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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.


6. Chapter 6

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3219   Review this Chapter

The hours I spent on my bed, flipping through old photos with Alice was more of a therapy session than I initially thought. She found a picture of her and my Grandma Cindy before she had been carted off to the asylum. We passed the picture back and forth for a few minutes, admiring the loose spiral curls in her hair. I cried and if Alice had been capable of such a thing, she would have as well. My true sorrow over my mother surfaced and I grieved, as I should have when she passed. Alice was right there, supporting me. She understood better than anyone how I was feeling.

It was dinnertime when we finally unlocked the bedroom door and moved downstairs. The house was dark and I assumed Charlie was in La Push, as usual. My stomach growled loudly.

"You should get something to eat. I would stay with you but I really need to find Jazz. You’ll be ok, right?"

"I’ll be fine." That was the truth. I initiated a hug goodbye and she accepted.

"Things will be easier now that you know the truth EJ." She was gone before I could answer her. Things would eventually become easier but I was not sure I would ever get used to the lifestyle.

The green numbers on the oven clock glowed in the dull overhead light. I flipped the light on over the sink and made myself a sandwich. Charlie was probably staying at Sue's. I leaned against the counter as I chewed silently. All the events of the past two days filtered through my head and I almost laughed aloud. The life I always wanted was right in front of me, full of mythical creatures and a long lost family member who would always be younger than I was.

There was a knock at the front door. I left the half-eaten sandwich on the counter and walked to answer the door, wondering if Alice was back already. When I swung the door open, I groaned.

"I could have sworn you promised to visit me during the day."

"Charlie mentioned you hadn’t come home last night." Jacob walked right past me and I gave him an annoyed look.

"Come on in Jake. Have a seat." He chuckled and stretched out on the sofa. "Are you checking up on me?"

The smile was suddenly gone and a serious look had replaced it. "Look, we don’t know each other but that doesn’t mean I can’t be worried."

"How did you know about the Cullens?" I asked while crossing my arms over my chest.

"I told you last night. Bella. I did everything I could to save her from becoming one of them. Stinking bloodsuckers." He wrinkled his nose.

I sighed and sat in the recliner across from him. "Listen Jake, I am still adjusting to everything so let’s keep the name calling to a minimum. I guess I should let you know that I was warned about you too. Alice said you had secrets of your own." I raised an eyebrow, waiting for him to reply.

"That’s a story for another day and I can’t promise anything but I’ll do my best with the whole bloodsucker thing." He laughed and shook his head.

"Fine, I’ll see you another day then." I yanked his arm, trying in vain to pull him up off the couch.

He pulled his arm back. "Wait, I came here for a reason and it wasn’t to check up on you. I’m not your keeper, especially if you are hanging around leeches for fun. There’s a bonfire tonight on the rez. Bella used to love them; I thought you might want to come."

To say I was surprised is an understatement. "Oh..."

"I can introduce you to the guys, oh and Leah." He hedged.

"I don’t know. I’ve got some laundry to do and I really wanted to look through the paper for a job." I only realized how pathetic I sounded after the words left my mouth.

Jacob stood, towering over me attempting to look intimidating. "Live a little EJ. Can I be honest with you?"

I laughed a throaty embarrassing laugh. "You mean you haven’t been so far?"

"Touché," he countered then continued his original thought. "If you really can’t stand me then I can deal with that but if you are afraid to leave your safe little box you’ve got goin’ on then, well I would be offended."

"Ugh! You are even more annoying than Alice is when she wants her way. Ok! I will go change and go to your silly bonfire. Happy?" I glared at him before stomping off up the stairs.

"Thrilled," he called after me.

I took my time getting ready but it did not phase Jacob one bit. He clicked the TV off and followed me out to his car without a word. I buckled the seatbelt and looked around the interior of his Volkswagen Rabbit. "I hate to admit this but I like your car."

I could see him grinning through the corner of my eye. "I built the engine and fixed it up myself. I wouldn’t mind owning my own garage one day, good money."

"Huh, sounds fun." I answered, not really paying full attention.

"I really am sorry about the scene I made on the beach. I don’t have any right to judge you based on who your friends are. If you’re feeling weird about being around my friends, don’t. No one really cares, EJ."

Jacob was an enigma to me. One minute he was annoying and the next he was saying the nicest things. My body and mind reacted to him in the same way. Naturally, my mind warned me to be careful and my body wanted to trust him. I figured following right down the middle would be the safest way to proceed.

We made small talk the rest of the way; I was thrilled to reach our destination but I immediately questioned my decision to come. I could see the flames dancing blue and green through the small group of trees blocking the beach. Jake walked ahead, waving me on the whole time. Maybe he thought I would turn and run. Honestly, I had considered it.

"Come on you chicken!" He called laughing his easy, deep laugh.

"I feel sick, maybe I should go home." I could see him roll his eyes from where I stood. He turned quickly and retraced his steps. Before I could react properly, I was in his arms, bouncing along through the trees. "Put me down Jacob Black! I mean it!"

