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...
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2013 Review this Chapter
Maybe Virginia wasn’t as bad as I thought. Maybe.
“Do you mind?” she snapped, glaring at me over the book she was reading while sitting in her favorite chair in the living room. I shrank away.
Maybe she was.
Paul and Jared had left early in the morning (like still dark sort of early) for some self-imposed (or at least I assumed self-imposed) pack time. Curse them for it. Upon waking up, I discovered that I was alone in the house, with the possible exception of Virginia. Yikes. I stayed in bed as long as I dared before dragging myself up and into the bathroom for yet another shower. I was beginning to think I had an addiction going on.
The kitchen was my next stop, where I discovered a lovely (an adjective. Used here to mean ‘rude’) note from dear old Ginny informing me she was at the Clearwaters for some old woman time with Sue. So be it. If she wasn’t here, I didn’t really care where she was. She could be in the middle of the ensuing and or ensued epic battle thing that was more than likely starting either now or in the near future. I poured myself some cereal, smirking as I visualized Virginia stranded in the middle of a horde of hungry vamps. Then my stomach clenched and my legs threatened to fall out from beneath me.
I sat down almost steadily and cradled my head. Somewhere in the middle of my twisted little vision, Virginia had been swapped for Paul, and I hadn’t liked what I saw. At. all. I could only hope that I wasn’t channeling Alice’s ability for a moment there. Losing any of the boys would be like losing family, and losing Paul just that much worse. And I’d lost family already. I wasn’t interested in losing any extra.
There was a small bark from the doorway, and my eyes flashed to where one of the wolves stood looking at me awkwardly. It had to be Collin or Brady; Paul had said they were being left behind because honestly, they were still little guys. I smiled faintly from where I was sitting on the floor and the wolf – whoever it was – nodded at me before trotting off. Should I feel honored that I had my own personal body guard? Probably. Was I? No. If anything, I was angry.
And if there’s one thing I do well when I’m upset and angry, it’s clean. I clean like there’s no tomorrow.
I started with what was immediately around me, the kitchen. Counters were scrubbed. Cabinets were swabbed down. Floors were mopped. Baseboards were dusted. The stovetop was razored clean. And scarily enough, the refrigerator was cleaned out and organized. Once my madness there was completed, I spread out, moving on to the living room and den, skipping the computer room and skipping to the upstairs.
I was on the warpath, but the houses natural defenses were becoming a problem. I was terrified of setting foot in Virginia’s room, and Jared’s room was uncharted territory that should remain just that; uncharted. And cleaning Paul’s room just sounded like too much fun to pass up entirely.
I slipped into his room with unnecessary quietness, and then promptly giggled. I hadn’t been in here alone since the first time I’d spent the night. He’d always felt the need to baby-sit me, assumedly to make sure I didn’t get into all his stuff. I swear that boy’s got me everywhere I turn. But he wasn’t there to stop me, now was he?
I felt guilty at first, but luckily, guilt has no lasting effects on me. I was rifling through his things in no time, discovering more than I really intended to. Probably more than I wanted to. Underneath some twenty burned CDs, I found a picture of Paul and some girl in a dress I thought was just a little bit too revealing at a dance. I felt anger flare up in me for a moment before I remembered my life back in Gatlinburg, the boyfriend I had left there. I smiled softly down at the picture and placed it back on the desk from whence it came. We’d both had normal lives at one point, and both of us deserved to remember it. But if he ever dared bring it up in my presence, there would be hell to pay.
The rest of the ‘discovered’ items were of a more… humorous genre. Or at least they were the way that I looked at it. A hunting bow in its case beneath the bed and some fishing poles shoved behind that. Who knew Balto was such an outdoorsman? You know, aside from the many nights spent running all over ancient tribal lands and stuff. I must be cramping his style with all of the indoors activities I happen to enjoy. Oh, the dilemma. I attempted to pull on the strings of the bow for a moment, but quit when I gave myself a nasty slap across the forearm. The bruising was immediate.
“Shizz!” I screeched, shoving the offending object back into its case and under the bed. At least it wasn’t a hook through my cheek or something. That had happened to some folks I knew back in rocky top… it was almost your standard creek fishing injury. Just another reason to scratch fishing off the ‘safe’ list.
Rubbing my severely smarting arm, I moved on from poking around under the bed to the closet. Nothing too exciting if you don’t count a box full of little league trophies hiding a considerable stash of porn. I decided to show my graceful side again and not get worked up over it, but rather just shove that box back into the deepest reaches of the closet where it had come from.
That went on for nearly an hour, until all there was left to do was to Frebreze the living daylights out of every surface applicable. I went a little trigger happy with the spray bottle, but who could blame me? It was special edition lavender scent, and I just happen to have a weakness for the smell of lavender. Sue me.
The sound caught me completely off guard. I whirled around, fiercely attacking the intruder with a swift whiff of Frebreze to the face. A snort of a laugh closely followed. I had just Frebreze’d Paul.
