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Open Flame

Summary:
I knew in that instant exactly how Sam felt when he saw Emily, exactly how Jacob felt when he saw Renesmee, exactly how Quil felt when he saw Claire. There were thoughts I had never known rushing through my head, from thoughts of a friendly nature, to thoughts of a passionate nature and everything in between. She drew me like an open flame drew a pyromaniac; and curiously, wonderfully, lovingly and lustfully, I had to follow her. I had to touch that open flame.open flame banner Seth Clearwater comes back from college for Leah's wedding, and the gang gets back together. But when his car breaks down on the side of the road, a very beautiful, engaged young woman comes to the rescue. Can Seth vy for the attentions of his imprint and successfully win her? Author's Note: This fanfiction will be complete once the twelfth chapter is added! Thank you everyone for your support and reviews!


Notes:


3. Three - How NOT To Pay Attention

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3765   Review this Chapter

Three

How Not To Pay Attention

Before long, I was driving on the interstate with a vengeance for speed, my favorite rock band blaring in the stereos. This kind of relaxation was mind-numbing and I lowered my consciousness to the smallest possible degree.

There were so many thoughts flooding my mind. Even though my memories of the wedding and short reception were fresh, they seemed to be dimming already. I still couldn’t believe that my sister was married, and to a guy that seemed incredibly wrong for her. All that stuff about being old with a ticking biological clock had changed, too. It was like she had transformed into a different Leah the moment I started my first class at Evergreen State. Her hair was lighter, her skin was darker, and she giggled, for heaven’s sake…

I sighed. How could someone be the same person for their whole life and then change suddenly? It seemed more plausible that Leah was wearing a mask and pretending to be someone who Andy preferred.

Now that hypothesis was probably closer to the truth. I knew that there was a small part of Leah that wanted to please others, even if she wouldn’t admit it. But this? If Leah was truly changing herself to accommodate others, then she was going way too far. I was always the people pleaser of the family, Leah the sarcastic one, Mom the best of both worlds and Dad, quieter than me, less confrontational. What happened to all that humor Leah had that made me laugh so hard?

I should have known that it was going to rain; thunderclouds had been gathering over the stretch of the highway for quite sometime. I knew that everything I had learned in Driver’s Ed. years ago would have rivaled me speeding up and turning the music up louder, but I did it anyway, and turned up +44 to the maximum.

I realized a couple of hours later that I had passed the exit for Olympia, and in my haste I swerved to the closest exit. As I neared the sign, I saw it read, “Welcome To Tacoma, Washington.”

Great. Had I ever even been to Tacoma? Doubtful.

Great. So I was in some forsaken town in the middle of the night in pouring rain. I just had to find the highway to go back north, and then maybe I could sleep and wake up early enough tomorrow to catch up for the study time I had already missed.

As I exited the ramp, I stopped at the longest red light on the face of the planet. My stereo shut off of its own accord. I punched it, and a few sparks shot out. Confused, I started to check things out, but before I could move, the roar of my truck’s engine disappeared and now there was nothing permeating the sound of the wind-driven rain.

There were no cars, no roar of an engine, no sign of life within a fifty mile radius.

I sat in the car and turned on my emergency light, my head against the steering wheel in anger.

“Why me?” I yelled angrily at last. I sighed and hit my head on the steering wheel. The car honked back at me in annoyed response. “Grr, shut up you stupid Mustang,” I replied.

I didn’t know how long I sat there in the middle of an intersection with my emergency lights on, but I was almost sure that the pounding of the rain on my broken-down car put me to sleep.

An insistent pounding woke me up. “Roll down your window, you idiot!” yelled a voice, knocking and knocking and knocking in annoying patterns.

I groaned and pressed the button to let my window down, my eyes still half opened.

“Do you want a ride home or not?” asked a feminine voice in the pouring rain.

I blinked at her and looked right into the face of a blue-eyed angel.

