The Mythical Creature's Guide to Living in the Modern World (7/23)


"Could you whisper in my ear the things you wanna feel?
I'll give you anything to feel it comin'. Do you wake up on your own
and wonder where you are? You live with all your faults. I wanna wake up where you are;
I won't say anything at all... Don't you love the life you killed? The priest is on the phone;
your father hit the wall; your ma disowned you. Don't suppose I'll ever know what it means to be a man;
something I can't change. I'll live around it. And I'll do anything you ever dreamed to be complete.
Little pieces of the nothing that fall. May, put your arms around me. What you feel is what you are
and what you are is
beautiful. May, do you wanna get married. Or run away?"

Goo Goo Dolls "Slide"

Chapter Seven, Theta

Jake is my Alpha. I respect that. It freaks me out that I do, but I do. If Sam is like a three on the grand scale of best Alphas ever, Jake is like a ninety-three, which is more then passing.

Still, him sending me to tell Sam and the Elders that The Thing's been born and abstinence-only-education-failed-me is a vampire is just not cool. I've been avoiding La Push since the day our pack broke away, with the exception of returning that evening for clothes and a rain jacket. Why? Is it because I'm attached to my rock? Could it be because I just don't want to hear how I shouldn't be defending mind-raping, emotion-sucking, future-seeing vampires? No. It's because Mom's probably freaking, and I don't do well with people freaking. I have a tendency to slap them. I really do. Once in the third grade we went on a field trip to Seattle and there was one kid who was freaked out by heights but went atop the space needle anyway... Needless to say, the teacher wasn't fond of my peace-keeping capabilities.

Well, he just sent me to tell them, so I'll God-damn tell them. He never said anything about being pleasant about it. In fact, I distinctly recall my bitchiness was exactly the reason why I was sent.

So, who to tick off first? I ask Seth as I run towards La Push. He's running the border, which is still calm. Thank God.

There was a hopeful lilt to his voice when he asked, Do you have to tick anybody off?

You poor, poor naïve boy. Of course I do.

No you don't; you're a nice person and-

Did you fall and hit your head?

Err, no?

Then who do you have me confused with? Princess Diana or Mother Theresa?

The Bride from Kill Bill, maybe; Mother Theresa, no.

I tuned him out from then on. I loved action movies as much as the next person, but I did not want to hear about my brother's thing for Uma Thurman. It was just borderline creepy that he might compare me to her character... shudder.

I swung by home first, but Charlie's cruiser was there and I didn't want to have to explain to the chief of police why, a) I looked like I'd been living in the woods for a few weeks or, b) was under the impression his daughter was now an immortal freak of nature. So I went to Jake's house instead to talk to Billy. I didn't bother knocking, because we were always in and out of each other's houses anyway. I really should've though, 'cause I ended up walking in on Rachel and Paul very hot and heavy on the living room couch. "Get a room already, you too," I snapped at them, before walking (causally, I thought, down the hall to Jake's room). "I guess Billy's not here."

They scrambled into their clothes while I raided Jake's room, which was surprisingly clean for a werewolf's and smelled rather nice, like Jake. I grabbed a backpack and started stuffing whatever clothes I could find, thinking it served him right if ended up bringing him only things that didn't fit any more, 'cause of his monster genes' growth. Hell, I thought he'd grown an inch since we'd broken off from Sam, but that was just me. Maybe it was because I spent most my time as a wolf, and even when you're twice the size of a normal wolf, a wolf that's easily half-that again taller seems, naturally, taller. But whatever... There were exploded shoes sticking out from under the bed, and things that might not fit me any more in the closet. But, again, whatever. If he wanted anything in particular, it was his fault for sending me.

I pulled on his jacket, which'd been lying on the bed, because walking around half-naked was not something I cared to do, and it was raining again and I'd left mine at the rock, den, whatever-you-call-it, and shouldered the loaded bag. I barely found it heavy at all, which depressed me for some reason.

When I came back into the living room, the pair had hastily dressed and were glaring at me. "What are you doing here, Leah?" Paul growled. Actually growled. It was kinda pathetic, really. Like I was so scared of the kitten... Especially when he was half out of his pants.

