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Fate's Twisted Charm

Summary:
Fate's twisted charm is always what lures you in. From the beginning of her life she's been intertwined with myths and creatures. Now it's your time to hear her story and what she thinks about everything that has happened in the series we all know and love. This is Emily Young's life story. PhotobucketTwenty-One Preview: "Oh, Paul, you're not alone. I'm here and I love you. I know for a fact that Sam would not be the leader he is if not for you. Jared loves being with you and being your friend. And, so what if Leah doesn't talk to us anymore? It's mostly my fault anyway. She shouldn't take it out on you. I just get so worried about you sometimes."


Notes:
Disclaimer: This story does not match up with the actual series and the timeline, some ages, and other details have been changed. I also own nothing besides Maria and Scott Young. It's all Stephenie Meyer.


21. After All This Time

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2918   Review this Chapter


March 13th, 2005

When I have a problem, I like to keep my mind off it. When I keep my mind off of the problem, I like to keep my hands busy. And to do so, I do the dishes. I liked it when the cool water, mixed with the pleasant smelling soap, runs over my hands as I work with the sponge to get the little pieces of food off and make sure the plates end up squeaky clean. It's natural for me. A soft sigh escaped my pursed lips as I wondered silently how I had been appointed 'mother' of the pack. After time, it seemed like the role slowly started to fit.

I could not think of one time I didn't have food ready.

I swiped at a stray strand of hair that had escaped my loose bun as my eyes scanned over the backyard. A light drizzle dusted the ground with rain outside. My hands continued to vigorously work at the plates, the sponge tightly grasped in my hands. I had a radio plugged into the outlet on the counter and a slow song swiftly laced its way through the speakers. It was all very soothing as the clock struck 7 pm.

I had had a sense of dread for a couple of days now. It felt like something bad was going to happen. And soon. There had been no news about more boys on the reservation phasing to join the pack, there had been no news about Paul's ever-growing depression, there had been no news about Leah's stubborn grudge. Nothing. Zip. Nada.

And, lastly, there had been no news about Bella Swan.

I hummed lightly along to the familiar tune that played to my right as I scrubbed. I closed my eyes tightly, these serene days where nothing wrong happened were perfect. Too perfect. I almost missed the days where the Cullens would stir up some sort of unsettling wave of annoyance among the elders and pack members. I almost missed the days where there was some sort of trouble washing over the reservation.

A hollow knock on the front door made me jump. I hastily turned the faucet off and dropped the dish I had been holding in the sink. My hands found their way to a nearby towel as I wiped them off.

"Coming!" I pushed my hair back as I strode to the front door, trying to peak through the small pane of glass at the top to see who it was. All I could see was the outline of a very tall man. My hand wrapped around the metal doorknob as I unlocked it and tugged, the door swinging wide open.

"Hey Em," A sheepish Paul huskily whispered as he shook the water from his long locks, spraying me with drops of rain. I put my hands on my hips as I shot him a disapproving look.

"What are you doing out here in the rain? You could get sick, you big buffoon!" I scolded as I pulled on his thick, muscular arm and dragged him inside. After he was in, I shut the door before turning back to him. He gave me a toothy grin.

"Aw, come on, Em, you know I can't get sick. Plus, I needed some exercise," He mumbled as he peeled his jacket from his back and handed it to me. I made an irritated noise in the back of my throat as I yanked it from him.

"So you mean to tell me you ran here? In the rain?" Disbelief covered my tone as I stared at him. His innocent expression stared back at me, eyes wide and mouth slightly parted.

"Emily, it's no big deal. It's just a little bit of water. That's all," He said enthusiastically. I rolled my eyes as I finally took in his physical appearance for the first time. The dark bags under his eyes weren't any less pronounced than they had been the last time I had seen them. Actually, they were probably more defined now. A sympathetic look took over my face as I noticed his fidgety hands and his too long hair. When was the last time he had a haircut?

"It's not getting any better, is it?" I questioned as I shook out his jacket. His eyes darted to me and he frowned. A low sigh, almost like a hiss, came from his lips as he looked around the house, desperate not to look me in the eyes. He walked slowly over to the bathroom down the hall and yanked the towel out from inside. He used it to wipe the excess water off from his tall frame.

"Truthfully, no. I don't think it will ever get better." He rubbed his head with the towel as he dried his hair. His wet shoulders slumped noticeably while he swaggered to the kitchen, still drying himself off. I followed hesitantly, worried about whether he would snap.

"Paul, there's nothing you could have done. It's over now. It still hurts me someday's to know that she's gone, but you need to keep living," I whispered as he sat down on a stool. His deep brown eyes looked up at me, almost expressionless. His long, dark lashes brushed his cheeks as he closed his eyes. His still wet hair clung to his face as he sat there. I walked over to the refrigerator and pulled out a can of soda.

