A Writer's Journey

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Maya Angelou

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

Victor Hugo

Friday, August 13, 2010

When Destiny Calls - Chapter 4

Another update...

Disclaimer: I don't own anything Twilight-related. That cred all goes to the lovely Stephenie Meyer - I'm just borrowing Sam for a little while longer... <3

Chapter Four – Visitors

The forest was obscured by the thick mist swirling in the background. I felt my feet move, propelling me towards the fading light. The deep, faint rumble of Billy Black’s voice pierced the air, recounting the old tales of the spirit wolves. A brief glimpse of Taha Aki’s face swam in my mind, though I had never actually seen a physical likeness of him, as I tried to make sense of the story once more.

Billy’s voice continued to fill the air as the cloud-like mists swirled around me, eventually taking on translucent forms that resembled wolves. I heard other voices chanting, slow and steady like the beating of a drum, even though I was almost certain that I was alone in the seclusion of the great forest. I cocked my head to the side, trying to decipher where the noise was coming from and realized with a start that the wolf-like forms had begun to dance around me, encircling me in the hazy mist they trailed behind.

One of the wolf forms, the largest amongst them, broke out of the circle and walked towards me, its bright eyes gleaming in the semi-darkness. We stared at each other and I couldn’t explain the absence of fear in the presence of such a magnificent apparition. But for some odd reason, I knew I wouldn’t be harmed. Before I had the chance to cover my ears, the great mist-like wolf raised its head and let out an anguished howl, its voice baying into the moonlit night.

The phone rang in my ear, jolting me awake. I glanced at the clock on my dresser, groaning in dismay as I realized what time it was. Scrambling for the phone, I hastily lifted the receiver, cradling the handset on my shoulder.

“Hello?” I mumbled, still half asleep.

“Sam? Babe, you awake?”

Leah’s voice immediately woke me up as I managed to get myself into sitting position. I rubbed my eyes groggily, clearing my throat before I responded.

“Mmm, yeah, I’m awake. Hi,” I managed.

“Hi,” she answered, snickering over the receiver. “I needed to get some supplies for school and I wanted to see if you wanted to drive to Forks with me. We can grab lunch or something after we’re done.”

“Uh, sure, sounds great. I’ll pick you up in about an hour?”

“Okay, see you then.” Click.

I curled back up underneath the covers only to realize that the sheets were soaked with sweat. I looked down at my arms, surprised to see the new beads forming on my skin.

Weird, I’m not even hot. I must’ve had a bad dream or something.

I pushed the covers off and dragged myself to the bathroom, hoping that a nice, cool shower might help me pull myself together. As the water hit my skin, I noticed that faint traces of steam seemed to come from where the water drops had landed. I was almost completely dry before I even had the chance to towel myself off.

Am I running a temperature or something? Huh, that’s strange, I feel fine.

I raised my hand against my forehead, but felt nothing out of the ordinary. I put the thought out of my mind, shrugging as I got myself into the truck and headed over to Leah’s.

We pulled into the parking lot of the Olympic Graphic Arts store a while later, Leah chattering on about an idea for a school project she had. While I was browsing one of the aisles, my head turned abruptly as a chill penetrated my spine. I looked around, a confused expression plastered across my face. My eyes stopped on couple, so inhumanly and ridiculously good-looking that they couldn’t possibly be real, near the register waiting for their turn to pay. They didn’t look like they belonged here, their style of clothing and mannerisms definitely not something that looked like they were bred in Forks. The tall, blond male bent low to say something to the petite dark-haired female and she laughed in response, her voice like musical wind chimes. An inexplicable feeling of dislike suddenly bubbled up inside of me, though I couldn’t figure out why.

“Sam, are you okay?” Leah’s voice snapped me out of my stupor. “You kind of balled up your fists all of a sudden. Look,” she said, pointing at my hands. “You’re knuckles are turning white.”

I glanced down and saw that she was right. The color was just starting to come back around my knuckles as I released the pressure in my hands, giving her a puzzled grin.

“Hm, I didn’t even realize that I was doing that. Weird.”

“What’s gotten into you? You’re not acting like yourself.” She looked at me, concerned.

“What? No, I’m fine. Seriously. Let’s just get your stuff and get out of here.”

“Okay, whatever you say,” she replied, taking my hand. She cried out, dropping my fingers as she gazed at me questioningly.

“What’s wrong? What happened?”

