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Monster

Summary:
I'm nothing but a monster burning in a hell that only exists in my head. There's no hope left until one harmless glance chances logic and binds two eternal enemies together in a twist of fate. Can the escape from this hell be found in an infuriating dimpled grin? Or is this another dark, dirty trick of my own mind? A forbidden passion, heat, and intense anger—this is no fairytale.


Notes:
[Disclaimer: Monster is an originally plotted fic. The ideas within this fic are not to be copied in any way, shape, or form—I have not given my consent to any manner of copying. All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the intellectual property of their respective owners. All canon concepts and characters are the property of the Twilight Saga's author, Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended. Similarities are for the sole use of fan fiction, and no profit has been or will be benefited from the posting of this fic.] Emerging Swan Award 2012, nominated into Fandom Choice Awards.


34. Choices

Rating 0/5   Word Count 4670   Review this Chapter

"All the emptiness inside you
Is hard enough to fill
Without a sense of purpose
We're setting up to fail." - Imagine Dragons.

Chapter Thirty Four

Choices

Everything else passes in a blur. My memory is foggy, empty of anything other than the feel of Emmett's muscled chest as my head rests against it. It seems as if that lone memory has overpowered memories of my return home to the point where I don't remember going home at all. I exhale through my nose, releasing a warm breath as I begin to wake up. A bleak, grey light is visible through the crack of my sleep-heavy lids. I have slept through morning patrol, again. Sam's going to fry me for breakfast if I keep this up. I shift my weight, feeling the edge of the bed disappear. I frown, forcing one eye completely open, only to meet two circles of gold.

Emmett's eyes are a few inches above my own. He hovers over me, and by his expression, I can guess he's been like that for a while. A large grin breaks out across his face as both of my eyes open completely. "Good morning."

I shoot up into a sitting position. My head knocks against Emmett's, crashing right into his bent forehead. I tense in place and clench my hands into the couch, trying to ignore the throbbing in my temple. My gaze darts around the Cullen house, searching through the room for any sign of another Cullen. My senses tell me that the house is empty of any vampires, with the exception of the giant one beside me. I still don't ease up, though, and I send my narrowed eyes across the house one more time. The movement of Emmett's fingers, rubbing slowly over his forehead, distracts my gaze.

He chuckles lowly. "You have nothing to worry about. We're completely alone. And I was even a gentleman—I didn't take advantage of the situation and let things go to the bedroom. Yet."

"And you're saying that I spent the whole night here, on the couch?" I ask him slowly.

"Yeah, sure did," he confirms proudly, seeming oblivious to the indirect growl in my tone.

"Shit," I mutter. In one movement, I shift off the couch, careful not to knock him off. My feet move quickly across the floor as I head straight for the door, not slowing even though they are echoed by another pair of footsteps.

Emmett follows right behind me, tossing a baseball from palm to palm. He is completely at ease, his body relaxed. "Aw, come on, you can stay a little longer. I'll . . . behave. I'll even show you to my bed if you hate couches that much."

My feet plant on the floor. I turn back to look at him, studying the innocent amusement in his gaze. His bright eyes, smooth face, and black curls make him nearly irresistible. The deep, low tone of his voice doesn't help much. I fight against the urge to actually keep myself right here, with him, knowing that doing so will only cause more trouble than it's worth.

"And thanks for that, or whatever the hell I'm supposed to say to the vampire who let me sleep in his house all night. The pack is probably going nuts right now."

He grins. "Let them. This isn't something for them to worry over, is it?"

I exhale sharply, shaking my head. The closeness of his face is starting to make my heart flutter, but I won't cave in. "It's gonna be really hard to behave when the pack comes out here to shred you."

"If it's action, I'm your guy," he says while cracking his knuckles for emphasis.

I release another sharp breath before turning back toward the door. A smile works its way onto my lips, and I let it stay there, unable to push it away. "You'll get your action with that family of yours when they catch my scent. But until then, I gotta make sure the pack isn't planning on doing something stupid."

This time, when I turn, a cold hand catches my wrist. Emmett's fingers lock around my hand, pulling me close to him. I look back and open my mouth to speak, to ask what the hell he thinks he's doing, but I don't get the chance.

His cool lips find mine while his hands close around my waist. The baseball in his hand rolls down my thigh and drops to the floor, forgotten. There is something different in this kiss, something new in the way his lips move. I respond to him without the slightest bit of hesitation, allowing my tense body to gradually relax in his hold.

