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...
11. Who Bothers Who.
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"Honest to God, Bella, nothing happened," I said, shifting my phone so that it was pressed between my ear and shoulder. "Stop asking."
"You were in the same bed!" she squealed over the line. I sighed.
"And? Damn hypocrite."
"Shut up, Emme." Ooh. Defensive.
I laughed. "I will when you do, doll face." She huffed. "Look, I can honestly say nothing happened. I didn't even kiss him for Pete's sake." Who is Pete anyway? I never have understood that one.
"Bella." My tone was short and decisive, unlike the feeble whine she was exercising on me. She used that a lot, to Edward, to Jacob. It was pathetic how little she had to do to bend their wills. Sickening even. I switched ears again and laid some jeans across my bed next to a red shirt I was planning on wearing.
"I just don't want to see you hurt." Whoa. Never saw that coming. I fought the urge to scream and toss my phone. This was just exactly what I needed, right? Another one that thought Paul would just hurt me, whether he meant to or not. Deep down, I think he believed that, too. Was I the only one with faith in that guy? Obviously no. Virginia thought her boys were gods on earth. How could I compete with that for craziness, huh? My hand flew to my hip as I retaliated.
"Yeah right. You would be the one cheering, dip. Don't lie like that. I'd hate it if you were struck down by lightning, divine power and all that." I laid on the floor, rooting around under the bed for a pair of long-missing sandals. "Besides, you don't even know Paul."
"He tried to kill me once."
"More power to him." I discovered a dust bunny then continued my shoe hunt.
"You are such a little brat."
"Guilty as charged. Now excuse me. I have plans tonight and I really need to get dressed." I didn't wait for Bella's reply, but just hit end, ignoring her faint squeals as I did so. She was so ridiculous. I could hardly speak to her anymore. Not that I enjoyed it before or anything. Tossing my phone on my desk, I stripped out of my soft shorts and tank top and into my jeans and shirt. I glanced at my clock. I still had about ten minutes before I really needed to be out the door. Fumbling with my hairbrush, I brushed my bangs back and penned them, popping them up into a pouf. I sneered at myself in the mirror. Adorable.
I bypassed my purse, deciding I probably wouldn't need it where I was going. And where was I going? Hell. Simply put, I was going to hell. I picked up my keys and traipsed down stairs, passing Lissy in the hall as I did. She reached up for me and I patted her blonde head softly.
"Sorry, tyke," I said. "Gotta go."
She pouted. "Em-mutt." I rolled my eyes. She had been around Jacob too much. He was the only one who called me Emmette these days.
"No. I gotta go." I patted her head again and flew down the stairs best I could. Lissy wailed behind me and I cursed under my breath. "I'm out!" I hollered to my mom, wherever she was, before she had a chance to grab me and properly chastise me for making my little sister cry. I laid my head against the steering wheel in my jeep. The Emme who had been around in Tennessee would never have made her baby sister cry. Ever. Now, I hardly thought twice about it. I shuddered and cranked the car. I unfolded Edward's carefully laid out directions from what might have been their grave shoved in the cup holder. I studied the clear lines of Eddie-boy's map and then put it back down. I could make it now. If I had enough gas. My gas light flicked on as I exited my drive.
I was sure I was going to be stranded when I puttered into the Texaco. Thank. God. I forgot what side my gas tank was on (hey, I never pumped my own gas!) and had to do a snazzy bit of turning to get on the right side. I unscrewed the cap and put in the gas nozzle, impatiently holding the lever down as hard as possible to speed things along. I was late. So, so late. I grumbled and tried to use the ‘emergency debit' that mom had entrusted me with when we moved, mostly because there were no stores in Forks to splurge at and she wasn't worried about overdrafts. The card didn't work, so I grabbed my wallet and went inside to pay inside.
"Em!" someone yelled from behind the candy aisle by the beer. Dammit, I thought. Just what I need.
I turned around and smiled warmly. "Hi, Hunter," I said to the pimply all-eyebrows boy waving me down. His brother, Tyler, was with him. Tyler smiled at me apologetically over Hunter's shoulder and I snorted. Brothers were so hilarious some times. And other times they were downright lethal, hence Paul and Jared, Collin and Brady. Lethal.
"I haven't talked to you in forever. You keep disappearing in the halls," said Hunter seriously, looking down at me.
"I'm hiding," I said, incredulous. Hunter looked confused and Tyler laughed. "But not from you!" I insisted, realizing I had unintentionally been extremely ugly to my pimple faced friend. He didn't deserve that yet. "I'm hiding from Edward and Bella. They want to double date," I lied.
Hunter looked sorry for me. "Ouch. That must suck."
"It sucks nuts," I insisted, nodding and following along with my lie. "Paul doesn't want to. He doesn't even like dating. He's more of a homebody," I prattled, and it was totally true. Paul wouldn't want to double date with Bells and Eddie, and he really was a homebody. Or at least that was what he told me when I spent the night.