"I know that, Em, trust me, I know it. I just feel like...like if those bloodsuckers hadn't of -" I slid the can of Coke along the counter top as I interrupted him.

"The Cullens didn't have anything to do with that. They tried to save her, Paul. They were just too late. It's as simple as that. Don't try to blame them for a crime that was not their fault," I stated calmly as I got myself a can of soda. There was a slight fizzle as Paul opened his. An awkward silence continued to take over the kitchen as I stood there, slowly drinking my soda. Paul stared at me with a curious look in his eyes.

"Why do you protect them? They're...not human. Monsters. They need to drink blood to live. And yet you...you care for them. It's not safe, Em. They're not safe," He mumbled, his eyes betraying the confusion he felt. I sighed as I fumbled with the damp towel he had used to dry himself off. I avoided eye contact with him as he stared at me, long and hard.

"I don't know, Paul, I just don't know. I feel like, well, maybe they're not all that bad. I would be dead if it wasn't for them," I ignored his flinch at the word 'dead' and continued, "They may not be completely human, but they feel like them. They talk and walk like them. They think like them. Maybe they're not all that different." My eyes stared outside the window over the sink as the sky started to grow dark. A low groan was heard from Paul as he put his empty can down on the counter top.

"You think you're the one who doesn't know. I feel like the whole world is crumbling down. I'm the one who doesn't know, Em. I don't know what I'm going to do, or even what I should do. You and Leah never talk, I never talk to Leah. Jared's so...happy. I mean, he's not thrilled with what he's become, but he doesn't mind it too much. Sam is, well, he's with you and you're with Sam. I feel like...like the world's gone on without me. I feel alone, Em, and I don't know how I got this way." His head hang in his hands as he confessed this. My heart went out to him. He was so clearly lost. I hesitantly went up to his limp form.

"Oh, Paul, you're not alone. I'm here and I love you. I know for a fact that Sam would not be the leader he is if not for you. Jared loves being with you and being your friend. And, so what if Leah doesn't talk to us anymore? It's mostly my fault anyway. She shouldn't take it out on you. I just get so worried about you sometimes," My whisper died off as he looked up, tears in his eyes. His lips trembled slightly and even though he was sitting down and I was standing, we were eye level.

I wrapped my tiny arms around him and held him to me as his tears fell softly. I knew Paul was not one to cry openly and that this was a rare occurrence. He slowly enveloped me in his huge frame and cried quietly into my shoulder. It was impossible not to love someone like him. He was so sweet and childish. I knew that in the past year he had grown distant from his family. They constantly reminded him too much of Casey. Sam, Jared, and I were all he had left.

The minutes passed as I held his burning body to mine. Slowly, he started to calm down. He leaned back and I gave him a weak smile, which he tried to return. I wiped the long, black hair out of his eyes and sighed.

"Paul, I think it's time for a haircut."

***

By 9:11, Paul's hair was cut. I was pleased with what I had done. It wasn't buzz cut short, but in total it just brushed the tops of his ears. I pulled my fingers through his hair playfully as he wiped his eyes.

"That is so much better compared to that long mane you had when you walked in here. Seriously, Paul, when was the last time you had a haircut?" I teased him as he yawned loudly. A thoughtful expression crossed his face and he leaned his face down on his fist.

"Hmm, 2003? Yes, I think that was it," He joked lightly as he took a swig from his fifth can of Coke. I rolled my eyes and punched him in the arm. I cleaned up the clumps of dark hair that littered the floor as he turned the volume up on the radio.

"No, really. I'm actually very curious," I responded, dumping the hair into the trash. I had asked him earlier if he wanted to keep it for a souvenir, but after enthusiastically declining, I told him I would be throwing it all out.

"Well, let me think. I'm pretty sure it was about, hmm, 5 months ago? Maybe 6...or 7. Really, Em, I have no clue," He swiveled the can around in his one hand as the small amount of soda left in the can jiggled around. I clucked my tongue disapprovingly as I tapped my foot to the music that was coming out of the speakers.

"That's disgusting, Paul. In 2 months I want you to come back here and I'll give you another haircut, on the house," I added seriously as he broke out into a wide grin. A deep, husky laugh boomed from his chest as he chugged the rest of his Coke.

"Have you ever considered going into hairstyling? Maybe you should start your own little company, right here at home. I would certainly come." A second chuckle came from his lips as I smirked. He was certainly joking for I could cut hair, yes, but style it? Now that was a whole different story.

