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 Five – The Last Perfect Day
A few weeks later, I found myself knocking on Leah’s front door, bright and early in the morning. A slow smile crept up on my face as I thought about the fully-loaded picnic lunch I had packed for her, hidden underneath the stacks of blankets stowed away in the truck bed. I had to admit, I ended up surprising myself when I had finished packing everything. It wasn’t supposed to be a big thing, just something small so that she could forget about everything for at least one afternoon.
I wanted to be there for her in any way I could, seeing how exhausted she was becoming with the increased load in schoolwork, the new part-time job at the local drug store, and planning the wedding on top of everything else. Sue had been hovering over her, coming up with party ideas, bouquet arrangements, and location suggestions. Her friends weren’t much help either, poring over endless bridal magazines, and countless others, trying to strategize and plan for the now confirmed summer wedding. She often spent her nights studying, which I wasn’t too happy about because it cut into my already dwindling time that I could be spending with her.
Those nights would drive me crazy. I could never stay away from her for too long and the short phone calls before she nearly passes out from exhaustion were starting to become some sort of masochistic act that I would repeat more often than not. I continuously listened to the song I once told her reminded me of her, knowing full well that I was starting to act like some love-sick schoolboy, but I didn’t care. With Leah, I had been a love-sick schoolboy for as long as I can remember. It was harder to sleep those nights, when I wouldn’t see her and the phone calls seemed like they were much too short. The lyrics to the song hovered in my mind when I needed to fall asleep the most and needless to say, most of those attempts were unsuccessful.
Finally here, won't stay too late.
I want to feel you, I need to hear you.
You are the light that's leading me to the place where I find peace,
And how can I stand here with you, and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me 'How could it be any better than this?'
You calm the storms, and you give me rest.
You hold me in your hands, you won't let me fall
You steal my heart, and you take my breath away.
Would you take me in? Take me deeper now.
'Cause you're all I want
You're all I need
You're everything, everything.
So even though I wanted to relieve her for the day, it was meant as a relief for me as much as it was for her. I couldn’t stand pining away for her for much longer and drastic situations call for drastic measures. Jeez did I really say pining away? I’m turning into such a pansy, all because of this incredible, breathtakingly beautiful, and completely unsuspecting girl who was about to answer the door.
“Sam! Wh-what are you doing here?” Leah exclaimed, holding the door open as she froze in surprise. Behind her, Sue threw me a wink and walked back into the kitchen, a small smile at the corners of her mouth. I couldn’t help grinning and made a mental note to thank her later for all the help she gave me planning for today. There was no way I could’ve pulled this off without her and Leah needed today. We both did.
“I’m here to kidnap you for the day,” I told her, my grin growing wider. My head fell forward in embarrassment as I shoved my hands into my side pockets.
“B-but, I have so much to do…I can’t just go off for the day. Besides, I’m supposed to go with my mom to the fabric shop this morning because she needed help w –” She cut off mid-sentence, noticing my smug expression. She looked at me quizzically as I shook my head in response.
“I-I’m not going to the fabric store with my mom?” she asked slowly, shaking her head questioningly.
I smiled and shook my head.
“But what about all the other things I need to do today? I have a paper due in a week that I need to get done before I can do anything because I won’t be able to get it done with all of those stupid wedding pow-wows that everybody and their mother’s have been setting up with me,” she said, inhaling loudly as she regained her breath. She put her hand on her chest and breathed slowly, forcing the air out of her mouth in labored bursts.
I moved forward and pulled her outside, shutting the door behind her. Slipping my arms around her waist, I drew her closer to me until she had no choice but to put her arms around my neck.
“Breathe,” I murmured softly. “That’s it; in, out, in, out. Breathe Lee-lee. I took care of everything. They can plan without you for a day, can’t they?”
I lifted my hand to her face as she closed her eyes and leaned into my palm. Her breathing gradually slowed, but I continued to hold her, not aware of anything but the sound of her heartbeat as it steadied itself. I pressed my forehead against hers and started humming the song that had been ingrained into my brain from the last couple of weeks. I saw her lips curve into a half-smile as she recognized the melody. She began humming along with me, our bodies swaying to the sound of our secret song.
When we were done, her eyes fluttered open and glanced at me sheepishly.
“I’m sorry about all of that. I’ve just been so exhausted lately and I just – I just…” she trailed off as I put my finger to her lips.