“I thought you said you were fine?” she hissed, still clutching her hand.

“I am. Why?”

“God, you’re seriously telling me that you don’t feel that?”

“C’mon, Leah, stop playing around. Feel what?”

“Your skin…you’re burning up, Sam.”

I looked at her, confused, as I touched my forearm. I felt nothing different. Leah must be imagining things, probably from the drastic change in temperature when we entered the heat-infused store.

“That’s strange. I seriously don’t feel anything. I feel fine, better than fine actually.”

“Can you at least think about going to go see a doctor? Just so I’m not sitting somewhere freaking out. Better safe than sorry, right?”

“But I told you, I don’t want to see a doc –” I began, before she cut me off.

“Please? For me? I’d feel better if I knew you’d gone to see one.” She batted her eyelashes at me, knowing I couldn’t resist her when she made that face.

“Oh, alright, alright. I give up; whatever you say. Can we just please get out of here? I’m getting hungry and those people over there are making me a little uncomfortable,” I said, narrowing my eyes toward the same strangely attractive couple from before. She nodded in agreement as we made our way to the register.

An hour and a half later, we were sitting in the car after a less than satisfying lunch when Leah decided to bring up the subject again.

“Why don’t you go see if you can make a quick stop in the emergency room? We’re not that far from the hospital and I really would feel better if you would go and see a doctor, Sam.” Hearing her bring it up again suddenly caused my irritation to flare almost unreasonably. I threw her a weary glance, fighting the urge to roll my eyes at her persistence.

“I told you, I’m fine. Why can’t you just leave it alone?” I usually loved this stubborn side of her; this determined and unrelenting side. But not today. Today, it took a good portion of my self control to bite back any offending remarks that were coming close to bubbling to the surface. I was not in the mood to be goaded into something that, quite frankly, I was completely against doing. But like I said, she was relentless.

“But you promised. And we’re already near the hospital,” she pointed out matter-of-factly. “Unless, you enjoy making me worry…”

Her voice trailed off as her face turned towards the window.

Oh, she’s good…we’re resorting to guilt trips now?

“Damn, Leah. You really had to pull the guilt card on me? That’s a low blow, even for you.” I was definitely irritated now and for the love of God, I couldn’t figure out what was making me so irate and illogical.

“Well, I’m doing it for good reason and you know it. Besides, what’s it gonna hurt? You go in, they check you, give you meds, and you’re free to go! Easy,” she offered enthusiastically. When my face formed into an angry scowl, her own expression faltered as her face fell in defeat.

“Baby, please don’t make me beg you to go,” she whispered softly. “Just cut me some slack here, okay? Humor me. Even if you feel fine, just freakin’ humor me, okay?”

Great. Now’s she’s pissed, too. I thought, as her voice rose an octave.

“Fine,” I muttered through gritted teeth. “Whatever! I’ll go. I still don’t get why I have to go, but like I said, whatever. If it’ll make you stop bugging me –”

“It will,” she interrupted, cutting me off. She had that smug look on her face, knowing she’d won this round. But as she glanced at me again, I saw her expression soften as she ran her hand through my hair, stroking the side of my face with the back of her hand. “Thanks for humoring me.”

The soft sincerity in her voice took me by surprise and was almost enough to completely cause the irritation to ebb away. Almost…but not quite.

I was sitting in the emergency room at the hospital, waiting my turn to see the new doctor that’s come to town. I had dropped Leah off at a friend’s house, not wanting to worry her while I waited and not feeling up to having her hover over me the entire time.

Rumors were going around that this Dr. Cullen was some kind of skilled specialist and that it was lucky for Forks that he settled here and not some big, fancy hospital in one of the major cities. People said it was because his wife wanted to live somewhere small and scarcely populated, so Forks Hospital gained a new staff member.

“Sam Uley?” a voice called from the front desk.

“Yeah, right here,” I answered, walking up to where the woman with the clipboard was standing.

“Sam Uley?” she repeated, glancing up at me from the clipboard. “Right, so you can go into that room there and Dr. Cullen will be with you shortly.”

I nodded as I followed the hallway to the door she was pointing to. A few minutes later, there was a soft knock on the door as the same man I had seen earlier at the supply store entered the room with unusual grace.

“Hello, Sam. I’m Dr. Cullen; what can I do for you today?” He smiled warmly at me, his face expectant.

