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Loving Emma Jane

Summary:
Thanks to emerald-rosalie for the sexy banner! Love you girl! She was a quiet, independant girl who was left broken inside after her mother passed. With nothing left for her in Biloxi, Emma Jane packed what little she could carry and left. She had no way of knowing that the tiny town of Forks held the key to her future and the ingredients to make her a stronger person.


Notes:
Stephenie Meyer owns all things Twilight, no copyright infringement is intended.


10. Chapter 10

Rating 0/5   Word Count 3359   Review this Chapter

EJPOV

Having eight vampires crammed into my small living room was quite an experience for me. Being with them in their own spacious home was quite different from being elbow to elbow with more than one Cullen at one time.

Alice and I took turns passing out gifts. I thanked everyone at least twice for the pile of gifts under my tree. Before I knew it, I was hugging them goodbye and collapsing on my sofa. Jasper pulled Alice to his lap, placing a chaste kiss on the back of her hand before smiling.

The puppy with no name was spread out along the length of the couch, her tiny feet jumping and moving as she dreamed. For a split second, I wanted to curl up next to her and take a nap myself. My fingers worked through the little dog’s fur though she never moved.

There was a soft knock on my front door and before I could answer it, Jake poked his head in.

“Are you ready to go?” He asked hesitantly.

“Hello Jacob.” Jasper called. He motioned him in with a nod of his head.

“I’ll grab my coat and be right back.” I stated, taking the stairs two at a time.

Alice followed me easily. Her quick hands shut the door to my bedroom once we were both in. I glanced at myself in the full-length mirror to be sure my decency was still intact. Alice appeared behind me in my reflection so I turned to meet her gaze. Her eyes held all the words I expected her to say; instead, her left hand ran through my hair, sending it off my shoulder and down my back.

“He makes you so happy.”

“He does.” Was my simple whispered reply.

She grabbed my hands; the cold was a bit shocking. “Nothing should stop you from living your life EJ. Have fun, okay?”

Alice and I shared a moment right there in my room. My heart ached for her and I would gladly give her every memory of the family she never knew if I could. She hugged me tightly and was gone. When I made it back to the living room, Jake was sitting alone next to the puppy.

“Let’s go.” I was going to have a good time.

Sue’s house was packed full of people. Wall to wall people. My eyes flickered back and forth, taking in all the tanned skin and silky dark hair. Charlie was sure easy to pick out in that crowd. He hadn’t left Sue’s side since I’d arrived. Every time I spotted him, his arm was snaked around her waist protectively and his face harbored the goofiest grin.

Jake led me through the sea of people with my hand placed carefully between his elbow and ribs. We exchanged greetings with guests on our way to the kitchen to grab a plate. I eyed the spread before me and laughed when I noticed Jake with a half filled plate. He shrugged his shoulders and continued on his way down the line.

Leah Clearwater appeared out of nowhere and I almost dropped my own plate.

“I don’t like the leeches.”

Before I could spit out my extremely rehearsed defense, she spoke again.

“I do like you though. Does that surprise you?” She studied the incredulous look on my face. Jake stood behind me with a fork hanging from his open mouth.

“Uh…well yes. You haven’t said a word to me until now.” Sometimes I wondered if she were off balance.

“Can I talk to you? Privately?” Her eyes fluttered to Jake, still gawking from behind me.

“Sure.” I followed her to the room where the coats were being stored then followed her out into the cold. I shuffled my boots around in the snow trying not to look up. I blew out a breath and watched the cloud swirl around in the icy air.

“I know we aren’t friends or anything EJ but I really want us to be. I get the whole imprint dilemma ok. I lived it.” Leah waited for my reply with an agitated expression on her face.

“Wow. This is really out of left field Leah. What stopped you from confronting me before?” She either needed medication or was unsure of how to approach me on the subject.