As my shoulders drop back into place, Emmett laughs once against my lips. His mouth pulls back, but then continues to follow the shape of my jaw before pausing at my ear.

"Just promise me you'll come back," he whispers.

The fresh sting of his scent in my nostrils is intoxicating. I find myself pulling in each breath of him, my head swimming with the effect it has. My hands are tingling with a strong desire to touch the source of the scent, to feel his body beneath them, but they remain locked in place. I take a few minutes to form just one word.

"Promise."

"Very good." Emmett flashes a smug grin, but it is gone a moment later. He sighs heavily before sulking over to the door and pulling it open. He turns his head to look at me expectantly. I slip by him, close enough that my body brushes against his. It's a risky action, but I just can't help myself. For a moment, I swear his body tenses against my own, but I continue down the porch without paying any mind to it. Once my feet hit the grass, I glance back at him one last time.

"Feel free to bring me back some action," he says. His right eye winks before the door slides shut behind him.

I smile to myself as I duck beneath the thick shade of the trees. The second the darkness closes around me, the smile drops—I have to focus now. I strip my clothes off my body before I drag the heat of the wolf out from my core. I fall out of my human skin in the blink of an eye. My paws brush against the ground before they set into the rhythm of an easy lope. There is only a single second of the peaceful murmur of the natural forest sounds before the pack's thoughts bombard my mind.

Jordan!

There's the leech lover!

She's really done it now!

That was so awesome! She's a legend!

Can't we all just forget about this and go back on patrol? And we're missing lunch. I'm starving!

Say that one more time and you'll be missing a lot more than just lunch.

Oh, take it easy, Leah.

Shut up, damn it. Here she comes!

Each mind is jittery with excitement. Images of a pacing circle of wolves flash into my mind. Glimpses of bare, shining teeth and raised hackles mix their way into the images. Anger swells in the minds of some, while others are filled with an open worry.

Stale scents of wolves fill my nostrils. I snort at the smell of them, my paws passing over them right before I hit the treaty line. The pack has been in Cullen land recently. They have been near-crossing, and close to coming to the Cullen land. I growl once at the thought.

Another growl answers my own. It's louder, though, something that means to override my own. A shimmer rings in the air, signaling that another has joined us. The pack mind hushes as they hear the voice of the new mind, all of them seeming to sense that they shouldn't speak just now.

His thoughts slam into those of the pack, forcing everything else out into silence. The volume of them is cranked on high, blocking out everything else. He injects a fire into the mind, directing everything into my mind in a single blast. I push my legs faster, racing toward the clearing. The world disappears from around me as my mind is filled with the thoughts of another.

The green vegetation sweeps over a russet muzzle, ticking the tips of the rough, spinal fur. Anxious thoughts fill the wolf's head as he creeps forward, crouched low to the ground. Why hasn't she answered his call? She has told him she will be over at five, but she hasn't showed up. Has the leech got to her again, or has she really given up on him? Does she think that he will stop fighting for her even if she starts to try to pull away from him?

A single light shines from the house, bringing color to the dark of the night. The wolf silently circles the flood of light, making sure to stay in the silence. He raises his muzzle toward the window and pauses, his deep-set eyes skimming over the house. He lets out a low mutter, the sound rumbling from deep within his throat. The wolf pauses as he listens.

There is only silence for a moment. The wolf huffs, blowing out a hot breath from his muzzle. He pauses again, waiting, until the window is thrown up. He pulls his lips back as a wolfish grin spreads over his expression. But, the grin is only on his face briefly—a moment later, his eyes catch the glimmer of tears that shine on the face of the brown-eyed girl.

The wolf is abruptly gone. He now occupies the form of a manhe has shifted from wolf to Jacob. His shaking hands snatch up the cutoffs tied around the man's ankle, tugging them up to his hips. Jacob ducks into the light, his thick brows furrowed over his eyes. "Bella?"

"What do you want, Jacob?"

Jacob frowns at the cold, sharp edge in Bella's voice. He shoves his hands in his pockets and glances around before smiling brightly. "Reporting for duty."

"You have better things to protect than me. You're wasting your time," she snaps.

"What the hell are you talking about?" Jacob's muscles tighten at her words. He can feel the rain starting to patter down on his half-naked form, and he is uneasy about being so exposed in the dark without his wolf senses, but he can't back away now. Something is wrong with her, his girl. He can sense it.

Bella takes in a long breath through her nose. She slides a hand through her hair, biting her lip as she leans farther away from the window. "You're tired. You . . . you need to sleep."

