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...
7. First Grade.
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"I need to talk to you," I demanded, slamming my lunchroom tray beside Bella's. She glared at me with some seriously hateful eyes. I scowled. Ever since the La Push Incident, the truce seemed to be off. I was okay with that, though. It wasn't like the truce had been my idea in the first place. I glanced at Edward, who was looking at me with a look between murderous and pity. It was probably the strangest expression I had ever seen. I glared at Edward, too, angry with him by association. "Move, Cullen. I need to talk to Bella."
Okay. Now he was completely furious. Bella place a hand on his forearm. "Please move, Edward."
He moved a seat over, but was looking decidedly unhappy. I briefly considered accidentally spilling my juice all over his lap, even going so far as to imagine the best way to go about it without being caught. I must have given away what I was planning, though, because quite suddenly he was up and walking briskly out of the lunchroom. I returned my attention to Bella, who was looking at me like I was scum off her shoe.
"Great job, Emmette. You ran him off." I was sensing a little aggravation from my dear cousin. "What do you want?"
"It's Paul," I whispered discreetly, hoping that she would be decent. She considered it, her expression softening a fraction.
"What about him?" Bella asked warily, leaning a little closer. Ha. I had gotten her into a state of cooperation, now.
I glanced around the lunchroom, as if expecting someone to be listening to me. "He was in my room last night," I finally whispered.
"What?" Bella was nearly as confused as me.
"Yeah. What. I have no clue what he was doing. But that's not the worst part. Now I actually want to talk to him and be nice about the stalker thing but..." I trailed off.
Bella chuckled a little. "Be nice? He was in your room, Em."
"He wasn't exactly stalking!" I was on the defense, now. "Besides, I don't even know for sure it was him, or if he was actually in my room. I just saw him running away..." I trailed off.
"I would run away from you, too," Bella said, insulting me. To Bella, it always seemed like the thing to do.
I punched her arm with my good hand. "Har har. Not funny."
"Look," Bella said, rubbing her arm where I punched her. "He was probably embarrassed. I mean, the guy's been stalking you, apparently. I think he had the right to run away. He's been found out."
"He wasn't stalking." Bella gave me an exasperated look. "Okay, maybe he was. But it's not a bad thing, right? It's sort of... flattering."
"Not really. It's disturbing."
"Geez, thanks for the encouragement, Bells." Sarcasm. I speak it fluently.
"You're welcome. Now go away." Bella turned away, inserting herself into Angela Weber's conversation two seats away. I grumbled a little, picking at my lunch like a two year old. It wasn't fair. Bella got to sit there and enjoy her lunch while I suffocated. I glared at Jessica Stanley, who was sitting four or so seats from me laughing lightly. I wanted to hit her. Crack one over her overly curly head. Instead I jammed my plastic fork straight through my Styrofoam plate, attempting to shove it through the table.
"Are you okay, Emme?" I looked up from my angry fork attack. Hunter Crowley was looking at me with concern. I shot him a smile that showed too many teeth.
"Peachy." Not peachy! my mind screamed at me. Hunter grinned, holding out a hand to help me up. I took it without thinking.
"The bell rang like five minutes ago, so I thought something might be wrong," Hunter explained, flashing a brilliant smile at me. I stared at him a moment. The only thing wrong at the moment, aside from my supernatural stalker, was the fact he hadn't released my hand. I glanced down between us, eyes locked where he held my fingers in his. This is disturbing, Bells. Forget Paul's stalking. I shook my hand out of his and he blushed.
"Sorry, Hunter." I fought with my own mind for a good adlib. "I'm taken." Ooh... genius! And not entirely untrue genius, at that. I tried not to look overly pleased with myself and adequately sorry for shooting him down. Hunter smiled a nice and defeated smile, a great one to see on his face for once, and then cracked another brilliant smile.
"So who's the lucky guy?" he inquired, leading the way out of the lunchroom. I tossed my lunch in the industrial bins at the door.
More adlib. I kept it close to the truth. "His name's Paul. He lives down at La Push..." My acting was flawless. I was perky. I was bubbly. I was inwardly shuddering at each word, becoming more nauseous as we walked to building seven for our history hour. I fought the urge to choke on my own words.
"La Push?" Hunter sounded surprised. "I didn't know you went there often."
Did I have two stalkers? Another inward shudder. "I don't. He comes up here."
Hunter raised one of his enormous eyebrows, which really weren't all that bad after you got used to them. "Wow. Devoted, huh?"
"You have no idea," I said darkly, shuffling in front of him and into Mr. MacPherson's classroom. I took my seat hurriedly, whipping out my book and binder in preparation for the day's lecture. Hunter slipped into his desk across the aisle from me and winked. I turned away quickly, not willing to witness anymore flirting from Hunter. Suddenly, the Pax Romana seemed all that much more interesting... so interesting in fact that I actually think I learned about it instead of strict memorization.
The bell rang and I rushed from the class. Places to be, people to see. Or maybe just an entire period of watching Disney in Humanities. Most likely the latter. I took my seat in the back of the class and fished a notebook out from my bag, hurriedly scratching down the roughest draft for my plan for the night. It was a pretty damn fabulous plan, with little to no effort on my part. It just had potential to be time consuming. By the end of the period, which was also the end of the day, the plan went something like this:
Step one. Go home and write a note to Paul on that cute stationary Aunt Connie gave you last Christmas.
Step two. Place note on bed. Be sure that the envelope says ‘PAUL' in big, fat black letters so he knows it's for him.
Step three. Throw open window and leave bedroom.
Step four. Return to room only to go to sleep and hope that note has been taken and all instructions followed.