“I’m a part of Jake’s pack. I hear everything he is thinking, all the time. I know he cares for you and I know it’s eating him up, this whole imprint thing. It’s not my place to give you any advice on the subject. I can be moral support.” It was almost as if she were bullying me into being her friend. Then again, that’s how Leah was.

We let silence drift in and around us for a moment. I was trying to process the whole thing before giving my reply. “Thank you. I’ll keep that in mind.” She nodded and started to walk away. “Wait, Leah? Do you want to come over next weekend and talk some more?”

A smile, finally. “Yeah. I’d love to.”

When I found Jacob, he was working on his second plate. “What the hell was that about?” He questioned with a little too much food in his mouth.

“You’re sick. Chew your food.” I made a face at him.

He wrinkled his nose but did as I asked. “What is going on with Leah?”

“Just a little girl talk, nothing to be concerned about.” I had a feeling Leah wouldn’t appreciate me telling Jacob.

“Leah does not do girl talk.” He was adamant and it made me wonder why.

“Are you hiding things from me Mr. Black?”

He shifted his weight from one foot to the other. “No! It’s just, some things are private.” The bright red blush shown through his russet skin. “I can’t help that she is in my mind when I phase.”

I had to admit, curiosity was on its way to killing the cat, or me. “Maybe I should go ask her. She didn’t tell me the good stuff.”

“Wait.” His thick fingers wrapped completely around my forearm, holding me in place. The warmth sent alarms off and the butterflies started their fluttering in my stomach.

I raised an eyebrow in his direction trying to hold back my excitement. “I’m waiting.”

He pulled me to him in one swift movement and just like the crowd at the concert, the party guests disappeared. My insides were pulling somersaults in reaction the intense look he was giving me. The fire he ignited with just that one look threatened to burn me alive and I leaned in hoping he got the hint.

His lips were millimeters from mine, I could almost taste them.

“Having fun?” Billy Black asked over the hum of voices in the room. Voices we had been numb to.

Damn! “We’re having a great time. Thank you for inviting me Billy.” I circled his chair and grasped the handles. “Go for a spin?” I asked. He agreed and I winked at Jacob.

“I’ve never seen my son so happy.” Billy pointed out an empty corner and I backed his chair in so he could view the entire room. “Thank you Emma.”

“It was no problem, really.” I only pushed him across the room.

His black eyes shimmered in the low lighting. He wasn’t talking about the wheelchair. “Sometimes we have difficult choices to make in life.” He grabbed my hand and held it in between both of his. I could feel the roughness, the calluses from turning the wheels on his chair. “The path that will make you happy is the one you should take. Even if you know there may be dark times ahead. The best things in life are those worth fighting for.”

The theme for the party must have been “convince EJ to date Jake”. Billy was right in his skirt around the point sort of way. “I appreciate the advice, really I do.” I stared at him a moment longer before he released my hand and I left to find his son.

There was a fear of the unknown living deep inside of me. I couldn’t shake it no matter how hard I tried. The ridiculousness of it made me laugh. A few people turned to stare so I kept moving, a smile playing at the edges of my mouth. Being surrounded by mythical creatures should have ousted that fear right away, but it didn’t. It was hanging on to the one thing I hadn’t ever experienced and was scared to death of; loving Jacob.

“There you are.” His arms circled my waist. “So what did you and dad talk about?”

“Have you rallied the troops to convince me to date you? Everyone seems to have the same thing on their minds tonight.”

His smile was gone and in it’s place a frown. Deep lines appeared along his forehead and I couldn’t help but reach out and run my hand along his skin. “I did not ask them for help. I don’t want you to feel pressured into this ok?”

“I’m a big girl Jake. Tone down the urgency I was only picking on you.” I tried not to giggle when his lips pursed and he went into a pout.

“I would say you’re more of a pretty girl than a big girl.” His eyes admired my red dress. It hung off my shoulder in a provocative way; that was all Alice.

He swung me out, still holding tightly onto my hand and quickly drew me back against his chest. “We should go dancing. What do you think?”

