I Never Mean't To Break
When your world is torn apart are you really whole? Samantha Lake's life is torn apart by the sudden death of her mother. Her life as she knows it now a distant memory when she is sent to live with her grandparents on La Push Reservation. Sam can't help but feel like her life is falling apart, but a certain wolf is setting out to teach her, life isn't as bad as she thinks.
1. Prologue & The End of the Beginning
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“Samantha, Sam. Are you alright?”
“Huh?” I blinked a few times my eyes coming back into the focus the stern but caring face of the man in front of me becoming clear. I nodded and forced a weak smile, but he looked unconvinced and reached out to me pulling me into a tight hug. “I’m fine Johnny, really.” I mumbled into my older brother’s shoulder, glancing around the living room of our home – or soon to be old home – sympathetic faces glancing over at us, it made my stomach knot together the same uncomfortable and incomprehensible feeling washing over me again, I had been getting that feeling a lot lately. The stares and looks just made it so much worse though, it made it all too real, the funeral today had been a massive slap in the face for me; it was a realisation that
she wasn’t coming home, and she would never be coming home.
“Veronica wants to talk to you.” My brother murmured in my ear and I groaned in protest as he grabbed my hand, shooting me a reproachful glance as we moved through the living room and past the sympathetic eyes towards a dark haired woman in her late thirties who was hovering uncertainly in the doorway of our kitchen. Veronica a social worker, she had appeared at our home a few days after the accident with my mother’s lawyer so far she had proved to be nothing but a thorn in my side, her presence here was annoying and I didn’t understand why she needed to be here, right now at my mothers wake. It seemed so insensitive like she was trying to rush the inevitable.
“Samantha, dear how are you feeling?” She said in a soothing tone as we sat down at the dining table in the kitchen. I brushed my hair out of my face and shrugged lamely, Johnny had pulled up a seat beside me and out the corner of my eye I could see him smiling encouragingly at me.
I knew she wasn’t satisfied with my answer, but I wasn’t going to give her anymore. With a small cough she continued “So as you know, I’ve been going through your mothers will with her lawyers.” I let out an involuntary shudder at the word ‘will’ but she didn’t seem to notice and continued talking, reaching across the table and holding my hand, giving it a squeeze. I didn’t return the gesture just stared blankly at her.
“As you know the house will be going up for auction at the end of next week, these are you mothers wishes of course, Samantha you do understand that?” Veronica eyed me cautiously, I had narrowed my eyes at her when she reminded me of this fact, I still hadn’t comprehended that I would be leaving. “We’ve discussed this with your brother as well and…” She paused looking expectantly at my brother who let out a sigh and I adjusted my position so I could face him, taking in his expression.
His light olive skin mirrored mine, right down to the freckles scattered on our noses. My mother used to say we had looked so much alike when we were younger, and the similarities were still apparent. I stared up at him, waiting for him to speak he was hesitating unsure of what to say or how to word what he was about to tell me, I could tell he was nervous by the way his eyes glanced around the kitchen instead of resting on me. I followed his glances, to the old grandfather clock that hung on the kitchen wall to the fridge that still proudly displayed our finger paintings from kindergarten, then our eyes fell on each other and I felt my breath catch in my throat, I knew where this conversation was heading and I shook my head letting out a murmured ‘no.’
“But you promised.” My voice came out strangled, I looked at my older brother with pleading eyes “You promised me that you wouldn’t leave me, you wouldn’t send me away!” my voice was raising with each word and Veronica flinched as I slammed a hand down on the table, but I hardly took any notice of her my brother was looking at me with a pleading expression trying to find the words to explain himself, but I didn’t want to hear it.
“Sammy, I’m in college I can barely take care of myself let alone you, these are nice people otherwise mum wouldn’t of left you in their care” I scoffed in outrage. These people being my fathers parents. Complete strangers, I hadn’t seen them in twelve years, not since my father passed away and now, now I was expected to go live with these people.
My vision blurred and I could feel warm tears spilling down my face, Veronica reached out to comfort me but I pulled away. I lifted myself from the chair, shaking unsteadily on my feet Johnny stood up to help me. “No.” I held a hand firmly in front of me and he sat back down, slumping in his chair as I fled from the kitchen, through the living room of people now shooting questioning glances in my direction, I could hardly make out their faces to even care as I took off up the stairs flinging myself into my room the door slamming closed behind me as I leaned against it. Hugging my knees to my chest as I sat on floor of my bedroom I hiccoughed, strangled sobs escaping my chest.
The pain that had washed over my body was unbearable and the strangled sobs and tears kept coming. Everything had fallen apart, and there was not one damned thing I could do about it.
Chapter One – The End of the Beginning
The feeling in my body was nothing but panic, pure panic and helplessness as I stood in the waiting room of the hospital, a cold cup of coffee in my hand as I paced around. I noticed my brother Johnny slumped in a chair by a withering pot plant, his girlfriend Sarah resting her head on his shoulder watching me with a weary expression. People were walking past me, a lot of them but I kept pacing, no thoughts running through my head but I just felt the need to keep moving because if I wasn’t moving I would surely collapse to the ground in an exhausted heap.
