Old Soul Imprint
Once I received tight hugs from both Martha and Lucy, we all sat around Ephraim’s table. Though I’m sure they had questions, the girls sat quietly until I was almost finished eating.
It was Lucy who broke first, “Okay, I can not stand this silence! Someone, please tell me something. Did you find her? What is she like? What is her name? When will you meet her? Are you and your wolf one again?”
I chuckled after swallowing the last bit of my food, then offered, “Thank you both for dinner. It was delicious as always. Brothers, shall we fill the girls in before getting down to business?”
With a round of agreements, I explained to the girls, “Her name is Isabella Marie Swan, but I heard her being called Bella more than once. She is going to be born in Forks, just outside of reservation land, but not for 3 generations. Apparently, our great-grandchildren are her age. Do you agree, Quil?”
He nodded, “Your focus was always on Bella, of course, but at the party… as she was running to you… I heard Sam call someone who looked similar in features to me, Five. With me being two, that would leave a three-generation gap. Lucy and I had already said that our firstborn son would be named Quil III, so it would make sense.”
Lucy gave Quil a blinding smile, then I continued. “She is a paleface, but she values the tribe as if she were born Quileute.”
Ephraim jumped in, adding, “Long brown hair, maybe an inch taller than you, Martha, and bright green eyes. Even as she grew older, her complexion stayed very fair. She is quite feisty. She threatened to tell Levi about his great-grandson manhandling her when he picked her up over his shoulder. That is not all, though. She stated she would rather that money be donated to the tribal daycare center than have someone gift her something extravagant. It was her 18th birthday in one of the scenes we witnessed.”
Lucy asked, “Daycare center?”
I shook my head, “Yes. The building needed a new roof, and they were constantly running short on basic supplies. Isabella stated she was supplementing from her own paychecks.”
Martha had a huge smile on her face as she rubbed her growing belly. “Levi, your Bella is working with and teaching our tribe’s young ones!”
That caused everyone to smile, and Ephraim to say, “She must love children, to be working with them every day. Oh, Martha… the first scene was of a native man ribbing Isabella’s father jokingly as he was trying to show the infant Bella to him. The native man was our grandson, Billy Black. He has twin girls, as well as a son named after my grandfather. When Charlie, Bella’s father introduced them, he called Billy her uncle. They were almost as close as I am to Levi and Quil. I could see it when they looked at each other. I think having her grow up on and near the reservation is what gives Bella such respect for our tribe.”
Quil shook his head, “That is not all, though, Ephraim. Levi, I felt it when you imprinted. She may have been 18 at the time, but think about it. You imprinted on her in this time… I could still feel it inside you after the vision of your journey was over. I think, and I could be wrong, that this is the reason she dreams of wolves from an early age. The imprint is with her from birth, is cemented for you both, but only an internal guide for her until the time is right. Remember how your wolf stopped you from imprinting on Bella as an infant? I think if you would have imprinted on her then, she would be inconsolable as a baby because of the pull. Imprinting on her as an adult allows her to grow into who she will be before the pull takes effect on her 18th birthday. She may not have been able to physically see you, but I know she sensed you when she looked directly into your eyes, so the imprint is cemented. All of us could feel that.”
Ephraim hummed in thought before speaking. “This is very plausible, but I will speak with the elders on the topic. Now, Levi… I know you are one with your wolf again, but your thoughts were on your journey. As such, I am asking as a concerned brother, not a pack leader. Have you come to a decision with your wolf about the future?”
I nodded, knowing this would be asked, “You heard Isabella, Ephraim. It would sadden her if I was alone all these generations waiting for her. She is close to Sam and Embry, both of whom are my descendants. She wants me to live and love, so I will. I am not saying that I will hunt down a bride tomorrow, Martha. Do not let your hopes rise too fast, please. That being said, I will not turn down getting to know someone who asks for my time. I will let the ancestors decide, and follow where they lead me.”
A collective sigh could be heard in the room, so I knew they would worry less for me over the coming days and months.
Those days did flow into weeks, which quickly turned into months. In that time, I found myself caring deeply for Ellen Longtree. She knew, of course, about my wolf. Though both halves of me cared very much about Ellen, she was wary around my wolf until after our wedding, which was nearly 6 months after we started courting. She had not really wanted to talk about imprinting much during our courting, but she did fully understand that I had not imprinted on her, and my imprint would not be born for many years.
It came to my attention that her wariness was due to wolves marking their mates. Since we had not talked much about the legends and imprints during our courtship, I had not realized that she thought I would want to mark her as my mate during lovemaking. On the night we wed, her fears caused her to break down in tears in my arms. It was then that I was able to clarify that wolves only marked their true soulmates… their imprints. I explained that though I did love her, my wolf would only truly mate once in his life. When he did, he would mark his imprint as his lifemate.
Ellen calmed considerably after that, even warming up to my wolf. We welcomed Douglas into our lives only two years later, then Charles was born just 4 years after his brother. Time seemed to move quickly.
Though I thought of Isabella almost daily, I loved my family dearly, and I took pride in each of their accomplishments. It made my heart burst to be able to raise my family beside my brother wolves, and our children played together more often than not.