I stared at him, noticing the odd color of his eyes. Suddenly, the feeling hit me before I had a chance to realize what was happening. I felt a low rumble deep in my chest as my body went rigid, vibrating with uncontrollable tremors.

“I – I’m sorry, but I think I have to go…” I trailed, refusing to look at him as I bolted from the room.

I ran all the way to the truck, hopped in, and gunned the ignition as I tried to keep myself calm. I still needed to go pick up Leah and I didn’t want to scare her half to death for no reason.

Jeez, man. You’re losing it. What was that back there?

I paced my breath, counting numbers in my mind until I felt the tremors cease altogether. The memory of the last twenty minutes flashed through my mind and for the first time in my life, I was terrified.

“How was the doctor’s visit? What did they say?” Leah asked, trying to seem nonchalant as I gripped the steering wheel all the way back to La Push.

“Oh, you know, the usual…” I mumbled, refusing to look at her. I couldn’t bring myself to tell her what had happened at the hospital because, frankly, I didn’t really know what happened in there. How could I explain my erratic behavior without her thinking that I’d completely lost my mind? It’s better that I don’t tell her anything, at least for now.

She examined my face, her eyes narrowing in scrutiny.

“What was the new doctor like? What was his name again? Dr. Cullen? Yeah, I think that’s what it was. I’ve heard a couple of things about him and his family already. Was he nice?”

“Yeah, seemed nice enough, I guess. What’s with the twenty questions?” I snapped back irritably.

“Jeez, what’s wrong with you? Can’t a girl ask questions?” Her mouth turned down into an exaggerated pout as she folded her arms across her chest.

“I’m sorry, Lee-lee. I didn’t mean it to come out like that. The guy was nice enough.” I shuddered at the memory of the encounter again, hoping that Leah didn’t notice the grimace that materialized on my face. “I’m just irritated from sitting in the waiting room for so long.”

“So they said you were okay? That you’re not sick?” God was not on my side today and she wasn’t going to give up until she got an answer. I did the only thing I could do to make her drop the subject: I lied.

“Yeah, they said I was fine,” I replied, a little too quickly. “I told you not to worry so much.”

She gave me a wary look, but refrained from asking any more questions. She leaned her face towards the window and closed her eyes. I drove the rest of the way back to La Push in silence, the faint static of the radio humming gently in the background.

Everyone was sitting in the Clearwaters’ living room when we got back later that night. There was a sports something or other playing on the television and Harry was seated on the couch, flanked on both sides by Billy Black and Forks’ police chief, Charlie Swan. Their faces were glued to the screen, only looking away to comment in disagreement about whatever they were watching. We walked through the door and all three men stood up to shake my hand before settling down to the game again.

Leah was tugging my hand, making her way to the kitchen. I followed behind her, but not before I caught the meaningful glances between Harry and Billy. They both nodded their head in unison, turning their attention back on the television as I disappeared through the door.

“What was that all about?” I asked Leah when we were out of earshot.

“Hm? What was what all about?” she replied absent-mindedly, grabbing some fruit and juice from the fridge.

“Your dad…he was kind of looking at me funny,” I said uncomfortably. “And then he looked at Billy and Billy did the same thing.”

“Oh, it was probably nothing. Maybe they were talking about the game or something. Don’t get so worked up about it. Orange?” she offered, as I shook my head in response.

“I’m not!” I protested, unable to completely mask my apprehension. “It’s just that it was weird, you know?”

She threw me an exasperated look.

“You’re just imagining things. I’m sure it was nothing. Now c’mon,” she urged, making my stomach flutter as she turned on the irresistible Leah-charm. “We might have time to make it to that new movie I’ve been dying to see. It’ll help you take your mind off of things.”

I nodded, following her back out to the truck. I seriously doubted whether a movie was enough to control the strange questions now racking my brain.

Chapter 5 to come... ;)

Monday, August 9, 2010

New Blog Look

So I think this warrants a post because that is just how awesome @GSnaps is. New blog look and color scheme courtesy of the awesomeness that is Ginger Snaps. ::bows down::

Hopefully this'll make the blog a little more "easy on the eyes" and help me to post on a more regular basis (okay, on a less occasional basis) so as not to waste the talent that was put into beautifying the soon-to-be second home to my brain's inner workings and ramblings.

