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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.


12. Chapter 12

Rating 0/5   Word Count 3513   Review this Chapter

EJPOV

“How are we going to hang the fabric from the walls?” I called across the empty room to Alice.

She stroked her chin twice before answering. “I am not sure about that yet. Rose suggested staples but I do not think the Elks wants tiny holes all over their wall. Did you try the double stick tape?”

“The fabric is too heavy,” I tossed the material to the ground and descended the ladder backwards.

“What are you doing?” Alice sped to the pile of discarded fabric, lifting it from the floor. “EJ, this is imported and stains easily. You cannot just toss it on the floor like garbage.”

I sighed. I should have stayed home. “I’m sorry, will you ever forgive me?” I asked in my best monotone voice.

My birthday was days away and Alice was in Martha Stewart mode. I did my best to enjoy the experience but interior decorating was not me. I would rather reap the benefits of the party, go home slightly intoxicated and let someone else clean up. If I poked my lip out far enough I could convince Emmett to do it. He was such a sucker. Not that it mattered, Alice would take care of everything, like she usually did.

I couldn’t help but feel a bit spoiled. The Cullens each had their own way of taking care of me and Alice’s involved money. I refused as much as possible but my party for instance was something I wanted.

I took a seat on the outdated stage and patted the spot next to me. “Come on Alice, let’s sit and wait for the others.”

“No thank you. I don’t need to sit.” There was no stopping her.

Rose, Emmett, Edward and Bella arrived moments later with Jake not far behind. Jasper was on a mission for Alice, a party related mission. Jake strode across the room to me, ignoring the look Rose gave him. Bella stared as his hands grabbed my waist and lifted me to him.

“Jake!” I squealed. “Put me down!”

He kissed me before setting me down softly on my feet. “I missed you,” he told me softly. “How was your trip?”

“It was great,” I exchanged a glance with Alice.

She started to tell Jacob about our weekend as my mind drifted off, not quite comprehending the words.

“I’m really not sure about this,” I glared at Alice as she drove us away from the airport and into Biloxi.

It will be fine. You’ll see,” she sighed. “I can see you so clearly here, away from the wolf.”

I giggled nervously, staring through the tinted car window. It was Alice’s idea to visit our hometown. I could have gone without it.

“I want to use our alone time to talk Emma. It’s about Jacob.”

I eyed her, wondering why we would be discussing Jake. Alice and the rest of the Cullens usually stayed well out of my way when it came to him.

“I thought it was him that changed you,” she started, “but I’m not so sure anymore. You are a different person now EJ. That’s how I know seeing your mother will be healing.”

My head fell against the leather seat. I breathed in the recycled air blowing from the vent directly in front of me. Alice was right. I was not the same girl that rode into town with a gray cloud overhead. I was transformed, broken free of my cocoon. Jake was just a product of the new me, an accident or was it?

“Are you ok? Alice questioned and worried by my silence.

I turned and smiled at her. “You know, I am ok,” I assured her.

“It sounds like you two had a good time,” Jake stated before yanking on the end of my ponytail and taking a seat next to me.

Emmett tossed a roll of fabric to Rose as if it were light as a feather. “EJ can dance. Now that is news to me. I just don’t see you as a dancer.”

Alice hopped off the ladder from the top rung. “Oh! I was shocked when I found out. Her mother owned a dance studio. Did she tell you that?” The question was directed toward Jacob.

He seemed surprised for a moment. “No, she didn’t,” He looked at me with a questioning gaze.

“Well,” I said hoping to break the ice, “my mother taught any kind of dance you can think of apart from hip-hop. She was a wonderful dancer.”

“So are you,” Alice pointed out.

“Now I have to see this,” Emmett scoffed.

“Yes I agree,” Rose crossed her arms in disbelief.

I surveyed the room, trying to pick the best partner. Edward was looking everywhere but at me. Laughing, I held my hand out to him. “Do you mind Bella? I need a capable partner.”

Bella shook her head, amusement in her features. Edward took my hand lightly with a hateful look on his face. Rose and Emmett were enjoying the entire thing. If all else failed, at least I provided entertainment, as usual.

“Are you familiar with swing?” I asked Edward quietly even though the others probably heard me.

He half nodded, half pouted.

