Tales of a Broken Soul
Leah is plagued by her memories. Leaving La Push behind, she strives for a new life in New York. But when she returns for her brother’s graduation, her life gets irreversibly turned upside down.
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“Please don’t fire me,” Seth pleaded to Mike. I glared at him, but the expression quickly wore away. My stomach was doing summersaults and my legs turned into jell-o. I could hear the many different thoughts streaming through my head at a record pace. How was I supposed to explain this?
Imprint…that could have many different meanings. It didn’t necessarily have to deal with the supernatural.
“What? Why would I want to fire you?” Mike asked, aghast. He narrowed his eyes and glanced between us nervously.
Maybe I could convince him that it was some Native American thing, or a tribal…ceremony.
“Well…uh…Leah?” Seth stuttered.
Lets see…I hated him because my instinct ‘imprinted’ on my mind to hate him…My mother had a friend that used the term ‘imprint’ to describe someone they didn’t not like…
“Come on,” Mike complained. “I think I have been very patient.”
Yeah, it was a made up term that my family used and it was very…stupid so I was
embarrassed by it. Gold, Leah. Brilliant.
“Well, it’s a stupid term that my family uses sometimes that describes someone that-”
My heart stopped. I should have dropped dead and I would have welcomed that. Defiantly.
“W-what?” Mike laughed. “You can’t be serious. Really, Seth. I’ve known you long enough. Do you actually think that I would fall for that?”
I groaned and rubbed my temples. My heart was constricting and I had a desperate need to throw up and all he could do was laugh?
“Yeah. I’m a werewolf,” I snapped. I should have been playing along with him to get myself off the hook. But no one laughs at Leah Clearwater, especially when I’m being serious. “You got a problem with that?”
Mike just looked at me like I grown three heads. “Yeah, I guess I do. I’ve been really nice to you, Leah and you know that I like you. But this what you are saying to me…this is just…stupid!” I glared at Mike with all the hatred in my soul-which was pretty difficult since he was my “true love”.
I took a step towards him, my hands curling into tight fists. He mirrored my action and his blue eyes were narrowed into an uncharacteristic scowl. Seth, seeing the danger unfold, quickly hopped in-between us.
“Hey,” he soothed. “There’s no need for this…” He might have fooled me if his hands weren’t shaking like an earthquake. I pushed him away, causing him to almost stumble over his graduation gown.
“Leah, there’s no reason to be violent,” Mike objected.
“Get your ass out of my business!” I countered.
“Don’t you both have any sort of common sense?” Seth groaned. I snapped my head towards him and then he was my target.
“Well, I didn’t go blurting out our secret!” I spat.
“Wait-you mean the werewolf thing?” Mike asked. I rolled my eyes and stomped my foot on the ground stubbornly.
“No, I was talking about our secret pet monkey,” I mocked. Mike threw me an exasperated glare before looking at Seth hopefully.
“Seth,” he started eagerly. Seth was looking between Mike and I, probably deciding what the hell he was supposed to do. I just glared at him, demanding that he keep his mouth closed. “Tell me what is going on.”
“Uh…um…” Seth muttered. Little beads of sweat started to line his face and his fingers fiddled with the sleeve of his robe. “Well, you see…” His watch beeped right then and the smile that lined his face could light up a thousand rooms. “Oops. Ceremony is starting. Got to go.”
He didn’t take his time sprinting back to where the ceremony was being held. I watched my last remaining support run away from me. I was left alone with a curious Mike.
We stood, staring at each other—sizing each other up, looking for possible weaknesses. Our eyes made contact, and an uncontrollable spasm of electricity went down my spine. I couldn’t help but notice how sexy he looked when he was all huffy and angry. And the furrow of his eyebrows…I had a sudden urge to kiss it and smooth it out. I shook my head, wondering what I was thinking. I was so close to exposing that I was actually a werewolf and I was ogling Mike?
“I know how to-”
“I have dangerous friends-”
We glared at each other again, angry that we cut each other off.
“Well, I am technically-”
“You are being imma-”
Mike quickly held up his hands. The corner of my mouth twitched.
“You go first,” he offered. I almost spat on his shoe.
“It’s my brother’s graduation,” I whined. “I want to see it. We can talk afterwards.” Mike opened his mouth to protest. “This is not up for discussion,” I interrupted.
“Are you kidding me?” Mike demanded. “You’re being cruel. Please can’t we just talk now?”
“No,” I stated. I turned away from him and simply walked away.
“Leah!” Mike called. A hint of fury was ingrained in his voice. I ignored the instinctive urge to comfort him and kept walking. “Come back!” he insisted.
My hands twitched in his direction and my footing stumbled. I drove myself onward, even though it almost brought tears to my eyes. It was as if I was leaving part of myself behind with him and every step I took split me further in half.
I heard footsteps behind me and I picked up the pace. It almost physically hurt to run from him.
“Leah! Stop!” he ordered. He was borderline screaming. I could feel the vibrations of his stomping feet--it scared me how attuned I was to his movements. Then I full out sprinted towards the seats. I immediately heard Mike run behind me. It was a race, but I was the very strong werewolf. I could outrun him.
