Back Against the Wall
Why do the spirits hate me? What have I done in my past life to deserve this? Why were they ALWAYS pushing me back against the wall? Somehow, I had managed to do the impossible again. Me being the first girl werewolf EVER wasn’t enough- they had to go and make me imprint on a vampire.
6. Chapter 6
Rating 5/5 Word Count 1403 Review this Chapter
For the next few days, there were dramatic reenactments of ‘Leah’s Great Faint’, or as Jasper so aptly named it “The Blackout of 2016’, all dramatically performed by the family pre-Madonna, Emmett. My personal favorite was “The Rise and Fall of Leah”, since as soon as I was helped to my feet, I stumbled and fell again.
I had been so embarrassed, that I asked Charlie to take me home, and bid a red-faced goodbye to Ben. My first kiss with Sam hadn’t even been that bad, and there had been braces involved.
Now, as I sit in a paper filled desk at one of the only functioning galleries in Forks, I could only focus on the cause of my fainting in the first place.The Spirits have to be smoking on something. Or they just have a really warped sense of humor.
“Cleartap! Dear, are you daydreaming again? I told you, only real artists daydream. Clear your head of your frivolous daydreaming and come and help me hang my spring masterpiece!” chirped my boss, Madame Duffers.
The woman was a character…a character who insisted on being called Madame but wasn’t French, who wore so much makeup, you’d think it was acrylic paint, and one who didn’t pay attention anyone but herself. This worked out fairly well for me. I’ve worked for the woman for almost seven years now, and she has yet to notice that I don’t age, nor does she ever bother to learn my last name. Despite the fact that I’ve corrected her 856 times since the eight years I’ve been working here.
“It’s Clearwater.” I corrected. 857.
“Un-germane to the issue.” she tutted, as she focused on the over-lit wall where a big, hideous, monstrosity of a painting stood. With the woman’s character and dressing style, I would have expected her artwork to be gaudy and ostentatious. The completely blank canvas with a single, child-like flower painted in the direct middle, clearly debased my early notion. No wonder why her stuff never sells. The only reason the gallery is still open and I’m still getting a weekly paycheck, is because Madame Duffers had married very well. “What so you think. The painting is marvelous of course. But something seems a bit off.” She squared her hands in front of her eyes, doing all of the clichéd ‘artist’ movements in one minute flat.
“The painting is hung crooked.” I remarked as I glanced at the unremarkable thing that took up nearly half the wall. Together, we hung it correctly, and it made no difference. I glanced irritably at the clock, and sighed when it revealed that I have four hours before I can make my escape.
Time seemed to be moving backwards.
“I think I’m going to take my break now.” I said as I grabbed my keys. Duffers nodded nonchalantly, her gaze still focused upon her ‘masterpiece’. As I opened the door to leave, she called out.
“Give me a low-cal, mocha with no foam from Coronels’. And make sure its steaming!” she said, even though I hadn’t offered. I never do. Luckily for me, I was heading to Coronels’ in the first place- it was Fork’s version of Starbucks.
The cold hit me like an arctic blast. Usually, I don’t feel extreme temperatures, but this must have been one of those days that were so freezing, even werewolves were susceptible to its affects. Coronels was seven blocks from Duffer’s Exquisite Gallery of Art. I had never noticed how far it was from the gallery. After about a block of walking in the freezing temperature, I was shocked when Ben’s black Charger pulled up.
“Are you stalking me?” I asked demurely, thankful for the warm ride. Ben threw me a dazzling smile and started driving.
“You don’t even know where I’m going!” I exclaimed as he pulled off.
“Yeah I do, I asked Madame Duffers, your boss. Then I had to make hasty escape because she seemed pretty close to attacking me.” Ben explained.
“What!” I yelled. I felt the rage in me boiling.
“Whoa! Leah, calm down. Really, what could the woman do? I used to being mentally undressed.” Ben laughed.
I rolled my eyes at his cockiness.
“Why do you work for me anyway? Duffers seems nutters. “, he asked, while keeping his eyes on me. I snorted at corny rhyme.
“I’m trying to save up money to buy my own shop one day. Plus, working for another artist in a gallery is good experience. She used to be a big name in New York apparently, until she had some sort of meltdown about twelve years back.” I answered.
“Do you think you’re ready for that, to maintain your own gallery?” Ben asked as we pulled up to the coffee shop.
“Yeah. I really am. Do you think I can do it?” I asked him as she helped me out of the car.
“As corny and after-school program as this sounds, I think you can do whatever you put your mind to.” He answered truthfully. I smiled. “Then again, I haven’t seen your artwork yet.” he added.
“I’ll show you some stuff tomorrow.” I replied as we entered the empty coffee shop. The cars on street were sparse, people not willing to brave the unnatural cold.
After Ben and I ordered, we sat in a secluded corner of the shop. As I sipped at my double-chocolate espresso, Ben pushed his around. The originally comfortable silence had turned into awkwardness after about ten minutes.
“Which one of us is brave enough to bring up the elephant in the room?” I asked him. He grinned.
“I guess you are.” he answered as he reached across the table and grabbed my hand. The feeling of our skin combined was amazing- it was if my hot balanced out his cold.
“You shouldn’t be worried. Vampire venom only affects us. I couldn’t harm you unless I scratched you”, I said as I stared down at my warm cup.
“And I don’t want to harm you. Maybe we should talk to Carlisle before jumping into anything. He seems to know just about everything.” he suggested. I snorted, knowing it was true. Carlisle did seem to know everything.
“I’m not scared you’ll hurt me. And it seems like my body has been adapting to changes. Maybe since I’ve imprinted, I’ve become immune to vampire venom.” I said meekly.
“Leah…I don’t want to take that chance.” he said while squeezing my hands gently.
“What’s life without taking a few chances? I feel like it’ll be worth it, just to know.” I said determinedly.
“You’re right. But it should be in front of people who could get you out if things get ugly.” he said.
“I don’t want our first kiss to be in front of everyone! It should be just you and me! I’m okay with taking the risk.” I said defiantly.
“I’m not okay with it! How do you think Id feel if I were to…no. It’s too risky. We kiss in front of witnesses or not at all.” he said, squaring his perfect jaw. I felt my resolve weakening.
“O…Okay.” I yielded.
“I’ll make it up to you tenfold, Leah.” he said as he rubbed my hands.
“That’s if I’ll survive your kiss…” I said jokingly, but instantly knew it was the wrong thing to say. His face hardened into a determined mask, and I was suddenly struck by the second time I’ve ever empathized with Bella Cullen. She had told me of Edward’s stony resolve when it came to intimacy in her human years.
“We should go. We don’t want you to be late for Duffers.”, he said as he pulled out my chair. I nodded weakly, and headed over to the counter to order Duffers’ drink.
When he dropped me off, he placed a chaste kiss on my cheek and opened the door for me. I smiled feebly at him as he pulled off.
Way to go, Leah. My only consolation was that by the time I entered the shop, the ‘masterpiece’ was torn from the wall, and Duffers was having a fit of sobs on the floor. At least I wouldn’t have to see that fugly painting anymore- there was always a silver lining. No matter how thin it always seemed to be.