"I think it’s a metamorphosis if what you’re becoming is preferable to what you are." Leah Clearwater, through heartbreak and newfound hope.
1. Chapter 1
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Strangely, she doesn’t adore them the way some girls do, swooning after the men on their television screens. She already has her fairytale.
They hold hands as they walk to the car. People would think that, after several years of dating, they would grow tired of these displays of affection, but they do not. If anything, Leah thinks that Sam holds her hand as though it is precious, as though he has never done so before.
She kisses him when he drops her off at her home. It is long, lingering, sweet. She remembers the feel of it in days, and years, to come.
The hours turn into days, and Leah has called everyone she can think to call to find where he is.
She can hardly sleep, and when she does, she tosses and turns. She wonders if this is some escape attempt, trying to be free of the Quileute culture, but she can’t see that ever being the case. Sam adores the tribe and besides, he would have told her. He loves her.
When he returns, he is different, in some quintessential way that she cannot pinpoint. It is in the way he moves, in the way he looks at her. There is sadness in his eyes that she has never seen before, she notices. She wonders what has happened to him, but thinks that he will confide in her in his own time. He crops his hair short, as if he is trying to hide something, or forget about it.
He hardly calls her over the next few days, and, pained, she finally confronts him. If it was anyone else, she would think that she was being played for a fool – but it’s Sam, so that clearly is not the case.
“What’s going on?” she says, trying her hardest to keep her voice supportive rather than accusatory, though in truth she is feeling equal parts of both emotions. She knows that he wouldn’t be so distraught over a miniscule matter, and she wants him to confide in her, but the whole affair also makes her terribly indignant. She has been dating him for years; he should be able to tell her anything. It makes her wonder, against her will, if there are other secrets that he’s been hiding.
He looks at her, his face contorted in conflict. “I can’t tell you, Leah,” he says finally. She wonders if it is her imagination, or if his voice has noticeably become lower, and the arms his shirt reveals seem much more muscular. “Please, just don’t ask me. We can work through this, I promise.”
“Okay,” she agrees, because there is nothing else that she can say. She takes his hand, noticing the terrible heat. “Fever?” she asks.
“What? Oh, yeah,” he says distractedly. He grips her hand in return, holding it too tightly, anchoring her, as if afraid she will float away.
In the end, it’s too much for her to handle – the lying and the secrecy and the excuses. She knows he’s with another girl, but that’s not the worst of it. The Sam she loves would have the courage to tell her that he is seeing someone else and doesn’t want to be with her anymore.
She lets it go on for months, hoping that, by some divine miracle, things will improve – or rather, return to the way they once were, so magical and uncomplicated and lovely. She knows that it’s illogical, but she has always believed in the otherworldly.
Still, it’s the time when he comes to her with his jeans put on backwards and his hair a mess that she cannot take the rampant humiliation anymore. Rage overtakes sadness as she wonders if it gives him some kind of pleasure to hurt her.
He sees her assessing gaze, and her uncontrollable rage. He holds up both hands, as if to stop her from hurting him. “It’s not what you think,” he begins. She almost laughs in pure bitterness. How much of an idiot does he think she is?
She picks up a picture frame – not caring about the photograph inside – and flings it at him. He ducks, but it still grazes his cheek, leaving an ugly cut before it clatters against the wall. She sees blood, and feels a vindictive pleasure.
She searches around for something else to throw. She seizes the nearest book on the table, but his reflexes are slightly quicker this time. He dodges it completely.
“Fuck you, Sam,” she tells him. For some reason, it almost gives her relief, just to be done with it once and for all. She feels light, all of the anger draining out of her, replaced by hurt, yes – but she can clearly see that in the future it will lead to acceptance.
She can see that he wants to argue, but some other emotion overtakes him then that she cannot identify. He practically bolts out the door, and she slams it after him, locking it.