I knew in that instant exactly how Sam felt when he saw Emily, exactly how Jacob felt when he saw Renesmee, exactly how Quil felt when he saw Claire. There were thoughts I had never known rushing through my head, from thoughts of a friendly nature, to thoughts of a passionate nature and everything in between. She drew me like an open flame drew a pyromaniac; and curiously, wonderfully, lovingly and lustfully, I had to follow her.

“Hello? Do you talk at all?”

“Uh…uh yeah…I’ve been known to possess characteristics that involve speech,” I blurted rather quickly.

She grinned and laughed the most beautiful of laughs I had ever heard in my twenty-one years of existence. “Well come on! It’s pouring down rain! You can’t expect me to just stand here, can you?”

I shook my head, not wanting to lose sight of her for a second.

“Would you stop staring at me? It’s scaring me shitless.”

“S-sorry…” I stammered. What was suddenly wrong with me? “Yeah, I’d love a ride, if that’s cool…”

“Sure.”

I grabbed my duffel bag from the back of my car and slammed the door shut. This girl was barreling towards an insanely gorgeous blue car. She clambered inside it the second I did and wiped the rain off her arms in disgust, checking her face in the mirror for a second.

“Hey, you never told me your name,” she said, throwing her soaked red hair up into a ponytail.

“Uh, Seth. Seth Clearwater.”

She turned to me. “Ginessa Powell,” she introduced, shaking my hand with that exquisite smile of hers.

“Nice to meet you, Ms. Powell,” I smiled. If she was helping me out, this was no time to assume I could call her anything informal.

She rolled her eyes. “I’m glad you’re trying to be polite, but you can just call me Ginny. Ginessa or Ms. Powell is kind of a mouthful.”

I laughed loudly.

“So, where do you live?”

I sighed. “Olympia.”

Olympia?” she repeated in shock. “How the hell did you end up in Tacoma?”
“I got off the wrong exit,” I muttered, mussing up my hair in embarrassment.

“But that isn’t possible. If you were on I-5, there’s no exit for Tacoma, not directly. You’d have to get off at exit 133 and then get back on I-705…” She kept mumbling something about interstates. “Are you positive you’re from Olympia?”

“Well, technically, I was coming from La Push, but I go to college at Evergreen.”

“Right. Well, sorry, but I’m not driving you home since Olympia is like, an hour and a half away from here, but I happen to have an extra room in my apartment. You can call a tow truck or a mechanic tomorrow morning…”

“Hey, thanks a lot.”

“No problem.” She paused. “Are you buckled in yet?”

“Yeah.”
“Good.” Ginny hit the accelerator and we whizzed along the tiny two-lane street. She laughed at my body language; after all, the sudden jolt had pinned me against the leather seat. “Sorry about that. I like driving fast.”

I grinned. “No problems here. I think the reason my mustang died was because I drove it too fast.”

“Oh yeah? Engine give out all of a sudden or something?”

I gaped at her. “You know cars?”

Ginny scoffed. “I don’t drive this baby just because it looks pretty. Sixteen cylinders, built like a racecar, speeds up to 250 mph, and, oh yeah…” She tapped the dashboard appreciatively, “The best gift my fiancé could ever give me.”

Woah, what?

What, what, what? Fiancé? I must have imagined those words.

“F-f-fiancé?” I stuttered.

“Yeah…” One of her fingers tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear. She looked over at me. “Are you okay, Seth? You look kind of pale...”
“Y-yeah, I’m f-f-fine…”

After a moment of silence, she laughed. “Oh, I get it! You think I’m one of those trashy, easy girls who just drives around in the middle of the night looking for a guy to hook up with, right?”

“No, that’s not what I thought at all!”

“Then what were you thinking?” she demanded.

“I…can’t tell you.”

Ginny sighed. “Who is she?”

“Who’s who?” I asked in confusion.

“I remind you of someone, don’t I?”

“Nope.”

“Ugh!” she exploded. “Will you just tell me, because tormenting me like this is not helping when it’s one a.m. and I haven’t had caffeine for like, six straight hours.”