Jacob's eyes narrow, his arms folding across his chest. "You're a really awful liar, you know that?"

She sighs. "Yes, I've heard."

"Oh." Jacob's lips twitch, his throat tightening as he holds back a growl. He shifts his weight, moving back into the shadows. "So that's it? You're just going to let him take your life now? What happened to graduating high school?"

"No, Jake, it's not him"

"It's not him, it's you, right?" Jacob's body is slowly starting to be infected with heatthe shakes that change his form tremble in his limbs. A hot tear stabs the corner of his eye. He shakes his head, pulling his hands loose to rake them through his hair. The leech must have gotten to her, moving in early, ending all chances for himself.

"Wait!"

Jacob casts a darkened glance up at Bella. His whole body is shaking now, and he needs to leavehe has to get out of here. He angles his shoulder to move away, but Bella's shout paralyzes him. His feet are rooted to the ground. He has no choice but to silently stare up at her, unmoving.

"Don't go!" Bella makes some sort of frustrated, shuddering sigh, running her hand through her thick hair. "It's just…one of your friends said something."

Jacob pauses. He takes a minute to mull over her words. "What?"

Bella breathes out through her nose, trying to calm herself out. "I don't know why. She was over at the Cullens. We were supposed to meet her; she was Emmett's new . . . girlfriend. Then she told me I was just causing you and the pack trouble, and that you need me to go away."

Jacob listens intently as Bella frantically gushes out the truth. His hands clench and his jaw follows. He feels his nostrils flare while they release a sharp breath. Jordan is trying to keep Bella away from him? Jordan has been hurting Bella? He says nothing, but he rips his feet free of the invisible hold and charges off into the forest.

"Jacob!" Bella shouts out. She leans out the window, staring into the forest. Jacob's gaze briefly meets hers, and then he is gone.

Her voice echoes above the treetops before it fades into the memory.

I burst through the tangle of branches, entering a wide clearing. I slow my pace, my gaze whipping across each pacing form, ignoring the curious raise of each large head. The wolves all are staring at me, their human eyes looking over my body for any sign of a bite mark, but I don't take any notice. He's coming, and he's pissed. I snap my teeth, eager to meet his rage with my own.

Moments later, Jacob comes flying out of the brush on the other side. Thoughts of surprise ring through the pack mind, followed by wolves leaning back, moving away from the charging wolf. My gaze meets his infuriated dark eyes expectantly. He flashes his teeth and pushes off the ground, giving his lunge all he has.

I am ready for his attack. I absorb the force of his weight in my braced crouch. The rough coat of his fur snags against mine, and his snarling, snapping jaws reach for my face, my ear, my throat—anything he can get. Heat radiates off his form, and the wild sense of fury sets the air on fire. I am powered by the blaze, though. I heave my weight to the side in one sudden, violent movement. The large form above me crashes down into a tree with an enraged howl.

My muzzle tenses, pulling back over my teeth. I stand tall before Jacob, leaning my weight back in a defensive pose—I'm ready to strike at any moment. The mental silence of the pack behind me gives us the spotlight, and I can feel the control slipping; I can feel the monster breaking free inside of me. A little pissy today, Black?

Jacob slams down into the ground, pushing back up onto his paws a heartbeat later. He shakes his head, clearing the slivers of wood from his fur. His dark eyes connect with mine again and he advances forward, leaving the split tree behind him. Jacob's head lowers warningly as he stares at me, leaning forward as he moves closer with each roll of his muscled shoulders.

HOW COULD YOU?

My body leans to the side, away from his advance. My paws move over the ground, my body unexposed as I circle around the challenging wolf. He stands nearly half a head taller than me, but I sense no threat. I won't ever back down.

How could I not? I snap. Damn bitch had it coming.

She had a leech in her bedroom! She has another leech chasing after her! She has enough going on, she doesn't need this! Jacob snarls.

It's that she has so many problems with leeches, yet she is hell-bent on becoming one. She doesn't need you either, Jacob. I push another snarl through my teeth, echoing the sound of his own. She doesn't need anything more than a reality check. Consider it a favor.

Maybe we should all just forget about this and go home, Seth thinks. His wide gaze darts between Jacob and me. No wolf moves, although a few throats rumble in irritation at Seth's suggestion.

Our circling pulls closer together. The crackle of Jacob's anger is fueling me for what is bound to come. I never move my challenging stare, instinctively trained to never falter. Jacob's head snaps over his shoulder as he passes by again, his paws digging into the loam beneath us with every step.

