Emme Fenway's life is heating up, spurred on by her father's death and an impromptu move across the country.
That heat isn't the problem, though. The problem is that Quileute boy, and he's bringing a heat all his own...
1. Quarters Will Be Cramped.
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2250 Review this Chapter
“Emme, are you even listening?”
The way I looked at it, I had two options. One; I could admit that I had no idea what my mother was talking about. Two; I could pretend I heard every word that just came out of her mouth. It was tempting to tell her yes, I was listening. It wasn’t very truthful, though. I had tuned her out since we had gotten into the car at the Seattle airport. I always tried to be at least a little bit truthful. People tended to trust you more when you told the honest to God truth.
So I went against every teenaged instinct in my body. “Nope. Not a bit.”
I punctuated my words with a pop of my lips playfully. My mother rolled her eyes. In the back seat of the rental my baby sister was giggling to herself; I shot her a wide, toothy smile in the review mirror.
“Honestly,” my mother huffed, “you never learn. Either of you.”
“Not very encouraging, is she Lissy?” I said in a hurt tone, cocking an eyebrow at my little sister.
She shook her head playfully, blonde curls bouncing, “No, no.”
“My own children…” muttered my mother, zoning in on her driving.
I sighed, basking in my small triumph while retrieving my ipod from my purse by my feet. I shoved the earbuds in, letting the music eat up my conscious as I slumped back in my seat. Behind me, Lissy was kicking at my seat ruthlessly. Lissy had always hated cars, especially the little ‘green’ cars like the one mom had picked at the airport. I agreed wholeheartedly with my pint-sized friend. Cars should be snarling, gas-guzzling biohazards. And they should be fast.
Lissy kicked harder and I popped out an ear, “What is it, Lissy?”
“Its going to rain, Emme. I don’t like it,” announced the four year old wonder that was Elisabeth Fenway.
I snorted, “Of course its going to rain, Lissy. We’re going to Forks, to visit dear Uncle Charles, remember?”
The kid looked skeptical, so I turned around in my seat to address her. “You honestly don’t remember Forks, do you?”
Lissy shook her head. I shrugged. She had only been two last time we were there. I climbed over the console, (with much ado from my mother), and buckled in beside her. Lissy held out a gummy little hand and I handed over an earbud, which she promptly shoved in her tiny ear.
“Forks?” she asked, quirking her eyebrow at me.
I smiled at her lovingly. She was truly a child after my own heart. Lissy spoke fluent eyebrow, which is really to be expected. She grew up with me, didn’t she? I own the explicit language of the brow. I could teach classes.
“Right,” I said, turning down the music, “Forks. Its this really tiny town where mom and Uncle Charlie grew up as kids. And everything is green.”
Lissy made a face, “Yuck.”
I laughed, “Not yuck, silly goose! Its beautiful. There are gorgeous trees everywhere; its like a fairytale forest.”
I painted my description up for Lissy’s benefit. It worked. She ooh’d and cut her eyes at me, a sure sign to continue. My mother chuckled from the front seat. Fiendishly, my inner storyteller gushed as I painted places and sounds from my memory and into my sister’s head. I talked an awful lot with my hands, my voice rising high and then plummeting so low that you had to strain to hear what I was saying. Lissy hung on every word, from playing with Billy Black’s daughters Rachel and Rebecca when I was her age to falling into tide pools with our cousin, Bella. After a while, Lissy fell asleep, her eyebrows arched artfully.
Child after my own heart.
I clicked out of my seatbelt, leaving my ipod with Lissy, and clambered back over the console.
“Emme!” screeched my mother as I kicked her now stone cold Starbucks into her lap.
I grinned sheepishly, “Sorry, mama.”
“Take the cup,” she said, clearly irritated, trusting the now crushed Styrofoam at me.
I took it, handing her some napkins from our McDonald’s bag from earlier. She had me hold the wheel while she dabbed at the coffee stain that was probably never coming out of her khakis. Grumbling, she took the wheel off and pulled over. I quirked my eyebrow at her.