Ephraim and Martha ended up with twin girls and a boy; Jane, Mary, and William. Quil and Lucy were truly blessed with Quil III and Doris. Thus, the first generation of the three to come had been born into the world.
The Cullens left just a short few days after Charles was born, which we were all thankful for. Though they had kept to the treaty with strictness, Quil, Ephraim and I all wanted to spend more time raising our families, and less time patrolling our borders.
Once we were positive they would not come back unless called for, I sat down with my pack brothers. They were wary about me being alone, but I was persistent that it was time for their wolves to rest. My wolf was enough to protect the reservation now that the Cullens were gone, and they deserved to let their spirit wolves rest.
It only took two months for them to completely stop phasing, my wolf’s head silent except for my own thoughts, which was a truly morose feeling.
I cherished every day, week, and month that passed. I did not want to regret anything in my life, nor did I want to miss out on raising my family with Ellen. She was a wonderful mother to Douglas and Charles, who quickly grew to be strong and capable, loving men.
Charles went on to marry a wonderful girl named Clara. They had 3 beautiful children together; Thomas Jr (after my father), Joshua, and Ellen (after my wife).
Doris Ateara wed the Wilde boy, Hank. They proceeded to have two children, Sarah and Jane.
Quil III married, happily enough, a white woman from Forks named Molly Swan. Together, they welcomed Quil IV.
Though the Black twin sisters never married, William more than made up for that after he married Judith Peterson. Together, they had 5 children; Norah, Billy, twins Jennie and Connie, and finally Emmie.
Thus, the grandchildren of the Black pack were born, the second of three generations separating me from my imprint.
It was at least a comfort to me that Molly’s sister-in-law, Marie, often visited the reservation. That allowed me to watch little Billy make fast friends with her son, Charlie, who would one day become my imprint’s father.
If this time were filled with only happiness, I would not have learned of the hardest consequence of my spirit wolf continuing on.
The death of my Douglas was the first of many I would have to endure. He was 20 and loved all things fishing. So much so, that he was caught in a bad storm while out on the water. An infection killed him from his long exposure in the stormy elements.
Not even a year later, my wife Ellen left to be with the ancestors. Doctors said it was her heart. Anguish does not even come close to what her death made me feel.
One by one -or in pairs, for my imprinted brothers- I had to watch as friends and family moved away or died. The hardest, other than my family or parents, were my pack brothers and their imprints. Quil II and Lucy passed peacefully in their sleep, only 3 short months before IV’s birthday. Ephraim and Martha did the same, but they held on until after little Billy was born.
I, of course, always kept a close eye on my brothers’ descendants. I felt as if Ephraim and Quil would have done the same for me if they were in my position, so I took them in as my own. As such, I also had a lot of contact with Marie Swan.
Before our fathers’ deaths, Ephraim, Quil and I sat down with them to make a plan for the future. It was determined that if one of my imprint’s ancestors was tied to the reservation, and spent at least half their spare time here, they would be granted knowledge of our legends and secrets.
As such, Molly, Quil III, and I sat down with Marie and George when little Charlie was 4. After hearing the old legends and stories, including the ‘Old Soul’ legend, Marie looked at me in a sort of shocked awe. “This has something to do with our Charlie, doesn’t it?”
I nodded, “Yes, Marie. I am who the ‘Old Soul’ legend is about… well, I am half of the legend. My other half, my soulmate, has yet to be born. I do know who she is, as my father took a spirit journey with me to find her when I was in an internal conflict with my spirit wolf.”
George scowled, but after a second, he stated, “You must understand how difficult this is to believe, Levi. You look as if you are our age, yet you state that you are older than Molly’s father-in-law. You’re also telling us that you somehow transform into a giant wolf to protect the reservation from vampires. Really, how much do you expect us to hear before we try to commit you to the nearest asylum?”
I held my hand up, trying to calm him as I spoke softly, “Please, George. If you will allow me, I can prove to you that I am only speaking the truth.”
After a second of silently looking at Marie, she nodded, so he sighed, “Alright. If you can prove your claims, we will listen further.”
When I picked up the spare set of clothing I’d brought to this meeting, Marie asked, “What do you need those for?”
I chuckled in reply, “It is something you need to see, but I will try to explain. When I transform into my spirit wolf, my clothes do not transform with me. They sort of explode into shreds. If I did not have a spare set, transforming back to a human would be inappropriate in a lady’s company. As such, I will transform in front of you both to my wolf form. Then once you are satisfied, I will phase back to human in the woods, so as not to offend. I will dress before coming back into the yard.”
After a nod from both, I directed them to stay near the porch, while I went to drop my clothing off a few steps into the thick forest. I walked back into the middle of the yard, where it was barest, then offered, “Please do not be afraid of my wolf’s size. Remember that he protects the reservation people, and would never harm a human.”
With that, I felt the tingle down my spine, indicating that my wolf was coming forth. My form shimmered, blurring from one form to the other before my clothes finally exploded into shreds as my wolf landed on four paws.
Quil III grinned widely, then went to step down from the porch, but George grabbed him in a panic. “What are you doing? That wolf is gigantic! It could take your head off!”