Bella needs me! Bella needs US! Bella doesn't know what she's thinking, she . . . she just needs our protection before she makes the wrong choice!

Should her choice really have such a big effect on us? Should our pack really be so intent on what she does, while we have a whole tribe to defend from all of these leeches? Should we really be so concerned about a human who is ready to break the one thing that holds peace between us and the Cullens? My ears press flat at the thought. The funny thing is, the more I hear about her, the more I know she's nothing but shit and bad news.

Jacob is the first to crack. He throws his weight up before slamming it down against the ground. He curls his lip back and throws his head forward in a stand-still lunge. She did NOTHING wrong!

I snort, ignoring the uneasy shuffle of slowly retreating wolves around us. My stare stays steady on the dark, glittering glare of Jacob's eyes. I'll tell you what. Once you imprint on that pathetic little human, I'll leave the damsel alone and let you be her piss-on. Until then, consider yourself having your own duties done for you, free of charge. You'll wake up soon, and then you'll have the little bit of dirty work done for you. I flash my teeth in a mocking, wolf-like grin.

Jacob can't take it any longer. His temper explodes, sweeping out into the pack mind. He rushes toward me head-on, snarling and spitting as he charges. The move is too predictable, and it leaves so many opportunities. It's a stupid one, and a rash move that can end fatally. But Jacob is far past the point of speaking.

Instinct starts to overtake me. I ram against Jacob's body, lifting our bodies up in the air. Jacob swipes his paws at me, throwing his weight forward as much as he can with the slight bit of balance his hind paws allow. I bring my head down as he lunges, allowing instinct to take over. My jaws spread while my muzzle meets his throat. The taste of salt stings my tongue while my teeth slice through his throat.

Shakes loosen my muscles, the predator inside of me consuming the other thoughts in my mind. The wind rushes by as gravity takes us down, but I don't notice. My teeth continue to cut through, the world around me completely shut off. I will continue to tear through him now that I have taken hold.

Suddenly, a roar breaks through the voice of my instincts. Jacob's body is yanked out from beneath me. My paws thud to the ground, and my vision is blocked out in a wall of a brown coat. I inhale sharply, feeling the rush of the moment shoot back into me.

Jacob, are you hurt?

What were you doing?

Told you Uley was something else.

What happened here?

Sam's large, black body circles around the pack, approaching the gathered wolves. He has appeared from nowhere, seeming to have stepped straight through the brush. His eyes graze over the pack, and then down to Jared, who stands firmly between Jacob and my shaking bodies.

I dunno, Sam, but I'd bet there was a fight. Jared glances down at the splatter of blood on the wet grass.

Sam's gaze pierces into Jacob's, filled with silent warning. Jacob lowers his head and snarls at him, but returns his stare. He pauses for a moment, listening to his thoughts, before he turns on me. Sam snaps as he saunters forward. His ears press flat as he addresses me. Jordan, where have you been?

I narrow my eyes at his demanding tone. Does it matter? If you send me out the door every morning without saying a single word, why should you give a damn about where I go?

Leah spits a growl out, shaking her head. Impatience is buzzing in her mind as she holds her place beside Seth, at the very back of the gathered circle of wolves. Do you even have to ask? She's has an imprint now, of course she can't help herself.

Brady and Collin whine from the back of the pack, wary of the tense emotions. They shuffle closer to Seth, drawn in by his similar emotions. A few wolves grumble at them, but otherwise, they don't move.

Sam slams his paw down, insisting on being answered. His dark gaze holds mine, his stiff shoulders set. You were with him?

It's legal. I reveal my teeth.

Snarls pass through the pack. My gaze flickers in the direction of the loudest one, only to meet the gaze of the largest grey wolf. His pace remains frozen in place, although his attention is all on the tense wolves. His eyes seem to be somewhat amused, but the raised fur on his neck says otherwise.

She went over there and bitched at Bella, Sam, Nicole chimed in. She shifted her weight and leaned her head over to look at Sam, taking a wary step forward. She was unnecessarily rude and it upset Jake.

The pack mind grows hushed again, each wolf struggling to contain their own opinion. Jacob's gaze shoots in Nicole's direction, but she purposely keeps her back to him. I feel a strong need to sink my teeth into the both of them, but the healing scar on Jacob's neck and the order of Sam's presence hold me back.

