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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.


7. Eli

Rating 0/5   Word Count 2771   Review this Chapter

"They say bad things happen for a reason
But no wise words gonna stop the bleeding." - The Script.

Chapter Seven

Eli

October 14th, 2003.

Time had blown by. It seemed like just the other day when Paul, Jacob, Nicole, and I were together. I clearly remembered the many times we had gone out together, explored the forest, joked around, fake-fought in the mud, and had a good time. In reality, just the other day, I was still all on my own, fishing in a river with nobody to talk to but myself. There wasn't even a voice in my head to keep me company.

I had grown a lot, even though I had been living in the vast expanse of wilderness. I wasn't short for my age anymore—I was just the opposite. I stood at five feet, nine inches. I was taller than nearly all thirteen-year-old girls on the reservation, if not all of them. My hair had grown out again. It tumbled down past my shoulders. My eyes had faded into a darker blue hue, and my skin was just as dark as the other Quileutes'. The years had also brought a more mature look to my face. I was probably unrecognizable, not only with the changes, but with all the time I had spent on my own.

Most of the changes were part of the aftermath of my lone lifestyle. I still hadn't returned to Sam. All I was doing was trying to ease my troubled mind, not avoid him. I was unsure if he understood that or not. Still, I knew I wasn't ready to face him. So, I stayed away, but when his back was turned, I had always taken the opportunity to go in and leave some sign that I was okay—a few words scribbled in my curly handwriting on the table, the door left wide open—things like that. I knew Sam noticed them when he started answering. It started one day when he was out at work; I had snuck in and found a reply carved into the table.

"I'm still with you. Even if you don't see me, I'm there."

Although I didn't quite understand the meaning, the words still brought a smile to my face. Just knowing that Sam was supporting me was enough to rid myself of the guilt, but not the pain.

I enjoyed the space, the time to think. But ever since the news of Paul's disappearance, I had considered going home. I fought the pull to go home—I had to heal before I returned. It wasn't an easy choice, but it was necessary.

Sometimes, I told myself that Paul was okay. He was probably just lying low while the press pressured him for information. He was probably just keeping me safe.

The words were convincing, but deep down, I knew they were lies. Jared, one of Sam's younger friends, had temporarily dropped out of school due to a horrible case of mono. Apparently another young man, whom I guessed to be Paul due to his alarming absence, had followed. The article didn't give any more information other than a brief warning about the sickness itself.

Ever since I had snuck by Paul's house and found it empty, falling to sleep at night had become a challenge. My head shifted around in the dead leaves, wanting to feel the familiar comfort in the crook of his shoulder. My stomach was constantly knotted, making me unwilling to eat. I was constantly on alert, waiting as if Paul would suddenly appear through the bushes.

Not only that, but I couldn't tell him about empty eyes, running off into the woods, loony bins, gangs, families, fighting, or even knowing what it felt like to fall asleep hungry. Paul, who had always been the one I could rant with, wasn't there. Sometimes, I would talk as if he was there, but that started to feel really stupid really quickly, so I just bottled things up inside me, letting everything burn and boil. I let the compressed emotions change me—I let them drive me forward. In my darkest hours, I let the emotions strengthen me. I was independent, and I was fighting, just as I'd learned to do. Just as I should have been.

Because I was fighting, I had the strength to keep going. I learned to never worry—Sam's hints in his answers told me that Paul was completely fine and he was still there, even though I didn't realize it. Sam's words brought a sliver of hope that things would be normal again. But how could I come back, and how could I make things normal, after I had been away for so long? I couldn't answer that question myself, and so I continued to drift away from reality. I was slowly falling into a calm, empty world of my own. It might have driven me nuts, but I didn't mind at all.

The public trails created a gigantic maze through the reservation. They were peaceful and carefully created so that the winding paths never disturbed the quiet wildlife. I spent my free time out there, running. I was always running.

My pace was a steady, brisk jog. The damp ground was frosted a light brown, sprinkled with dusty grains of dirt that spat up in clouds in reaction to even the smallest pressure of a footfall. Air whisked effortlessly into my lungs with every breath. The air was untainted as if it was never exposed to anything outside of the natural forest. Breathing it in was as refreshing as ice water after hours of vigorous exercise.

