Chapter 13

Step Right Up

Step right up
Shoot an arrow at the target
My heart is an easy thing for you to hit
Don't worry
If you miss I'll let you shoot again
My heart is an easy thing for you to win

Step Right Up- The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

By the time Monday morning rolled around, the swelling on my face was almost completely gone, but the bruising was still horrendous. I did the best I could with cover-up and foundation, but it was still obvious. I decided on wearing my hair down and around my face, hoping to conceal the bruises.

I gave up with my face and decided to just get dressed. I pulled on a dark burgundy dress that came to the tops of my thighs. I slipped into a pair of ripped up leggings and pulled on gray knee-high boots. I slipped white feather earrings through my ears and a long gold necklace over my head. My grandmother's ring and the new ring from Ireland that my father gave me along with a sliver, sparkly ring that looked like leaves ring, all slipped onto my fingers. I thought about a bracelet, only to remember the three that now occupying my wrist for the rest of eternity.

With a roll of my eyes and a quick look in the mirror, I grabbed my coat and my leather school bag and made my way downstairs.

I could hear my brother still snoring away on the couch but Seth and Leah were already at the table, munching on some pancakes and bacon. I flopped into the chair next to Leah after getting myself some coffee. Sue, Harry, Seth and Leah all looked at me strangely.

"What?" I questioned them, stealing a piece of bacon off Seth's plate. Sue answered first.

"Nothing, Cate," She smiled and gave a plate filled with food which I dug into. As I was consuming the delicious breakfast, it occurred to me that this was my first time actually sitting down and eating breakfast with the Clearwater family. I usually breezed straight out the door, with barely a word to anybody.

I knew what had changed; I wasn't that dense. After the whole incident with my dad, I really was touched by how the Clearwaters had been there for me, defending me and helping me. Sure, Harry was a little gruff, Sue was a bit strict, Leah could be a bit of a bitch, and Seth...well Seth was just a cool kid, but they cared and family meant more to them then anything else.

Late last night, I had gotten up to use the bathroom when I heard Sue and Harry talking. I tip-toed my way to the stair case and sat on the top step, so I could listen in.

"I'm just glad you got into him before he left. God knows I wanted to along with the rest of the pack," Sue said to her husband.

Harry said something to my dad?

"Well, what he did was completely unacceptable," Harry's gruff voice answered her. "I couldn't imagine laying my hands on Leah or Seth like that, not in a million years. I don't know what happened to Tim. He's changed and not for the better,"

Sue sighed. "I know, honey. Power, money-it changes people. Tim's been hurt by everything Bridget has done to him. Though, I get the feeling somethings not right with her..."She trailed off and despite my anger at my mother, I couldn't help but feel offended at Sue's words. "But still that doesn't excuse Timothy's behavior and actions. He may not realize it now, but he has just isolated both of his children. Lucas was deeply hurt by what his father said to him. He opened up to him and shared something so personal, only to have Tim reject him like that. And Cate, well I don't how she's going to cope with what her father did to her. I don't he ever raised a hand to her until Saturday,"

Sue was right...

"She loves Tim, despite everything. Cate doesn't forgive easily," Harry said to his wife.

It made tears spring to my eyes how much Harry had noticed about me as a person. Here I was, doing everything I could to put myself off from these people and all they did was care about me and my brother, opening up their home to us.

As I got up from the staircase, I decided that I would give more respect to Sue and Harry. They deserved it.

I had cleared my plate, sticking it in the sink and thanking Sue. She smiled and told me to have a good day.

As I closed the door behind me a felt a dark shadow come over me. I smiled and turned to face Paul.

"Good morning," I said as I wrapped my arms around him. He chuckled and pulled me closer to him, kissing the top of my head. I looked at him to see his tired eyes shining down at me. He placed a soft kiss against my lips. I melted into him at the gentle sweetness of the kiss. He pulled away.

"I missed you," He told me as he kept one arm wrapped tightly around me as we started walking to school.

"I missed you too," I said as I leaned against him as we walked. "So I want to know what happened yesterday with Luke and Sam," I had waited up for Lucas but I ended up passing out by midnight and since he was passed out this morning, I didn't get the chance to ask him.

Paul let out a low whistle. "I've never seen Sam so...upset,"

"He was upset at Luke," That surprised me. "Why?" Paul narrowed his eyes for a moment and then looked at me.