The more he laughed the angrier I got. The small group of people circling the fire was staring at me curiously when Jake and I emerged from the trees. I hid my face, mortified.

"Who’s your girlfriend man?" The voice wavered a bit as if there was a laugh lying just below his words.

I waited until I was back on my feet to say anything. "I’m not his girlfriend. After that I’m not sure I would even call myself a friend."

Jake laughed and sat next to the boy who had spoken before. "You should give yourself more credit."

His statement was exactly right and I found it hard not to react. The new people in my life were so damn observant; they had me sketched out in days. My mother never realized and I had spent my whole life with her. She accepted the bad excuses with a smile and never thought twice about them. "Move over." I shoved his leg and sat next to him.

"Aren’t you gonna introduce us to your friend Jake?" the only female asked. She smiled at me hesitantly.

"Yeah, sorry. Um, everyone this is EJ and EJ that’s Paul, Quil, Embry, Seth and Leah."

I nodded at each person politely. There was no twenty questions like with Alice and Em. The Quileute boys carried on as if I had always been there. Maybe they sensed I was uncomfortable. A few times the Cullens had been brought up and I was relieved that Jake had been right. They didn’t seem to care, except for Leah that is. She made a hasty exit after Seth brought them up.

When the fire started to die down, Paul pulled an acoustic guitar from behind him and started to pluck at the strings randomly. "Nice guitar." The compliment rolled of my tongue so naturally.

"You play?" he asked while holding the instrument for me to take.

"Not since my mama died." A small gasp followed. I had not meant to say it.

There was a knowing look in Jacob’s eyes. The fading flames reacted in the black of his eyes. "I lost my mom too."

The others all nodded, sharing in the pain with both of us. I reached out and took the guitar that Paul was still offering to me. My fingers ran along the taut strings, the metal was warm with heat from the fire. I gripped the neck tightly before plucking a few strings. It was nothing like the one I had pawned but it gave me the same feeling.

"You look like a natural," Seth told me with a smile. "Do you know any songs?"

"I know quite a few. I used to write my own stuff." I strummed the beginning of a random country song, trying to remember how to play.

"Lets hear one." Jake stretched his long legs out toward the fire, waiting for me to play something.

I pressed my hand against the sound hole to quiet the echo of the song I had just been playing. The guys waited in anticipation, shadows bouncing around on their russet skin from the dying light. Slowly, the notes filtered through my fingers and onto the strings sending strong and steady sounds out over the ocean. I closed my eyes. It was just like riding a bike; I knew every word as if I had penned the song just yesterday.

Memories have left you broken
And the scars have never healed
The emptiness in you is growing
But so little left to fill
You're scared to look back on the days before
You're too tired to move on
And now you think that you're the only one who doesn't,

Have to try
And you won't have to fail
If you're afraid to fight
Then I guess you never will
You hide behind your walls
Of maybe nevers
Forgetting that there's something more
Than just knowing betterYour mistakes do not define you now
They tell you who you're not
You've got to live this life you're given
Like it's the only one you've got.

My eyes snapped open at the sound of light applause and I could not hide the blush that invaded my cold face. Jake was beaming at me with Paul just staring in disbelief.

"I don’t think I’ve ever heard that thing sound so good." He elbowed Jake and chuckled. "Where did you find her anyway?"

"That was cool." Seth did not attempt to hide his enjoyment.

"Thanks," I mumbled. It did feel good to play that song after so much time. The bitter truth of the lyrics seemed surreal after all that had happened in Washington.

APOV

"She’s with the wolf. I can’t see her any longer."

Jasper crossed the room and pulled me into his arms. The guilt shown bright in his eyes and I shuddered. He mistook the reaction and turned my face to him with his whole hand. "I cannot express to you how sorry I am Alice." His lips met mine, gentler than ever.

"It was an accident Jazz. These things happen. I just wish I could have seen it; if it was not for Jacob Black she would have been home in bed."

"She will be scared of me now." He closed his eyes.

"She will be scared of us all for a while but things will work out." I caressed his face, running my finger in small circles. He caught my hand and pulled it to his lips to kiss every fingertip.

"Do you feel relieved? Now that she knows the truth."

I squealed when he lifted my feet and tossed me onto the leather couch. "I am so relieved that you managed not to make her dinner." We were past the uncomfortable part; a little humor never hurt anyone.

"Not funny Alice," he practically growled against the marble skin on my neck.

I slid my hands underneath his baby blue polo and lifted it over his head. "I can make it up to you Jazz."

His soft hair fell across my face as he nodded. The thought of things to come played like a movie through my mind and I heard Edward sigh downstairs. Moments later, the front door closed and I giggled. He was probably sprinting home to Bella.

"What is so amusing?"

"I just assured us a few hours alone."

He pulled me so I was sitting vertically, facing him. My satin shirt and corset were missing, he was good. "I love you," he whispered. "I will make things right with Emma. You have nothing further to worry about."

"I know." There was no need to speak the words. He knew I loved him with all of my non-functional heart.

