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...
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Emme Fenway. Noun. Occasionally a verb.
Definition: A sarcastic species of Girl with an authority complex. Unwilling Imprint. See also Emmett-Cullen's-Twice-Great-Granddaughter.
That was how I could be defined when I left the Swan's house roughly an hour after my conversation with Edward. Apparently, he had another brother (also named Emmett) who was living in northern Canada with his wife, Rosalie. Frick and double frick, right? I think so. Basically, the conversation went like this:
Edward: You moved here from Gatlinburg, correct? That's where Emmett was originally from.
Me: What? What are you talking about? I don't understand!!
Edward: I've seen a little girl in his memories from time to time, always family. I always assumed it was his niece...
Me: What the hell does this have to do with me? I DON'T UNDERSTAND!!
Edward: She must have been his daughter, though. That's the only thing that makes sense here. Did your great grandma share your name, as well?
Me: Yes. And I still don't understand.
Edward: That must be it then. Who would have ever thought...
Me: I'm going to jump out the window now.
Edward: How fascinating. Emmett will be so excited to meet you.
Me: I just cured cancer.
Edward: Rosalie will be pleased. She's always wanted her own family.
Me: What the hell? Aren't you paying attention?
Yes. That was almost exactly the conversation we held. I went home more than slightly dazed with a promise that he would talk to me about visiting the Cullen's house and meeting the rest of his family sometime next week. My family, now, actually. He said the Cullens would think of me as family and nothing less now, if I liked it or not. Edward had been sure to stress that fact at me as we wrapped up our one-way conversation. And then it was over, I went home, and we were all happy.
Sure, sure. Whatever. That was a Jacobism if you missed it. We were most definitely not happy, we being me, myself, and I. If anything we were extremely freaked out and pissed. As if the McCarty family wasn't large enough, (thirty two cousins last time I actually sat down and counted), we now had a long-thought-deceased family member who by all means should be dust in the dirt by now. What's that now? Triple frick? Right. I shivered where I sat on my couch, Jacob and Quil my only company so far.
"What's wrong, Em?" asked Jacob, throwing his arm over my shoulder, mistaking the bumps on my bare arms for chill bumps, not the tell-tale sign of nerves they were for me. My skin prickled against his, involuntary from the heat.
"Nothing, Jacob," I said, meaning it as best I could and turning into him. I'd never noticed he smelled so nice. I inhaled.
Friday had attacked sooner than I would have liked. School flew by; I spent all my time in the hall running Mr. Macpherson's errands and goofing off in the lunchroom with Hunter and Cassie Yorkie. Bella and I ignored each other as usual, for the most part, though she did take it upon herself to yell at me on Thursday for not telling her that Emmett and I were related sooner. I graciously informed her that I was just as ignorant on the subject as she was. She didn't buy it. And I didn't care.
"What are you doing?" Jacob half-yelled. He sounded embarrassed.
I grinned sheepishly. "You smell good."
Jacob groaned and pushed me away a little. "You can sniff Paul all you want when he gets here. Now back off or Paul will murk me."
I laughed openly, Quil joining me almost immediately. It really wasn't funny, but it felt good to laugh. Quil seemed to understand the importance of a good laugh at the opportune time. Claire was one lucky girl. Her guy didn't snarl.
There was a knock at the door and I jumped to my feet, straightening my tank top where it had rolled halfway up my back. I looked at Jacob seriously. "Embry or Paul?" I asked, knowing he could tell the difference already.
"Embry," he said, reaching for the remote. I rolled my eyes, practically marching to the door to let Embry in. I threw open the door, expecting to see Embry smiling at me, his ‘battle scar' crinkling in a way I had learned to appreciate rather than find unpleasant like I did that first night. Instead I caught sight of a pair of deep set eyes that didn't belong to my beloved Em-Em. These eyes burned at me, part of a distinct angular face, cropped hair actually complementing on him. I knew him at once, though I'd barely seen him before then.
He glared at me a moment, but then visibly tried to soften his expression like he was afraid he would scare me or something. I snorted, stepping aside to let him in. "You know this real wise-crack once told me to cut the crap and be myself," I said offhandedly as he passed. His head snapped in my direction and he glared again before grinning at me cheekily.
"Did he?" Paul asked, his voice an octave or two deeper than I had expected.
My breath caught. I smiled while my lungs caught up with the moment. "Sure did," I said, making a comeback and leading him to the living room. "Jacob and Quilly Boy are already here," I said, not bothering to look back at him. I got a ‘manly grunt' as a reply.
I sat down on the couch that Jacob didn't occupy, Paul joining me on the opposite end. Awkward. I turned, hoping to get a good stare in at him, but caught him staring instead. He looked away and so did I. No use looking when he knew I was, right? I sighed. Jacob coughed and kicked Quil a little, standing up and taking long sweeping strides to the kitchen. That's what I thought, I narrowed my eyes as he walked past me, you better run. I watched idly as Quil ‘got it' what he was supposed to do and jumped up to follow Jacob out.
