The Mythical Creature's Guide to Living in the Modern World (16/23)

"Only warriors choose how they will die, but that woman had given her life for love,
and, perhaps, for her, love was a strange form of war."

Paulo Coelho's Brida

Chapter Sixteen, Rho

I swear I was hyperventilating.

This couldn't be happening. It just couldn't. The universe conspired against me. That's what it did. It hated me with a blinding passion that would have had it imprisoned if there was a jail big enough for it. It most emphatically did not do things I might wish it to. Like have Jake like me back. Like have Jake like me just when I've about convinced myself that the only thing I feel for him is a distinct appreciation for his muscles. And his male parts. And his way of joking with me. And the way he smells, so piney and earthy and real. And how he beat Sam into a fuzzy pulp.

Yet here he was, seemingly in as serious like with me as I was with him. Because he thought I was beautiful. Because he liked the way I argued with him.

Alright... I laughed meekly, you've had your fun. Where's the hidden cameras? Was it too much to hope that Seth hadn't phased at the manor yet and, instead of choosing to stuff his face, he'd overheard Jake and was coming to defend my honour? Not that it needed defending, but a good distraction was all the both of us needed... For both our sakes.

I'm being completely honest, he said, nuzzling my muzzle again. I pressed back, taking pleasure in the lupine action, no matter what my mind protested.

I... I had to protest. I had to stop this. But, for once, the mind that had given me so many good insults over the years had shut down.

(But he's not Sam, that stupid part of my brain that dreamed of neon orange werewolves claimed, the only part that seemed to be working at the moment, he's better then Sam. He loves you for you. He doesn't want you to change. He doesn't want you to look nice for his dad unless you want to. He doesn't tell you what to do. He just wants to love you. Why won't you let him?)

You can't stop imprinting.

Then I'll imprint on you.

You can't decide who you imprint on...

Then I'll be the first. He hadn't stopped nuzzling my head, and it was a ridiculous pleasure, one only canines could understand, but God, if he didn't stop I'd forget all my reason for saying no. I must run. I must run now. I must say no. I must be strong.


(You say he's not Sam, stupid part of my brain that won't listen to reason and obviously does LSD behind my back, but it can't be real. I'd have known. I'd have noticed it before now. It'd have been in his thoughts. It's only physical. It's only superficial. It's caused by tense situations and close proximity. It's because I'm the only freaking girly wolf and he's the Alpha and our genes are saying, "Well, we've not a genetic defect on our hands; we must make them have sex," and this'll all end in failure and...)

I love you Leah... God no, God no, don't do this Jake. He's drunk – that's it, he's drunk. While I was out running to catch up with Seth, he parked the Rabbit and had a couple of beers before telling the Cullens that we were in danger and is now very, very drunk – that's what it is. He gave himself a beer enema and and I'm paying the consequences...

But do you know how freaking long its been since anyone's touched me like this? Even with Sam, it was awkward and forced and it'd never been anything (on my part, at least, I now realize) between us except the idea that we should like each other. He'd asked. I said yes. That's all it was. Convenience. Lack of better choices. But this...

I'd never been touched by a man I felt any real passion for. I'd never felt anything God-damn like this feeling coursing through me. My blood, I swear, was on fire. All the air had escaped me. All he was doing was giving me wolf-kisses and it was amazing and more satisfactory then anything anyone (coughSamcough) had ever done for me. Or to me. Because he hadn't wanted Sam to hurt me. Because he'd been willing, long before I was, to have his name tacked to mine. Because he was a bitch right back to me...

I... I said again, forcing myself to roll away. I phased as I did so, knowing I was naked, knowing that this was probably the stupidest mistake of my life, but wanting it so badly I didn't care, because I was in love with him and I was so God-fucking amazingly lonely, and because years without any sort of love at all was enough to make a person desperate, no matter who it was.

I rolled back towards him, and he was already phased back. The... desire in those dark brown eyes of his was ridiculous, and I'd have had a thousand insults on the tip of my tongue if I was watching some guy look at some girl like this on TV. But the look was for me and only for me. And, s..l...o...w...l...y, I let myself lean forward and press his lips against mine.

They were hot and sweet and, together, we deepened the kiss as my hand snaked around to cradle and pull his head closer to mine, while his went to pull my hips tight against him and explore carefully all that it could reach between us. And I could feel every muscle and every movement and every piece of flesh screaming for me as much as I seemed to be for him

I should not be doing this. He is under-age. He is my Alpha. He's my friend. This'll ruin everything good that I've managed to cobble together for myself here. I...

His hands (large, yes, and leaving trails of fire wherever they touched me, I swear) came to my breasts, and I gasped in his mouth – an action he took to full advantage, deepening the kiss still further, until I'd have been hard pressed to tell whose tongue was whose. And he was doing things, just simple exploratory-touching things, that made me feel not like a creature to be used but adored, and it was ridiculous because I just wanted to shout at him I didn't deserve to feel this way – that no one should touch me or be contaminated by the well of burning hatred that is me – but I couldn't, because his hands were tracing the curving lines of my shoulders, or my breasts, or the planes of my stomach, and taking such simple pleasure in just touching me and not asking for anything in return it should be illegal.

I found myself rolling him onto his back, and Jake didn't protest, not in the least, and our hips brushed each other as I explored him, letting myself take in with hands, then mouth, the muscles I'd so adored, as he was saying over and over again something along the lines of how I was amazing, or just how much he loved me (which I still didn't believe, but didn't let myself think on, because the feeling was just that strong, be it love or serious like or imprinting or plain old lust), until I was kissing him again and we might have done that for hours or days or been watched by a crowd of frantic lycanologists with wide lens cameras.

It could have just been because it was slow, every movement tested, or maybe because of the raw intensity of the energy between us, but it was, simply put, the best damn sex of my life.

When we were both exhausted, I still lay on top him, my face somehow buried in both his shoulder and my elbow, panting heavily. Both his hands remained tight on my waist, holding my hips in place, and I could feel his chest rise and fall beneath me, taking me with it, and his heart beating that slightly-too-fast rhythm they'd adopted since we'd started phasing. I guess it sounded like crying, my shuddery breaths, because, quietly but worriedly in that low, after-sex tone guys have (or, at least, the TV tells me they have) he started to say my name.

I wasn't anywhere near crying though. I was just listening to all the voices in my head screaming in joy, berating me for my stupidity, or just expressing general shock. "You can't ever leave me," I muttered into his shoulder, knowing I sounded like such a girl as I said it. "You understand me? You started this. You let the cat out of the freaking bag. If you so much as try to break my heart, I'll break you. Understand?"

His laugh reverberated throughout his chest and made my stomach tingle. "Aye, ma'am."

"Good," I said, and tried to concentrate on the sound of his heart, which could not lie, and the rhythm of his breath. I was falling asleep in his arms again, whatever little plan I might have had for the future thrown out the window by this turn of events, and with each thump-thump saying a different prayer to the gods that had seemingly returned to La Push:

Thump-thump. Don't leave me.

Thump-thump. Please love me.

Thump-thump. I love you.

Thump-thump. Don't you ever dare let go.

Chapter Seventeen.