“Samantha and Jonathan Lake?” My head snapped up and I tightened my grip around the foam coffee cup in my hand, some of the contents spilling onto the ground, I didn’t care I just moved towards the man in the blue gown in front of me, his expression was unreadable and I felt an overwhelming sense of anger at that.
“Yes, yes. How is she?” My words spilled out fast, so fast they didn’t make sense, like every second I spent enunciating my words was a second wasted, I didn’t even register my brother now standing by my side I just stared into the eyes of the man in front of me, my sharp breaths becoming more panicked each moment he didn’t speak.
“I’m sorry…” My stomach lurched and I grasped onto my brother for support, the doctor glanced at the ground and drew in a breath before he continued, but I didn’t need to hear his next few words I already new what he was going to say, the words were already burnt into my mind “She didn’t make it, I’m so terribly sorry.”
I sat upright in my bed in a cold sweat, ragged breaths escaping me every few moments as I glanced at the arm clock beside my bed it read seven thirty in digital red numbers, a dull light was filtering through the closed curtains of my empty bedroom. Well empty except for a bed and an open suitcase in the corner. An empty feeling welled up in my stomach as I realised what day it was.
“Already?” I breathed to myself, throwing the blanket off me and pushing myself out of my bed, staggering towards the open bedroom door. I had never been a morning person, and seven thirty was much to early for me but I had a deadline to keep today, and grudgingly to spare myself of anymore drama I would keep that deadline, and make my flight, the flight to some Washington town with a name I couldn’t even remember.
I tried not to be bitter about it, but there wasn’t much for me to actually be positive about, I know I was overreacting when I said this but I couldn’t shake the overwhelming sense of abandonment my brother was leaving me with, by shipping me off to live with these strangers, apparently my grandparents but of course I had not seen them for since I was five so now to me a seventeen year old, they were strangers.
I was being selfish, deep down I knew that. Johnny had thought long and hard about me moving in with him and Sarah’s. Living with them in their New York apartment, I found that resolution the most bearable of them all, but of course I knew it was impossible so why had I been so disappointed when I found out what I had basically known all along?
Scrutinizing my face in the mirror, I rubbed at the dark circles under my eyes, running a hand through my mousy brown hair I turned on the tap and splashed cool water on my face the icy feeling on my face waking me up instantly. Well as awake as I could be, I trudged back into the hallway noticing my brother peering up the stairs and expectant look crossing his face, I gave him a wave grimacing as he started up the stairs towards me.
“All packed?” he questioned
“Yeah” I nodded as we moved back into my room, he looked around with me as we took it all in, the bare room with just the bed and suitcase, it had been filled with boxes a little over a week ago but they had all been shipped to who knows where in Washington. We both stood there for a few moments before Johnny moved uncomfortably and headed towards the door, leaving me in my empty room to get ready to leave, and this time leaving meant forever.
“Sarah should be here in about five minutes.” I sat on the front step of the house with Johnny beside me; I let out a sigh and furrowed my brow this time tomorrow I would be living in a whole other state, starting a whole new life. Something I’d never imagined myself doing, but then again I never thought I would lose my parents either.
Sarah pulled up in the red rental car giving us a wave as she hopped out of the car. I stood and went to reach for my suitcase but my brother beat me to it, shooting me a smile which I returned as we both looked back at the house as we walked towards the car.
“Wait a second alright?” I called as he shoved the suitcase in the trunk; both Sarah and Johnny shot me confused glances as I turned back to the house removing the camera from the case I had slung around my neck. The camera had been a gift from my mother for my sixteenth birthday; I never left the house without it. It was my mother who helped me fuel my passion for photography, just a hobby of mine for the moment but I had been eager to follow it as a career, my mother and I had talked about it. I wasn’t much of a studious person, school was a drag for me I went for my friends and the awesome photography facilities they had there so when I had decided to drop out of my senior year to pursue my passion my mother had been understanding, enthusiastic to help me achieve my dreams.
I drew in a deep breath, my mother had always been understanding to the point of being to lenient on us kids she let us get away with nearly everything.
Leaning against the car, I focused the lens on the quaint brick house in front of me, making sure the ‘For Auction’ sign wasn’t in my view, hearing the satisfied click of the shutter as I snapped the photo. I knew I wouldn’t forget this place in a hurry, it was after all my home for seventeen years but a physical memoir, even just a simple photo was something I really needed.
The car ride O’Hare airport was quiet; nobody spoke until we were five minutes from the airport. My brother had let out a soft sigh and adjusted himself so he was facing me as I sat in the back of the car.
“Are you nervous?” He asked, his tone was soft as if he hadn’t been sure what words to use. I looked up at him, resting my chin on my duffle bag that I held to my chest. I didn’t know what to say, I guessed I was feeling slightly nervous but other stronger emotions seemed to overpower that right now. Like the overwhelming sense of anger and sadness I had about leaving behind the only life I had known for the past seventeen years.