"Well you now how Sam and Leah use to date," He told me as he lifted me up over a puddle. "Sam kinda freaked out on Luke," Paul took in my confused look. "Don't get me wrong! Sam is completely devoted to Emily, but still Leah is very dear to him and he couldn't help but to get upset,"

"I understand," I nodded.

"After that little spat, Sam and Luke were able to sit down and talk about wolves and imprinting, all that jazz we need to know," He shook his head.

"What?"

"Nothing. It's just poor Luke. He had to go through the change all by himself with no clue as to what was happening to him. I don't know how he didn't go completely insane. When I first phased, God, it was so intense, painful even. But Sam and Jared were there. They talked to me, helped me out, explained to me how to calm down and phase back to human,"

I smiled. "Luke's strong...and stubborn like that,"

Paul laughed. "Yeah he is. Must run in the family," He kissed the side of my head as I tired to poke him in the side. "I think it helped him and Sam to bond a bit because Sam was totally alone and confused too being the first to change and all."

We were at school by now so the wolfy talk had to end, but I was glad to know what was going on with my brother now. I was happy that he finally could be around the other guys and not have to be alone in dealing with becoming a werewolf. Hopefully being surrounded by a whole group who accepted him would help him to deal with the fact that Dad had given him the brush off.

Paul walked me to my locker and then to my first class. I couldn't help but notice everyone staring at Paul gave me a quick peck on the lips, promising to walk to my next class. Suddenly, heads were together whispering and I just rolled my eyes. I took my seat and waited for Mr. Morgan to start class.

Ten minutes into class, while Mr. Morgan was reading a poem to us, I felt my phone vibrate. Pulling it out of my bag, the screen told me I had a text message from Paul. A smile took over my face as I read it.

Miss u already. Dont let ppl ge much. They r just jealous.

I quickly sent him a response.

Miss u 2. see u after class. 3

My phone was shoved back in my bag before Mr. Morgan could catch me and take it away. I couldn't wait for class to over so I could see Paul. Unfortunately, my excitement didn't make me deaf to the whispers around me.

"Geez, I knew Paul had a temper but to hit a girl..."

"That douche is nothing but trouble."

"Someone should have warned her before she got involved with that ass."

I did the best I could to ignore the comments, but they just made me angry. I couldn't believe that people would think that Paul would do this to me. He was the sweetest, gentlest guy ever. I don't think he could ever hurt me...well except for the first night we met. That first night made me smile. Sure, it wasn't one of my better moments, but I'm a far cry from that sad, lonely girl. However, I was still Cate, the strong New Yorker with the ability to kick any one's ass...verbally at least.

"Listen up," I said loud enough to get every one's attention. I stood up, crossing my arms. "Paul didn't hit me. He would never hurt me. So if everyone could stop talking crap on my boyfriend, I would really appreciate it," I leaned down to grab my bag, only to remember something else I wanted to say. "If you do feel the need to say something, I suggest you pass around what I just said and take any concerns you have up with Paul himself." Everyone kept staring at me. I raised an eyebrow. "I'm done now," I smirked.

The bell rang and I was the first out the door. Paul was leaning up against the lockers across from my class. I rushed up to him, throwing my arms around his neck. He was quick to wrap his arms around me, holding me close to him.

"You alright," He whispered into my ear. I just nodded and inhaled his spicy, woodsy scent. "You didn't have to defend me, Cate,"

"I wanted to," I told him. "I felt like they were attacking me, not you. I couldn't stand it." He hugged me tighter and pressed a kiss against my neck. I closed my eyes and felt my heart rate accelerate.

"Let's get to class," Paul breathed, loosening his hold on me, pressing a kiss to my forehead. I took his hand and let him lead us to Biology. I continued to ignore the stares that we were getting. We took our usually table in Biology and waited for Mrs. Hathburn to start class.

We still were on the receiving end of many stares but the whispering had decreased. That's the nice thing about going to a school with less than seventy students; word travels fast.

After Biology, Paul and I had to go our separate ways again. When we got the door, Paul swept me into a kiss that was highly inappropriate for the doorway of art class. Promising to see me at lunch, I was left to stumble to my seat. I realized Mr. Mac was giving me a questioning look that almost made me blush.

