She walked right up to the stranger and put her hand on his shoulder. He looked down at her and gave her a piercing look that she felt all the way to her bones before crushing his lips to hers.
6. Stormy, Stormy Night
Rating 5/5 Word Count 3222 Review this Chapter
Alpha ch. 6
Stormy, Stormy Night
“One… two… three,” Colin yelled, and Leah and Brady lunged for one another.
Leah sighed, content in Alex’s arms, as they both watched the embers burn down on the bonfire. Earlier today, after winning the chicken fight, Leah had started a game of volley ball, which Seth and Jared won. Then she had gone to help Jacob get the s’mores and hot dogs ready. She remembered their conversation quizzically.
“Leah,” Jacob called. Leah jogged over to him, looking at him questioningly. “Will you give me a hand with this fire?” Jacob asked not so subtly. Leah wondered what Jacob was doing, but decided to play along, and went about setting up a tepee out of the fire wood. She paused her work for a moment to enjoy watching Alex play Ultimate Frisbee with Paul, Jared, Seth, Colin, Brady, Quil, and Embry. The significant others in the Pack’s life had decided to come at night, each with their own reasons. So Leah was the only woman among nine men. It was a scary place to be. She caught Jacob staring at her.
“What?” Leah asked, shifting uncomfortably.
“Do you love him?” Jacob asked, bluntly. Leah blinked in surprise. That hadn’t been what she was expecting.
“What?” she asked stalling for time. Jacob just stared at her.
“Oh, well, I don’t know,” Leah admitted sheepishly. At Jacob’s raised eyebrow, she rushed to explain.
“I know that I imprinted on him and all, but I learned from Quil that imprinting doesn’t mean instantaneous, unconditional, romantic love. I would willingly give my life for Alex, but I’m not sure I’m ready for a commitment. I think I just want to take it slow, and give it time to sink in, if you know what I mean,” Leah explained. Jacob just nodded at her.
“What makes you ask?” she asked, confused. Jacob wasn’t known for long talks about feelings.
“I just wanted to make sure you didn’t do anything stupid. Leah, seriously, I’ve never seen you so… content, happy, or just plain young, as you have been in this last week. The changes are incredible, and well, I don’t want you going back to the way you were. I just needed to make sure that you knew where you two were,” Jacob told her. She gave a low laugh.
“Don’t worry dear brother, I’m not planning on letting this one go,” she said, and turned around in time to watch Alex make a spectacular dive for the Frisbee.
Sitting here in Alex’s arms, she realized that this was really happening. Nothing could part them now. She snuggled closer, nuzzling her head into his shoulder. Instead of a soft kiss like she was expecting, she felt Alex tense up. She cricked her head back to look at him.
“What is it?” Leah asked, concerned.
“Nothing, it’s just… do you remember, in the parking lot, when I said something didn’t feel right?” Alex asked, and at her nod he went on, “Well, I have that feeling again. Something’s coming. I don’t know when, where, or how, but there is defiantly something in the air,” Alex whispered. Leah nodded slowly, thinking it through. Leah herself couldn’t see or feel anything except Alex, so she called across to Embry. He looked at her lazily before meandering over.
“I hope this is important. My marshmallow was almost perfect,” Embry whined. Leah rolled her eyes, before sitting up.
“Listen to me Embry, this is serious. Do you feel anything… different, or unordinary. Smell or see anything,” she asked intensely. Embry stared hard at her, trying to determine her intentions, before straightening up, and gazing around. He stuck his nose in the air and sniffed a few time before bringing his gaze back to her. He shook his head no.
Leah’s forehead crinkled in puzzlement. The stiffness in Alex’s position told her he felt uneasy, but she wondered why anyone else couldn’t feel it.
“Don’t worry about it. Let whatever happens happen. We can deal with whatever is out there,” Leah told Alex candidly. He stared down at her, concerned.
“I have a feeling that this is bigger than us,” he told her softly. Leah nodded, wondering what she could do to ease his tension.
