Jacob/OC. Post-Eclipse. Elizabeth Foster is your typical grad student. When she interns on a summer research project looking for dire wolves in the Olympic Peninsula, she finds more than she bargained for.
22. Heavy In Your Arms
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Beginning of Book 2
I was a heavy heart to carry
My feet dragged across the ground
And he took me to the river
Where he slowly let me drown
-from Heavy in Your Arms by Florence + The Machine
Lorenzo Moretti was a dreamer. From the time he was old enough to truly enjoy it, he was obsessed with the cinema; with the process of crafting and creating film. As he grew into adulthood, he could think of nothing he would rather do with his life than to be involved with making movies. So one day, he scraped together his savings and set off for the golden shores of California with a dream and a suitcase-full of determination.
As often happens with hardworking but undistinguished artists, he found his niche not in a place of fame and glory, but in making low budget films and documentaries. The pay was adequate, and what the subject matter lacked in artistic merit was more than made up for by the simple fact that he was doing what he loved most. But in time, the scales began to tip against him, and instead of a bright-eyed enthusiast he became a cynical veteran. His films were noted most frequently for their mediocrity and a ruthless penchant for making them as cheaply as possible.
Thus it was not surprising to eventually find Lorenzo employed by the Nature and Wildlife channel, chasing the world, and the studio backlot, in search of mysterious creatures of all shapes and sizes. His documentaries filled the late-night hours, drawing in the nightowls who cared less about accuracy in favor of being entertained by something other than a Golden Girls re-run. There he languished for a few years, building a small cult following and lining his pockets with enough money to fund a visit to mother Italy.
When the day finally came, he set off with a tourist’s ambitions and itinerary; and thought satisfying, the trip was uneventful until the final night. It was then that Lorenzo played into the hands of Fortune’s most devious handmaidens: Wine, Women and Money. One led to the other, who then relieved him of all sense of temperance when it came to the third. Then, as is her wont, Fortune changed all the rules.
Lorenzo Moretti nearly met his death that night, but instead made a deal with the devil. Money was no object, and all the world would be his oyster if only he would do this one thing... Go to Washington, find ancient wolves, and become the fulcrum of a devious, intricately constructed trap.
Hastily made plans came together better than anticipated, and with the devil’s own luck on his side, he brought his crew into the rain-soaked wilds of the Olympic Peninsula. Little did he know that less than a day after they arrived in Forks, Washington, it was not they who found the wolves... but the wolves who found them. Like all pawns, he was unaware of the many and complex moves being played out all around him, until the moment when crushing fingers plucked him carelessly from the board.
Left kneeling in blood-soaked dirt, before a demon with the angelic face of a child, Lorenzo Moretti reflected back on his life and found it wanting. So many tasks left undone, so many paths not taken. He would beg God for mercy in these final moments, if only he could think of something notable to offer as reason that he should live.
“You have done well,” a sweet voice told him softly. “Allow me to grant you a reward...” Cold fingers lifted his chin, and the last thing Lorenzo Moretti saw was a gash of sky through the treetops, gleaming bright like the movies of his childhood on a beautiful, silver screen.
It is my belief that faith is not a debt. It is owed to no one. There is no celestial accountant standing watch over the balance books, carefully notating every act of faith or piety. That would be far too simple, too cheap. Faith is a sacrifice, a gift that exacts the highest cost from the giver. To have faith in someone is to profess that your belief in them is greater than your fear. Faith is standing in the face of Fate and defying its whims, because love and life are stronger.
Religion is my vocation, my hobby, the study of the truth as told by a thousand voices. Faith on the other hand, is my truth, and I have never needed it more in my life.
My thoughts tried to draw more tears from me, but the well was dry. Laughing softly, I rubbed at my aching eyes, biting my lip as I eased the tension in my shoulders. With a soft sigh, I leaned into the bed, eyes drifting to the monitor against the wall. The beeps were too slow to count the moments, the hiss of the respirator a rasping descant to its tuneless song, but I welcomed every note.