I bit my lip. “Listen, it’s complicated, and I don’t want to scare you.”

“Whatever.”

Before long, she pulled into a paved driveway and threw her car in park. “I live here with Ryan, and sometimes he assumes the wrong thing, plus, he’s expecting me to be home alone, so let me explain the situation first.”

I nodded and grabbed my bag from the backseat of the car.

As she tentatively unlocked the door to the house, I allowed my thoughts to wander. It was a nice house, surrounded by perfect landscaping and trees, perfect trim on the house, perfect paint, perfect everything.

She was perfect.

Except for the fact that she was engaged! And the fact that we lived two hours away from each other and that I would probably never see her again.

Why couldn’t I have imprinted on a nice girl from Forks or La Push while I had still been in high school? Why did it have to be the extraordinary, gorgeous, car-loving, engaged girl from Tacoma? Why?

“Hey sweetheart!” greeted the guy I assumed was her fiancé. He wrapped his arms around her and pecked her lips. “Wait, who is this?”

“This is Seth. His car broke down off the interstate and I offered him a ride home. Come to find out that Seth lives in Olympia and kind of got lost. I said he could stay the night and call a tow-truck for tomorrow. Is that okay with you?”

His body language loosened around her. He extended his hand toward me.

“Ryan Trevino, nice to meet you, Seth.”

“Nice to meet you, too,” I replied, smiling. “You guys keep a nice house.”

Ginessa smirked. “Thanks. Let me show you to our guest room.”

Ryan eyed me ferociously as I passed him to follow Ginessa up the stairs. I had the sudden urge to knock his lights out, which, for me, was extremely strange. I guessed the reason for this sudden aggression was the fact that I was supposed to be the one with my arms wrapped around her, not Ryan. Yet, he was the one who had earned her, obviously.

“Here you go. Sorry if it’s a little musty.”

“No worries,” I smiled.

She awkwardly smiled at me for a few minutes. “Well, uh…see you in the morning…”

“Hey, Ginny?”

“Huh?”

“Thanks for…everything. I’m glad you found me.”

She cocked an eyebrow in confusion, “Uh, you’re welcome…any time.”

But as she closed the door behind her, I realized that she had no idea what I meant.

When I woke up the next morning, it wasn’t because I wanted to move from the perfectly soft mattress in the guest room. There were smells, wonderful smells wafting up and tickling my senses. After all, I hadn’t eaten for over ten hours, and for me, that was an unprecedented amount of time.

I rushed down the stairs, but it wasn’t Ginny at the stove; it was her boyfriend…I gulped…fiancé cooking bacon and pancakes.

Without turning around, he said, “Hey, honey, I’m glad you’re up. My mom is going to come round later to firm up the date for the wedding.”

I cleared my throat. “Sorry…”

“OH,” he replied, turning around with narrowed yes, “It’s just you.”

“Sorry…” I repeated.

“You’re lucky we had enough food for you.”

“I really appreciate all that you and Ginny are doing for me, really-“

Don’t play nice with me,” he grumbled, making fierce eye contact and pointing a spatula at me.

“I…I…”

I saw how you looked at her,” he accused. “It was like you’d never looked at another girl in your life. Well, let me tell you something, Seth, old buddy, old pal.” He paused, threw down his spatula and poked me in the chest. “Ginny is my fiancé. We’re getting married in three months, and that’s that. You aren’t going to change our relationship.”

“Hey, no need for violence-“ I began, taking his finger form my chest.

“Oh, I think there is a great need for aggression here.”

I didn’t understand what it was about him that made me angry, but for the first time in my life, I didn’t think twice about it and hit him square on the jaw. He was so shocked at my reaction that he backed up and raised his arms menacingly.

“You’ll pay for that!”

I shrugged. “Hit me with your best shot.”

I was really glad I had quick reaction time and bones that were as hard as steel, for I could tell he hit hard. I let him pin me down out of politeness, but I found I had the advantage if I punched him while he was looming over me.

