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Aurora

Summary

Their blood tied them together. Their fates tore them apart. Before Leah Clearwater was the fastest wolf in the pack, she was just a lovesick puppy. Before Emily Young was scarred by her true love, she was a confident and ambitious young woman. Before the monsters came, they were best friends and loved each other like sisters. This is the story of how all that changed.

Genre:
Romance / Fantasy
Author:
Amelia Black
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
1
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
16+

Chapter 1: Perfect

January 2003

Leah

Tears streamed down my face. My whole body shook. My chest was starting to hurt. I gasped for air... “Are you serious?” I finally managed between giggles.

“One-hundred-percent serious,” Emily said between giggles of her own. “You should’ve seen her. She was covered in mud. It looked like she crapped herself!”

We both burst into laughter again, the sound echoing through our small living room. We collapsed together, a heap of giggles on our old worn couch.

Finally, my laughter finally began to subside. “Karma’s a bitch,” I said, wiping the tears from my eyes. “Maybe next time Tricia will think twice before stealing someone’s boyfriend.”

“Yeah,” Emily agreed but her smile faltered. It was just for a second, but I had caught it. Emily couldn’t hide anything from me; she may have been only my second cousin, but we were more like sisters.

I nudged her gently with my elbow. “C’mon. Are you really still upset about it?” I said, wrapping my arm around her shoulder. “If Percy is the kind of guy who would ditch someone as amazing as you for someone like Tricia, it’s his loss. And good riddance!”

Emily nodded and smiled back, but the smile didn’t reach her eyes.

I sighed. Poor Em, I thought. I hated to see her all torn up like this over a guy who wasn’t worth her time. She had only been dating Percy for a little over three months, but that was enough to get hurt. For whatever, she had really liked him. And even if the guy was a total loser, it still sucked to be cheated on.

I had been cheated on, once, by my very first boyfriend. I was so glad I didn’t need to worry about that anymore. Not with Sam... And if I found him, then there had to be someone like that for Emily. “There plenty of other fish in the sea. You’ll find the right guy.”

“Maybe. If only I was as pretty as you,” Emily sighed, tugging at the ends of her shoulder-length black hair. She had meant it as a joke, but I heard the truth in those words.

I fought the urge to roll my eyes. “You are pretty.”

“I guess,” Emily replied with a shrug, doing her best to seem unbothered. “But not like you.”

Man, Percy really did a number on her self esteem. I made a mental note to kick his ass at school on Monday. This kind of insecurity wasn’t normal for Emily. She was usually self-assured, confident, focused on more important things than her looks.

Pretty. I wanted to scoff. The length of my naturally black lashes, the fullness of my lips, the depth of my golden-brown eyes, the smoothness of my dark skin... These were all the things that people listed off when they told assured me I was pretty. It was nice of them, but as a tomboy, ‘pretty’ had never mattered much to me. What good did ‘pretty’ get you? Nothing that actually mattered in my life had been obtained through being pretty.

Emily suddenly sat up straight and shook out her hair. “Let’s talk about something else,” she said. ”Anything else.”

“Sure. Like what?” I said, leaning back into the couch. “Got any more gossip?”

“Hmm,” Emily said, tapping on her lip as she thought. “Well, did you hear about that new family that just moved to Forks?”

I raised an eyebrow. “Of course. How do you know about them?”

Emily just shrugged. “Word travels fast on our little peninsula,” she said. “And also because one of my classmates had to go to Forks after she broke her arm and she would not shut up about how hot the new doctor is—Dr. Carson or something.”

“Cullen,” I corrected. “His name is Dr. Cullen. I think.”

“Well, whatever is name is, he is the most beautiful thing Whitney Bloom ever saw in her eighteen short years,” Emily replied, giggling again. “Seriously, she went on and on about him being chiselled from marble.”

I rolled my eyes. I had heard similar things from my own classmates who had spotted him out in Forks, though I had never seen him myself. “Well she shouldn’t get her hopes up, the word is he’s married with kids.

“I don’t know if that will be enough to stop Whitney. She was pretty smitten—”

Mom came into the living room. She was still holding the spoon she was used to stir the spaghetti sauce. “Leah, tie it up, will you?” she said firmly. “The Blacks should be here soon. I need you in the kitchen. Can you set up the table?”

“Yeah, yeah," I groaned, dragging myself off the couch.

“I can help,” Emily offered, following after me.

“You don’t have to, dear,” Mom said to her. “You’re a guest!”

Emily laughed in her effortlessly charming way. “Am I though? I sleep over every other weekend! I’m practically your part-time daughter.”

Mom gave her a sweet smile. “True. And I’m sure Leah will be thankful for the help.”

“I already am,” I said, completely serious. Our stupid table was near impossible to set up yourself; having help would make the task go much faster.

True to her word like she always was, Emily helped me pull apart the table and insert the leaves, making it large enough to fit all our guests. Then she helped me spread out the large red-checkered tablecloth and set out the dishes and cutlery. We were using paper plates and disposable forks and I was thankful for that, at least; if we used real dishes, I would inevitably be the one who ended up washing them.