"It's sweet of you to say that, Paul, but really. Have you seen me with a curling iron? I burned myself 8 ti -" I was cut off as the front door slammed open and it rattled on its hinges. Paul and I fell silent as we looked up, both of our eyes wide. He glanced my way and stood up, concern burning fiercely in his eyes. Heavy footsteps echoed loudly throughout the house as whoever had come in walked towards the kitchen. Paul quickly angled himself between myself and the doorway, a low growl tumbling from his chest.

I could see him vibrating with each snarl.

The footsteps continued until whoever it was reached the doorway. An almost silent gasp came from Paul, but I couldn't see who it was, for Paul was in the way. I looked around Paul's thick frame and I, too, gasped. There, in the doorway, was Sam, looking extremely angry, tired, and dirty. Speckles of mud covered every inch of his clothing as he breathed heavily. I ran to him and hugged him tightly.

"Sam, honey, what's wrong? What happened?" I put both of my hands on either side of his face and pulled it down so we could be eye level. Behind me, Paul walked forward and put his hand on Sam's shoulder.

"Dude, you look seriously messed up," Paul murmured as he narrowed his eyes. I ignored the comment and continued to look at Sam.

"Sam? Talk to me, sweetheart. What's going on?" I wiped his hair from his face and stroked my thumb across his cheek. His mouth opened as he looked between Paul and I.

"I came as fast as I could. Bella's gone. Went back to Florida. She was dating a bloodsucker. Date went wrong. Charlie's a mess. No one knows exactly what happened. He thinks he hurt her," He managed to get out as Paul and I helped him over to the counter. Something was seriously wrong. Sam never acted this way, so weak and tired. It took a second for me to completely figure out what Sam had said.

And when I had figured it out, I gasped.

"Bella Swan!? Dating a Cullen!?" My eyes widened as I realized the truth of the statement. Paul must have done the same thing because he immediately dropped Sam and Sam, not expecting Paul to let go of him, fell to the ground with a light 'oof'.

"Bella? Swan? Charlie's daughter? Aw, shit! We have to warn that guy!" Paul exclaimed, not even bothering to help Sam as he picked himself off the floor and slowly went up to the sink. I turned to Sam, my hand on my heart.

"Are you ok?" I asked, rushing up to him and noticing for the first time that he had a scrape on his forehead. A drop of blood started to ooze from the wound and I grabbed a towel. When I turned back, the drop was still on his forehead, but from a wound already healed. Sam grinned at me.

"Em, I heal fast, remember? It took a bit out of me to run as fast as I did, but I'm ok now. I gotta call Billy. He's friends with Charlie, he'll know more about it." He pecked me on the forehead lightly before striding around me and towards the phone. My mouth opened to say something, but then I snapped it shut. Could I even find my voice?

"Woah, woah, hold on a damn second here, Sam. Where did you even learn this?" Paul asked, a professional tone overcoming his voice, something certainly unusual. My gaze flickered to Sam as he paused at the phone. He bit his lip as he looked at Paul, his eyes scanning over Paul's defensive stance.

"I'm goning to call Billy, Paul. Now is not the time for interrogations. If they hurt her -" I slammed the towel down on the counter top and stared at him in shock. He couldn't really mean they'd kill the Cullens if they hurt her. He just couldn't. They both stared at me in shock, their eyes wide as they took in my obvious angered facial expression. "Emily?" Sam asked quietly as he turned fully towards me.

"Sam, which Cullen was she dating?" I questioned, fighting to keep my tone calm. He stared at me long and hard before glancing at Paul. Paul held my gaze as I stuck my chin up in defiance and stared at the both of them.

"Well...let me think about it. I think it was Edward. Whatever one has the mind-reading ability. I don't understand, what does it matter?" Confusion colored his tone as he looked at me like he was questioning my sanity. I closed my eyes briefly. Edward wouldn't hurt her. He wouldn't. I knew it with all my heart. He wouldn't lay a hand on her, and even if he did, Alice would know. Certainly Alice wouldn't let an innocent girl be hurt.

"How does it not matter, Sam?" I narrowed my eyes at him as he came up blank with a response. He looked at me, clearly stumped by my question. Paul made a noise at the back of his throat that could have been understood as a laugh. He leaned casually against the wall with his arms crossed against his chest.

"Emily? I'm...confused. Tell me what you're thinking." Sam's dark eyes stared into mine with concern. I sighed and shook my head. Paul rolled his eyes as he looked at me and pursed his lips.

"It matters, Sam, because Edward wouldn't hurt her. So, it must have been someone else who 'hurt' her," I snapped as I strode over to counter, grabbed my purse and car keys, and then walked out the door as Sam stood there in total shock.