The gentle breeze played with my hair. Its cool breath swirled about, causing the leaves in the trees to shiver. Every rush of air brought an autumn scent: fresh and crisp, like blooming apples. The air alone cleared my mind completely.

Eventually, the sun began to sink into the horizon, signaling sunset. Buttery rivers of warm sunlight spilled through the tangled webs of tree branches. The feeling of the setting sun on my face brought some warmth, but it couldn't chase away the chill. When the day transitioned into night, I knew I had to head for cover.

While I angled my body to turn, a sharp crackle of a snapping twig broke the silence. My foot thumped noisily on the ground, jolting me to a stop while causing dust to be spat into the air. My muscles tensed. I slowly scanned the forest, not noticing much, other than the splashes of brilliant fall color against the rugged landscape.

I almost shrugged it off and continued making my way toward the edge of the forest. I would have done just that, when suddenly I caught a luster of grey against the bright autumn colors. I blinked, trying to get a clearer view of what the color belonged to, but I only saw a green puff of what appeared to be a sprouting bush was where the grey thing was a moment ago.

Maybe it was a wild animal of some sort, I thought to myself. Caution caused adrenaline to course through my veins. I swallowed, slowly turning around. Every kid in the tribe was taught to never make any sudden movements when under a possible threat of a vicious animal.

Whatever the thing was, I thought my turn had startled it. My only warning was the clicking sound of snapping teeth before I faced a blur of blue-grey fur and caught a flash of bared, white fangs.

My heartbeat exploded into a frenzied rhythm, going crazy inside my chest. The impact blasted me back against the ground; the strong weight of my attacker pinned me down at the chest. Tears sprang in my eyes in reaction to the spicy sting of dirt that puffed into the air. My arm reached out, and my fingers combed across the trail until they bumped something rough and damp—a broken tree branch. Instantly, I curled my fingers tightly around the branch and pulled it to me.

I sucked a breath through my teeth, firmly raising my pathetic weapon. Energy rolled through me while I prepared myself to strike, but I stopped myself, because now that the cloud of dust cleared, I didn't see the vicious stare of a hungry predator. Instead, I was looking back into two wide, caramel eyes.

The branch tumbled out of my open fingers, clattering against a rock. I relaxed while staring at the playful expression of the large dog that hovered over me. Its perked ears captured my eye; they refused to flop but were far from straight, like some sort of in-between.

"Here, Amber!"

I tensed, suddenly aware that there was another presence. The dog didn't even seem to notice, though. With a tiny huff, it bounded away from me, allowing me to stand and brush myself off. Leaves were caught in my hair and dirt was stubbornly sticking to my running shorts. I was too tense to look up, knowing that whoever owned the dog would probably think I was a homeless person. When I was in defense mode, if anybody did try to come too close, they would be losing a tooth. Or two.

"Need some help there?"

I jumped, taken off guard when the voice hit my ears. I tensed even more, and my mind scrambled. The tone was familiar somehow. My head snapped up, and my eyes narrowed at the sight of the boy in front of me.

The boy's features were mostly Quileute, tall and toned, finished off with the traditional tan and mildly tamed black hair. His bangs occasionally flopped over eyes that matched the color of dark chocolate; the eyes that gave finished off his tribal-like appearance. With a toothpaste-commercial-worthy smile, this was the kind of boy who could melt even the toughest girl.

It was a good thing his appearance distracted the eyes. Nobody really ever noticed how his walk was somewhat awkward. The boy's left leg was just a fraction of a second out of rhythm, causing him to sway slightly with every step. It was like he was going around with only one shoe on. Still, I would've never noticed if I wasn't staring, or if I hadn't been around him so much.

His name was Elijah Clearwater—he was a distant relative of the Clearwater family. He went to the tribal school, like any other Quileute living on the reservation. Elijah was nothing more than a classmate. At least, that was what I told myself. Translation: nothing was going on between us, and I wasn't even sure if he noticed me. But I had my eye on him.

It took me a moment to come back to reality and realize he spoke to me. I blinked, gathering myself back up again. "I'm fine," I insisted quickly.

He flashed one of his heart-stopping smiles. His hand reached out toward my own. "Elijah Clearwater."

The color faded out of my face. Did I really look so unrecognizable that he didn't know who I was? My jaw clenched when I gazed back into his eyes. I slowly wrapped my fingers around his and shook his hand once. I couldn't help but notice the warmth of his hand and the confidence in his grip. My fingers trembled when I quickly dropped his hand.