We stood awkwardly while the clerk ran my card. She handed over my card and license and I turned to the Crowleys and smiled. "Well, boys, I gotta go. I'm actually supposed to be meeting some folks right now, but I wouldn't have made it without stopping here." I tapped my card to my temple. "Keep your tanks full. May the road gods be with you."
And then I dashed out the door into my jeep before they could fully process what I had just said. I cranked the car and was on the road again, music on in the background, just for noise. That is until I saw my turn and snapped it off completely, forcing myself into the silence of my own thoughts as I snaked down the Cullens' (seemingly) endless driveway. I parked precariously on the edge of the lawn and cambered out, slamming my car door for effect.
"Cullens!" I said sarcastically in calling, knowing that every last stinkin' one of them could hear me. Alice flew out of the house first, screeching to a halt in her eerie graceful steps just in front of me, grinning like Cheshire cat.
"Emme!" she squealed, hugging me. It was like being cased in stone. "Come in!" she insisted, grabbing my wrist and hauling me inside, gently, I guess, at least for her kind. I was starting to become racist against the vampires from spending a little too much time with the pack. Or was that species-ist? I dunno. I followed her inside obediently, though, so she wouldn't tug off my arm.
The house was beautiful. Open space, glass walls. It was like Barbie's dream house, super sized. There was a grand piano, and I immediately appreciated it. I myself am musically challenged and can't even carry a tune in a bucket, but I sure as hell can appreciate the folks talented enough to make music from pressing a bunch of little keys. My eyes left the piano and followed the rest of the room. The TV, the couches, the bookcase, the paintings. The paintings were all lovely, obviously originals. I wondered who the artist of the family was.
"That would be my mother, Esme," said Edward, strolling down the stairs and answering my thought as he heard it.
My brows knitted. "Don't do that, Edward," I complained. "Wait for me to ask my question like a normal person, okay?"
Edward chuckled. "Whatever you say," he smiled. He glanced over his shoulder. "She's here now, Emmett."
There were thundering footsteps behind him, and I considered ducking for cover behind the couch. Not that it would be that helpful. He could probably smell me or something.
"You're right," said Edward, deliberately ignoring what I had said. "We can. And you stink like dog."
I was offended, my face contorted angrily. Then I got it. My mouth formed a small ‘o' in realization. "You mean like werewolf, right?" I tried.
He nodded, and I smiled. "Yes," said Edward."
"Good, then." Edward looked confused and I winked. "It's nice to know they bother you as much as you bother them."
"Who bothers who?" asked a gruff voice from the foot of the stairs. My eyes snapped in that direction, and I immediately recognized the bulky figure standing there, though I had never met him before in my life. It had to be Emmett. It just had to be. I could recognize so many familiar things about him. My curly hair had definitely come from him, and the shape of my eyes. Other things I had missed out on, but were eerily similar to my dad. The set of his jaw, the cut of his cheek bones. It was all familiar.
"Paul bothers Eddie, Eddie bothers Paul," I said cheerily. "I'm Emme," I introduced.
His face lit up, making him look an awful lot like Lissy. "I'm Emmett." He took all of two great strides to me and crushed me in a bone-shattering hug. Almost literally. I gasped something about an obstructed airway and he released me slightly, smiling down at me. There was something familiar about that, too. I smiled back at him, and we stood there for a minute, awkward.
"Heheh, this is weird," said Emmett after a moment, releasing me fully. I took a tiny step away. "Sorry," he apologized in a tone that screamed repentant child. "I couldn't stop myself."
I snorted. "Uh-huh. Sure, sure." I felt a little like I had just cussed in front of the pastor as I uttered a Jacobism in the presence of the Cullens. But they didn't seem to notice, so I took it in stride. I grinned. "So where's this super hot grandma I keep hearing about?" I teased, hoping to relay the message I was eager to meet my new ‘family.'
Emmett beamed. "I'll get her. ROSEY!" He beat his way back up the stairs noisily and almost invisible with speed. Edward rolled his eyes, and I just barely caught the motion. From the couch, Alice giggled while she watched the shopping station. I returned my attention to the stairs just as Emmett returned, towing a slightly (or not so slightly) ticked blonde by the hand.
But her expression changed when she saw me. She went soft... and motherly. I almost shuddered. I didn't need another mother. One was bad enough.
"Emmette," she said softly as she approached me, sweeping me into yet another hug in one fluid motion. Apparently, these folks hadn't left the hippy movement behind in the sixties like they were supposed to. Spread the love, man. I smiled at Rosalie as she let me go, finally. She smiled back, that strange motherly glint doing this weird glistening thing in her eye. I took a deep breath. What a weird family I had just gotten myself into.
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