“I don’t need an apology, Lee. All I need is for you to come with me and forget you have every other crazy thing going on in your world, even if it’s just for the day. I swear, they won’t miss you; I’ve made sure of it.”
“Well, I guess they can do without me for one day,” she answered, grinning. She slid her arms around my neck again and gazed at me, her eyes bright with interest. “So, where’re we going anyway?”
“It’s a surprise,” I whispered, giving her a wicked smile. I kissed her lightly and began pulling away when she grabbed my face and kissed me again, this time more urgent and more aggressive than the last. I returned the gesture, happy that getting her to drop everything wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. I pulled back to catch a mouthful of air, laughing breathlessly when she pouted because I had moved away. I unwrapped her arms that had coiled themselves around my neck and held on to her hand as we walked towards the waiting truck.
We pulled into a parking lot near our favorite spot on Second Beach. There were so many memories I had with Leah here and I wanted everything to be perfect for her today. Even if it was one day, I was naïve enough to think that I could at least give that to her, as useless to help as I’ve been.
I walked around to the back of the truck and began picking up the blankets, rolling them so they would fit under my arms. Her eyes spotted the picnic basket as she threw me surprised look that clearly read You did this for me? and I knew that all the trouble I went through was worth the ridiculously intoxicating smile that spread across her face. I stared at her for a few seconds before I realized that there was a throbbing pain coming from my left foot.
“Shit!” I swore, trying to stay balanced as I hopped on my right leg. I didn’t even realize that I’d just dropped the water cooler and that it just so happened to land on my foot. Leah’s face contorted in a grimace and finally puckered as she fought to contain her laughter. It was a losing battle as we both stood there, doubled over the side of the truck, clutching our stomachs as we tried to control ourselves. She put her hand on her chest, trying to keep quiet as she waited for me to calm down.
“I can’t believe you did all this, Sam,” she said softly, brushing the strands of hair away from her face. The wind had picked up and she kept her arm against her face to keep her hair from whipping around her. She squinted her eyes, looking up at me in amazement.
I lived for that look.
I shook my head, forcing myself to concentrate on the water cooler and picnic basket that were now in my arms. She picked up the blankets and we made our way down to “our spot” near the shoreline.
I told her to close her eyes while I went to set up everything, laying out the blankets and food we brought. About a hundred yards from the shore, I gathered large pieces of rock and dried driftwood so that I could get a fire started. I saw Leah fidgeting impatiently, trying hard not to peek until I told her it was ready. After I made sure to look everything over to see if I missed anything, I finally walked over to her and kissed her hands as I pulled them away from her face.
Her eyes went wide as her mouth formed a large “O” and for once, Leah was speechless. Her gaze lingered over everything, taking in every detail before being directed at me, a confused expression on her face.
“I don’t get it…what’s all this for? Oh my god, don’t tell me I forgot our anniversary,” she exclaimed, counting off with her fingers. She breathed a sigh of relief when she realized that that wasn’t the case.
“Okay, so not our anniversary. Do you mind if I ask what this is for? I’m just a little confused,” she said slowly, still gazing at everything. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love it, but I’ve been nothing but crazy, psycho fiancée who’s been leaving you alone for extended periods of time and I just want to know what I did to deserve all of this.”
I shrugged, not wanting to give her the full extent of the real reason I was doing this. Instead, I grinned at her as I grabbed her hand and pulled her down on the blanket with me. I wrapped my arms around her as the comfort set in, my face finding the familiar place right above the curve of her ear. She relaxed into me and rested her head in the crook of my shoulder.
“So you didn’t answer my question.”
“Hm? What question?” I was vaguely paying attention, lost in concentration. I missed this, holding her and not having to look at the clock to see when she would have to go and study or plan something for the wedding. I missed us and I wanted to stay like this for as long as humanly possible.
“Sam…” she trailed, interrupting my thoughts.
“No reason more important than just plain old ‘I wanted to see you’,” I replied, inhaling deeply. “I thought you might like to get away from everything for a little while. Everyone’s been running you ragged.”
My hand rubbed against her cheek as she sighed, clearly still worn out.
“Are you tired?” I asked, kissing the side of her head. “We could take a nap and eat after. I can just put everything back in the basket until you’re hungry.”
“Mmm…yeah, that sounds good. I miss sleeping out here on the beach. It seems like we haven’t done this in ages.”