“You’re not allowed to leave me alone in Crazyville.” I closed my hand around hers, and miraculously the well brimmed once more with tears. “You dragged me into this mess, and I hold you personally responsible for getting me out of it.” Clasping her cool hand between both of mine, I brought it to my lips; breathing warmth and life into it, calling her soul back into her body with every fiber of my being. “Keep fighting, Beth. Please.”
The door opened and brought with it a fresh gust of sterilized air. I could hear no footsteps as the new arrival approached the bed, a detail which took out a lot of the guesswork. “Tell me you have some news.”
“Nothing yet.” Sam Uley’s voice was soft and grave, carrying with it a sadness that spoke for his entire pack. “Any change?”
I shook my head, pressing a soft kiss to Beth’s hand before I turned to face him. “No.” Running a hand through my hair, I tried not to think about how tired I was, but I could see from Sam’s face that the feeling was mutual. “She’s stable, I suppose that’s the best we can hope for at this point.” Taking a deep breath, I deliberately reminded myself that the world beyond this room and the intensive care ward was still marching onward, and no amount of wishful thinking would make it otherwise. “How is Emily?” I was rewarded when a little of the grave concern in Sam’s face eased, a wan smile tugging his lips.
“She doesn’t like the crutches, or the fact that I won’t let her out of the house...” He closed his eyes, and I could read the conflict in his expression, the selfish relief that warred with the mountain of concern weighing down his broad shoulders. “She’s good.” Not for the first time, I was both vexed and grateful at the way adversity overcomes obstacles, creating intimacy between people who had no right to be friends.
“And Paul?” Sam’s anger was swift, fierce and admirably controlled. He didn’t even tremble as the other boys were prone to do when their control slipped. One moment the anger was there, and the next it was ashes. Impressive.
“He’s adjusting. The doctor was right, we were able to stop the spread, but I’m not sure he’ll ever thank us for it.” The look in his eyes told me that Sam wasn’t sure he’d be grateful in his place.
“Would he prefer to be dead? Or worse?” My anger surprised me, maybe it was too much time in waiting rooms and not enough sleep. “At least he’s here! He’ll walk again, gods willing he may even run again, isn’t that preferable to the alternative?” I bit off the last words and deliberately made myself sit back, fighting for calm even as the constant beep of the monitors became less a reassurance and more an incessant, urgent reminder. Don’t forget, don’t forget... Sam shifted his weight, and some of the distance between us returned. While completely natural between two people who can’t know each other well enough to go without, it didn’t make coping with my reality any easier. Suddenly exhausted and grumpy beyond reason, I slumped down in the chair, gazing moodily at Beth’s still form, all but lost in the white sea of bed linens..
“I keep wondering...” Again I shoved a hand through my hair, a completely futile gesture when it really needed to be brushed and rebraided. “What if he’s dead, and that’s why she won’t wake up?” I took a deep breath, and then another. “Can it work like that?”
“We’d know, we would feel--”
“No!” Not that insistence again. Furious, I surged out of the chair, seizing a pillow to be violently fluffed. “Don’t start shoving your mystical half-assed excuses at me again! Not when none of you have felt them since this cluster-fuck exploded!”
He made no attempt to argue with me, but simply watched with dark, unreadable eyes as I stalked around the small room, poking ineffectually at anything that wasn’t a tube or a wire. Raising my voice and moving around like a dervish of bottled-up frustration had drawn the attention of the nurses, and I wasn’t too far gone to realize that our in with Dr. Cullen would only go so far. They’d kick us both out if I gave them an excuse, and the thought of leaving Beth by herself was the only thing that ultimately calmed me down.
“The truly ridiculous thing is that I don’t even know how I should feel about Embry being missing.” Gritting my teeth, I shouldered past him, moving back to my chair. In reality, Embry should have been a memorable one-night stand. The sort of guy you promise to call but never actually do. “I want to say he’s just a guy, but the words don’t feel right.” Of course, leave it to me to pick one with complications. It was bad enough that he was young enough to date my little sister, all that meant was earning my cougar merit badge ahead of schedule. No, I’d picked the one that came with the built-in fur rug and fleas. Brilliant, Katrina.
