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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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27. Chapter 27

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The world is white, sterile, empty. It’s this hospital corridor, enlightened by the gentle music of Emily’s voice, speaking to a nurse, stained only by the blood on my hands and the darkness of my guilt.

I rush to the bathroom, breaking my vigil, and scrub at my hands and clothes. The stains come off easily enough, like it’s no more than a corporeal taint.

There’s red in the white sink now, and my hands are the color of wood and clean and I walk back to my post and listen.

Leah’s in there now. I eavesdrop shamelessly on their conversation.

“Em, are you okay?”

There’s a softness in her voice, one I recognize from both her happiest and least vulnerable moments. This is Leah’s dearest friend, and her surest relationship—it’s a constant in her life, her friendship with Emily.

And I’ve destroyed this, too, for both of them.

“I’m fine, Leah.”

“What happened to you?”

It’s only now that I realize she was always just a little less than secure when I was around. Always a little harsh and sarcastic—to defend herself, because she was afraid to loose me.

And she did.

She’s not afraid of that with Emily, this friendship of theirs that goes beyond anything else, back into the beginning of their memories.

Amazing what I can hear just from the tone of their voices, but I can. Leah’s is the most familiar sound in the world, and Emily’s voice seems like I’ve known it since before the beginning of time.

“Emily, tell me. What happened?”

Sam happened. To both of them, as a matter of fact, and rather disastrously.

“I got… attacked. By a… a bear, in the woods. I was… talking to Sam…”

“He was hitting on you again.”

“Yeah. Leah, I’m so sorry about that…”

“It’s not your fault.”

She’s blaming me, obviously, with that heavy emphasis. And rightly so. I deserve it, I truly do.

I am the one who tore them apart.

“It is. Leah… How can I tell you this? How do I… he saved my life, Leah. He dragged me all the way here by himself, and then started to apologize, that he didn’t stop the bear in the first place. And the way he… he’s very… he loves me, Leah.”

That is possibly the greatest understatement I’ve ever heard.

“Yeah, well, he loved me too. Once. It didn’t last real long, if you’ve noticed.”

“Leah. Please. I have to… I’m going to give him a chance.”

There is a moment that seems to last forever. The silence rushes in my ears and the beat of my heart is the only sound even my ears can detect. Though I know the hospital is full of breath and chatter and beeping machines, only the steady thump makes it through the roaring haze.

A chance.

A chance.

I am going to be given a chance now? When I should die for my fault? When I’ve done this to her?

I must be hearing her wrong. No other answer is understandable.

“Leah, I’m sorry.”

She pauses again, and I can hear the tears in her voice. “It’s… it’s all right, Em. I understand. Just… why don’t you break the good news to Sam, okay? I’ve got to go. And we can have some happy sisterly bonding time when he breaks your heart, too.”

There is another silence, and the door opens. Leah sweeps past, without one glance at me.

Emily’s voice is soft. “Sam?”