I made it to the seats before he could catch up with me. Fate must have finally been on my side, because my mother was seated in a place with only one other empty seat beside her. All the pressure seemed to melt off my shoulders when I took my seat.
I quickly glanced over my shoulder. I couldn’t see Mike anywhere. Either he sat down someplace else, or he left. I thought I was hoping for the latter.
My mother glanced at me over her shoulder, her eyebrow raised. I rapidly looked away and searched for something else to focus on—anything but my mother’s curious face.
“As we embark today on the journey that is the rest of our lives, memories of times past will forever be in our hearts.” The valedictorian’s voice rang out across the area, ringing in my ears.
My mother shuffled in her seat and leaned closer to me. I looked at her out of the corner of my eye and saw her staring at me intently.
“What is it?” I whispered, careful not to disrupt the people around me. Despite my unusual consideration, the man to my right glared in my direction.
My mother hesitated for a moment. “I’m your mother. I know when something’s wrong,” she answered me. Someone shushed us, but I couldn’t tell whom it was coming from. I looked around urgently and leaned in closer. My hands gripped the edge of the fold up chair I was sitting in. The small pain of the pressure was a welcome distraction.
“Family. Friends. Teachers. Our lovely principal Mrs. Horse Catcher that delightfully sent us to ‘study hall’ which we all know is another word for prison [laughs]. All these things helped on to grow and develop into the…very intellectual and mature people we are today.”
His voice was ringing in my ear. I rubbed my temples, trying to ignore the pounding headache.
“You know that you can talk to me anytime, right? If this has anything to do with Mike-”
“Mom, please,” I hissed. I squeezed my eyes shut and concentrated on the thought that it would all be over soon. I planned to leave as soon as I could and as soon as I was on the plane, I would be free.
My mother snapped her jaw shut and straightened back into her seat. Her hands were laid carefully on her lap and she stared right ahead. I grasped at any words to say, and for the first real time in my life, I truly felt desperately helpless. What could I say to comfort my mother who had to deal with me? What could I say to Mike? What could I say to apologize to Seth for everything I did? What could I say to anyone?
“These years will be forever be imprinted in our hearts.”
And what could I do to make this guy shut up?
There was a round of applause before the valedictorian took his seat in the front. For a moment it felt as though I was floating in heaven after that cursed speech ended. Then I fell right back down to earth when the principal started to read out the names. I bit back a groan and slid back in my seat. La Push didn’t have too many people in it, but at my graduation, it felt like forever. I doubted this one would feel any different.
“Adair, Martha.” More applause.
“Alistair, Mary.” More applause
“Autrey, Lisa.” More freaking applause.
How was I going to live through this? Every clap was like a bullet to my brain. And the principal said it so sweetly. It was a bullet with butterfly wings.
I started to zone out after that. I saw the principal’s lips moving, but no sense could be made out of it. My eyes were unfocused and my ears unhearing. When I looked around, everyone was fuzzed up. I probably could have just blinked to return my eyesight to normal again, but for some reason, I didn’t. Instead, I looked around, and saw everyone all blurred, fuzzed up, or doubled. I couldn’t see anything clearly. It started to become dizzying. I shook my head to try to clear it up, but I wished that I hadn’t. Because my eyes landed on the one person I didn’t want to see.
He stood there handsomely with his hands in his pockets, his short hair slightly ruffled, and his eyes piercing. I gasped, but I couldn’t suck in any air. My mouth was just hanging open in shock. But what scared me the most was that I could see him perfectly. Even though everything around him was blurred, his image was clear.
I bit back a small sob before turning around and blinking. All the rage from when I saw him last was gone and the pounding in my head returned. The stinging of my eyes returned. My chest contracted and I clutched my heart.
I thought that all that was left of my love for him was bitterness and memories. I was so sure that I did not love him any longer. I blinked a few times and my eyesight cleared up. I quickly glanced behind me, but Sam was engulfed in the crowd. I turned back around and placed my face in my hands. Warm tears stained my skin and my nails dug into my cheeks.
What was wrong with me? I couldn’t still love him. I couldn’t. Yet when I saw him standing there, my heart leapt out of my chest. And all thoughts of Mike leapt out of my mind. Sam still had an effect on me and I hated myself for it.
“Clearwater, Seth.” I jumped up in surprise. I almost completely forgot where I was. I stood there with my mother and clapped. Each clap drove Sam’s face further out of my mind so I could focus on what was actually important at the moment.
Seth stood there in his black robe, the largest smile I ever saw on his face. I wasn’t sure how, but we made eye contact across the distance of the seats. For a moment the whole world disappeared and all I could see was my brother. My brother that was all grown up. I started to cry again, and for the first time in ages, a smile accompanied it. And I could see my mother doing the same thing.
Damn Mike. Damn Sam. Damn myths. My brother was able to thrive without humanity, his father, or a loving sister. If Seth could be so happy, then I sure could, too.
I sat down and the tears started to dry. So what if I still loved Sam. So what if I was naturally inclined to love another man. And so what if I was a little mentally unsound. I was Leah Clearwater, and it was about time that I started to act like it.