“Oh ma gah, Balto,” I said between laughs, “don’t sneak up on people, good lord.”
Paul was busy wiping his tongue clean with the palm of his hand. I had nailed him when his mouth was still open apparently. “Yeh, I’ll twy to rememba that.” His word sounded like a toddler, most likely because he was still trying to wipe his tongue clean. I snorted again and put the freshener down on the desk.
“Sorry, Balto,” I said through a grin. “Promise it won’t happen again today.”
He sneered, “That’s comforting.”
“It should be.” I crossed my arms.
Paul crossed his arms back. “Devil woman.”
My jaw dropped in theatrical shock as I smacked him playfully. Paul caught my wrist agilely and pulled me close to him in a tight hug. I smiled against his chest and inhaled, smelling my own wolf, as Jacob would put it. All the boys had that faint woodsy smell that was if nothing else plain intoxicating. It had a different sort of value to me, though. To me, the boys were all excellent reminders of my home in Gatlinburg, and subsequently, all my family. My smile widened against the heat as I thought about it. If Paul thought the Swans were insane, he hadn’t even seen what the McCarty side can dish out. Epic family wide games of spoons were just the tip of the iceberg when it came to the family McCarty.
There was a slight rumble against my cheek, correctly interpreted as a chuckle. “Did you miss me, Em?” Paul accused.
I looked up at him, eyebrows promptly furrowed. “So what if I did?”
Paul furrowed his own brows back at me in an annoying, mimicking sort of way. “I don’t think I like your attitude.”
I scoffed. “I don’t think I like you.”
He rolled his eyes to punctuate. “Yes you do.”
“No, secretly, I’m in love with a vampire. Didn’t you know that was a Swan tradition?”
Abruptly, he was holding me at arm’s length, surveying me carefully. “You’re kidding, right?”
I rolled my eyes this time. “Duh. I’m frickin’ related to all the vamps around here. How sick do you think I am?”
“Very,” he said slyly, turning slightly on his heel to make a quick getaway if needed.
Huff. “If there hadn’t been a slew of vampires this morning needing slaying, you can bet your last dollar that it would so be on right now,” I said with just a hint of quote on quote darkness.
“I’m shaking in my fur,” Paul allowed, laughing.
“And you should be,” I said, pushing past him. “I know what’s in your closet, bucko, and for now, you’re still in my good graces. But you tread thin ice. Be careful you don’t melt it.”
Paul was immobile a few seconds, presumably confused. Then it dawned on him what I must have discovered, and he hatched a split second plan; distract me. I was already halfway down the stairs when I heard him tearing after me, his too big feet absolutely pounding the floor. The wolves seemingly never stopped growing, so they’re feet were always just a little bit ahead of the rest of them.
“Em, Em, Em,” he said hurriedly, taking two steps at a time to catch up with me needlessly quicker. I turned around at the base of the stairs, one hand still on the rail.
“Yes, Paul dear?” I said sarcastically.
Paul frowned. “I actually had something important to tell you, but if you’re going to be like that, forget it.”
I was all ears immediately. “Tell me what?”
“No, no, no,” he said, slowly taking the last few steps. “I actually came all the way here just to tell you, but…”
“Dammit, Paul, if it’s important, tell me already,” I said angry already and I didn’t even have a clue what he was going to say.
“Well, if you insist…”
I tapped my foot, impatient. He rolled his neck and stretched. I tapped faster.
He pretended to yawn. “Ja – Jacob’s hurt.”
My face was drained of color; I didn’t need a mirror to know that. My legs started to give way like they had earlier in the kitchen, my throat becoming inexplicably dry and tight.
“What happened?” I managed to ask.
Paul shrugged. “The bitch thought she could take a newborn by herself, and Jake stepped in to save her sorry ass. I personally would have let the thing maul her, but not Jake. He had to save her. Anyway, the thing got its arms around him…”
My hand flew over my mouth. I didn’t know much about fighting vampires, but I knew that a vampire’s embrace could be horrible even when nothing ill was meant of it. Rosalie had given me bruises before. I pressed my hand hard against my lips. I felt like I was going to be sick. Paul saw my reaction and pulled me into one of his superman hugs, the kind that says ‘I’m not going to let anything happen’ in every fell squeeze.
“Is he okay?” I asked, concerned beyond belief.
Paul nodded. “Some of his bones set wrong and had to be rebroken. He’s at his house right now. Everyone is but us, actually. Even some Cullens.”
Shock laced my features. “Cullens in La Push?”
Paul’s face soured. “Don’t put it so bluntly. It’s all part of this truce mess… and hopefully not permanent.”
I laughed, but the sound was slightly broken. It seemed a little wrong to be laughing when Jacob had just nearly died. Or maybe a lot of wrong.
“Can we go see him? Like now?” I asked, trying my best to look pleading.
“Sure,” he said, “let’s go make it a regular old family reunion!” His ecstatic reply was nothing short of touching. I punched him softly and smiled. Like I said, when it came to family, he hadn’t seen anything yet. And I should very much like to keep it that way.
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