"When did you and Paul get so chummy?" I heard Day ask from beside me. I turned to look at him. He had changed slightly since I first met him. His hair wasn't as bright and his eyes seem to be dull, like there was no emotion behind them.

Day and I had talked in the three months I had been in Washington. I could tell that he liked me, but I just couldn't let that go any further. Even though, at the time, Paul and I weren't officially together, it still felt wrong. Plus, I was not even remotely interested in Day.

"Well, we've close for awhile, but over break we decided that we wanted to be together, officially," I explained to Day as I set up my canvas to finish the sketch for my next painting. Oddly enough, I was using my dream-visits to Kelan as my inspiration. I wanted the end result to resemble the first night I visited the technicolor tent, with a herd of fireflies surrounding me. I could only hope that it would come out decent enough that other people would understand it.

"I don't like it," Day huffed.

"You don't have to and frankly, I don't care if you do or not," I kept my back to him as I told him very nonchalantly, how I felt.

"That kid is nothing but trouble and he's only going to hurt you," I heard Day stand up, his chair shrieking against the floor. Suddenly his hand was wrapped around my wrist, spinning me to look at him, causing my elbow to knock into my canvas, sending it to the floor. I was forced to look into his dead eyes. "If you were smart, you'd away from him," The anger sizzled through my body and before I knew it Day was being pushed away from me by a strong gust of wind and sent him crashing into the wooden shelves that held all the students' artwork. Day slipped to the floor as papers floated down around him.

Mr. Mac rushed over to Day, helping him up, asking him if he was okay. After Day nodded that he was fine, Mac turned his gaze to me.

"What the hell happened?" He demanded to know. I was a little to shocked to answer. Yeah, using my powers outside of dreamland. Great idea. Mac didn't wait long before taking both Day and me to the principle's office.

I sat in the ugly gray chair, waiting my turn with the dragon man. Wonderful. Just when I decided to turn over a new leaf in this damn place, I wind up in the principle's office. Sue and Harry are just going to love me now.

I groaned and sank lower into the chair, trying to think of a way to cover my ass. How exactly was I going to explain pushing Day over ten feet back and slamming him into the wall? I needed to think of something. Fast.

Mr. Littlesea opened his office door and Day came out looking slightly disheveled. His eyes flashed towards me and I couldn't help but to notice the fury and hatred in them.

"Come with me, Catherine," Mr. Littlesea motioned for me to follow him into his office.

Mr. Littlesea was called the dragon man, I wasn't sure why as I had never met him before, but it was obvious why. He was an intimidating man, his voice as deep as the ocean and husky. He was had the same dark skin like most of the other Quileutes with short dark hair that framed his lined face. I felt like I was five again around him.

Shutting the door behind me, he told me to take a seat as he sat in his leather chair. "I would like to know what happened between you and Darcy."

I took a breath. "Well, Day has a bit of a crush on me and he found out that I'm dating Paul Walker. He got really angry and said some rather harsh things about Paul and I. I told him that what he thought didn't matter, and that I didn't care what he thought. He grabbed my wrist and made me turn towards him, making me knock my canvas to the floor. I just pushed him off me. There must have been a puddle of something that made him slide backwards," I can't believe how bad I was bullshitting this story.

Mr. Littlesea raised an eyebrow at my story. "Darcy said he felt as if he was blown back by some unknown wind."

I shrugged. "Well he was knocked into some hard wooden shelves. Maybe he hit his head and got confused," Please buy my story, please. I do not need to be in trouble.

Mr. Littlesea nodded and seemed to be thoughtful for a minute. "You're dating Paul," He commented and all I could do was nod, slightly confused as to why my relationship with Paul was important. "You know Catherine, I'm part of tribal elders," That surprised me. I had never seen him at any of the bonfires or even heard him mentioned. "I try not to involve myself to much with anything that students might be involved in, don't want to seem partial to anybody." His mouth quirked up on one side. "But as much as I am a principle, I am also an elder and I need to protect this tribe," He was quite for a moment. "So I'm going to give you both a warning. I suggest you stay away from Darcy, understood?"

"Yes sir," I squeaked. Geez, this man was almost too much and now I felt as if I no choice but to respect him. He was a freakin' tribal elder and probably knew as much, if not more, than me about the wolves.

