Disbelief rang from the four of us after Jake had finished
filling us all in on Sam's pack's latest scandal. We all stared
at him, stunned by what we had just seen in his mind. Jake was
grim and clearly unhappy. Naturally, I was the first to break the
You have got to be kidding me, I snorted, digging my paws
into the ground, ready to go.
That's pretty unexpected, commented Seth.
Who cares? Let's go, I said vaulting myself into a run.
Seth was right though- it was definitely unexpected. The fact
that those wolves were able to run off right under Sam's nose was
enough of a shock. Well not exactly under his nose, they sort of
argued from a distance while they were running away and broke
off... anyway it was a shock and I'm talking a brilliant one.
Better yet was the expression on Sam's face when he realised that
three members of his pack had made off with a bunch of future
ones. Jake felt slightly guilty about revealing that to us but he
was hardly gossip queen material. We would've found out anyway. I
still can't help but smirk at how the mighty Alpha's number
dropped in the blink of an eye. It would've increased if only
those little werewolves to be hadn't decided to play runaways.
Leah, quit it, Jake said dismissively.
Dude, give me a break or I'll do a runner too.
I'd like to see you try.
Oh I'm perfectly capable. Don't tempt me.
I tried focusing on getting where Sam's pack and his 'guests'
were. Dirt flew behind me as I pushed myself forward and dodged
the trunks of the trees. My mind kept wandering to the images
we'd seen in Jake's head. Another new pack stood in front of Sam,
and every single one of them should have been members of his.
He'd been pretty clear about how he felt about the situation, I
could tell that for sure. I mean he was angry when they left, but
now they're back he's prepared for a fight.
I thought he was mad when you three left but damn, said
Quil in agreement.
He was gutted when we left, Embry added. But he was a
bit peeved about it too.
Oh please, I'll bet he was positively livid inside. The pack
probably had to nanny him all night until his ego recovered,
Leah, be nice, Jake warned.
He can't hear me. You be the nice one and don't think of
Their scent grew stronger and I kicked into gear, shooting
forward in front of Jake. He sped up so we were neck and neck.
The thudding of our paws hitting the ground thundered through the
forest. I pushed myself to go up a notch and edged further than
I'm only humouring you because I can't bear to think about
what's waiting for us, he muttered.
Then I'll enjoy this moment of rare fun while it lasts, I
As soon as we reached them Jake regretted racing against me and
taking so little time. I guess you could say if I could've
arrived there faster I would have. We heard Sam's booming voice
echo through Jacob's mind. We didn't need to hear it to know he
was fuming- he was snarling like crazy at the wolves standing
before him. He was out of control mad.
Your one to talk about being out of control, muttered
I ignored him and listened to Sam through Jacob. This crazy
means of communication was all I had and I was not going to miss
I don't even give a crap about why you're back, all I care
about is that you're outnumbered and nobody here knows you well
enough to care, Sam was spitting.
Sam I'm not going to let you lose your head. They're not here
to fight and you're not going to fight them, Jake told him
If they think they can just show up here and be welcomed back
with open arms-
We weren't looking for any open arms. I have my pack and you
both have yours, their Alpha said.
What do you want, a pat on the back? Well done, congrats. Now
you and your new pack can move along. Go home.
Sam this is their home. This is where they're from, Jake
They don't belong here anymore. They lost the right to call
this place home when they abandoned their brothers, their
And you're not going to give them the chance to earn back
that right, are you?
There's no reason why I should. Being homeless won't kill
them. You escaped unscathed.
It took everything I had to not think about how bitter his voice
sounded. It didn't help this complicated way of conversing with
other packs when someone was too open about what they thought.
Still there was no ignoring the hurt behind all of the other
emotions. To Sam, the pack was family. Sam felt betrayed.
Homelessness wouldn't be a problem but it's not just us.
There's never anywhere suitable for her. We'd been thinking about
coming back for a while, and obviously our plans became definite
when Amber turned up. She can't run with the wolves forever, and
Kyle wants a more stable situation for her.
I tried desperately to block out their words and to create a
barrier against their minds, to stop myself from sharing their
images. I tried hard to pretend as though I wasn't tensed,
waiting for the blow. I felt my brother itching to say something
to me but, wisely, he chose to stay mute. There was a gnawing
feeling inside of me that would not leave. I suddenly felt as
though air was the enemy and refused to breathe it in.
She's Kyle's Imprint.
That changes things, Jake said softly, looking to Sam.
Tell me what I already know, hesighed.
It's hard to admit exactly how much that hurt me. Imprint
changes everything. It changes feelings of anger and betrayal
into sudden understanding and sympathy. It changes years of
something so amazing, into nothing but an unwanted memory. It
dismisses things that should matter as insignificant wastes of
time and space. Rules don't apply and feelings are ignored.
Everything is forgotten simply because you look at her, and then
she's all you can look at. You don't see anything else.
And you're completely untouchable because as long as she's there
you're complete. Losing her is the only thing that could touch
you and it would destroy you. Anything else is barely a scratch
in comparison. But no one would ever dream of killing the object
of an imprint. It's impossible. It would be unforgivable and did
I mention it would be suicide? People who imprint don't pay for
anything, no matter how guilty they are. They are completely
So what do I do with my anger and my hurt? What about how
betrayed I feel? Sam has lost family; people he cared about ran
away and left him. I've lost so much more.
Where is she? Jake asked abruptly, deliberately ignoring
what was going on in my head which shielded my thoughts from them
all, unless they were paying attention. He's a much better Alpha
Kyle and Ryan stayed with her. They're not that far from
here. Do you need them?
I don't think so. This has been enough excitement for one
night- I'm beat. And to think I promised Nessie there wasn't
enough trouble to keep me out here until morning...
Does she have somewhere to stay until tomorrow? Sam
asked, turning to the Alpha.
She's fine. We're set for tomorrow as well. If you'll let us
to come back we already know where she'll be staying. We're
completely prepared and all we need is an answer-
Of course you can come back. You at least deserve a chance,
but that's all I can give.
Thank you. Amber thanks you too.
I think you left out a part, Jake nudged.
I don't know why she's apologising, so let's just say I
edited out what you didn't need to hear.
Yeah but trust me, it's annoying, so let her know that she's
welcome, and she has absolutely nothing to apologise for. We're
doing this because we want to.
Speak for yourself. I haven't imprinted.
I know that- we all do. And we're all grateful.
All I wanted to do was amuse myself with someone's anger and
misery, but something had to get in the way- specific
someone's and a specific something. Can't a girl
enjoy anyone's pain anymore? When did that become impossible? The
answer stared back at me through several unwelcome minds.
Imprint changes everything. I guess I'll never change. I'm the
same old Leah.