EJPOV

Jacob and I walked slowly towards his car. Clearly, he was not going to let his admiration of my talent go. After I had handed the guitar back to Paul, Seth pulled out a bag of marshmallows and tossed them at me. I had not roasted a marshmallow my entire life and I had to laugh at the shocked look on everyone’s face. The night passed so quickly and I didn’t realize the time until my eyes started to feel heavy.

"You have an amazing voice. I never would have thought, you don’t look the type." He opened the door for me.

"Thank you, I think."

"I miss my mom sometimes. It’s ok, you know, to miss her." His large hands turned the key and started the little car with ease.

Part of me thought I would never get used to talking about my life with others. Alice was my closest ally and she was a vampire. Jake wasn’t so bad when he kept the sarcasm and smart-ass in check. "It was overwhelming for a long time. Traveling makes me feel alive but I couldn’t imagine leaving this town now."

"It grows on you. I think you looked happier tonight when you played Paul’s guitar."

I blinked, concentrating on the blur of dark trees passing the window. "I missed it; I only just realized that now." The blurring foliage seemed to be more important. I kept my eyes glued to the window.

"You are not the easiest person to have a conversation with EJ."

A sigh escaped as I shifted in my seat to face him. "I’m sorry Jake. How would you feel if you found out your great aunt is alive and a vampire?"

"Alice is your great aunt?" he looked interested all of a sudden.

"Weird huh?"

He blinked a few times trying to grasp the right words. "Do you think you’ll, you know…change?"

I should have expected that question eventually. Maybe I was pissed at myself because I hadn’t thought of it until he mentioned it. "Absolutely not! No way. I’m past having a death wish."

Jake raised an eyebrow and I shook my head hoping he would let it go. He pulled the car up in Charlie’s driveway, leaving the engine running. "Did you have fun tonight?" he asked with a smug grin on his face.

"I had more fun than I originally thought. Thanks for making me go." My stomach growled and I wished I had finished the sandwich from earlier.

"Are you hungry EJ? Let’s go get something to eat." Before I could protest, he yanked me back into the car by my wrist.

"Just so you know Jake, I’m not really interested in dating at the moment. I’m not even certain that I can be a decent friend right now." I felt like a heartless wench.

To my surprise he laughed. "You wouldn’t be the first girl to tell me that, it’s cool. This isn’t a date or anything."

I let out the breath I didn’t know I was holding. "Good, I wouldn’t want you to get the wrong idea." I smiled at him, relieved that we could skip the uncomfortable, "it’s not you, it’s me" conversation later. "So what is the deal with you and Bella?"

He looked shocked that I was so bold with my questioning. His tongue passed over his full lips a few times and I considered retracting the question. "Edward left her broken and I picked up all the pieces. We fell in love but I guess she loved him more. They live happily ever after. The end."

"I could be wrong but I think you are a bit jaded." I stroked my chin as if I was in deep thought.

The conversation picked up again once we were seated at the diner. I was mulling over the coldness Bella had shown me in the past few weeks, Jake had provided the missing piece. "I’m not sure Bella likes me at all. I mean I’m staying in her father’s house, completely monopolizing all of her family’s time and now to top it all off, I’m here with you." I hoped I could talk Alice into breaking the news on my new acquaintance.

"You don’t remind me of her at all; that’s a good thing. At least we know I won’t fall hopelessly in love with you," he chuckled to himself.

"Oh that’s nice. I am thrilled that I’m a watered down version of her and boring enough so you won’t even be tempted by me. Nice one." My tone practically dripped with sarcasm.

"No problem," he laughed loudly then shoved a group of fries in his mouth.

I tossed my empty straw wrapper at his nose, which caused him to laugh even harder. "Keep talking like that Jacob and I won’t be able to resist your charm."

"Maybe that’s my plan," he wiggled his dark eyebrows. "I like challenges."

"How did I become a challenge all of a sudden? What happened to friends?"

I tossed a twenty down on the table, ignoring Jake’s protests. "I was only joking, you actually annoy me. I didn’t want to hurt your feelings."

"Well, in that case I have nothing to worry about then. You can run along and find your happy ending with someone else." The server waved and I waved back, feeling friendlier than ever. Jake let the door close behind him catching my fingers. "Ow! Why didn’t you hold the door?"

He spun quickly on his feet and returned just as I was massaging my bruised fingertips. "Man, I’m sorry Emma. I thought you were right behind me."

"Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the guy usually hold the door for the lady?" The skin on my hand was starting to throb. I shook my damaged limb back and forth.

"Maybe I’m not that sort of guy." He was finding way to much pleasure in my pain.

"Are you the sort of guy that can take a blow to the face? I’m already partially injured; what would bloody knuckles hurt?" My eyes narrowed and I blew out an angry breath.

"Trust me; you don’t want to do that. Just get in the car and we’ll go back to Charlie’s so you can ice your fingers down."

I gave him my best angry glare. When I realized it wasn’t working, I settled for gazing quietly into the night and wondering just what else Forks had in store for me.