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...
14. Cowboys and Indians.
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I didn’t piss Paul off as much as I wanted to, but I think he was just being determined to stay in a good mood.
“I lied,” he said simply. “I just figured since I’m never going to play again, it wasn’t important,” he shrugged, sitting down at the table with a giant bowl of mac and cheese he’d made himself while I was in the shower. I watched, amused, as he took a monstrous sized bite off the wooden spoon he’d used to stir. Oink oink. Grabbing my own spoon from the silverware drawer, I sat down beside him.
“Well I think its important,” I said, taking a bite of the mac and cheese. Paul looked scandalized and I grinned as I swallowed. “Face it, Balto. You’re a team player whether you like it or not.”
Paul grimaced, pulling his macaroni to himself protectively. “If you say so, Em.”
I stuck my tongue out at him and speared the mass of cheesy noodles and left my spoon there. “You’re so stubborn, Paul,” I complained, resting my chin in my palm. Paul smirked and leaned over to me, kissing me just north of my cheek on the temple. I shot him a look, that smirkish smile still plastered to his face before he returned his attention to his bowl. That’s about the closest Paul has ever gotten to kissing me. Sometimes, it almost seemed like he didn’t want our quote on quote relationship to advance. I asked Emily about it one, because let’s face it, the woman is the database of all things pack, and that makes her the resident imprint guru. All she could really say, though, was that he wouldn’t be serious, couldn’t be serious, until I was. Bull crap, right? And just saying so wouldn’t make it so. Frick.
I let him eat in peace a few minutes before bothering him again. “So what’s going to happen to the pack when the newborns get here?” I asked, genuinely concerned.
Paul swallowed so hard I thought he might choke. “You aren’t supposed to know.”
Oh. “I didn’t know it was a secret.”
“It’s not,” Paul clarified. “I just didn’t want you to know period.”
Confusion much. “Why not?”
He sighed. “To be honest, I thought it might scare you,” Paul said. “You said once that the nomads scared you, so I thought that it’d be best if you just weren’t aware about all this mess.”
My face broke into the widest smile of the day. “Aw, Balto! You can be sweet.” I hit his shoulder playfully.
Scowling, Paul swirled what remained of his mac and cheese angrily. “Do you still want to know?”
I nodded eagerly. “Yep. Do share, Balto.” And I did want to know. I wanted to know what was going to be expected of my pack friends in the apparent battle that was on the way. Honest to god, I was worried about them all. I had no doubt in my mind that if the Cullens were to turn against the wolves or vice versa, the wolves would win. It was a numbers thing. But all those brand spankin’ new vamps out of Seattle… that was a different story. Once again, it was a numbers thing. And those numbers weren’t favorable at all.
“I’m not happy about it,” Paul announced, earning a quick snort from me. He shot me a quick glare.
“You’re never happy about anything.” An embarrassed smile.
“Well… yeah, but I really don’t like this,” he said, dropping his spoon in the bowl. He looked like what he had to say next was going to be painful. “We called a truce with the bloodsuckers. We’re going to work together on this one,” he spat.
I was relieved. The numbers were looking better. “That’s not too bad.” Paul looked at me slack jawed at my blasphemy. “I mean that sounds awful. Poor thing.”
He laughed. “That’s more like it. Anyway, the blonde one…”
“No, the guy.”
“Yeah, him. He trained us all last night to fight newborns. Unfortunately, I’ve gotta go back again tonight and sit through it again.” I could tell from the look on his face that that really bothered him. Was I not trustable in his house? I guess not.
“It’s okay, Paul. I can hold down the fort,” I said with a smile. He returned it, a sly little thing on his face.
“That’s what I’m afraid of. Leaving you and Virginia here.” Oh damn. I hadn’t thought of that. I really didn’t want to see that woman, especially not without Paul’s presence at least nearby.
I gulped dramatically. “If she kills me, tell Lissy I love her.”
Paul laughed, loud, like always when he laughed. “Uh-huh. Sure. Because my mother is obviously a murderer. She’s really not that bad, Em. Give it a chance.”
“Just promise you’ll tell the damn toddler I love her like a good dog, Balto,” I demanded, playfully swatting at him.
He swatted back. “No, because you’re not going to die.”
“Don’t make me go cowboy on your little Indian ass,” I jeered, giggling.
Paul looked shocked. “I can’t believe you said that.”
I threw my head back and laughed, for a single moment being truly happy just to be there, sitting with Paul. And in that single moment, it was like the floodgates opened and an entirely new feeling entered my range of emotion. In that single moment, I knew that I loved him. I stopped laughing abruptly, staring at him as if my eyes had been cleared. I saw the angles of his face all new again, still as striking as the first time I’d met him all those weeks and weeks before. He was looking at me differently, too, like for the first time I was really and truly there.
I wasn’t aware of what was happening at first, but it didn’t take long to register his lips moving against mine. I kissed him back almost as soon as I realized what was going on, my breath caught in my throat. His hand brushed against my cheek and my eyes that I hadn’t realized were shut shot open as I broke the kiss. I stared at him long and hard for a moment, his eyes dark and cloudy with God knows what. I got over my breathless moment and smiled, kissing him on the cheek and inwardly wondering what on earth I’d just done.
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