I didn’t know how long we had been fighting like that, but I smelled the burn of pancakes and saw blood on the ceramic floor. His blood, of course. I had only hit him maybe half a dozen times, but compared to me he was weak. I could see bruises beginning to yellow up on his arms and saw a cut on his face, blood from his nose.

“What the hell is going on here?”
The sound of my angel’s voice made me go limp beneath her fiancé. He punched me once in the cheekbones, and I instantly heard a few knuckles crack and shriek as they broke.

Loud expletives reverberated around the room. Ryan stood up, holding his hand gingerly, and smiled at Ginny. “I was just teaching our house guest some manners.”

“Ryan!” she rushed to his side and kissed his cheek. “Oh my God, baby are you okay?”

He sniffed. “Yeah, I’ll be fine.” But as he walked to the stovetop, he nearly fell over.

“What did you do to him?” she demanded, looking at me.

“Hey, he was being an asshole!” exclaimed Ryan instead.

“What? Seth! After I offer you my home and food, you make my fiancé bruise and bleed and break his knuckles!”

“I’m sorry, Ginessa.”

She snorted in disgust. “Sometimes, sorry doesn’t cut it.” Ginny paused all of a sudden, everything suddenly clicking into place. “Wait…wasn’t Ryan on top of you?”

I bit my lip and stood up, scratching my head. “Yeah, a bit.”

“And you don’t have a scratch on you?”

I shrugged.

“Oh my God,” she murmured, putting a hand to her head. “Okay, listen, Seth? I am going insane, obviously, so I’m going to take Ryan to the hospital, and when I come back, I’ll give you a ride home…or something.”

“But I thought you said-“

“Screw what I said! Please, Seth,” she sighed. “I can’t deal with any of this right now. I’ll be back later.”

I felt her confusion as though it was a part of me, and a headache overwhelmed my senses. Was I feeling like this because she was? Imprinting was officially a medical phenomenon that made absolutely no sense.

The moment she was gone, I could feel it tear at me. All the cells in my body ached to follow her, and it took all my strength to stay rooted to the kitchen tile instead. I couldn’t help myself.

I undressed and phased, and the second I did, Sam’s thoughts seared through my head.

Seth?

Yeah?

Don’t go anywhere; I’ve called a pack meeting…well, a sort of pack meeting anyway. It includes all our members who have imprinted.

I sighed. Sam, that’s really not necessary…

Yes, it is, he insisted. Jacob should reach you first, I’m en route with Quil and Jared, and Paul is coming from the north.

Quil?

Hey! he said.

Jared?

Seth! replied Jared.

Wow, I haven’t talked to you in forever, Jared.

I know.

Quil, I had no idea you were with Sam. You don’t seem to think much.

He laughed. That’s ‘cause he told me to shut up.

Forest outside of Tacoma? asked Jacob.

Did you just get in range? asked Sam seriously.

No, but it’s pretty hilarious to hear you guys think. He laughed. You’re lucky I was hunting with Nessie when you imprinted, Seth. I was almost torn to see who that girl was.

Aww, Jake, you didn’t bring Nessie, did you? asked Quil.

No! he snapped. Sam told me not to. Besides…he paused. Edward wanted to talk to her about…

Ha ha! triumphed Jared. That’s awesome! Daddy Vampire has the sex talk with his darling daughter. Priceless.

Even Sam chuckled a little. The perks of having an imprint who is already grown up…Jacob’s wolf form appeared in front of me, grinning stupidly. So, tell me about this girl, who is apparently your imprint and completely off limits?

Ginessa Powell. Red hair, blue eyes, maybe 5.7’, loves cars, lives in Tacoma, and has a fiancé who is in the hospital.

Jake’s eyes widened at the mention of that last bit. In the hospital? What is he, some sort of a psychopath?

Way to be positive, Jake, laughed Paul, appearing in the conversation.

Quil laughed, too. No, but your buddy Carlisle could probably hook something up so that he never comes back from that hospital.