“Don’t be a baby Edward, honestly. Alice? Can you plug my iPod into the speakers and put Queen on?” I grabbed Edward’s cold hands and laughed, tossing my ponytail back. “This is going to be fun,” I whispered.

Alice spun the dial on the music player searching for the song we had practiced to in Biloxi. Her mouth was stretched in the biggest smile she was capable of. Bella moved to stand next to Emmett and Rose. All eyes were on us.

When the music started, I gave him a moment to hear the beat before twisting myself under his arm and back again. The tiniest grin made an appearance and I laughed aloud when he tossed me between his legs.

“Damn, Edward knows how to do it,” Emmett was impressed.

Alice pranced over and laid her hand on his shoulder. “Allow me, I’ve been practicing.”

I took Alice’s hands and we preformed the steps she had learned while in Mississippi. Rose whistled. Jake stood, jaw on the floor. I had never told him I was skilled in dance, it just did not seem important. Then again, I hadn’t done it since mama passed away.

When the song ended, Alice and I stood laughing. I was still holding her icy hands when the others joined us in the middle of the floor.

“That was hot. Can you teach Rose how to do that?” Emmett asked seriously.

Rosalie smacked his arm and it echoed around the open room. “You are an ass Em.”

“That was so good Emma,” Bella complimented. “Edward, you did a good job.”

He shrugged and turned to Alice. “What do you need Bella and me to do?” He was clearly trying to change the subject. What a baby.

Jake grabbed me from behind and squeezed. “That was interesting. I liked it,” he whispered in my ear. The light breeze along my neck caused me to shiver.

“I’m really flexible,” I announced to him.

The corners of his mouth turned up in a goofy grin. “Oh Emma, baby, I know that already.”

“Jake!” I yelled, my mouth wide open.

“Now we all know,” Alice called from the top of the ladder where she had returned to decorating.

I gave Jake the evil eye before sitting crossed legged on the floor and started assembling the centerpieces for the tables. Personally, I didn’t know enough people in town to invite. Alice and Jake had done most of the invitations. That was an event. They argued or bantered, whatever you like to call it, the entire time. I almost cracked open a whiskey bottle meant for my party.

Alice chattered excitedly from the ladder to Rose and Bella who held the roll of ice blue fabric. I watched her, her fingers moving so quickly I couldn’t tell just how she was keeping the material in place.

I hadn’t stood before my mother’s grave since the day I watched them lower the mahogany box slowly into the dry earth. My eyes fluttered shut, squeezing a few tears free. The salty liquid ran smoothly down my flushed cheeks and over my lips. I ran my tongue along the perimeter of my mouth.

My knees grew weak with each tear that fell. I could feel her arms around me, hugging me, her hands cradling the base of my skull. She always did give the best hugs. For some reason, I only remembered the good things, kneeling at the base of her final resting place.

Alice was down the row further, kneeling as well. Her head was bowed and her shoulders trembled slightly every so often. She could not shed tears but her body grieved in its own way.

Forgetting my own sorrow, I rose and rushed to comfort her. I wrapped my arms around her shoulders and she turned, burrowing her face into the crook of my neck. The cold temperature of her skin was uncomfortable but I was determined to be there for her. After all, I knew how she felt.

“They dragged me kicking and screaming from the house,” her usual calm voice was replaced with a strangled, forced sound. “I remember.”

“I’m sorry things went so wrong Alice. We really got the shitty part of life shoved down our throats huh?”

I felt her nod against my warm skin.

She lifted her head. “I have eternity to make up for it.”

Immediately I knew what she was insinuating. Only once before had she mentioned the possibility of me changing. “You know I don’t want that,” I answered her sharply, afraid to explore the subject any further.

“It looks really nice in here,” Bella told me, smiling.

We had finally finished decorating the lodge for my birthday party and Bella was absolutely right. Just hours ago it resembled the banquet room from Dirty Dancing, wood paneled stage and all. The walls were covered in ice blue material, special ordered from who knows where and tablecloths to match. Delicate, centerpieces adorned every clothed table, a base of flowers whose name escaped me and soft, white twinkle lights wrapped the two columns supporting the sides of the stage.

Bella touched my arm lightly, signaling that she was leaving. I nodded slightly and thanked her for the help. Alice waved in her direction as she walked towards me, her arms full of leftover supplies.