So hat's off to you @GSnaps. You are full of awesome. ::zig-zag snaps::

Sunday, August 8, 2010

WriteOn Con

Whilst conversing with friends on Twitter, and by conversing I meant lurking, I found out about an awesome online event taking place just for writers and aspiring writers (like yours truly) to congregate. Where is this magical realm, you ask? WriteOnCom of course!


I've already met so many cool people while browsing the forums and most of them have scattered throughout Twitter, otherwise known as my second home. Getting to know and reading about some of these people have contributed to the juices of creativity flow that began where it left off so many moons ago. And as per my previous practices, the night owl in me still writes til the wee hours of the early morn. (bedtime this morning was somewhere in the neighborhood of 4:30am, although feeding and putting my little man back to sleep might also have had something to do with that as well...LOL)

Topics being covered in the online conference include: how to write a query, what not to do when submitting work to an agent, bonafide agent critiques, questions to ask yourself before a revision, myths about literary agents, etc. And that's just the beginning. This hotspot for information that can help the average Joe (or Jane, as the case may be) become the next IT author of this generation.

I know there are a lot of aspiring writers who, if they're anything like me, would want to pull their hair out at every block encountered. And there are questions that we have that we just don't know where to get answered. So I'm totally stoked that there is something like this that can reach out to all those that aspire to bring their imagined stories to life, no matter where they are.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Second Post Before Bed

Okay so since I'm posting a severely overdue chapter of my ff that was supposed to help me keep writing in this thing, I thought I'd post something else that made me a happy girl. :)

So I went to TwiTour in Los Angeles with the older sister I never had @iamlulu2 like back in March, but never posted the awesomeness that I scored whilst mingling in the same air space as Chaske Spencer, Alex Meraz, and Kiowa Gordon. The only thing that could've put the icing on the cake was if Tyson Houseman were there as well, but a girl can only dream, right?! So mind you, if I look a little giddy in this picture, it's because 1) Alex smelled SO damn good. 2) I was breathing the same air space as Chaske. and 3) Did you see Alex's arm around me???? (Take note of the hand that squeezed the shoulder...)

I mean, a girl could only puddle so much before security would be called to whisk her away, right? And trust. Did I puddle. Oh lord. I think there were waves of that puddling.

So here's my swagger and my style. Okay, I don't know where that verbiage came from, but here are the awesome pics. Enjoy and be jealous. ;)

Now those are what dreams are made of... Mmhmm. That's right. Night! <3

When Destiny Calls - Chapter 3

So to continue where I left off all those months ago... (hey, I've been busy! Life kinda just got in the way...you know how it is! LOL) I hope you guys like it! If you do, please comment. If not...well...you know comments aren't really necessary anyway, right?! LOL

My Sam Uley... ::le sigh:: (I know I'm a little nutters when it comes to this guy... but COME ON. Give a girl a break.)

Photo courtesy of coolspotters.com

The Leah that never was... ::sad face::

Photo courtesy of Twilight Indonesia

Without further ado... Chapter 3 of When Destiny Calls...

DISCLAIMER: Stephenie Meyer owns all Twilight-related material. I'm merely borrowing Sam for a bit... ;)

Chapter Three – Plans

“So what do you say?” I whispered softly, wiping the tears falling freely down her face.

A slow smile crept up on the corners of her mouth. She nodded her head slowly, encircling her arms around me.

“Yes,” she murmured back, closing her eyes and pressing her face against mine.

I stared up at the sky, watching the dim lights of stars hiding behind the veil-like clouds. As Leah leaned back into my arms, I smiled contentedly, marveling at how nothing I could’ve planned would have come close to how perfect everything turned out to be.

It had been a week since that night and I had to still keep reminding myself that she had said yes.

She said yes.

I was constantly having to check myself because apparently I had taken to walking around with a stupid, half-moon grin without even realizing it. Not that I minded people seeing how ecstatic I was, but some people tend to look at you funny when you walk around smiling at everything and everyone for no apparent reason.

I tried to think of other things, things that needed to get done before I went away to school. Taking the semester off and starting in the spring was a better idea than I’d anticipated. I figured that I’d have more time to help Leah plan the wedding, though I already knew that my opinion would probably be overruled by the three active female contributors to the future nuptials. Still, I could drive Leah around, help her out if she needed it, and even offer an opinion should she want it.

