May 7, 2013
Sam was sitting, waiting for me in the clearing as I expected him to be when I arrived. I make my way through the trees to him. The first time he brought me here, I had been angry. Leah had told me before of how they sometimes sneaked out to the clearings in the forest and watched the stars. But now, we had been back several times, and every time it got easier to forget that what we now shared had once been his with somebody else.
“Hey, beautiful, ” he says to me and pats the ground next to him. I giggle—I can’t help it—and sit beside him. He takes my hand. “How did it go?”
I’ve just gotten back from Makah, where I am going to teach weaving and other arts at the high school. The woman that taught before me, and through my time in high school had noticed that I learned the arts easily and knew more than most of the other students. When she retired, she had recommended me to the staff and when no one else applied, they called to offer me the job. I drove up and was greeted by the desperate new principal who hardly bothered with an interview, and told me that I could start once school did.
I shrug, “I took it. They were pretty desperate. I had never really thought that I’d return to high school, even for a job. That’s why I graduated early.”
“Well, you enjoy weaving and stuff, right? And I’ve seen your work. You’re probably the best they’ll ever get!”
I laugh at his enthusiasm. I probably will enjoy it, even if I’m not much older than the students.
“How are we going to work out the drive? I mean, I really love it here; the house, being with you, everything.” I’d been dropping hints like this throughout the last few weeks, showing him that I didn’t completely hate him for what he’d done anymore. I understood why life had gone in the direction it had and honestly, I was starting to really like Sam. Maybe even love.
He puts his finger on his chin and stares upwards, pretending to be deep in thought. I laugh again. He turns to me. “Maybe you could hire a wolf to ride up there and back. That way you can stay in the house, and with me, and still go to work. It would save money on gas, too.”
I laugh. “Yeah, but all that money would have to go to food—payment for the wolf.”
“A gentleman wolf would always share the food with his lady, of course.”
“A gentleman wolf wouldn’t have . . . “ left Leah the way he did. We both feel the unspoken words between us and the air is tense for a few minutes. “Sorry, ” I say, breaking the silence.
He shakes his head. “It’s fine. You’re right anyways. But—”
“But I understand,” I finish his sentence and then my stomach rumbles. He laughs and I groan, embarrassed.
“What would you like for dinner?” I’ve grown accustomed to the way Sam asks me questions anymore. Instead of asking me if I want something, he asks how I want it. The way he says it is like he will get me whatever I want whenever I want it without me having to really ask. It’s nice sometimes—like a forever promise, which it kind of is with imprinting.
“You pick. You never choose,” I tell him
Sam stands up without letting go of my hand and then helps me up. I take my hand back for a moment and brush the dirt from my clothes. He turns to face me, and his hands graze the side of my face, my jaw, my neck. “I choose to let you pick. I will like whatever you want, ” he says obediently.
I shake my head stubbornly and he sighs.
“If your stomach didn’t sound like Paul when he’s mad, I’d say we go back to the house and forget dinner. Put on a movie and—”
My stomach grumbles again and we both laugh. Sam kisses my cheek. I smile and lean my head against his chest.
“What? What’s this? Could it be? Is the gorgeous Emily actually flirting back for once? She doesn’t like me, does she?” Sam teases.
I giggle and mumble against his chest, “Maybe a little more than like.”
I don’t know whether Sam hears me or not because he throws his head back suddenly, mumbles something, and groans, sending me stumbling backwards a few steps. I balance myself, and then turn to see what he is looking at.