Sam growls once more and raises himself to stand again. He meets the gaze of each wolf in the back. Jared shifts behind him, watching. I scrape a paw through the mud, struggling to hold myself back once more.

This might very well be a diversion, a distraction. Jared, sort out patrols. Jacob, go home and get some rest. And Jordan. Sam pauses as he contemplates. Go home.

The pack's thoughts start to rise up again. Jared sorts out the wolves with directions and duties, sending them all off toward different areas. The wolves make a wide arch around me before they jog into the brush, refusing to look at me. Jacob is the only one who pays me any mind—he growls lowly at me before pushing through the brush. One by one, each wolf files out. Even the large grey one disappears without a single look.

It's as if I don't exist.

Sam is expecting me to return home. As if I will. I remain in the muddy, empty clearing, slowly gathering myself. Yet again, I have committed another crime: the crime of spending a night with him.

Bullshit! All of his punishments are weightless on me now; as weightless as the air that shimmers to fit the form of my human body. I have no clothes, and the rain seeps into my hair, running down my neck and breasts, but I don't even mind. I am in motion once more, moving through the forest silently, unnoticed.

The forest floor pierces my feet, but I barely notice, my naked feet accustom to the rough landscape. The vegetation tugs at my bare skin, and I swear I can hear it snarling at me, challenging me to break. I press forward, each step the drag of a heavy, invisible chain that is yanking me back to my family. The pull of my loyalty, that's what it is. I am going against everything, pushing behind everything, all for him.

The weight of my choice pulses in my head. It is as if it is beating against the edges of my skull, threatening to break through and let loose the contents of my darkened mind in one moment. I flash my teeth and let out a strangled sound—a sound that is not human, not animal, but somewhere in between.

My foot stretches out in front of me again, but the invisible chain yanks me back. I crash down to my hands and knees, my fingers sinking into the wet leaves and muck. My damp hair sways on other side of my face, blocking my view. The air around me is too tight, too heavy, and has too much moisture. I am constricted, feeling myself choke on my own breath. Waves of heat beat down on my exposed back, melting through my skin, burrowing in deep. The wolf in me thrashes, sending shakes throughout my frame. I am pulling apart, falling into pieces, breaking open after years of sealing off everything inside me.

A voice is whispering in my ear. The words are feather-light, nothing more than a hum on the breeze. No. No, don't do this. Get up.

I raise my head, my lip pulling back in a frozen snarl. Breath pushes through the spaces of my teeth, coming in short pants. The shakes have spread to my shoulders, steadily climbing down into my wrists. My hands tremble, sliding deeper into the mud.

Chains wind around my ankles. They inch back slowly, dragging me back a little more, taking me farther out of my own body. I whip one arm forward, clamping my fingers down on a slick tree root.

No. This is my choice.

The chains hiss, snapping around my waist. My whole torso shakes as they pull, the heat reflecting off my body, blazing like an open fire. Even the weight of my choice is leaning down over my head, hovering, threatening to crush me and break open sealed scars.

No. This is my fate, my choice.

Rain dribbles down my hand, sliding down my arm. I push off my arm, grinding my teeth together. I'm done with this shit. I'm ready to start over—I'm ready to find myself and let everything else behind me.

This isn't wrong.

Selfish. They will think I'm selfish. I am selfish to try to fix myself. It is very, very selfish to heal one's self after they have been cruel, crooked, and broken for so long. They'll never fully realize how stupid it is to contain me, holding me down and pressuring me until the monster inside of me breaks loose. My mental endurance is a ticking time bomb.

This is my chance, my fate, and my choice.

Emmett is something new, something strange and unnatural. He is a vibe of life. Emmett is a chance at healing myself—he is something that is within reach, something real and alive that I can catch and hold onto. Something that can bring me—the real me, the person trapped deep within the mess of myself—back alive again. He's a second chance.

He is a second chance. He is my own personal medicine, and he might have a cure. I have to find myself, and I have to be put back together. I have to be a someone and not a something.

I have to take the chance, if not for myself, then for the sake of every sane, living soul around; unless any of them thoroughly enjoy mass destruction of the world around them. Unless they truly to believe the tie of fate has deemed me an unworthy mess.

There is no pausing now, and there is no struggle. I force myself to my feet, breaking free of the invisible chains. The wind catches the screaming, protesting chains that have bound me down and sucks them away; sucks them into nothingness.

I run at a steady pace, with purpose and a renewed fire. To the first thing that might just understand. To the one thing I can hope for.

To the last thing that can possibly keep me together now.