My time with her was limited enough as it is, her senior year of high school taking a larger toll on how much freedom she usually had from studying. All of her friends had already been told about my popping the question, obviously. I liked watching how her eyes twinkled as she recounted her daily grind, never failing to mention how incredibly green with envy all the girls were. She always looked smug whenever she told me how all of her friends were wishing their boyfriends would take a cue from me. I couldn’t help laughing each time because with Leah, each gesture, each action, each word spoken, was a natural thing. There was no cue to take from it because it was an ease that couldn’t be duplicated. And so I laughed because being with Leah was never hard; it was the easiest thing in the world to me.

“Oh, crap…” I groaned, turning over to look at the alarm clock. “Jeez, she’s gonna kill me! I can’t believe I overslept!”

I hopped out of bed and shuffled into the bathroom to take a quick shower. I heard a loud knock on my door as I tried to hurry through the motions, poking my head around the curtain of the shower.


My mother’s voice was drowned out by the loud noise of the water.


“YEAH? I’M IN THE SHOWER!” I called out, hoping she heard me.

I came out of the bathroom a few minutes later, wearing just a towel around my waist and stopped short when I saw Leah, sitting cross-legged, at the foot of my bed.

“H-hey! Scared me there for a sec. When’d you get here?”

“A few minutes ago. Your mom said I can come in and wait for you. I think she’s going to the store,” she answered, grinning at me. I saw her eyes move down the length of my body and relished the slightly provocative glow she now wore. She turned her head away when she realized that I had noticed her scrutiny, her face burning with color.

“Oops! Sometimes I get a little carried away…” she laughed, the blush moving up to her ears. “Ugh, why do you have to be so damn cute?”

She threw me a look of mocked loathing, narrowing her eyes in pretense.

“Only to you,” I replied, a half smile playing at the corners of my mouth.

“No way! All the girls think you’re completely hot and it makes you that much more attractive because you walk around not knowing it! You need to look in the mirror more often, I think. Get a reality check or something.”

She was trying to hold her face to the serious expression she had managed to display, but failed miserably as we both burst into hysterical laughter.

“Seriously, though, how could you not notice them staring at you? They’re not exactly the most discreet bunch, you know. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’m not about the whole jealousy thing, but I just don’t get how you don’t know.” She gazed at me, genuinely exasperated.

I shook my head, snickering as I pulled her close to me.

“I don’t know about a mirror; I’d much rather be looking at you. And I really don’t know what you mean. I look perfectly normal to me.” She snorted and rolled her eyes.

“Right, normal. If you’re normal, I’m rotting fruit,” she said, pouting her lip in feigned sadness.

“Rotting fruit? Where’d you get that analogy? You are ridiculously beautiful and you shouldn’t care what your friends say anyway. I’ll bet they were just trying to create more drama.” I kissed the tip of her nose, inhaling deeply as a smile played on her lips. I was vaguely aware that I still had nothing but the damp towel on, but I didn’t want to let her go just yet.

She let out a sigh as she put some distance between us. I kept my hands on her waist, still unwilling to oblige. She chuckled lightly, the tiny crinkles around her eyes growing deeper as I leaned my forehead against hers.

“You’d better put some clothes on before we get ourselves into trouble,” she whispered, closing her eyes.

“Mmm…but what if I like trouble?” I murmured, trailing my fingers along the side of her face.

“You’re making it very hard for me to resist, you know,” she giggled softly, stealing a quick kiss before she closed her eyes again.

“Then stop resisting,” I urged coaxingly. I started trailing kisses down her face, starting from the tips of her ears and working my way down to her collarbone. I felt her shiver as her heartbeat began to race and her breath came in short bursts.

“Lee-lee,” I whispered tauntingly, moving in the opposite direction and planting kisses all the way up to her temple. I continued to caress her face with my fingers as I slowly pressed my lips on hers. She responded willingly, our mouths finding a comfortable rhythm. I heard a small whimper escape her and she pulled away abruptly, breaking into bemused laughter.

“Ugh, you’re killin’ me,” she sighed. “Now, come on, get dressed. We’re gonna be late.”

I laughed, rolling my eyes as I slipped on a pair of jeans and an old Metallica t-shirt. I rummaged in my drawer for a pair of socks before throwing on my chucks and she gave me the once over before nodding her head in approval.

“Okay, let’s go. My mom’s gonna kill us if we’re late and I do not want to be on the receiving end of that stick.” She tugged on my hand, dragging me outside where I had parked the truck.

A short while later, we pulled up in front of her house just as Harry clambered up the steps carrying extra fold-up chairs. His face lit up when he saw us and I ran over to help him with the load in his arms.