“It’s fabulous, you know that right?” She was quite proud of herself. Hell, I was impressed.

“You have outdone yourself Alice. This is stunning, really. I’m pretty sure people in Forks don’t have parties like this.”

“Oh, how right you are EJ. Just remember, you are related to me and I do not do anything halfway. It’s over the top or nothing,” she winked.

We unplugged the lights and locked the door behind us. My birthday was two days away and I couldn’t wait.

Jake woke me early on my birthday with a tray of breakfast. I knew him well enough to realize he did not cook it. First, it was edible and second it smelled delicious.

“Happy birthday beautiful. You’re legal,” he laughed as I took the tray from him and sat it on the bedside table.

“Leah and Sue were here?” I questioned, jerking my head toward the heavenly meal.

“How did you know?” He joined me on the bed.

“Leah is the only one I know that squeezes her own juice and Sue had to have made those chocolate chip pancakes. She makes them for Charlie and brings them into the station every other Friday.”

“Very good,” he nodded in approval. “You’re the only person not living on the rez that Leah will squeeze juice for. How did you manage that?”

I laughed and fell back against my pillows. “It’s my remarkable charm and witty nature. People can’t resist.” We were silent for a moment. “Have they gone?”

Jake grabbed my face, holding it gently between his thumb and fingers. His eyes burned into me. They beckoned me and I obliged. His lips crashed against mine and I tasted the acidity of the orange juice on them.

“You drank my juice,” I mumbled against his mouth, while my hands slid along his bare back and into the band of his sweat pants. I was making my way from back to front when someone knocked loudly on my front door.

“No, just ignore it,” he grabbed my hands, trying to hold them in place.

I sighed softly. “It’s probably Alice, Jake. I have to let her in or she’ll bust the damn door in.” I kissed him noisily on the lips. “Besides, we have all night tonight. I’ll be inebriated and you can take advantage of me.”

He pursed his lips and let me go.

“Get a shirt on!” I yelled as I skipped down the stairs to let Alice in.

She had her determined face on and I suspected that even though it was my birthday, I wouldn’t get my way, at all.

“Morning,” she sang, pushing her way past me and waving at Jake as he made his way down the stairs. “Grab a jacket, its cold out this morning.” She instructed me.

“You want me to go like this?” I looked down at my camisole and workout pants.

She gave me “the look”. “Just get your coat and meet me in the car.”

I had learned months ago to nod and comply. The Porsche was running, the heat blowing lightly. I blew out a breath, fogging up a small section of the window. I traced a heart but quickly erased it when I saw Alice close my front door and lope gracefully toward the car.

“What was that about?” I asked as soon as she settled in the seat.

“What?” Her eyes widened innocently.

“Nothing,” I grumbled.

~*~

“Wow,” Rose backed away and admired me.

Alice shook her head. “Emma, you are a classic pin up girl. The fifties was a good choice for you.”

I drew a deep breath and turned to look at myself in a full-length mirror. My jaw unhinged and I swayed a bit at the results. I wasn’t even sure it was me.

“This dress looks amazing on me! Alice, Rose, you two should be proud,” I complimented.

It was strapless, leaving my shoulders bare and showing off the simple strand of pearls circling my neck. A layer of red lace hung lower than the cherry printed top layer, accentuating the peep toe, platform Mary Jane’s Rose ordered online. Alice had swept my hair up, gathering it loosely and curling the exposed ends.

Alice glanced at the clock, “Are you ready birthday girl?” She asked me, looking like a proud mother.

“Wait, you need this.” Esme streaked into the room, ignoring human speed. She held the stem of a martini glass. She hugged me then handed the drink over. “Carlisle and I made you a drink. Happy birthday EJ.”

“Drink up! We have to go,” Alice hurried me along.

I downed the smooth liquid, leaving the olive to swirl around by itself in the glass. My head swam a bit while my body adjusted to its first taste of alcohol.

The party was in full swing when we arrived at the Elks. Judging by the parking lot, everyone in Forks attended. Jasper and Emmett met Rose, Alice and I at the door. Jasper took my hand and pulled me into a hug.

“You look great. Happy birthday Emma.”