He searched my expression, his eyes narrowed with what seemed like suspicion. Did he think I was weird? Did I look bad? Well, living in the woods wouldn't make me look all that great, but still. My heart thumped while I watched his expression, trying my best to mask my panic.

After a few minutes of silence, Elijah flashed a smile bright enough to blind me. "Well, if it isn't the famous Jordan Uley! So glad to see you aren't dead like the rumors say." His eyes scanned my face when I continued to stand there stiffly, silent. "Don't you look like you've been busy. What have you been doing anyway?" Elijah asked, breaking through the silence with a smirk that tugged at the corners of his lips. He raised an eyebrow in question, most likely for effect.

I wanted to protect myself; to throw myself forward and knock Elijah's teeth right out of his jaw; to eliminate the threat that his questions caused. But, Elijah's gaze had pinned me, getting rid of that plan without a problem. By accident, even. Mentally, I was giving myself a pep talk to avoid doing something that would cause harm to his beautiful face.

"I'm far from famous," I answered smoothly, focused on keeping my breathing even. "And I've been…around. I think it'd be more interesting to know why the famous Elijah Clearwater would be wandering in the woods?"

His smirk morphed into a grin. "Interesting, huh?" Elijah paused. He turned and waved a hand behind him in the direction that the dog had disappeared. "Just a little chore. Nothing special." He shrugged, and then looked at me directly again. "You can call me Eli."

Once again, his gaze set me into another defensive mode. I nodded, casually making some space between us. "Eli. Got it." The use of the name seemed to ease the awkward feeling while I allowed some form of a smile to play on my lips. He returned the smile but didn't press me further.

Still smiling, he leaned against a tree, one hand spread out against the bark. His bangs flopped over his eyes and the muscles in his right arm flexed at the movement. I stared for a moment before turning to look at his face. I spoke a little too quickly, still not having collected myself. "So, just a chore?"

"Pretty much."

"Oh?" I raised an eyebrow. "Nobody wanders in the woods for no reason."

"Maybe I just wanted to come out looking to see where this apparently crazy girl went. Nobody runs away for no reason, after all." He lifted his left eyebrow. His lips twitched.

"Was that a joke?"

"Possibly."

"You're kinda stubborn."

"You're kinda cute."

The words were blunt, completely straightforward, and not the least bit hesitant. My heart hammered in my ribs, soaring sky high. I blinked, taking another minute to gather my thoughts. "I . . . what?"

Eli moved forward again, forcing me to stare at him. He smiled, looking rather cute himself. It didn't help that he was only inches away. His words came out slowly when he explained, "I was planning on going biking on Friday. I don't know any girl tough enough to stay out in the forest like this for so long and live without freaking out, and I like that. You've got my attention, and I think you're kinda cute, but I wanna know more. You should come along."

I was torn between the feelings of suspicion and pure excitement. I had to shake my head in order not to stare. I breathed in slowly and collected my scattered thoughts before I looked at him."Any other reason?"

"You've been gone for a while, and you can't stay away forever. It'd be really cool if you came back. . . It couldn't hurt, right?"

I swallowed back the thick lump in my throat and met his eyes. I managed to smile and nod my head. "I'm in."

His eyes brightened slightly, as if he was just as happy as I was. "Awesome." He looked over his shoulder, tilting his head as he listened into the silent woods. I listened, too, until I made out the faint combination of anxious barks and howls.

"Well, I gotta run. See you in school, hopefully." Eli flashed another grin and then turned, jogging back along the trail.

I smiled after him, standing there until I managed to slow my spinning mind. What the hell had just happened? Elijah Clearwater, the boy who had the whole school in his hands just with his charm and smile, just asked me on a date? Or was there more to it? Why me?

Mulling it over, I started to work my way home, making the decision in a snap second. This couldn't be a trick, even though it had happened so fast. He probably was in a hurry, and . . . and so he had to rush to ask. Yeah, that seemed logical.

My pace quickened, powered by the rush of my heart. I couldn't help thinking that maybe everything wasn't going to be so tough anymore after all, and that the past years of my life were just a few bumps and crashes in the road.

If only everything could ever be so simple.