“Happy birthday, Harry! You don’t need to be lifting all of this,” I said, taking the chairs he was holding. “Take a load off, relax…”

“Thanks, but I’ve got a lot more years on this engine, Sam! You don’t need to worry about me,” he replied, chortling loudly. “Besides, a guy can’t rest around here for too long, what with Sue planning around the you-know-what.” His voice trailed off in a mocked whisper as Leah rolled her eyes behind him.

“You can say wedding, Dad,” Leah muttered quietly into his ear as she kissed his cheek hello.

“I know that, honey, but I don’t want to set your mom off again in case she hears me,” he joked, continuing to laugh. “Now, I better get inside and see if she wants me to do anything else before I settle myself in front of the television. You kids be careful; Lord knows I love her, but that woman’s on a rampage this morning!
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” He threw us a jovial wave as he walked back to the house and disappeared through the front door.

Leah and I looked at each other, both of us wearing tentative expressions. I shrugged my shoulders, managing to open the door for her with the chairs still in my arms. I couldn’t help feeling the knot in my stomach tighten as I walked in after her.

We made our way through the living room and into the kitchen to find Sue moving frantically back and forth between the stove and whatever else she seemed to be busy with. Her face was contorted in concentration and she was muttering to herself, recounting the things she still had left to do. It was a few minutes before she realized we were standing by the doorway, cautiously waiting before we interrupted her self-inflicted tirade.

“O-oh! You’re here! Great! I could use a few extra hands here. Sam, could you please put those in the living room,” she instructed, pointing the chairs that I now realized I was still holding. “Leah, grab that bowl and mix the sauce so I can add it to the stew. I swear, if it wasn’t your father’s birthday, I wouldn’t be running around like this.”

Leah and I exchanged a quick smile as I made my way into the living room.

“Yes, you would, Mom. And you know it! You know you live for this stuff,” she said affectionately as her voice faded, drowned out by the volume of the television that now blared in the living room.

“Where should I put these, Harry?” I asked, indicating the chairs I was holding.

“Just open them up and put them alongside that wall over there,” he replied, pointing to the far wall of the room.

Leah walked out, a grimace on her face. I glanced alarmingly at her, my expression questioning.

“What happened?”

“Oh, you know, the usual. She’s decided that I might be better suited to help you out here. ‘Spend some time with him, go on.’ Not like we don’t spend almost every waking moment together already,” she replied, rolling her eyes. She caught the expression on my face, even though I was trying to carefully hide the flash of emotion.

“You know I didn’t mean it like that,” she murmured, trying to assuage whatever ridiculous thing I had felt a second before. “Of course, I want to spend time with you. I was irritated because it’s like she keeps trying to push me off on you and I didn’t want you to feel crowded. That’s all,” she finished lamely, tilting her head down so that her long eyelashes brushed against her cheeks.

“I’d never feel crowded, you nut. I’d take up every spare moment you had if it was left up to me,” I said, grinning wickedly. She laughed as she threw a chip at my face.

“You’re so bad. Don’t let my dad hear you say it that way. I’m still his little girl, you know,” she chastised, wagging a mocking finger at me.

“Well, I don’t know about that. I don’t see a little girl anywhere…” I was trying to be seductive, remembering the little scene from this morning, but she wasn’t having it. I pulled her hand and led her outside so we could sit on the porch until everyone got here.

She settled down on the step below me and leaned back against me so that her arms were resting on my thighs. There was a slight breeze that was starting to pick up and it blew wisps of her hair around, surrounding me with her smell. I absentmindedly traced the curve of her jaw with my fingertips and she closed her eyes, contentedly.

“Do you think we should set a date?” she asked casually.

“Next summer would be good, I think. What do you think? Next summer good for you?”
I felt her body stiffen just a little bit and I was half afraid that I’d scared her or that I was trying to push things faster than she wanted them to go.

“N-next summer? As in right after I graduate?” she stammered, turning around to face me.

“Yeah, that would be what I meant by next summer. Why? Are you having second thoughts?” I asked, not knowing if I really wanted to hear the answer.

“No, of course not. That’s so stupid, Sam. I’m just saying, don’t you think it’s a little soon? I mean we only just got engaged.”