I grinned, still feeling the alcohol seeping into my veins. The room looked even more amazing with people in it. On the stage was a live band, the band Jasper had traveled to Seattle to book last minute.

“They have karaoke, live.” Alice pointed out.

I wasn’t listening to her. My eyes found Jake across the room, a beer in hand. The tuxedo Alice stuffed him in was perfect. His eyes caught mine and he crossed the room as quickly as he could. He pressed the beer bottle to my lips and tilted it upwards. I cringed at first taste; maybe I was more of a vodka girl.

“You are beautiful EJ. Wow, I can’t believe how good you look in that dress,” He twirled me once.

“I’m the legal one here. Who said you could drink?” I had never seen him consume alcohol before.

“I have a high tolerance. It’s the wolf in me.” His eyes twinkled in the soft lighting of the room.

We made our way around the room, hand in hand, as I greeted everyone I knew. Many wished me a happy birthday and complimented my dress. Once I completed the once around of the room, Emmett appeared with a drink in each hand.

“Ok,” he said with a grin, “drink up shorty. You have to be plastered before midnight.”

I figured out very quickly that I was a lightweight. Jake was trying to keep up with me and failing miserably. After a sloppy rendition of Shook Me All Night Long with Emmett, I ended up on the dance floor. The band took a break and a DJ took over.

Apparently, drinking made me an exhibitionist. I danced, my arms above my head, my body moving rhythmically in time to the music. Every now and then Alice would show up and try to pour a glass of water down my throat.

“Go away!” I yelled over the pulse of the music. “Jake? Where’s Jake?”

He grabbed me from behind just as the music changed. I flipped around to face him and admire the lustful look on his face. If he could have taken me right there on the dance floor, I think he would have. I danced with him, rubbing my body suggestively against him. My hands threaded themselves through his silky hair.

“Emma, baby. You have to calm down. Let’s go sit down and have a glass of water.” He pulled me from the crowd against my will.

Everything was hilarious. The look on Edward’s face was priceless. That would teach him to read my mind while I was intoxicated. Bella stared at the way Jake held me, her jealous look was back.

“Are you alright EJ?” Carlisle asked me. He observed me closely.

I felt ok. Well, besides the whole room spinning on end that is. “I’m fine. Shit, I’m thirsty…need water.”

Emmett burst out laughing. “This is the most fun I have had in a while,” he said to everyone at our table.

Alice returned with a glass of water. I downed it as if I just stepped off the desert.

“I’m going to dance!” I squealed, throwing my hands in the air for unneeded emphasis. “Come on Jake.”

As expected, he followed me. The band started up again, playing a slow song. Jacob pulled me in tight to him, supporting my weight. I reached down, yanked the shoes from my feet, and tossed them in the direction of our table.

“EJ, I need to talk to you. Actually I want to ask you a question.”

It took me a moment to realize he was talking to me. “Sure. What is it?”

“I don’t think this is the right time. Maybe I should wait until you are more aware of what’s going on,” he suggested.

I stopped dancing. “Just ask me. I’m not so obliterated that I can’t function.”

He took a deep breath and started to kneel. Everything that happened after that occurred in slow motion and it was not my alcohol levels. As Jake kneeled Alice threw her arm out toward us. I could see her mouthing the word no, repeatedly.

When I returned my gaze to Jake, he was on his knee and presenting a very sparkly diamond. From the corner of my eye, I caught Bella dashing away and Edward, going after her.

“Emma Jane, I love you. Um…will you marry me?” His black puppy dog eyes looked up at me expectantly.

The only emotion I could manage was shock. The whole room of people was staring at me, grinning like idiots. Was everyone in on this?

“Wait…what are you asking me? To marry you? Jacob Black, I have only known you for a handful of months.”

His confident posture was making my stomach churn. Marry him?

“I love you and you love me Em. What else do we need to know?”

I could feel my stomach turning faster and that familiar lump in my throat. “Jake…I…” I did the only thing I knew how to do. I turned and ran. I ran until I was in the field next to the lodge. Breathing heavily I pinched my side, trying to soothe the ache away.

Alice was next to me in a matter of seconds, Esme and Carlisle right behind her. She reached out to grab me but I spun, heaving every bit of alcohol from my stomach onto the grass.