“Don’t give me that,” she snapped. “You’re going to drive while I clean up this mess.”
I didn’t argue. Really, who cares you’re supposed to be twenty-one to drive a rental? Not mother, apparently. The Gospel According to Susy firmly states that the law doesn’t even care if you just turned sixteen and have an out of state license. No, of course it wasn’t illegal or anything like that. I just climbed in and decided to see how far I could push this little ‘green’ car.
I couldn’t push it far. It was whirring and whizzing almost as hard as mother was wheezing.
“For God’s sake, slow down Emme! This is not your car. This is not the jeep-jeep!” she squealed, her hands clutching the Oh Shit handle like her life depended on it. Her knuckles were white from pressure.
I chuckled, letting off and slowing back down to the speed limit, “Chill, mama. I drive better than anyone you know, and you know it!”
Grudgingly, she laughed at my word choice, “Fine. Just remember this is not the jeep and Lissy is in the car.”
“Got it,” I said, slowing it down even more.
“No need for a snail’s pace,” mother complained.
I gave her the ‘are you freakin’ serious look,’ complete with an artful brow, “Yes, there is. We’re in Forks, mama. You know, child safety speed limit and all.”
She jumped visibly to the window and read the signs. Sure enough, they read that we were most definitely in Forks, Washington now. My insane driving had had its perks, I mused with a fiendish smile.
“Stop that, Emme. You look demonic.”
I frowned. Such a dampener, my mother.
I glared at her momentarily, cutting my eyes at her as I turned down Uncle Charlie’s lane. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to the extended visit with my uncle, no matter how endearingly power-complexed he is. Quarters would be cramped. Emotions would run high. The real estate market of Forks would be unbearably difficult. I would be Satan. The snarking would become almost sport-like, with Bella and I the main contestants. Did I mention the cramped quarters?
Happily, I parked in the drive behind an ancient red pickup. It was beyond ugly. I could only tremble as I imagined its slowness. After I visibly shuddered, my mother broke into her high pitched laugh. My obsession with speed and cars, preferably combined, was always a bit of a joke to her. Probably because she liked everything slow. She’s always telling me about ‘a time gone by’ when people did this strange thing called ‘waiting.’ Her favorite time for this rant is when waiting in the express lane, or when eating some good ol’ Mickey D’s. I had opened my mouth to retort, but then my jaw went slack. There, parked on the other side of the pickup monstrosity, was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in Forks. My head spun as I examined it from every angle.
It was such a beautiful, shiny Volvo.
I instantly coveted it fiercely, though it still had nothing on my jeep-jeep. I sprang from the car and hit the ground running for the Volvo. I had to stop myself from laying hands on it. Instead, I circled it predatorily. Mother cackled behind me, pulling a very sleepy Lissy from the car. I smiled to myself, revealing a little too many cleanly white, brace straight teeth.
“What are you doing to Edward’s car, Emme?”
The distasteful tone betrayed her. Bella. “Envying,” I answered without even a glance her direction.
There was a distinctly male chuckle from the porch, and I finally looked up. What I saw wasn’t at all surprising. Beside my cousin dearest, with a hand possessively wrapped around hers, was an extremely gorgeous individual of the male variety. He was tall and so pale he was near translucent, his hair a bronze mess of slightly curled disarray. Man like car, I thought sarcastically, turning my eyes back to the Volvo. The boy chuckled again.
“Emme, are you useless?” said mother, juggling Lissy and our suitcases from the trunk.
“Not at all,” I muttered, taking Lissy from my mother and heading to the porch.
The earbud was still in Lissy’s ear, so I gently tugged it out and slipped the ipod into the back pocket of my short shorts. I had foolishly chosen my attire for comfort, not optimal warmth here in Forks. I lowered a brow, noting the goose pimples that had spread all across my legs and arms. Bella snickered.
“Like your heart,” I replied icily. Beside her, the bronze boy tensed.