Mom nodded in approval as she gave a quick inspection of our handiwork. “Perfect timing,” she said, glancing out the window. “The Blacks are just pulling up now.”

We heard them before we saw them. That ancient rust-red truck of theirs roared like a mountain lion as it pulled into our gravel driveway. All three of the kids were crammed onto the long cab seat next to their father, Billy, who was at the wheel. Totally illegal, but it wasn’t like the local police chief Charlie Swan was going to write up his best friend.

The twins—Rachel and Rebecca—piled out, waving at us in the window through the rain. The clouds of the winter were still clinging close and it was raining hard outside. Skinny little Jacob paid the rain no heed as he slid out of the cab and headed to the driver’s side to help his dad. Billy wobbled precariously on his cane as he made his way to the door, and Jacob hovered nearby. I worried as I watched Billy’s slow advance. He was going to be in a wheelchair soon if his legs didn’t get better.

“Hey girls!” Rebecca said as she burst into the house, not bothering to knock. She shook off the rain before she rushed over to Emily and me, wrapping us into a single, crushing hug.

Rachel followed behind, smiling, waiting for her sister to release us before she gave us a hug of her own.

“Long time, no see, Em!” Rachel said after she set us free from her grip. “How’s it hanging?”

“Oh, you know,” she said with a nonchalant shrug—or her attempt at one. “Same old stuff, nothing exciting.”

“Same,” Rebecca said with a roll of her eyes. “I’m so sick of La Push. I can’t wait to get out of here.”

“Only one semester left,” Rachel sighed, leaning her head on her sister’s shoulder.

“One semester left,” I agreed. I couldn’t wait to graduate, to go to college, to live with Sam in our very own apartment...

“Hey, where’s Sam?” Rebecca said, glancing around.

Speak of the devil. “He’s not here yet,” I said.

“Really?” Rachel and Rebecca said in unison with fake surprise. They exchanged mock looks of shock.

“Oh, come on,” I said, my face heating up. “We’re not always together.”

They reeled back, ready to launch into full-scale teasing, but—thankfully—they were distracted by the entrance of their younger brother and father.

“Hey Leah, Emily,” Jacob said when he saw us. “How’s it going?”

“Fine,” I replied, taking him in. His soft round face was half-hidden in his long dark hair, slick with rain. He hadn’t hit his growth spurt yet, but he probably would soon. I wondered if it would be anything like Sam’s, who had shot up a whole foot and a half. “How are you? And you, Billy?”

“Doing just fine,” Billy answered for them both. He hobbled past us and into the kitchen, dropping himself into the nearest chair and leaning his cane in the corner.

Once he was satisfied that his father was settled, Jacob turned to me. “Where’s Seth?”

Seth was my kid brother was a few years younger than Jake, but he was also the only other guy under 40. “He’s probably in his room playing video games. Go grab him, ok?”

Jake smiled. “Sure.” He headed down the short hall that led to the bedrooms.

“Do I smell garlic bread?” Rebecca said suddenly, sniffing at the air.

It was. The kitchen air was heavy with its buttery smell. My mouth watered. I had been so involved in the conversation that I hadn’t realized how hungry I was. But now that I thought about it, I was ravenous.

It felt like I was hungry all the time these days... Maybe it was because I had been running a lot more; I was trying to keep up my momentum from the fall so I didn’t get totally out of shape for when track started back up in the spring.

“Don’t worry,” Mom said as if she had read my mind. “The food’s almost ready. We just have to wait until the rest of our guests arrive. Where is Sam, anyway? He should be here by now.”

“I’ll call and remind him,” I said, unable to stop the smile from breaking across my face. Rebecca, Rachel, and Emily all exchanged knowing glances but I ignored them. I grabbed the phone, quickly dialling the number that I knew as well as my own.

After a few rings, it picked up. “Hello?” The voice was low and deep, like the rumble of far-off thunder.

Sam.

We had been dating for a year now but even now the sound of his voice left me breathless. “H-Hey,” I gasped, somehow thrown back into being a nervous little girl.

“Leah,” I could hear the smile in his voice. “What’s up? I was just about to leave for your place.”

“Must’ve read my mind—I was just calling to see if you had left yet,” I said with a wary laugh.

He laughed too. “Well, don’t worry. I’m seconds from being out the door.”

My heart thumped eagerly in my chest. “Great,” I said in a rush of exhaled breath. “We’re starting soon, though, so you better hurry.”

“Roger that,” he said. “See you soon. Love you, Lee-lee.” He didn’t wait for a reply before hanging up. He didn’t need to.

He knew that I loved him.

It took me a moment to hang up the phone myself. I was still reeling from his last words. Love you. It felt like my heart had started doing the Quileute wolf dance in my chest. I had never gotten used to how good it felt to hear those words. Love you, Lee-lee. I replayed it in my head. Love you. Love you.

“Love you too,” I muttered under my breath, even though the call was long over. I lingered, not ready to return to reality just yet. I could feel three sets of eyes on my back, and I knew that as soon as I turned, they’d tear into me with relentless teasing. Lovesick Leah...