I sensed the reluctance in her voice and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. It had only been a week for her, but it had been a long time coming to me. Truthfully, I didn’t really have a problem with putting it off for as long as she wanted, but I was trying to figure out why she wanted to. Getting married seemed like the natural step in our relationship and all I was waiting for was for her to finish high school. Now I was stuck trying to decipher what exactly she wanted when I thought I had known all along.

“What do you mean too soon? Are you sure you’re not having doubts? Because if you are, I think that might be something I’d be interested in knowing,” I snapped unnecessarily.

I regretted it the instant the words came out of my mouth. Leah’s face recoiled like I’d just slapped her and her expression crumpled, leaving her speechless. I wondered for a brief second what was going on with her because she usually wasn’t so emotional and well, soft, but the fire in her returned as my Leah finally came back from where ever this wedding planning thing had taken her.

“For your information, Samuel Uley, I don’t have any plans on backing out. Unless, of course, you’re the one with the cold feet. Stop trying to put words in my mouth. I’m still getting adjusted to this whole thing, you know. I didn’t think you’d actually propose, let alone suggest we get married so soon. I mean, I thought I was having one of my delusional one-sided conversations again before you actually slipped the ring on my finger –” She stopped short, eyes wide, as she realized that she said too much.

Again?” I asked, smirking.

“Well, I, uh, well…” She was at a loss for words again and I could’ve sworn that my heart skipped a beat as I continued to watch her struggle for words.

“So you’ve been imagining this, have you?” I murmured into her ear, as I pulled her close to me. I could see her glowering from my peripheral vision and it was all I could do to keep from bursting into laughter.

“Hm, so quiet…I take that as a yes then?” I teased, playfully burying my face in her hair.

“Silly boy, of course I’ve been imagining it! We’ve been together since I’ve hit puberty and you were this unattainable thing that I wanted and I wanted you all to myself, but I was always afraid that you would find someone better, prettier, someone you would want more than you wanted me and I –” I place a gentle finger on her lips to stop her from rambling on as I leaned in close so that my breath echoed in the clouds of her hair.

“I could never want anyone more than I want you,” I whispered, my voice completely devoid of humor.

“Really?” she asked softly, though her face was set in a disbelieving façade. “But why? I’m loud, I’m bossy, and I don’t ever let you get your way. Are you sure you wouldn’t be happier with someone else? Someone less volatile, maybe?” A little humor had made it into her voice, but she looked at me expectantly, waiting for my answer.

“Hm, well, when you put it that way…” I started, as her hand yanked hard on my right earlobe. “Ow! Okay, okay. I was just kidding. I figured, you wouldn’t believe me if I came right out with it anyway, so I might as well have a little fun.” I chuckled as she folded her arms across her chest.

"But really, really, really. I don’t know what else you want me to say. I love you exactly the way you are, crazy and all. Although, I have to admit, I’m not too thrilled about this side of you.”

“What side? This is how I’ve always been,” she replied quizzically.

“Nuh-uh. This side of you that’s completely insecure and completely oversensitive. This wedding thing’s really getting to you, I think. I’ll just be glad when all of this is over and truthfully, it’s kind of one of the reasons why I wanted to get married sooner.” I felt the heat rising in my cheeks, like I’d just confessed some really horrible sin. Leah surprised me by bursting into hysterical laughter.

“Oh my god, I don’t know what I’ve been thinking. I’m so sorry! God, I must sound like a whiny little – oh, I don’t even know what! – and I’m really sorry I just put you through that third degree. I was just going over the conversation in my head and realized that I sounded like someone I would be annoyed with.”

“I’m glad I didn’t have to go into greater detail,” I mused, moving my head to the side as she made a move to take a backhanded swipe at me.

“Very funny, mister. Okay, but seriously, last time I’m gonna ask, I swear! Are you sure you’re sure?”

I made to wrap my arms around her again, but she stopped me, turning around so that she was looking directly at me. I was completely rendered speechless by the depth of her brown eyes for a second as she gazed at me, trying to read my face before I responded. I nodded my head once, overwhelmed by the feeling of wanting her in my arms. I pressed my forehead against hers and closed my eyes, feeling the heat from our breaths wafting across my face. I cupped her chin with my hand, tilting her face towards me.

“You are what I want. All volatile, loud, bossy, crazy you. I’ve wanted you for as long as I can remember and nothing humanly possible can ever change that.” I leaned down and put my lips on hers, relishing the moment, as Leah’s tears fell quietly down her face.

**Chapter 4 to come... ;)