My expression must have been ridiculous because he laughed for a few minutes. “You dance? Really, come on now. You? You are the biggest person I know next to Emmett. I just can’t picture that.”

“Nice moves.” Seth observed as he joined our conversation.

“Come to convince me to date him?” I accused and jerked my thumb towards Jacob.

Seth grinned and exchanged glances with Jake. “Actually I came to tell him that we need more ice from out back.” He turned to leave but I caught his comment as he walked away. “You’re a lucky guy.”

~*~

I entered my house without turning the lamp on. The soft blue glow from the lights on the tree illuminated my path to the kitchen just enough so that I didn’t trip. After dropping my purse and coat on the kitchen table, I made my way back to the couch. When I sat down, I landed on something that wasn’t there before.

It was a guitar case and in it, a brand new acoustic guitar. I switched the lamp on and stood, staring at the instrument. Finally, breaking from my trance I opened the small card laid carefully next to my gift.

We thought this would help you finish the song in your heart.

Use it well.

Love Bella and Edward

Merry Christmas!

Carefully, I placed the guitar in the back of my hall closet. When I felt the impulse to finish my song I would know right where to find it.

Jake showed up later dressed in his sleep pants and a tee shirt. I almost asked him if he was cold but thought better of it. Of course, he wasn’t cold. I started up the stairs, while brushing my hair, to change into my own pajamas but had an epiphany halfway.

“I got it!” I yelled, almost falling head over heels in my attempt to descend the stairs fast enough.

“Got what?” Jake was rolling around on the floor with my puppy.

“Her name. I know what I’ll call her.” I watched the pair of them for a moment. “You two make a good pair. Maybe you should take her out for a romp in the snow.”

“That’s rude EJ; I can’t ask her without even knowing her name.”

I tossed the hairbrush I still held at his head but he caught it expertly. “Moira. Isn’t that cute?”

“Just darling.” He mimicked my sweet tone.

“Oh, you are so lucky I’m exhausted.” I was over his shoulder and headed back up the way I had just came before I realized what was going on. “What are you doing? Put me down!”

My fists pounded into his strong back to no avail. It was impossible for someone my size to inflict physical pain on someone Jake’s size. He dropped me on the bed when we reached my room. I bounced up and down a bit from the sheer force of the fall.

“Get under the covers.” He ordered.

“It’s only nine o’clock Jake.”

He sighed and yanked the covers back for me. I slid my legs under obediently. He pulled his shirt off and tossed it carelessly to the floor. I was still as he climbed into the bed behind me and wrapped his strong arms around my middle. The body heat was comforting, a benefit to having a wolf with a constant fever for a best friend.

As soon as I thought the words, best friend, I knew something had changed. The exact time and place was lost to me but really, it didn’t matter. Jacob Black was more than my best friend. He was my shoulder to cry on, the victim to all my bad jokes and moods, but most of all he was my first love. Yes, I loved him.

A high-pitched yelp startled me from my revelation and I rolled to see Jake picking Moira up off the floor. He let her go gently and she stumbled over the comforter to cuddle on my pillow with me. She licked my chin a few times and settled in for the night.

“Do you miss your mother?” Jake’s deep voice startled me a bit.

I sighed. My mother was not the easiest subject to talk about. “I miss her a lot. She was all I had.”

“What did she die of?” He was king of uncomfortable questioning.

I rolled to my back and trained my eyes on the ceiling. “Cancer. The last year with her was the hardest. I watched her waste away to nothing until she didn’t even know who I was anymore.” I could feel a knot forming in my throat.

Jake lay on his side propped up by his elbow. His eyes were sorrowful and I could see the understanding there in them. He lost his mother too. “You are a brave woman Emma. Not many people could do what you did for her.”

“I sacrificed a lot for mama. A few days before she passed I realized my life would be empty once she was gone. I...” Should I tell him my low point?

“We can change the subject, I don’t mind.”