“I’ll post extra guards tonight, see if we can’t catch anything. How about that?” she asked. Alex still looked worried, but he nodded anyway. Leah sighed and relaxed against Alex’s broad chest. She picked up his hand and began rubbing soothing circles against his palm. She traced his life line, and then every other line she could see. Slowly she trailed her fingers lightly up and down his arm. Eventually, she felt him relax against her more and more. Alex laid his head against her shoulder, and they both stared across the flames.
Leah noticed Jacob and Melissa sitting with one another, Melissa in Jacob’s lap. Quil was quietly talking to Paul, and Jared was roasting a marshmallow for Kim. Colin and Brady were having a contest to see who could eat the most hot dogs, and Seth was texting on his phone to some girl he had started seeing. Embry was trying to tune his guitar and kept shooting looks to Brady for him to quiet down. Leah smiled at her family, glad that Alex could be here for this.
Just when Leah had started to drift to sleep, she heard Embry begin to sing a familiar song. She sat up to be able to listen better.
Embry has a nice voice. I wonder why I didn’t notice earlier. Leah thought quizzically. After all, she had heard Embry sing before, but she didn’t remember liking the music so much. Leah snuggled back into Alex’s chest, enjoying the rhythmic cadence of Embry’s voice and began to drift off again.
What seemed like moments later, she felt someone gently try to shake her awake.
“Seth, shut up and let me sleep,” Leah muttered, still mostly unconscious. The shaking persisted. “Go away… I mean it, damn it. I’m tired,” Leah growled, slightly more awake, but fighting consciousness. Still, the person was persistent. “Fine! I’m up, now what is the goddamn emergency?” Leah yelled.
Alex clamped a hand over her mouth. Leah, still trying to become oriented after her nap, bit his hand. Hard. Alex was too focused too notice.
“Leah, be still and listen. Do you hear that?” Alex asked furtively. Leah sighed in exasperation, thinking he was just paranoid. However she obediently cocked an ear and listened, slapping Alex’s hand away irritably. After a moment of pure silence, she got ready to turn back to Alex to tell him where to shove his hearing, when Leah noticed something. There was pure silence. She listened harder, trying to find a natural sound. All she could hear were snores and quiet breathing. There were no gulls in the lightening sky. The fire didn’t crackle, no birds chirped. There wasn’t even a breeze. Most noticeable however, was the fact that there were no waves. The tide wasn’t coming in or going out. Nothing was crashing against the rocks. The sand laid still. Absolute, pure silence.
Leah scrambled up, worried. Alex was right behind her. Slowly, and cautiously, she made her way toward the beach. When she got to the shoreline she poked her toe in the water. Little ripples danced out from the center point of her toe. She drew it back and splashed some water. It made a splashing sound, and acted like water. Leah drew her eyebrows down, puzzled.
“What do you suppose this is?” she asked, gesturing towards the ocean.
“I don’t know, but I don’t like it,” Alex replied staring at the ocean in frustration.
“I keep feeling… something. I don’t know what it is quite, but it’s making me edgy. Something is going to happen,” Alex said, almost to himself. Suddenly he snapped his gaze up and met hers. “We need to get out of here. Now!”
Leah didn’t ask questions, she just nodded and sprinted back towards the pack. She started nudging everyone within reach of her feet. “Alright everyone, up and at ‘em! We gotta go. Time to move out. NOW!” Leah yelled, when nobody responded to her at first. Immediately, Jacob was at her side, as was Embry.
“Look at the water,” Leah demanded. Both looked, and after a moment Jacob turned pale and went to find Melissa. Embry took a little longer.
“Oh my god,” was all he said before running to pack everything up. Seconds later Alex ran up to them, panting.
“Leah, I think we’re out of time,” he said simply, pointing towards the sky. Leah gasped at what she saw there.
The clouds were swirling into a thick dark wall. The sky was turning an inky black, tinged with puce green and violent purple. She would’ve said ‘tornado,’ but it was much too big and fast to be a tornado. It was as if the sky was collecting itself into a central point a little ways off the coast.
Leah took a shuddering breath, trying to clear her mind of the panic. A sharp smell cut through the haze in her mind. It was acrid and harsh, like a bunch hot spices mixed with concentrated chlorine. It burned her nose and clouded her senses. She stared at Jacob who shrugged.