He closed his eyes and nodded. "Good. I'll expect an apology from both you and Darcy,"

"Of course, sir,"

"Let's get you back to class then," Mr. Littlesea said as he stood up. He opened the door and gestured for me to go out first. Day was still sitting there, looking more sullen then ever. He lifted his eyes to glare at me.

"Darcy, Catherine, I would like for you both to apologize to each other and then head back to class. Consider this your only warning," He eyed us both.

"I'm sorry I pushed you," I mumbled to Day as he stood up and looked down at me.

"Yeah, sorry I grabbed you," He was looking everywhere but me, his hands shoved in his pockets.

"Good," Mr. Littlesea nodded. "Go back to class." Not needing to be told twice, I flew past Day and made my way back to Art so I could grab my books and get to History class. I didn't look back to see if Day had followed.

Paul, once again, was waiting for me when I got out of history. I had never seen a look so intense on his face before. His eyes were looking at the ground, but I could still tell the stormy expression he had written across his face.

I slipped my hand into his hot one and pressed a kiss to his equally as hot cheek.

"I'm fine," I promised him.

"I should have been there, Catie, I should have-" He began to torture himself. I wasn't going to have that.

"Paul Walker, there was nothing you could have done to stop him. I'm not even hurt and I have...ways to protect myself," I looked into his chocolate eyes. He was torn between beating himself up and listening to me. "How do you think I got him off me?" I winked at him.

That made him smirk a little. He wrapped an arm around me, pulling me into a hug.

"I'm just glad my little imprint can protect herself," He mumbled against my hair. I smiled and pulled away from him.

"Come on," I pulled on him. "We're missing lunch," He happily followed me, his long strides easily over taking me.

Luckily, the rest of the day went by smoothly. I was even able to answer correctly in Quileute during Language class. I was bouncing as Paul led me out to his car. I did a quick spin on my tip-toes when a thought hit me.

"Paul!" I called to him, even though he was right next to me. He winced.

"Yes, dear,"

"Can you take me to Forks?" I held onto his arm with both hands, bouncing lightly. He looked fairly amused.

"Why,"

I took a breath. "There's this dance studio that I found out about and I really want to go and check it out so I can see if I can sign up for classes there it would totally just so make this wonderful day even better please please please take me!" Paul just looked at me like I had grown a third head.

"Sure, sure," He chuckled and I could tell he was wondering about my sanity.

Well at least someone does.

Oh shush you.

I could barely contain myself as Paul drove towards Forks. I had only been there as I passed through the town to get to La Push. I couldn't wait to check this place out. I had already decided that even if it sucked, it was better than not dancing at all.

After my spat with my dad, I really thought about what I had said to him, about dancing only being an outlet. While that was true, I still loved dancing. I loved how I felt when I danced. I wasn't me without dancing. I was truly passionate about it and wanted to have as a part of my life.

It wasn't hard to find the dance studio in the small town. It was a plain, brick building that had a simple sign that read, "Heidi's Dance Studio". I bounced in my seat as Paul parked the car. I took his hand and nearly dragged him inside.

The studio was huge and open, with mirrors along three out of the four walls. There was a class currently going on and I watched as the instructor taught the group of little girls. I smiled as I thought about my first classes when I was younger. The class was soon over and Paul and I stood off to the side while the little girls gathered their things and were picked up by their parents.

When the teacher was finally alone, I approached her. I could see that she was about as tall as I was and had dark hair streaked with gray which hung just below her shoulders in tight spiral curls.

"Excuse me," I said as she turned to me. She was pretty with dark eyes and laugh lines around her mouth.

"Yes," She looked me up and down and then shot a look over at Paul, who looked bored, sitting in a chair that looked almost to small for him.

I stuck my hand out. "Hi, I'm Cate Rostov. I'm from La Push," She shook my head and smiled, raising an eyebrow.

"I'm Heidi Mason. You certainly don't look like your from La Push," She mentioned as she took a look at my designer boots.

I laughed. "I'm originally from New York City. I've only lived here for a few months,"

"Well what brings you to my studio," She questioned.