“No, it’s ok. It’s part of who I am today and that makes it important.” I drew a deep breath and covered my eyes. “I lost my spark, the spark that made me strive for more. The day of mama’s funeral, I said my goodbyes and left Mississippi for good. My plan was to travel, to get as far away from that grave as I could. That’s exactly what I did. When Alice picked me up I had already decided to give up, on myself.”

Jake was silent and it made me nervous. Maybe he was freaked out or maybe he thought I could not handle the current situation I was in.

“If this is too much for you I can back off. I don’t want to put that kind of stress on you again.”

“I knew you would say that. I can handle it, trust me. I’ve learned a lot about myself since I moved here. Most important, I realize that life is precious and not to be disregarded so easily.”

His fingertips stroked the curve of my chin, back and forth until I thought I would go mad. We stared into each other’s eyes, afraid to speak and break the moment. It wasn’t until my eyes drifted closed that he spoke up.

“Merry Christmas EJ.”

“I have a gift for you but it isn’t finished yet.” I mumbled half-conscious.

I’m positive I heard him assure me it was fine but the feeling of his lips softly pressing against mine could have been a dream.

Alice picked me up in the morning and drove me to work. Apparently, she didn’t trust me to keep our appointment to look at the Elks Lodge as a party location. She was going overboard; I didn’t even know enough people to fill the small building. Charlie had a good laugh over the whole thing. He assured me he would be there with Sue and that I should give Alice a chance. He was always on her side.

I wasted most of the day wondering if Jake had really kissed me or if I was dreaming. He was already gone to work by the time my alarm went off. Most of my time was spent with Moira in the frozen driveway. She was reluctant to go because of the temperature; I didn’t blame her.

Charlie let me clock out a few minutes early, probably eager to see my lethargy and me go. Alice showed up just as I walked through the front doors of the police station. Rose smirked at me through the passenger window.

“How was your day?” Alice asked casually backing the car onto the road without looking.

I grumbled a little from my place on the back seat.

“This should cheer you up.” Rosalie handed a very excited Moira to me. “I think I’m starting to like her.”

“For breakfast, lunch or dinner?” I snorted at my own joke.

Rose flashed me an evil look. “For your information, neither. I can control myself.”

Alice simply shook her head at the two of us. She was used to our banter as it happened quite often. Moira looked up at me with her big green eyes. Alice chattered nonstop the whole way to the Elks Lodge. Once we were inside I set Moira down and let her have run of the empty room.

“There’s a stage! That’s perfect.” Alice clapped her hands. “Oh I have so many ideas for this room. What do you think EJ?”

It was straight out of a bygone era that was for sure. Then again, what do old men who wear funny hats and play canasta once a week know about interior design? I walked the perimeter of the room, trying to decide if we could transform the place or not.

“Alice, you have to work a miracle if we book this space.”

“A miracle is an understatement.” Rose added while wrinkling her nose. “This place needs an overhaul. It smells like stale cigars in here.”

It did smell musty. “Is it me or does the stage make you want to break out in a verse of Time of My Life? I feel like I should have curly hair and a pink dress.”

Alice appeared out of nowhere with her tiny finger pointed at me. There was a grin on her face and I knew exactly what she was thinking.

“No one puts Baby in a corner!” We yelled at the same time.

It was all Rose could do not to laugh. “Oh my god. You two really need better hobbies.”

“So, yes or no EJ?” Alice asked trying to compose herself.

Moira padded over and sat at my feet. I lifted her and shoved my face into her chocolate brown fur. “I have faith in you two. Mostly Alice.”

“I knew you would like it. I cannot wait to buy the decorations. Oh, we need a theme!” She ran off to let the people with the key know we would be booking the place.

Rosalie ruffled Moira’s fur. “This is going to be a lot of work. I‘m not sure I want to get dirty for this.”

“A girl only turns twenty one once Rose. Although, I’m not sure about this theme business. Do we actually need a theme?” I turned back before shutting the lights out, trying to imagine how it would look with decorations and guests.