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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.

[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.

8. Gathered Pride

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It's late, too late
To chase the rainbow that you're after
I'd like to find a compromise
And place it in your hands
My eyes are blind, my ears can't hear
And I cannot find the time." - Elton John.

Chapter Eight

Gathered Pride

October 15th, 2003.

The forest was dark, wet, and completely silent. The trees hunched under the impact of the wind, while the other vegetation rotted away under the endless showers. An eerie chill hung over my head.

Sam's house stood a short distance in front of me. It was strong and sturdy, colored with careful strokes of white paint with windows that were tinted black. Steam and smoke curled into the air from the chimney, hanging low over the roof. A tiny pang grew in the pit of my stomach as I stood away from it, feeling out of place. I was hidden, blending in with the shadows.

I paused as doubt rolled through my mind. Would Sam want me back? Or had my last action got to his last nerve? I thought of Paul, beaten and shaken because of me. What if Paul didn't want to see me anymore? What then?

The rain continued to swoop down with the winds, soaking through my skin. The chill was clearing my mind, bringing out every possibility. I didn't know exactly how long I stood there, contemplating what to do. It could have been seconds, minutes, or maybe even hours. But eventually, I settled on one simple conclusion.

There was only one way to find out.

My feet moved without thought, taking me up the steps and toward the door. My hands curled inward. My palms started to sweat. I took another breath, but the air felt too thick in my throat. I coughed and breathed out slowly. The world was spinning, my breathing matching the gallop of my heartbeat. I waited until my heart was calm before raising my fist. I tapped it against the door a few times, and then forced myself to plant my feet down against the porch. I had come this far already—there was no turning back.

The door opened. It was only cracked at first, just enough to allow a familiar deep voice to be heard. When he spoke in his low, wary tone, my body stilled.

"Who's there?" Sam asked. The dark shape of his mouth was the only thing visible through the door, but the demanding tone got his point across.

I gathered my pride and cleared my voice, standing straighter. I took another breath, letting the icy clarity fill my head again. "Can I come in, Daddy?" I asked in a casual tone, as if I had only been gone for a few hours. It was better to approach carefully than to throw my return at him all at once.

A second passed. Then another. And another. Just when it seemed that Sam wasn't going to react at all, the door flew open.

Warm arms wrapped around me tightly, nearly leaving me breathless. I smiled against the fabric of his shirt, letting my arms, too small to wrap around him, return the hug. Sam's cheek pressed against the top of my head. His free hand smoothed out the tangles of my hair while his body swayed gently. He rocked me back and forth slightly, saying nothing. It took a few minutes for Sam to find his voice.

"Jordan," he whispered quietly to me, seeming to be at a loss for words. My smile widened. I didn't mind if he didn't have anything to say. He didn't have to say anything.

Sam continued to hold me for a little while longer until the questions unfurled. He hurried around the kitchen and threw things together, letting me eat a variety of charred meals he had cooked. Sam waited until I was finished, and then he instantly started to ask me about everything that had happened. I told him about being hungry and sleeping inside of the winds and running from people and fading away into the shadows. I left out the part about Eli, the reason why I had returned.

Sam listened without a single comment, watching me closely. Even though his eyes were sunken and the hurt was clear in his eyes, he had acted as if what I did was okay. It was almost like he understood why, and he didn't care about the side effects of my decision. He understood, and I would always remember that I could rely on that.