I sighed. He isn’t in the hospital because he’s crazy or near death; he’s there because we…got in a fight.

Jake barked in approval.

Seth, you are my new favorite person! exclaimed Quil.

That’s pretty damn awesome, said Jared.

Sam sighed. It isn’t like you to use violence, he expressed worriedly.

I know. But that’s part of the imprinting, isn’t it? Because you’ll do anything for the girl?

Yes, said Sam. That’s the way I am with Emily, at least.

Yeah, it’s the same with Reneesme. I have issues with letting her kill mountain lions when we hunt.

That explains it, I sighed. Sam, Quil and Jared appeared before me, Paul’s presence noticeable behind me.

Okay, so now that we’re all here, let’s get down to business. Imprinting is a seriously wonderful thing, but it can also be problematic.

Yeah, just a little.

You have to make certain decisions for yourself. For example, when will you tell her? Where? Will you have the guts to tell her at all? Can you live without her?

No, I thought at first. It’s painful even being this far away from her. How do you guys stand being separated?

The bond never fades away of course, but it is most intense at first. You have to learn to deal with being apart from each other, explained Sam.

Right, said Jared. It’s all about testing yourself and trying not to freak her out. If you stay to close to her, she’ll get all weird and fidgety. At least, Kim did.

But you can feel when she’s happy, right? asked Jake.

She isn’t happy right now; she’s concerned and confused.

I would be, too, said Quil. After all, you don’t seem to have sustained any damage yourself, and her girly boyfriend is in the hospital.

You really have to watch that, Seth. I know it’s hard because everything about you screams to protect her, but things can get way out of hand too easily, instructed Sam.

I had to learn that the hard way, said Paul. Rachel was almost mugged one evening, and I got so pissed I beat up the guys to bloody pulps. They pressed charges and I spent a night in jail.

I sighed for the umpteenth time. It’s just that I don’t know what to do about everything. Why couldn’t I have imprinted on someone from Forks or La Push? Why Ginessa?

Sam glanced at me with strong sympathy. I don’t know why. Your imprint is supposed to be your reproductive match in order to complete the gene pool.

But she isn’t even remotely Quileute!

Neither is Reneesme, commented Jake quietly. In fact, she’s the farthest thing from Quileute. But I managed to imprint on her.

I sighed. I suppose.

Sometimes, life throws you curveballs, and you just gotta deal. You know that, said Quil.

Yeah. What would you guys suggest I do?

They all smiled at me.

What have we all done? asked Sam.

It won’t be easy, added Quil.

She’ll be shocked at first, mentioned Jacob. Bella was furious when she found out. But there isn’t anything she can do about it.

But Bella knew how imprinting worked! I protested. Ginny is going to be extremely freaked out when I tell her! She may not even understand for a while!

But if she doesn’t, you’ll wait for her, right? asked Jake quietly.

Yes, of course, I answered immediately. I already hate being without her.

They you know what you have to do, right Seth? asked Sam.

Yes.

Do you have any other questions?

Yeah. I knew I had to craft my question carefully, for the thoughts rushing through my head were currently incomprehensible, but I would have to pick a certain one out before voicing it. Sam, how long did you wait before…before you slept with Emily?

About four months.

Quil and Jacob grumbled curses under their breaths.

I know it sucks for you guys, said Jared and Sam together.

We’re obviously willing to wait, sighed Quil. But dammit, the moment Claire turns eighteen, she’s mine.

Jacob? I asked tentatively.

Well, it’s kind of impossible with Edward around, reading my thoughts. He growled loudly. But we’re coming close, and once they finish their talk I’m somewhat sure we’ll be together in no time.

Sam sighed. Well, Seth, we should all get back. But remember, if there’s anything you need, just phase and ask for us, and I’ll make sure someone comes running.

Thanks for everything, guys, I said.

Sure, sure.

Any time. Give our best to the girly man, said Quil.

Good luck with all of this, sighed Jared.

I hope she understands, sympathized Paul.

Bye now, Seth. See you later.