Leah is heartbroken when Sam, the love of her life, disappears for two weeks. When he comes back, he's changed, and Leah fears that she's lost Sam forever. It doesn't help that her cousin Emily is there either...
1. Chapter 1
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It had been two weeks and there had been not a sound, not a whisper. I would lie awake night after night, waiting for Sam to return. A sign. A letter. A smoke signal, just something.
Yet there was nothing but the crashing of waves and the howl of a lone wolf to answer my silent pleas.
Every morning I would wake up, a surge of hope spreading through my body. Maybe today would be the day. But my other’s face would always confirm what I knew, deep down in my heart, was true.
Sam had not returned.
Every day I would go to the Uley’s house and ask Levi, Sam’s father. Every day Levi would smile apologetically at me and tell me with cold and distant eyes that Sam was not at home.
By the fifteenth day I was going mad. Mad with worry, mad with fear. I was forgetting him. The way his eyebrow curved up at one of my ridiculous, wild ideas. The twitch in his mouth when he was arm wrestling with Paul or Jared. Even his scent was disappearing, the only item of his that I had now smelling of faded leather than his musky, forest smell.
My mother had had enough. She told me so, one day after school. I was brooding at the kitchen table, remembering the last time Sam and I had been together. Remembering the sounds of the waves as they crashed on the sand, the quiet call of the gulls that flew overhead. Remembering how warm his cheek was against the nape of my neck, remembering the way his hand twisted in my long black hair. Remembering the burning smell of the fire, the smoky ash scent that clung to Sam’s skin, the red and orange flames creating mesmerizing patterns in his brown eyes. Remembering the hoarse way he had called me ‘Lee-Lee’ before his lips touched mine…
“Honey, I have a surprise for you,” my mother said.
She then began to explain that our cousin, Emily was coming for a visit. If anybody had the power of cheering me up, it was Emily.
And Mom was right. The moment Emily arrived I felt my spirits lift. Just her presence, her sense of understanding made me feel better about the situation. I had been close to Emily my whole life. She was more than a cousin, she was a sister.
I told her about Sam. I told her everything, from his sudden disappearance to the handmade wolf charm that I wore at my neck. And Emily let me talk. She let me cry, weeping tears onto her jeans until there was nothing left. Until I had felt every single emotion possible. Love, anguish, heartache, despair, anger, fear, pain…the list went on.
Three days after Emily arrived and everything changed. We came down for breakfast, sleep in our eyes. That feeling of hope, though now small, still lingered in the bottom of my stomach. Yet I still looked at my mother.
Just in case.
She looked back at me, her features softening like they did every morning. But this time they softened to a small smile and a nod of the head. I stood rooted to the spot, my eyes wide and unbelieving.
He was home. Sam - my Sam. Was. Home.
And then my feet twisted me around, and I was outside. I was outside, bare feet, running wildly to the Uley’s. The wind whipped up my hair, throwing it all around me. Sticks and stones and sharp blades of grass cut at my feet, but I didn’t care. Sam was home.
I thundered up the porch steps and banged on the front door, catching my breath. I knew I looked a fright, all wild and still in my pyjamas, but Sam was home. He was home!
Levi Uley answered the door. His eyes widened when he saw me, but he didn’t say anything. The door didn’t open all the way as it usually did when I came around.
“Is he home?” I panted, still catching my breath. Please let it be true, I begged silently. Please!
Levi stared straight at me, no change in his facial expression. He nodded, the movement ever so slight.
“Can I see him?”
“No. He is resting.” Levi was short and abrupt. I always thought he was a little kooky, but never like this. I opened my mouth to protest, but the look he gave me changed my mind.
“Can you tell him I was here?”
Levi nodded his head and slammed the door in my face.
I stood on his front porch, astounded. Levi had never treated like this. Sure he was blunt, but still…
At home I was quiet. My mother sensed my distress, but never said anything. It was Emily who spoke first. “Did you see Sam?”
I shook my head in response. “He was…sleeping.” My voice was small, barely a whisper. And they left it at that. I went back upstairs, back into bed. A horrible feeling gnawed in my stomach. Please let him be okay, I pleaded. Keep him safe! I repeated the words over and over again, until I fell back to sleep, letting the tears run silently down my face.
When I woke up again, I was disorientated for a few seconds. I brushed the hair out of my eyes and then realized why the sun was beating down through my window. I slowly rose, making the bed carefully before getting changed. It was while I was brushing out the tangled knot that my hair had become that I first heard the voices. And then one voice, the one I had been hearing in my head for the last two weeks…
I took the stairs two at a time, bursting into the kitchen. The voices stopped immediately, but my eyes were only for the tall, copper skinned man that leant against the countertop. His long black hair was gone, replaced by hair that was only a small stubble - a number one, I think hairdressers called it. He looked…different, somehow. More muscular. His face looked tired.
My voice barely came out as a whisper. I was rooted to the ground, unable to move. I so very much wanted to run into his arms and hug him. I wanted to feel his arms around mine, his face in my hair. I wanted him to tell me that everything was okay, that he was okay. But I never moved. For the first time in our relationship, I was scared. But of what?
It was then I remembered that there was some-one else in the room. I turned my head, noticing Emily at the kitchen table. Her eyes were wide and there was a funny look on her delicate face. A look I couldn’t quite place. I looked back at Sam, who was staring at Emily. There was a funny look on his face as well, but this look had something familiar about it, a familiarity that I couldn’t put my finger on.
I continued watching, like a spectator at a baseball game, as the seconds went by too slowly. It was then that a knot formed in the lower pit of my stomach, as I recognized that familiar look Sam wore on his face. A face that looked older.
It was a look that he had always given me. One that always came before those three, tiny words. So why was he looking at Emily - my cousin - in that same way?