But they couldn’t get to me. I knew I was more than a little ridiculous. But I didn’t care. Because it was true. Sam and I were in love.

And it was perfect.

Just then, Seth came racing around the corner and collided with me.

“Dammit, Seth!” I snapped, shoving him off. “Don’t run in the house! I don’t know how many times Mom’s told you that!”

“Your sister’s right,” Mom added from over her shoulder as she poured the massive pile of noodles into the strainer. “Walk slow or you get served last.”

Seth just stuck his tongue out at me but heeded Mom’s warning... to the extreme. As he headed towards the table, he walked really, really slowly, like he was moving in slow motion. Jacob laughed at the spectacle as he took the seat next to his father, who was waiting quietly.

The girls and I took our seat at the far edge. I was careful to sit at the end, to save a seat for Sam.

We chatted happily for a while, discussing what we were going to wear to the tiny excuse for a dance our school called prom. Even if it was tiny, we all wanted to go all out. I couldn’t wait to go with Sam and dance with him all night...

There was a sound at the door, and everyone turned to see who it was. Overeager, I leapt out of my seat.

Sam? I wondered, my heart beating eagerly for its mate.

But it was just Dad. He came in, shaking off the rain like a dog.

Rebecca and Rachel laughed at my presumptive excitement. “Down, girl!” Rachel said, smacking my arm.

With reddening cheeks, I took my seat again.

“This a nice sight to come home to!” Dad said as he took in the growing crowd around his table. He stopped briefly to give Mom a kiss, then went and sat next to Billy.

“No Charlie?” he asked his old friend, noticing the obvious absence of the only pale-faced member of our extended family.

“He’s out in California again, seeing that daughter of his... since she’s apparently too good for Forks,” Billy said with a sniff. He shook his head; he obviously did not approve of such behaviour.

I couldn’t say I blamed her. If I had the choice between rainy Washington and sunny California, I’d happily choose California.

The topic shifted and the two of them quickly began chatting cheerfully about Council business; Jacob and Seth were talking animatedly, like younger versions of their fathers, only their conversation was about some stupid TV show.

The doorbell rang. Now I was sure of who it was, I jumped up from my seat and ran for the door.

“Hypocrite!” Seth yelled after me.

Rachel and Rebecca heckled me as I dashed out of the kitchen.

I ignored them all. It didn’t matter what they thought, what they said... Because Sam was here.

And just as I expected, there he was, waiting politely on the doorstep despite the rain. I flung open the door and threw myself out onto the leaky porch and into his arms.

He wrapped his thick, muscled arms around me, pressing me close to him. I breathed in his earthy, intoxicating scent. I couldn’t get enough. I was so addicted I had even stolen a couple shirts of his so that I could have a ready supply of it.

After a few blissful moments, he released me. I pouted, not wanting to let go, but my mood instantly improved when I caught sight of his face—and realized what he wanted.

A kiss.

He shot a furtive glance at the door, then to the kitchen window, to make sure we weren’t being watched. Then he dipped down and pressed his soft lips to mine. It was sweet. Literally. It seemed he had eaten a peanut butter and jelly sandwich just before coming over, and I could taste a bit of the raspberry jam that lingered on his lips. Like me, this boy was always hungry.

It lasted one deliriously perfect moment before he pulled away again. I understood why we had to stop—we couldn’t exactly sit on the porch and make out while everyone ate dinner—but I was still sad to have it end.

“Hey,” he said finally, his hot breath brushing over my face.

“Hey,” I replied staring deep into his dark brown eyes, so dark they were almost black.

We came together for another quick, gentle kiss before I took his hand and lead him into the house.

Everyone knew better than to wait for us; they were already serving themselves. We quickly joined the table so we didn’t miss out on any of the food.

“Hi everyone,” Sam said politely as he took his spot between Seth and me. He waved as his eyes grazed over every face that encircled the table. And stopped as he came to Emily, who was on my other side. The corner of his mouth quirked up. “Emily,” he said with a respectful nod as if he were greeting his superior.

“Samuel,” she responded with a similarly formal greeting and a nod. “It’s been a while.”

“It has,” he said. “You’ve been monopolizing my girlfriend. I never see her when you’re in town.”

“I was going to say that you’ve been monopolizing my best friend,” she replied. “Or perhaps it’s Leah that’s been monopolizing our time.” She elbowed me.

“What can I say?” I said plainly, unashamed with Sam at my side. “I like having you guys all to myself.” I grinned, and they both laughed.

With that, the conversation fractured again. Billy and Dad talked fish, and the girls and I talked about college plans while my Sam got sucked into a conversation about zombies with Seth and Jacob. I couldn’t help but smile as I stole glances at him. He was so kind and patient.

There was something peaceful about having everyone around the table like this, all the people I loved in one place, with no worries, no schedules... Just a perfect moment of food, family, and fun. Our Spaghetti Sundays were a many-yeared tradition, yet there was also something... fleeting about it. Perhaps it was the fact that graduation, and then college, was looming ahead of us.

Savour this moment, a small voice in my head said. Soon, everything will change.

Beneath the table, I put my hand on Sam’s knee. He placed his rough, warm hand over mine and squeezed.

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