“What in the hell is that smell?” Leah asked him. Jacob shrugged, but sniffed, wrinkling his nose in distaste.
“It seems to be coming in with the wind. I think it might be coming from… the clouds or something,” Jacob said uncertainly. Leah stared at the darkening sky, and a shudder ripped through her. Something terrible was going to happen. She picked up her pace, hurrying to her car.
All of a sudden the wind picked up and threw her to the ground. Leah struggled up off the hard concrete and looked around. Everybody that she could see was either on the ground, or grabbing on to something.
“Out of time. Out of time,” She heard Alex mutter furiously beside her. Leah struggled to clear her head, to figure out what to do, but she couldn’t think straight. All she could concentrate on was the stench. She shook her head to no avail. All of a sudden Alex stood up straight.
“Listen! Get off the road! Go to the ditch,” he yelled, trying to be heard over the rising wind. Another gust of wind blew her over. The rain started then, coming down in torrents. Everywhere it touched skin, it burned a little. Within seconds she was completely soaked to the bone. She contemplated phasing, but almost as if he read her thoughts, Alex grabbed her arm.
“Nobody phase. It’ll only get worse,” he cried to the pack. Over the hood of the car she could see Seth and Colin nodding, struggling against the wind. They made their way to the side of the road and hunkered down. Brady followed a little behind them constantly slinging water off his eyes to no avail. All the others were having more trouble. Jared was trying to carry Kim, and Jacob had Melissa. Quil was no where to be found and Embry looked as though he were bleeding. She started towards Embry, the closest, first. Alex grabbed her arm again.
“Get off the road,” he told her, pushing her back slipping a little on the wet concrete. Leah shook her head furiously. She wouldn’t leave until everyone was safe.
She started towards Embry again, and motioned for Alex to go the Jared’s aid. The wind was raging wildly and trees were beginning to sway dangerously. It whipped around her, pulling at her clothes, her hair, reaching for her, almost as though it were trying to take her down. She reached Embry and crouched down. Since the wind was such a loud cacophony, she motioned, hoping he could see her through the black sheet of water, asking what was wrong.
Embry pointed at his knee, and she saw that his leg was twisted all wrong. Obviously it was broken. She nodded grimly, motioning him to get on his knees. She dropped to all fours as well and slowly they crawled off the side of the road. She held up his leg with her hand while he crawled, trying to ease the stress on it. When they got to the ditch, Seth and Brady helped him down, and she told Colin to try and stabilize his leg.
By then, the sky had gone totally black. Normally she could see in the dark, but this darkness was unnatural, it totally clouded her eyes, and she could barely see anything. She started back to the road, trying to remember where she had seen Jacob and Melissa last. To get out of the direct path of the wind, she dropped to her stomach and crawled to the center of the road. Pieces of concrete were flying up, breaking from the road. She couldn’t see any of the cars, and Leah assumed that they had all been blown away.
The howling of the wind filled her ears, making her light headed, along with the smell. She found it very hard to keep going. The only thing that made her keep pushing against the violent storm was the knowledge that part of her family was in danger. She was exhausted, and her muscles were screaming at her to quit, but she couldn’t, not yet.
When she reached the middle of the road, she saw Jacob and Melissa. Melissa was huddled against his chest, and Jacob’s arms were around her a death grip. His muscles were straining, trying to hold her to him. They were sitting right in the middle of the road, water pooling around them like a waterfall. She slithered over to him and touched his shoulder. He jerked his around, tensing, and not relaxing when he saw her. His eyes were full of worry.
“Let me hold Melissa while you cover us,” she screamed in his ear. At first he refused to giver her up, but after a look in her eyes, he relinquished her to Leah. Leah put her arms around Melissa, admiring the girl’s bravery. Melissa didn’t look frightened at all, just determined, as she made the switch. There was a scary moment when neither Jacob nor Leah had her, and she was almost blown over, but Leah grabbed onto her in the nick of time. Jacob moved to lumber over them both, trying to block the full force of the wind. Leah made her way slowly towards the edge of the road, with Melissa clinging onto her like a monkey. Leah felt something sharp and painful graze her arm, but Leah she just grunted and blocked the pain. When they reached the side of the road, she dropped Melissa down and turned to go back for Alex and Jared and Kim.
