyes lit up with realisation.
'Well, that explains a lot.' He eventually said, and I laughed. His thoughtful expression returned, as his hand slid down my arm from my shoulder and took my hand, leading me forward as we once again began to walk. But we didn't get far before we once again paused, Jake stopping with bewilderment once again etched on his face,
'Wait, you said adoptive father?' He questioned, his voice sounding off as I nodded.
'Yes.' I replied.
'What about your biological father?' He asked carefully, seemingly wary of my response and eh slowly let me hand fall from his. I just shrugged.
'What about him? He was a vampire, and the old pack killed him before I was even born. Thankfully.' Jake looked a bit surprised at the hint of venom in my response.
'You're glad he's dead?'
'Yes.' I said, my eyes filling with uncertainty at Jake's still confused face.
'Because he was a vampire. He killed people. Killed my mother before I was born so I never met her.' I finished sadly. Jake was still staring at me with puzzlement. 'What?' I asked.
'She died before you were born? You know biologically that makes no sense, right?' He said with a mixture of confusion and wariness.
'The wolves had to be cut me out of her body. Some of them wanted to kill me because of my father being a vampire, but Ephraim said no.' I whispered. The memory brought both sadness and joy. Sadness, because some of the tribe had never gotten over the fact that I wasn't completely human, and had hated me for it. But joy because Ephraim had protected me, and loved me as his own daughter.
And it was apparent his caring nature had been passed on to Jake, because he was looking at me as if he was ready to kill anyone even thought of hurting me. For a moment the protectiveness made me smile. It was so wonderful to be cared about, by someone who actually knew the real me. But the next second I had to turn away to hide my grim expression.
Jake might try to protect me, but he wouldn't succeed.