I shrugged in reply; shrugging had been my answer to a lot of questions lately. Like Veronica’s constant questions to my wellbeing and mental state which I had to admit to myself was rather questionable at the moment and like my friends asking me if I would ever be back. I was so uncertain about the blank future in front of me I couldn’t even find the words to express myself. So I shrugged and prayed they would drop the subject and most of the time out of pity and sympathy they would.
“We better hurry, I didn’t think the traffic would be that bad” Johnny hastily grabbed my suitcase from the trunk of the car, Sarah murmured her agreement, I stood outside the car my duffle bag still clutched to my chest. It was nearing the end of the summer break, Chicago summers where confusing it was always humid with a random thunderstorm here and there. I had dressed in jeans and a white cotton t-shirt today, and on my brothers request this morning grabbed a sweater because apparently the town who’s name I still didn’t want to recall, well the weather there would take some getting used to.
We made our way towards terminal three, Sarah had grabbed onto my hand and I glanced over to her, I noticed her eyes were glassing over and I had to fight back an eye roll, the last think I wanted right now was a tearful farewell it would make it that much harder. I gave her hand a squeeze as we approached the check in, a blonde woman with her hair in tight curls greeted us with an over enthusiastic smile, like tending to my luggage was the greatest thing she had done all day. I swapped amused glances with my brother as we both fought back laughter, I would miss this. I would miss our matching sense of humour over the stupid little things.
With the boarding pass in my hand, I pulled the strap of duffle bag further onto my shoulder we stood at the gate, my brother and eye had both fallen silent when the announcement to board the 435 to Seattle sounded.
Sarah threw her arms around me, I leaned awkwardly against her chest snaking a hand around her and patting her awkwardly on the back. I had always been stunned by how tall and gorgeous Sarah was; she stood at a model like 6’0 while I stood at a pathetic pre-pubescent 5’1.
“You make sure you call us when you get there alright?” Her voice was muffled as she buried her face in the top of my hair, I nodded and replied with an equally muffled ‘yes’ before pulling away from her bone crunching hug to face my brother, his face contorted into several emotions I couldn’t decipher.
“A social worker will pick you up on the other end; Vanessa said his name was Ashley” Social worker, another one just great. I rolled my eyes in spite of myself and Johnny let out an exasperated sigh
“Samantha you better keep that attitude of yours in check when you get to La Push.” What the hell was a La Push? I raised my brows quizzically at him before realisation hit me, the reservation I remember now it was called La Push. Pfft what a stupid name. “Our grandparents are kind enough to take you in, no questions asked” Johnny finished pointedly, and I scowled at him.
“Our grandparents, they might be your grandparents but to me they are strangers.” I added extra emphasis on the word strangers and watched as by brothers face flashed with annoyance.
“Well you’ll be living with these strangers so suck it up. You’ve never had to sacrifice anything in your life so just take it like an adult.” The words stung and I felt my eyes begin to water; I blinked back the tears not noticing that Sarah was scolding my brother. I knew what he was talking about when he mentioned sacrifices, my whole life I had been given everything I wanted, but so had Johnny. Act like an adult? Well the state of Illinois didn’t count me as an adult yet that’s why I was getting sent to live with these people. Stupid contradicting brother.
The announcement to board my flight went again and I hesitated a moment before making my way towards the gate, I expected Johnny to call out to me, to tell me to stop and that he was sorry, that I wouldn’t have to go. He didn’t, and disappointment surged through my body as I handed the flight attendant my boarding pass, fighting the urge to look back because if I looked back there was no way I would get on that plane.
She gave me a soft smile that I didn’t return, as she showed me to my seat. I was sitting by the window a scruffy looking man wearing a baseball cap who didn’t acknowledge me as I sat down, thank god. I had been slightly worried that I would be sat next to some person who was interested in swapping life stories with me, which I had no desire to do.
As I sat watching the same attendant that showed me to my seat running through the typical safety procedures pointing out the emergency exits, my head resting against the cold glass of the window I let out a sigh. I was sixteen with no parents and an uncertain future going to a town with a popular of like fifty people – I know exaggeration but compared to Chicago that’s what it felt like.
Of course the moment I found out that I was moving to the reservation with the ‘stranger grandparents’ I had begun making assumptions, my best friend Lil had fuelled those, according to Lil reservations where filled with troubled youths from troubled families, with gangs, drugs and drinking. It had freaked me out, but Vanessa had assured me La Push was a wonderful place.
I didn’t believe her though; I didn’t believe one word that ever came out of her mouth.
I glanced out the window, realising that the plane was taking off; my stomach lurched uncomfortably as I watched the houses, buildings and cars below getting smaller and smaller.
Bringing my knees to my chest, I brushed my hair in front of my face making a makeshift veil as I clenched my eyes together tightly, the tears I had fought back before threatening to spill over again as I prayed silently that this was all an awful dream, and I would wake up to the bright smile of my mother her sandy hair in braids, bouncing around my bedroom all excited because we were having frosted strawberry pop-tarts for breakfast.
If I didn’t know that this was just my imagination running wild, I was sure I would have let a smile appear on my face.