He pushed Marie behind him, but Quil III laughed, “George, this is Levi. Remember what he said, and know that I’ve lived under his protection since my birth. I remember riding his back when I was little Charlie’s age. He will not harm us.”
He came directly to me, patted my side, and chuckled, “You’ve grown again. It’s been a while since you’ve let me see you like this. Dad and Ephraim would be proud.”
His last statement was choked up, causing my wolf to whine slightly while nudging his hand with my nose.
Though George was cautiously making his way in my direction, Marie walked straight up to me. As she gently touched the fur of my cheek, she whispered, “So… you are meant to be mated to my little Charlie’s daughter? Or his Granddaughter? And you will protect her… keep her safe and love her without limits?”
I bowed my head after catching her gaze, then nudged her hand with my nose.
In response, Marie nodded, petting my head, “We will talk more when you are in your human form, but know that I will keep your secrets close to my heart, Levi Uley. Just understand that if you hurt her, I will not hesitate to shoot you.”
I could not help but let out a wolfy chuckle, though I nodded to both Marie and George before trotting off toward the treeline.
By the early 1990s, Quil III (now known as Old Quil) and I were the oldest ones left on the reservation. He was our tribe chief, so he held all of the histories and legends of our tribe.
Some of our descendants had gone to be with the ancestors, some had moved, but there were always Atearas, Blacks, and Uleys as a constant on reservation land. Marie Swan had also become more engrossed in the tribe, especially after George passed from a heart attack when Charlie was 16.
Young Charlie had grown to be an exceptional young man, balancing the secrets of our tribe well with the world around, seemingly without a problem… that is until he fell in love with Renee Higginbotham in 1995.
Theirs was a whirlwind romance, due to Renee’s eccentric and flighty nature. Hell, they only met by chance because she had a flat tire on the side of the road, while he was on duty at the police station one night. They married only a short 6 months later, but soon Renee was showing her true colors.
She would often complain about the Washington weather, Charlie working too much at the station, not wanting to spend time on the reservation, or any manner of other things. She seemed to want to pick apart everything concerning their life together, and she was adamantly trying to convince Charlie to move to another state.
That fact had my heart nearly beating out of my chest, especially when Charlie announced that Renee was pregnant. I went to speak to Billy one night, who offered me the only comfort I’d received lately. “Don’t worry so much, Uncle Levi. Charlie won’t leave. His roots are here… we’re here. He grew up hearing the legends and seeing the truth in them. He’s just starting to gain rank in the police force. Plus, I can see the distance gaining between him and Renee. They can’t agree on anything, and I can see her pulling away. She doesn’t like the fact that she’s married -or pregnant, especially- because she thinks she’s now stuck in a town with no prospects. She would never take this chance from Charlie, though.”
I hummed in thought, having noticed much of the same things during my check-ins. “You believe Renee will leave… that she will stay only long enough to have the baby and recover from the birth.”
He nodded sadly, but added, “Charlie’s prepared for it, but hopes to convince Renee that they can have a good life here. He told me he knew this time was coming the moment he saw her holding the pregnancy test.”
Rachel and Rebecca both started crying; Billy rushed to pick them up, so as not to wake Sarah. She’d not been feeling well the last few days.
I smiled as he came back into the room, both arms full of the twins. He handed me Rachel, so I cuddled her to me as I sat in the living room rocker. Billy cooed as he settled on the couch with his firstborn, each of us rocking the 18-month-olds a bit to settle them back down. A memory concerning Bella came to mind, and I couldn’t help but smile fondly as I whispered, “Rach and Becca.”
Billy gave me a calculating look, so I chuckled, “It’s what my imprint will call them… Rach and Becca. One of the scenes, during my journey to meet my imprint, showed her on your back porch swing at maybe 6 years of age. She was wearing this frilly little dress, hair done up in pigtails, and hating every minute of it. Sarah found her out there, practically yanking out her pigtails, looking sad. When Sarah asked what was wrong, my little mate explained that she hated poofy, and tried to tell you, but you insisted that she play with Rach and Becca.”
Billy laughed in response, “I take it she must have snuck out to the back porch to get away from my girls.”
I nodded in reply, offering only, “She practically begged to go play with your son out front, who was making mud pies in the yard. The next scene was when she was turning 18.”
Billy’s eyes lit up, but I shook my head, knowing what he was going to ask. “I never saw him, so I don’t know when. Billy, you know I can’t risk changing the future, so I can’t tell you anything more. I only saw the scene on the back porch to allow me a deeper understanding of my future mate.”
Billy nodded respectfully, then explained, “Just knowing that Sarah will be willing to have another child, after having such a long labor with these two, is more than I could have hoped for. A son… someone to carry on the Black name.”
Isabella Marie Swan was born only a few short months later, September 13, 1997, at 7:34 pm. She weighed a mere 5 lbs 9 oz, but was completely perfect and crying in the background as Marie excitedly called me with the news an hour later. My heart was overjoyed, knowing my imprint had finally been born into the world.
My wolf howled his joy long into the night, while bonfire parties lit the beach seemingly in celebration.