That was the plan. It wasn't all that fabulous in retrospect, but it would work. I stuffed my notebook back into my messenger bag just as Aladdin and Jasmine got to the magic carpet ride, moments before the bell rang. I grinned, scooping up my bag and running from the room without even slinging it over my shoulder. I was vaguely aware of someone calling my name as I streaked down the hall, bursting out the door and into the misty outdoors. My hair was whipped back behind me, a few strands caught in my mouth. I dove to my jeep, wrenching open the door and flinging my bag into the passenger seat.
I threw it in reverse, backing out with a quick glance in the rearview. Bella was attempting to make her way to me from the gym, but I was already on the warpath. There was no stopping me now. I sped out of the parking lot, turning up the music as I went. I didn't really fear speeding tickets in Forks. My uncle was the Force, so who really cared? Not me. That's who. I blared my music, Nine Inch Nails attacking my ears as I drove, followed up by Cold. God I love mixed CDs, I thought, basking in my music and steering with a single finger hooked around the wheel. I swerved abruptly when I almost missed my road, parking roughly on the drive at a strange and crooked angle. Lissy bounded out the door the moment I clambered out of the jeep, but I bypassed her midlawn and busted through the door. It wasn't like my plan was really all that time sensitive, but I really wanted to write that note. It was extremely first grade, and I realized that. But it didn't stop me from being extremely giddy at the thought.
It took over thirty minutes to hunt down the stationary from Aunt Connie in the disaster area I called a desk. The only part of it that was clean was the keyboard to the laptop. I seriously need to fix this, I thought, shoving papers into the bottom drawers recklessly. I found the stationary in one of my "organizational helpers" boxes that mother had bought me. No wonder I couldn't find it. I grabbed a pen and began my scrawl.
Hello, love. I know we haven't actually spoken before, but I really need to tell you something. STOP. STALKING. ME. I know it's hard, but really. Just quit. Addiction in any form is harmful. Okay. I think you've got it now.
If you really want to talk to me, come see me after school on Friday. My mom and Lissy are going to Seattle for the day to see some little kiddie concert and won't be back until late that night. Peace out.
I reread my note. The dearest, love, and finally the much love parts were total bull. Maybe he wouldn't take them seriously. I hovered over the page a moment, considering crossing the words out with some nice, deliberate strokes. Then I stopped, only putting a giant blot before dearest and folded the note up and shoved it in a matching envelope. True to the plan, I wrote ‘PAUL' in enormous, fat letters across the front of the envelope and propped it on the bed. God, I felt ridiculous. I shrugged it off, ditching my school clothes for a t shirt and shorts.
I had finished most all of my homework in school, and since I never actually did all of it anyway I left my messenger bag where it lay, threw open the window and tromped downstairs. I stomped to the kitchen, making my own sound effects as I went, and grabbed a banana from the fruit basket. I peeled it and took a bite, wondering what the hell I was going to do with myself from now until bedtime. I grumbled a little to myself, taking a bite of banana. Maybe my plan wasn't as great as I thought. I sat around and snacked for as long as possible, unwilling to go and actually do something with myself.
Finally, because it was inevitable, I had to leave the kitchen and find something to do. So I organized the playstation games from the last time the boys touched them. I tried to watch Anne of Green Gables; I succeeded in watching Power Rangers with Lissy instead. I played Barbies with Lissy. I even broke down and let her play ‘Mommy's Makeup' on me. That last one was scary indeed. I had eye shadow on my lips and lip gloss over my eyelids. After that I got to spend a good hour trying to get the dried gloss out of my lashes painlessly. All in all, it was an afternoon not so wonderfully wasted. But it was wasted and that's what mattered.
I glanced at the clock in the kitchen, bringing my glass of water to my lips. Nine thirty. I took a swig of my drink. I could go to my room now. I broke into a huge grin, butterflies stirring somewhere in the very pits of my stomach. I placed a hand over my stomach. I hadn't been nervous about anything in literally years. I shook my head, black hair whipping around my head and over my shoulder. I set my jaw and raced up the stairs.
Nothing in my room had been touched. It looked exactly the same as I had left it. I saw the envelope on the bed and felt a pang of disappointment. I grabbed it and threw it on the bedside table for another go tomorrow, turning out the light and jumping in bed. I closed my eyes, thinking about how I would repeat the plan tomorrow. And how the plan was torturous. I sighed, reaching up and clicking on my bedside lamp. My room was illuminated dimly and my eyes fell on the blank blue envelope atop my collected pile of beside junk. Stupid blank envelope.
Blank. Hadn't I put his name across it?
Holy shit, how stupid am I? I scolded myself, flinging my legs and body out from under the covers and attacking the envelope. I ripped open the seal and tugged the paper out from the inside. It hadn't occurred to me that Paul would help himself to my stationary. Actually, it hadn't occurred to me what he would do at all. My hands shook a little as I unfolded the paper.
Cut the crap. I know you don't like me and I don't really give a shit if you do or not. I'm not changing a damn thing, got it? Good. Now that we're past that, I guess I'll see you on Friday.
My eyes went wide as I read his note for the second, third, and fourth times, then slowly back to a nice normal around repeat number seven. I didn't know exactly what I had been expecting, but it definitely hadn't been that. Jacob and Embry were always making fun of the members of the pack who had imprinted, calling them hopeless romantics and explaining in detail to me how Sam and Emily made them want to puke. Quil always stayed quiet during those conversations. I always guessed he had his own imprint somewhere on the rez.
I looked back down at Paul's note, his messy and cramped handwriting already familiar to my eyes. Had I been expecting some romantic gush? Is that what I was so excited about? I flattened the creases out of the note and pinned it on my tack board. I read it again. Forget romantic.
This was much more attractive.
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