It is not in the nature of every wolf to imprint. But for those destined to that fate, it is inevitable. After all, it is just that; fate.
:D jasper said is at it again! xD I haven't forgotten Heat, but I just couldn't ignore this idea either. Please enjoy this little twisted gem... it's worth it.
Rating 4.5/5 Word Count 1497 Review this Chapter
"Hurry up, Ephraim!"
"I'm hurrying, dammit, shut up!"
"Hey, mom? Can I buy this?"
"Ephraim Scott! Language! What was that, Manasseh?"
My head was pounding as I left my family standing in the aisles of the gas station, zoning in on the BC powders that were laid ever so carefully, ever so lovely, on the counter top, as if tempting me toward their bitter soothing. I had spend the past four hours locked in a car with Elizabeth and the kids. And at any moment, my head was liable to explode and I would be ded. D-E-D. See? It hurt so bad, I'd forgotten how to spell correctly. I was sure I had the look of a madman as I grabbed a few packs of the medicine and shoved them in the poor clerk's face. Startled, the girl quickly rang up the BC powders and shoved a receipt at me with my change.
"Thanks," I muttered, ripping one of the little packets open and downing it hurriedly. Ah, I could feel it working. With a renewed sense of hope, I went back to the proverbial dogs I called children, who were still yapping at each other in that ‘specially irritated way they reserve just for each other when I'm about tired of being around them all.
"Please?" Manasseh asked, holding a beanie in his hand.
"No," I answered for Elizabeth before she could speak. "Now go get in the car. All of you." I pointed at Manasseh, Ephraim, Issy and Elizabeth all in turn. The protest was almost immediate. "Ah-uh," I said, cutting them off. "Thirty minutes of complete silence. Thanks."
We were on the road again in close to fifteen minutes. Record time, considering my crew. A half hour cramped in a car later, I was beginning to sweat visiting my family for the first time. I hadn't seen these people since Ephraim was born, like Billy had said in his letter. Last time I'd made an appearance, Sam had
told me I was weak and a fool for starting a family with a girl I hadn't imprinted on. That I was stupid, and I would pay for it later. Chances are there's some truth to all of those statements, but I love Lizzie, and my kids. I haven't paid for anything. Or at least not a price I didn't want to pay.
I felt shaky as I cut the power to the engine, parked in an all-too familiar spot in the driveway of my old house. My garage was still visible from the drive, and it brought a smile to my face. I wasn't totally forgotten.
"Well, troops," I said, opening my door, "move out."
Issy climbed over her brother's lap and wormed her way out the door while Manasseh yelled loudly about a crushed coke in the floor board. My less childish child, Ephraim, got out calmly on the other side, appraising the house smoothly in that calculating way of his. Lizzie was last to join us outside the car, fistfuls of trash in her clean freak hands where she was already cleaning out the car. I shook my head. I personally would have just left it there until tomorrow.
"JACOB!" What was left of my headache twanged as the sound of my name flared from the porch. My head snapped in the direction of the sound, my eyes falling on my sister, Rachel, looking squat and round in the way only pregnancy makes a woman. It was profound then, when I realized just how much I didn't know about my own family. How much had I missed?
"Don't give me that," Rachel teased, referring to my apparent bewildered expression and waddling to me and giving me an awkward hug.
I hugged her back. "Hey, Rach," I was all I could manage.
She smiled warmly up at me. "Is this your gang?" she asked eagerly, peering around me where the boys and Issy had more or less assembled behind the car, getting out luggage. We had packed to stay for a few nights, and the suitcases were all jammed in the cargo of Lizzie's SUV, our vehicle of choice when it came to travel.
"Yeah," I said, casting a glance in their direction. "The tall one's Manasseh and the big one's Ephraim, and of course, the girl's Issy."
Rachel clapped in overexcitement. "They're all so big!" she exclaimed, running (or rather waddling) to greet the kids. I watched her, still bewildered. She had a daughter older than Ephraim, and my mind was unwilling to fathom why she'd ever want to start back over at the beginning with a new baby. Maybe she was crazier than I remembered.
"Or maybe she just likes kids, Jake," Lizzie teased, poking my stomach playfully as if she'd read my mind.
I grinned impishly at her. "I like my idea better. It's probably more accurate," I said, taking a handful of trash from her and heading up the porch steps inside. Lizzie kicked me in the butt as I walked by, with some artful contorting on her part. I laughed loudly at that, leaning the old screen door open and slipping inside, closely followed by Elizabeth. Nothing much about the house had changed, save that some of mine, Rachel and Rebecca's baby pictures had been replaced with pictures of the grandbabies. I pushed the kitchen door open with my shoulder, laughing at something silly Lizzie said, when I stopped dead in my tracks.
There, healthy as a horse, was my dad in his chair at the table, deep in conversation with Paul, my brother in law, and some teenage girls I didn't recognize off the top of my head. It took me a minute to realize I was looking at my nieces, Sienna and Callie, all grown up. The girls looked up in my direction, and I could have sworn for a moment there, Rachel and Rebecca were staring straight at me.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have now entered the twilight zone.
"This is a surprise," I said almost sourly, opening the cabinet beneath the sink to find the trash right where it'd always been. Lizzie was a little more gracious than I was, greeting each person in turn with a little nod and an apologetic shrug in my direction. I chunked the paper bag full of our fast food trash from earlier and sat down at the table.
"Well if it isn't the prodigal son, come back to see his sick daddy," Paul sneered in an oh-so-Paul way I'd forgotten all about. It still made my blood boil.
"Yeah," I said nonchalantly, leaning back my chair. "I've returned from the land of the lost." I slammed the chair back down on all four legs and settled my gaze on Billy. "And someone here is entirely too healthy for this trip to have been made," I accused with a small smile tugging at my lips, betraying my jest.
Billy shrugged. "What can I say? I wanted to see you, and I know I'd have to do something... drastic."
"He knew he'd have to do something insane, that's what," said Rachel, appearing in the kitchen as if on cue, towing along the kids. I laughed easily, far easier than I ever had in Seattle. This was what home was about right here. About an easy time with family. I might even get used to it again in the days I was stuck back in La Push, tricked by my own father's pleading note. I should have known something was up.
Issy sat down beside Callie and immediately introduced herself to both Callie and Sienna, the introduction quickly expanding to include her uncle and grandfather, both of whom she'd never met. I guess I should feel bad about that. I should probably be ashamed, but I'm not. I've never been one to be ashamed about much of anything.
"... And those are my brothers, Ephraim and Manasseh. Aunt Rachel said you already knew them, though, so that makes me the only new guy here," Issy finished happily, all smiles at the ease at which conversation had been struck between her and her cousins.
Ephraim gave a little wave at the direction of the table where he was leaning against the counter when his name was mentioned, and Manasseh was too busy checking out the fridge to pay attention to much else. Lizzie swatted at Manasseh's back comically, yelling at him to ‘stop that this instant!' before ‘you eat your grandfather out of house and home!' No one really knew what to say at that, Manasseh's face slightly red from embarrassment. Ephraim was first to let out a chuckle, closely followed by Sienna and Paul. We were all laughing before we knew it, and I realized home had never really been in Seattle, and that it had always been here.
And I knew what had to be done about that.