I turned in my seat, sitting sideways and Indian style, facing Paul. I was waiting on him to acknowledge the fact I was there. I watched as he examined (literally) every aspect of my living room before finally looking at me. He cocked a brow and I grinned subconsciously. He spoke eyebrow.
"What?" I felt my smile crack at his tone. It dripped ‘I don't care' into my otherwise happy little bubble.
I sneered, extending my hand like he was a total stranger. "I'm Emme," I said plainly, no keyed-up play on my usual scratchy voice.
He looked confused, but took my hand anyway. I smiled as I felt the familiar heat. "Paul," he said with a small nod.
"I think we started this all wrong," I said, frowning. He didn't say anything so I took it as agreement. I could already tell this conversation was one-way. "So," I continued, talking with my hands now to keep him interested, "I figured now was as good a time as any to start it over."
He looked at me like I was stupid. I scowled, "Fine then. Be a loser. No one really cares, anyway." I turned away abruptly, crossing my arms. Silence surrounded us. I could hear Jacob and Quil banging around in the kitchen, attempting to cook dinner as far as I could tell from the clanging of pans that assaulted my ears.
Paul shifted a little in his seat. "Okay," he said finally. I stared at him. He shrugged. "You said start over. I'm for that."
I nodded. "Sure." And then, abruptly, there was nothing to say. And the funny thing was it was okay. It was comfortable. Everything was open now, not that it really mattered. It could all be closed and I wouldn't care. I caught myself staring into space and shook my head, slowly returning my attention to the present. Paul was still sitting on the opposite end of the couch and Jacob and Quil still hadn't emerged from the kitchen. I leaned over the arm rest of the couch and checked my phone, firing off a text to the MIA Embry and tossing my phone on the other sofa. Paul watched my every move. It was a little unnerving, but at least I knew he was there this time. No weird stalkerness.
"What?" I asked, sending his question back at him.
He shook his head, "Nothing."
I rolled my eyes. "Whatever. I'm gonna go do damage control."
Paul nodded and I stood up, loping gracefully as I could manage to the kitchen, avoiding tripping over his legs as I passed. I didn't make it that far, though. Try as I might to avoid tripping, I wasn't prepared for him to move and make it unavoidable. He hooked his leg around, catching me just above my knees and forcing me to fall so that I fell straight on my bum directly beside him. I sat for a moment, completely dazed, then looked up at him.
"Are you insane?" I asked incredulously, both brows raised at him ridiculously. He snorted, but didn't answer. Rolling my eyes, I attempted to stand, but froze when I felt his arm all but snap around my shoulders defensively.
"I don't think so, Emme," he said, eyes glinting slightly. I stared up at him again, this time a little less like he was a madman.
"Uh-huh," I said, relaxing a bit. "You're gonna have to answer to the wrath of Susy Swan when they burn down my house, little man."
It was his turn to look at me incredulously. "Did you just call me ‘little man'?"
I nodded defiantly, "Yup, yup. Get used to it."
"I don't think so." What was that? His catch phrase?
"Sure thing, Balto."
He huffed, obvious annoyance. I chuckled to myself. Job well done. He tapped my shoulder roughly, making me look up at him again. "I don't appreciate nicknames," he said flatly.
I smirked. "I love them."
He shifted to face me, finger in my face in a reprimanding way. "No, Emme."
I swatted his hand away from my face, not all that surprised when he took the chance to grab mine. He held my hand firmly to my side. "Yes, Balto," I insisted, smiling sweetly at him and fluttering my lashes, then making a gagging noise. "I think it's cute."
"And I think it's stupid. Glad we've come to this decision."
"You're such a party pooper."
"Maybe you're just a party animal."
"I don't think I like your attitude."
"Sometimes I wonder why I have to like you."
Ouch. That last one stung a little. I looked down where he still held my hand to my side, then back up at him. "Because I'm just that fabulous?"
He cut his eyes at me, as if appraising something. "Maybe."
I laughed. "You know it."
The conversation ended there, and Jacob and Quil bounced in from the kitchen, cans of Pringles under each arm like footballs. Jacob tossed a canister at Paul, who caught it agilely. Quickly snatched it from his hand and took the first chip with a smirk. He looked at me like I had committed mortal sin. "Sorry, Balto," I said, offering the canister back to him.
"No, no," he said. "I don't think so."
"Balto?" exclaimed Quil, eyes sparkling with laughter. "BALTO? And I thought I had it bad with Quilly."
"Shut up, Quil," said Paul fiercely, his hand twitching in mine in an unnatural way. The word quiver came to mind. That was how Jacob had described the movement to me. An uncontrollable thing. I squeezed his hand, "Stop that," I said, fearing for my house's interior. The response I got was him promptly springing up lithely and storming out the sliding glass door to Lissy's woods in the backyard. I watched his back disappear ‘till I realized he was stripping down to phase then averted my eyes to Jacob, mouthing a quick ‘what the hell?' in his direction. He shrugged, and in that instant, I realized something that deep down, I'd known all along.
My life was completely and totally insane.
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