A large hand settled gently on my shoulder, to comfort and to quiet. “Embry is part of us, just like Jacob.” My eyes slid his way again, and the weight of his gaze was indescribable. I wondered; when C.S. Lewis wrote of Aslan, did he think instead of wolves? In retrospect, I wasn’t sure how anyone could look at them, any of them, and not see them for what they were. It’s the Clark Kent conundrum, I suppose. We see what we want to see, what is easy to see, and blind ourselves to the truths that come with looking a little deeper. “Losing a member of the pack is like losing a limb. For two to be gone is a pain like...” He shook his head. “You could not understand it.” I was being rebuked, gently enough, but it wasn’t exactly undeserved.
“You’re right, I’m sorry.” With a slow breath, I tore my eyes away from his leonine gaze, toying thoughtfully with the hem of my skirt. My involvement had only recently gone from special guest star to recurring character in this loony-bin morality tale, to say that I couldn’t understand their ways was a gracious understatement. “I haven’t even begun to process all of this. I know you probably wish Beth hadn’t told me. Trust me, I sort of wish she hadn’t either.” But if she hadn’t, she’d be dealing with it all alone. I don’t think I could live with that.
“There are enough enemies to go around without fighting things that can’t be changed.” Sam’s hand squeezed gently, and then released. “If they can be found, we will find them, and we will bring them home. Trust in that, and take care of our packsister. That will settle any debts.” He smiled. “Real or imagined.”
An answering smile quirked my lips, it was contagious. “Thanks Chief. Just keep up your end of the bargain.” I watched him go, daring the nurses to take the opportunity to invade. “I’ll take care of mine.”
The rock beneath me wore a shroud of verdant moss, green and thick with a texture akin to velvet. I stroked it with my fingertips, reflecting that I was lucky that I didn’t have a matching layer of moss covering me, since I’d been here so long. How long had I been here? My brow furrowed as I struggled for an answer, only to have it drift just out of reach. Who I was and why I was here lay buried beneath a tangle of painful memories. They made no sense, and when I tried harder to sort them out, I was overcome by the same lingering exhaustion that kept me at the edge of the pool, listlessly watching the mist curl ever upward before it disappeared into the ether. They say that time heals all wounds, and time was all I had in this place. Everything else was muffled and brought to near-silence by the eternal mist that ringed the water like a halo.
One sound did push itself forward from the background; turning my head toward it, I became lost in what seemed little more than the repetitive drip of water droplets. Constant as a heartbeat, the persistent drip-drip-drip became uncomfortably loud in the hushed quiet. I winced in anticipation of each shrill impact, longing to reach out and disrupt the fall of water onto the rocks. Something held me back, some deeply buried knowledge that the sound was too important. Disquieted, I settled back on my rock, enveloped by a vague sense of fear that if the constant sound ever came to an end, the world would unravel around me.
If that happened... what then? Would I simply blink out of existence like a candle flame? Was there anything more than that? Why couldn’t I remember?
Somewhere off in the distance, well beyond the barrier of the mist, a lonely sound was raised to the unchanging sky. I stood, twisting, trying to determine its direction led only by my racing heart. I knew that sound, as I knew nothing else, and for the first time I felt hope.
A hope that soared as the wolf howled again.
- Let Sleeping Wolves Lie
- The Magic Words
- Beware of Dog
- The Silver Cord
- An Uneasy Truce
- Constructive Insanity
- Josh Wolfe
- Now and Forever
- First Light of Dawn
- Stop the Bleeding
- Stolen Moments
- Waking the Dreamer
- Trouble in Paradise
- Almost Doesn't Count
- Morning After Cure
- Sister of the Pack
- The Caterpillar Mating Dance
- Practice Makes Perfect
- Sound and Fury
- Storm Warning
- Heavy In Your Arms
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- 29 Apr 08
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- In Progress