"I was wondering about your classes. You see I'm a dancer. I was enrolled at the New York School of Performing Arts, in their advance dance program there. I haven't been to a formal class since I left New York in September and I'm really itching to get back to it. I figured your classes have already started but I was wondering if you might have room for me somewhere," I finally took a breath, and let my hands twist together and fall in front of me to stop them from their rather wild gesturing.

"Why didn't you come here when you first arrived?" She asked, her arms folded in front of her. I could tell that Heidi had some fire to her and wasn't going to back off on the hard questions.

"Well I Googled before I came here, to find a place to take classes but all I could find was over an hour away. It wasn't until I was shopping the other day that I came across your flier. Plus, I don't get out of La Push all that much," I explained to her.

She sighed. "You're what, sixteen?"

"Fifteen, sixteen in March,"

"All my upper level classes are full, all of my classes are full and have a waiting list. It wouldn't be fair to let you in while there are other girls who've been on that waiting list for months," She sounded like she was ending the conversation. No. I was going to join her classes. I needed to.

"Well, no offense to those girls, but I'm better than they are," I may have sounded cocky, but dancing was one thing I didn't lie about.

Heidi raised a dark eyebrow at me. "That's confident of you..." She paused and seemed thoughtful for a moment. "Show me what you got. I assume you have your shoes," I simply smiled and nodded. "Go ahead, get warmed up and then I want you to put your money where you mouth is," She glided away from me and over to the counter that was next to the door. I scampered over to Paul who looked up at my arrival.

"You can do this Cate," He said confidently as I pulled off my boots and pulled on my toe shoes, lacing and tying them. "I've seen you dance. You're beautiful and amazing." My heart swelled at his words. I threw my arms around his neck and kissed him. He pulled me away, pressed a kiss to my forehead and then gestured to the dance floor. "Go get warmed up," I nodded and pulled away from him.

To say I wasn't nervous would have been a lie. I knew I was good, I just needed to convince Heidi that I was good. As I walked up to the bar that was attached to the mirrors, I knew I just had to show her that I was worth it.

I stretched my muscles and heard Heidi walk over after a few minutes. I held up my iPod to her. "Is there a place where I could plug this in," She nodded and pointed to the iHome that sat on a stand connected to big speakers. I turned it on and put on the song I wanted. Before starting it, I told Heidi, "This is a dance a helped choreograph at my school for my new semester dance," I floated out to the middle of the dance floor and took my position as I waited for the music to start.

The music flowed out to me and I started to dance. I was nervous and I knew she could see it in my movements. On one of the first turns, I caught a glimpse of Paul's smiling face and that was all I needed. After that it was like Heidi disappeared and it was just Paul and me.

I danced for him, I danced for me, I danced because, in the end, what else could I do?

The song ended and so did my dance. A slight sheen on my forehead and my breathing was a little picked up, but I felt so exhilarated.

I turned to Heidi. She seemed...I couldn't decipher the look on her face and just like that my nerves came rushing back at me.

"The fifteen and sixteen year-olds met on Mondays and Thursday at six to seven-thirty," Oh my god. She was going to let me in! "But I'm not going to put you in with them," And just like that my bubble was popped. "I'd rather put you in with the seventeen and eighteen year old girls. You'd fit in better with them, skills-wise." Way to give me a heart attack!

I couldn't help but rush at her and embrace Heidi with a hug. "Thank you! Thank you!" I pulled away from her, and she laughed. "You don't know how much this means to me! What time are classes?"

"Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays at six," She smiled as she led me over to where Paul was sitting. "Don't be late," She smiled and then went into a back room. I felt Paul lift me up and embrace me, spinning me around.

"Congratulations!" He said and I pulled his face towards mine, kissing him deeply, running my fingers through his short hair.

"Thank you," I breathed against him as I let my forehead rest against his hot one. "I couldn't have done this with out you, Paul. I love you so much,"

He smiled. "I love you, too...Princess,"

Way to ruin a moment.

Uhm. Hi! SO...yeah I haven't updated in...a year? The only thing I can say is I'm sorry. I lost myself for awhile along with my writing. I just had nothing left in me. I hope this chapter is the start of finishing this bad boy. I started it nearly 3 years ago, wrote a few chapters, scraped it and rewrote it all over again.

So tell me what you think. Please. I hope this chapter was worth it after waiting for so long. I know it's kinda fluffy and fillerish. But I still hoped yall enjoyed. Review?