Jacob grabbed her arm and shook his head at her. She got ready to tell him to let go, when she saw Jared coming through the darkness carrying Kim, with Alex behind them like a shield. None of them looked injured, but she couldn’t be sure through the intense blackness. Jared handed Kim down to Jacob, before jumping into the ditch himself. Alex wasn’t long to follow.
Leah scuttled over to Alex and wrapped her arms around him. She was shaking as hard as one of the trees. He looked down at her concerned, but Leah just shook her head, knowing anything she said wouldn’t be able to be heard of the gale. She closed her eyes, and they both sank to the ground, Alex pulling her close. Leah tried to block out the screaming wind by concentrating solely on Alex’s heartbeat.
Soon Leah got lost into the rhythm of it. She was so lost into her own thoughts that she didn’t notice at first. But then she felt it, the wind wasn’t tugging quite so hard at her clothes. The inky darkness became just a regular dark. The storm was slowly but surely turning into a regular storm. The rain was coming down a little bit quieter. As each minute ticked by, the storm got less and less intense. Soon the blackness faded into a soft grey, and the wind was just a gentle pulling. Leah sniffed and smelled nothing but saltwater. The storm was over.
Tenderly, Leah raised herself off the ground and cringed at what she saw. Debris was strewn everywhere. Trees had been pulled up by their roots, and broken shells and grasses littered the ground. Half the road had been destroyed, with chunks of concrete broken up here and there. There were pools of water, though she couldn’t tell if they were fresh or seawater. Everything was completely trashed. Leah shuddered at the thought of what the town must look like.
Leah shook herself out of her stupor and stood up. She saw the others beginning to do the same. Alex was already standing. A little gentle breeze played with her hair, raising goosebumps. Leah looked down at Embry, who was still on the ground.
“Hey, you okay?” Leah asked. Embry thought for a moment then nodded.
“Yeah, though I’m pretty sure my leg is still broken. I think it needs to be reset as well,” He replied with a grimace. Leah nodded. She then turned to Colin
“Go get Brady. I want you two to find Quil. Tell him to meet us here at the beach. Then I want you to check up on the town. Do not phase though. Not until we figure out what has happened,” Leah commanded. Colin nodded and loped over to Brady. She then turned to Jared and Jacob.
“How are they?” she asked softly. Both understood who she was talking about.
“Melissa is tired and more than slightly shaken, but unharmed. She’s being brave. She’s so strong,” Jacob replied, looking down at him imprint, who was curled into his side, and obviously had no intention of moving,
“Kim, bless her, is going crazy,” at Leah’s look he continued, “She is angry. Keeps cursing different people out. First it was God, then Mother Nature, then God, then different mythical beings. She’ll be okay,” Jared replied with a chuckle, looking over at his wife, who was busy kicking some of the debris around, and muttering under her breath. Leah let out a sigh of relief. So far, none of her family was seriously hurt.
“Leah, what is that?” Alex cried in alarm. He grabbed her arm and she bit her lip to keep from crying out. She looked over to see what was causing her pain. A long gash starting at her forearm and traveling all the up to her shoulder was bleeding. She looked at it curiously. It should’ve healed already. Leah just shrugged her shoulders, wincing slightly.
“No big deal, it’ll heal soon,” she said caustically. Alex looked at her doubtfully before ripping a piece of his shirt and tying it around her arm.
“Thanks,” she told him gratefully. Now it was her turn to inspect him for injuries. She looked him over, even walking around him, before determining he was just fine.
“Alright everyone. This is a big mess we’re in. Lets gather around up on the road. We need to figure some things out,” she said, taking control. Slowly everyone made their way out of the ditch, and onto the road. She was hoisting herself up, with Alex helping her, when Brady came running, out of breath. Immediately Leah felt her hackles rise in alarm.
“Brady, what’s wrong?” she demanded, rising to her feet and taking him by the shoulders.
“Leah… I’m sorry… your mom,” he spit out between gasping breaths.