I felt her slacken in my arms and I waited a few minutes, listening to her breathing as it became even and rhythmic, before I gently laid her down propping one of the other blankets under her head as a pillow. I quietly put the food way, careful not to disturb her. I sat there and watched her sleep for about an hour, staring at her face, rememorizing every feature, glad that she finally looked peaceful. She mumbled a few times, calling out my name in whispers. And then I heard the four words that I had been waiting for.
“I love you, Sam…” she mumbled, eyes shut and brow furrowed in concentration.
“I love you, too, Lee-lee,” I whispered back, kissing her first on her forehead and then the tip of her nose, before I laid down beside her. I pulled her closer to me and wrapped my arms around her, remembering the sound of birds flying overhead as the thick mist engulfed us.
I woke up about three hours later, my arms still around Leah. She was still asleep, her mouth set in a peaceful half-smile while her hair hung over half of her face like a midnight curtain. I stood up, needing to stretch my muscles, and put some extra blankets on her before I started walking toward the direction of the cliffs.
I didn’t want to leave her alone for too long, but I wanted to stretch my legs and it had been a while since I’d come to Second Beach. I walked a little further down to shore and didn’t realize that I had gone further than I wanted until our makeshift camp was barely a discernable figure against the mist that had settled over the beach. I started walking back to where I’d left her when I was hit with the same weird chill that resulted in an involuntary shudder. I scanned the length of the beach, looking for signs of other people, but found nothing.
I made it back to our spot, surprised that she was already sitting down, pulling out the contents of the basket. I bent down to help her, kicking myself for taking a walk instead of getting everything ready before she woke up.
“Hi,” she said sheepishly. “I was gonna wait for you to come back, but I figured I could at least set all this stuff up so that you wouldn’t have to.”
“You didn’t have to do that,” I replied, taking the basket from her. “You’re supposed to be relaxing today, remember?”
She sat there watching me, her knees pressed against her chest, while I laid everything out like I had this morning. I was extremely aware that her eyes never left my face the entire time and I felt my face flush when I finished with the set up.
“You’re incredible, you know that?” she mused, continuing to watch me. “These last couple of weeks, everyone’s been so wrapped up with everything that no one’s even asked how I’ve been, if I was okay. But the one person I’ve been neglecting the most goes and does all of this for me. Go figure…
“I’m so unbelievably sorry for the last couple of weeks. I’m like the world’s worst girlfriend – oops! I meant, fiancée. Still getting used to that word. Anyway, the world’s worst fiancée and you go and do this and so now I feel like I don’t deserve it. Gah, I wish there were more hours in the day, so then maybe I might have a shot of fitting everything in.”
“I told you, Lee, don’t worry about it. I just wanted to spend time with you. I wanted to be able to do this,” I said, suddenly pulling her down in front of me and wrapping my arms around her. “And this,” I murmured, trailing kisses from the tip of her ear to just below her earlobe. “And most of all, this,” I finished, turning her face towards me and kissing her softly, but firmly, on her lips.
I continued kissing her as the wind continued to pick up around us, threatening to blow sand on what was supposed to be our lunch. I pulled away, chuckling as she moved her face forward, not ready to let go.
“Mmm, I’ve missed that…” she whispered, settling into the crook of my arm. “I’ve missed you. I mean, really missed you. You know that I can’t fall asleep right if I haven’t seen you the whole day? Is that weird? I always feel a little unsettled if you weren’t a significant part of my day.”
“Not weird at all…same thing happens to me,” I replied, popping a piece of bread in her open mouth. “Ergo, picnic on the beach. Ta-da!”
I started laughing as she put all the pieces together. She looked up at me and suddenly nothing else in the world mattered; not the stupid wedding plans, not the ridiculous amount of homework, not her selfish friends who apparently think it’s okay to monopolize all her time, and most of all not the feelings of neglect and longing that I had kept pent up for the last couple of weeks.
“You wanna swim after we eat?” I asked, fixing a plate of food for her. “It’s a little chilly, but the sun’s starting to come out.”
“But I don’t have my swimsui –” she started, before I cut her off, pointing at the bag next to the cooler.
“I told you, I took care of everything,” I said, grinning.
“Dude, I’m totally and completely impressed,” she replied, shaking her head in awe. “I’m starting to think that maybe I don’t deserve you after all.”