"I'd ask the same of you, but I don't want to spend the night scrubbing my brain. I'm looking for Billy; where'd he roll off to?"

Paul opened his mouth, but Rachel, luckily, cut in. We'd been friends, once, me and her sister and her, but that was a long time ago now. "He's registering Jake for his senior classes down at the school."

"Cool," I said, not really meaning it. But she was my Alpha's sister, not that it mattered, and had once been my friend, before they went to high school then college, leaving little old me here to waste away, protecting what remains of our tribe. "You know what time I should have him and Seth be there?" They both looked at me askance. "What, so I don't want my brother turning out like this one," I indicated Paul, who showed me a finger, "and might as well make sure I'm not stuck with another shit-for-brains for an Alpha.:"

They continued to blink at me. Really. "What'd you want to tell Dad?" Rachel asked after a minute or so.

"You're brother and I are eloping in Vegas and we need him to sign the age waiver." There was more blinking. "God, you're worse the the bloodsuckers." They at least had a sense of humour. Of a sort. "No, his furriness sent me to tell the Elders the mutant child was born on Monday and so far her only crime is her vamp-whore of a mother named her 'Renesmee.' Oh, yeah, and Bella's a vampire now." I stuck my hands in Jake's jacket pockets and found a key chain... Yes! I could drive the Rabbit back, not have to carry the backpack in my teeth and have to listen to Jake gripe about how there are bite marks in the leather... "Well, nice seeing you; let's not do it again, shall we?"

I swear I was smiling as I tossed Jake's junk in the back of the Rabbit and drove it to Mom's. Ha! A car! As much as I liked running, sometimes it was nice to be human...

The smiled dropped when Mom saw my... state (because it was either go to her though Charlie was still there or try to find Sam, which I didn't want to do) as I came through the door, and even Charlie, who looked to be oblivious to most things thinking his daughter was dying of a horrible South American disease (coughpregnancycough), looked curiously at me and asked, "What the hell have you been doing, Lee?"

"Dog-walking," I told him solemnly, looking at Mom as I said it, "for a neighbour. She just had a baby girl."

"Oh, really," Mom said, luckily catching on (and if Charlie knew we were talking about his newly-deceased daughter, he didn't show it), "Were there any complications?" I love my mom. She is smart, even if she likes the father-of-the-vampire, and beautiful and can control her temper and managed to raise me.

"Only the expected ones," by which I mean, monster child, vampire mother, et cetera et cetera et cetera. "I'm gonna take a shower and grab some things before heading back. In case they need me, you know."

"Which neighbour?" Charlie asked.

"You wouldn't know her," Mom quickly cut in, while I silently added, "Not any more, at least."

Instead I said aloud, "Did you get a chance to register Seth for his classes?"

"Oh, no, honey. Was that today?"

I sighed. Charlie had been coming over a lot ever since Dad died, helping Mom and stuff, but she tended to forget things like groceries and what-not when he came over. Old people love was wrinkly and gross. But, I thought positively, at least it wasn't them I walked in on. Shudder.

So I took my shower quickly, unable to linger in the water as I might've liked. The things I did for my pack, I swear. Go without showers, sleep at a rock, protect vampires; now go to high schools and sign my brother up for classes. If I didn't get unwanted peaks into his mind, I'd never have even known what grade he was in, let alone he'd be a sad puppy if he got stuck in, I dunno, pottery or ballet.

The things I do, I swear. Already I'm making sure they don't wind up like me with this school thing, already making sure they have a safe and dry place to sleep, or do anything too idiotic in protecting the leeches and the half-breed monster. Next thing you know I'll be baking muffins like my I'm-so-perfect cousin and having afternoon tea at the bloody Cullens'.

