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The Lonely Wolf

To phase the first time: disorienting. Horrible. Terrifying. Painful. To become a monster: sickening. Strange. Agonizing. Estranging. This we know from Jacob. Must it not have been so much worse to be Sam? He did it all... and he did it all alone. A story in the perspective of the first of our beloved werewolves, Sam Uley. From shortly before the time of his first phase to his marriage to Emily Young.

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16. Chapter 16

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“Leah, I need to talk to you,” I whisper. She doesn’t turn to face me, but leaves her head resolutely toward the dishes she’s washing as she tells me off.

“Yeah, we sure hell do, Sam Uley! What the hell was that? You meet my cousin and six seconds later you’re zooming off to God-knows-where! Emily must think I’m crazy.”

“Emily,” I mutter, savoring the perfect word, “Emily.”

She spins around. “What is wrong with you?”

I look for the last time at the woman I thought I could never stop loving. And I haven’t. I still see the fire in her face and the beauty of her features and the concern underlying her fury.

That doesn’t help. It just adds to the spiraling guilt.

“Leah, I have to tell you something.” For what I know will be the last time, I trace my hand, burning hot, against her skin, and I notice that hers doesn’t feel cold to me, as most people’s do.

“Leah. My Leah.”

Emily is not mine. I am hers. I know that I will give up any hope of a reciprocal love when I give up Leah, but it isn’t like I really have a choice.

“Sam, tell me. Spit it out. I’m sick and tired of these secrets. Your secrets.”

All my secrets- and now they’re tearing us apart, not just in the subtler ways of before but splendidly and permanently. “All right. You want me to tell you the truth? Leah… I am so, so sorry.”

“There’s someone else.” Her voice is totally without inflection “You’re leaving me for someone.”

“Not… oh, God, I’m going about this all wrong. Leah, what I can’t tell you, what I’ve been keeping from you all along, is why I’ve… I love you. I always will. But there are some things stronger than love. It’s like gravity, pulling me in. I can’t resist it, Leah. If I could-“

“I don’t want to hear this, Sam,” she says, quite calmly.

“I’m sorry. It’s the truth,” I plead.

“Not in the sense that it’s some kind of lame excuse, though I think you could come up with a better lie to leave your fiancée, the mother of your child, with. But I meant I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to hear how much better and prettier and smarter and more God-damn feminine she is than me, all right? I don’t want to hear how much better she is, because you know, you know, that this is tearing me to bits. So please be considerate and leave that out. As a personal favor to me.”

I take in her face. Her almost too-long eyelashes are dotted with mysterious moisture. I’d like to attribute it to the dishes in her hands. Tears do not suit Leah. But I know that’s a pretty lie to tell myself. “I can do that for you.”

“So do I have to move out?” she asks.

“No. It’s your house—remember? I’ll get my stuff and move into that little yellow place by the edge of the forest. Finish school. I promise I’ll leave you alone.”

“Hell of a promise.”

“I’m so sorry,” I whisper. “So, so sorry.”

“I love you,” she says. “It’s probably cruel to say but I don’t give a damn. So you should know it.”

“I love you too,” I answer.

Her reply is a loud, resounding laugh.

As I stroll toward the door, she stops me. “Sam, tell me who.”

I breathe in and out and finally say, “Emily.”

“Of course,” she replies. “Of course. Because if God’s going to take you away from me, why not take you both!”

I hear her voice growing hysterical. I stop her. “Leah, Emily’s never done anything to encourage me. I promise you that. She doesn’t want me, doesn’t know me, and doesn’t love me.” I shudder a little at my own words, but press on. “She’s your friend. I’m the only enemy here.”

She doesn’t speak, no answer to my outstretched hand, and I turn and walk away, out of her life forever.

As I leave my… her tiny kitchen, I hear the sound of her ring clattering to the floor, and a loud, wordless wail.