“Mission accomplished then!” I exclaimed, rolling her over and tickling her on her side.
“Sam!” she shrieked, laughing uncontrollably. “Wait, wait, wait…I want a piece of cheese…” She picked up a wedge of cheese next to the bread and pushed the unsuspecting piece into my face, breaking out in chortles as we started a semi-food fight right there on the beachfront.
Twenty minutes later, we were both chuckling and exhausted, sitting along the shoreline as I leaned towards her to pull a piece of bread that was stuck in her hair. That sent her into fits of giggles, causing her to fall to the side towards me. I caught her before she hit the sand, her back leaning against my arm as I looked down at her. She squinted against the sunlight behind me, her hand brushing away sand and hair from her face. I leaned down and did the only thing that my mind could process at the moment: I kissed her again.
I could never get enough of her lips, so soft, so perfect that I’ve been known to daydream about them. I pulled away for a brief second, long enough to tell her something.
“God, you’re so beautiful. I’m really glad that you came with me today,” I murmured, my fingers tracing the length of her stomach. My hand trailed down the length of her arm until our hands met and I lifted them up, threading mine with hers. “You have no idea how happy I’m going to make you, Mrs. Uley.”
She giggled at this, her other hand caressing the side of my face. My hands caressed every part of her; her arms, her neck, her face, the smooth skin like silk underneath my fingertips. Her scent was intoxicating, filling me with longing and want. Needless to say, it was driving me crazy.
“You’re not supposed to call me that, Mr. Uley. It’s bad luck…but on second thought, I could really get used to the sound of that. It’s got a nice ring to it, don’t you think? Leah Uley.” She giggled again, her eyes burning up at me.
“Couldn’t have picked a better sounding name myself,” I answered, setting her body on the sand.
“Do you think we can always stay like this? I mean, be this happy, this carefree, this sure?” she mused.
“I think so. This whole thing with you kind of reminds me of one of the stories we were told in school. The one about Taha Aki’s third wife, remember?”
“Vaguely. He was supposed to have imprinted or something like that. Or at least that’s what they called it. I think I remember them saying he was so in love with her that the word love just didn’t do it justice. She was supposed to be his ‘true spirit wife’ or something, right?”
“Yeah, you remember more than you let on, Lee-lee,” I replied, chuckling. “But yeah, she was supposed to be his ‘true spirit wife’.”
“Do you think I could be that for you? Your ‘true spirit wife’? Do you think something like that really exists?” Her eyes looked searchingly at me.
“I don’t know about ‘true spirit wife’ in that whole magical, mystical, legends-are-real type of thing, but yeah, I think you could be that. Actually, from how I’ve been feeling the last few weeks with very little ‘Lee-lee time’, I’m sure that you are. You have no idea how hard it’s been for me to be away from you for so long,” I said softly, brushing flecks of sand off her cheek. "You're everything to me Lee-lee. You have all of me; mind, body, and spirit. You don't even need to ask for it."
She blushed, the color rising up to her ears. I kissed her again and rolled over to the side, as we sat up and watched the waves roll in.
A few hours later, I sat there holding her hand as the sun made its way below the horizon. It would be twilight soon and the end to one of the most perfect days I’ve ever had with Leah. Nothing could be better than this and I was going to do everything I could to make sure that she had as many perfect days as she would let me give her. The sun’s light disappeared completely and I turned to her, cradling her in my arms as I set her down on the cool sand. She turned her face to me while I propped myself on my elbow, playing with the strands of hair that wouldn’t stay off of her face.
My hands moved over her heart, feeling the erratic beating as her breath quickened with each second that passed. Leaning down to press my lips on hers, my mind drifted forward to five years from now, ten years from now, the pictures of our future together so clear in my mind that they could have been set in stone. My thoughts conjured images of how the wedding would be, graduation, buying our first house together, our first baby, all our other children, and then eventually growing old with her.
An overwhelming feeling of contentment washed over me and I moved closer, kissing her more urgently so that we were soon pressed together, the heat between our bodies almost visible in the coming night. After a few minutes, she pulled away, breathless and glowing, gazing at me intently.
“I love you, Sam,” she whispered. “Thank you for my perfect day.”
“I love you, too, Lee-le,” I murmured, kissing the tip of her nose. “Anytime.”
If only I knew how numbered our perfect days were going to be…
Chapter 6 to come... ;)