Luckily, though, Charlie was still there when I left, so Mom didn't try to trap me into staying. She would've if he wasn't. So I went to the Rez's school. But could I just register Seth and be on my way, back to my rock and a world, however sucky, that made sense? Noooooooo. Because Sam's pack was there – Sam and Jerod and the younger boys who were still in school, - presumably to sign them up for classes, because Sam was like this messiah-father-big-brother figure to the idiots who didn't know better, but I knew what it really was: the universe punishing me for thinking I could do something nice and get away with it. Well, that's the last time I try to do anything for Seth or Jake, let me tell you. If we actually slept in the sleeping bags, I'd fill theirs with shaving cream. Since we don't, I'll just stop by the grocery store and pick up some flea and tick medicine and spring it on them. Though I should probably do that anyway...

Help! I'm mom-hormones are overtaking me. Who knew I had an inner Emily? This has to stop. Maybe I am sick and instead of getting a worse fever then we wolves already have, this is my symptom. As much as I hate to, I might have to have Dr. Evil check me out and make sure alien's didn't abduct me and put a niceness implant in my nose. Maybe that's why everyone was insisting I smelled different, alien metals stuck in my nasal cavity.

Anyway, I'm standing in line about five people behind them trying not to be noticed when Brady turns around and, like the soon-to-be-freshman idiot he is, goes, "Hi Leah!" like the whole pack break-up thing was no big deal, much the same way the Great Schism was just a small dispute over who ate the last hot pocket.

I glare at Brady with my best if-you-smile-at-me-you-will-die glare and say by way of greeting, "Umpa lumpa," as he's one of the few wolves still shorter then me, though that, of course, is bound to change.

"What are you doing here, Lee?" Sam asks, as if it weren't obvious. I'm also getting real tired of people asking me that. Like I need a reason to be on my Rez? Well, now I guess I do, but still.

"Seth needs to graduate sometime, dickhead."

"And that meant you came...?"

"'Cause you don't send kids into enemy territory."

"We're not the-"

"Sure, sure," I snapped, "whatever you say. I'm not the one wanting do do in The Thing just because her parents got frisky on their honeymoon," shudder. Vampire sex. You'd probably get better action from a fudge-icle. And, again, shudder, "which I'm sure might surprise you that people do."

"So the-"

"The kid's born and her mom's gone over to the Dark side. Still, it was her choice. You remember the concept of choice, right? The thing where people get to choose who they're with-"

"That's enough Leah," he snapped. It's at times like this when I'm hard pressed to remember why I dated him. He was older, yes, which was a plus for him, and showed an interest in me for who knows what reason, which was a boost for my ego, and I liked his kisses well enough. Maybe it was just because it was what was expected of me. Maybe because I wanted to be one of those girls with the perfect life, 'cause even then it showed signs of sucking. I dunno.

So it was with pleasure I snapped right back at him, "You're not my Alpha any more, Sam, nor my boyfriend. So you don't like it that I prefer Jake over you – he's ten times the man you'll ever be, even if he's stupid enough to care for the-" I remembered we were in public, and watched my words at the last minute, "bloodworms. But, whatever. You never listened to me anyway. I don't know why I even bother with you any more."

The line moved up. I was two spaces from the front.

"It's not too-"

That's when bitchy Leah came out to play. "To come back to you? I'm sorry, Sam, but you just don't get it: Jake's the true Alpha. Things just clicked between us once I broke away from you and yours. I mean," I looked straight into his eyes and inserted a small, practised laugh, "we've been going at it non-stop," by which I meant arguing, "and even Seth's started begging us to cut out already." He claimed our arguments kept him up when he was trying to sleep. I told him the sun did that, since, obviously, it was up when he wasn't running. "He's just such a... well-built guy, you know?" Which was undeniable – the unfortunate part of wolf-hood being that I knew this for a fact, "He's even made me his Beta and everything..." Sam's face was turning a shade of purple I didn't know a person's could turn without them passing out. I tried not to laugh in his face. Serves him right. "I guess all I needed was the right Alpha to bring me out of my shell," which he could interpret any way he pleased, but I hope it caused him to remember the one awkward, uncomfortable time we'd slept together, and apply it to his hopefully as pathetic dealings with Emily. Not that I cared what he did with her, not at all. "Oh, look, my turn." And I walked right past his fish-gaping to the desk and hoped Seth could handle Wood Shop as an elective.

Chapter Eight.