Bella frowned. I smiled fiendishly. Growing up, Bella and I had been as much like sisters as we could possibly be. We spent our summers together in Forks and called each other religiously in the school year. We had known every little thing about each other. I had known about her soft spot for swing and the glorious era of big band music, and she knew about my intense autophilia before I went public with my obsession last year. Sisters.
Then I became Satan. Bella, apparently, is Jesus.
I still don’t know exactly why we fell out the way we did. I’m not sure if Bella knows, either. I do know that both of us are too stubborn to apologize, though, and even if one of us were to break down and beg forgiveness the other would be too bullheaded to accept it. We’re slightly dysfunctional that way. Possibly a little more than slightly, but that’s okay because I’m pretty good at holding grudges, if I say so myself.
Grudges are pretty fun, actually.
“Cut it out, kid,” said mother, dragging my luggage haphazardly behind her with a ticked expression.
She had always thought the mini-feud between Bella and I was petty, which it most definitely was not. “Yes, mother,” I said sarcastically.
Bella smiled warmly, hugging my mom, “Its so good to see you, Aunt Susy. Its been years now, hasn’t it?”
“Far, far too short a time, don’t you think?” I put that thought out there before slipping inside.
“Don’t mind her,” I heard mother say. “She’s been wearing the pissy pants all day.”
“Ha!” I hollered back. “At least I don’t look like I pissed my pants!”
I could imagine my mother’s face as she scrutinized the coffee stain that blotted her khakis. I smirked. She deserved it. Served her right for moving us here and for choosing that muchos icky ‘green’ car. I took Lissy upstairs to Bella’s room, which was exactly where I remembered it, and put her in the crib Uncle Charlie had pulled from the attic for her. She was small for her age, barely the size of a proper two year old, and she fit snugly inside the crib. I smiled as I tucked her in, pulling an old crochet blanket over her.
I tromped back downstairs where everyone was cozy in the living room, surrounded by luggage that was mostly mine. I admired my packing skills a moment before ducking over and staking myself out a spot on the couch beside Bella’s boy toy. My mother and Uncle Charlie were in the arm chairs opposite the sofa, engaged in private ‘adult’ talk. I rolled my eyes at them.
“So that’s your Volvo out there?” I asked politely, completely ignoring Bella’s death glare.
The boy raised a brow at me. I cocked one artfully back. Bella coughed, “No one asked you to join us, Emme.”
She had earned the ‘are you frickin’ serious’ look, and I promptly delivered it. “No one asked for your opinion, Bells.”
She rolled her eyes at me and I quirked back at her, earning a irritated grunt. I smiled, shoving myself roughly against the couch and unsettling the other two occupants. A cackle escaped my lips. All at once my mother shot me a glare, Uncle Charlie was staring at me like I had two heads, and I realized that Bella had found her way to the floor while her boy toy sat serenely like I hadn’t caused a couch-bound mini earthquake. Klutz, I thought staring at my now sprawled cousin.
“Yes, its mine,” the boy said abruptly, capturing my attention again.
“So you must be Edward, then.” It was a statement, not a question.
He nodded. I stared at him. Quiet fellow, I mused, springing from the couch and treading to the kitchen. I pried into the fridge, sniffing for something to fill the void in my stomach. I hadn’t eaten a thing since we touched down in Seattle. It was practically a record for me. I preferred to graze, rather than eat meals. A bit here, a pinch there. Graze. Mother likes to call me a snacker, but I find the term grazer far more eccentric and endearing.
I rooted around for a moment, finally discovering a stash of mixed fruit. I sniffed it warily, testing to see if the Klutz had poisoned it, knowing I was going to be the only fan of fruit in the house. It smelled fine, nothing toxic or rotten about it. Grabbing a fork, I trekked back to the living room and plopped onto the couch.
I speared a particularly juicy piece of fruit and slung it over in Edward’s face good naturedly, “Cherry?”
He looked nearly revolted, “No thank you,” he said politely.
That was tip-off numero uno.
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