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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.


7. Chapter 7

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3620   Review this Chapter

EJPOV

As the weeks passed me by, I was starting to realize just how much I had missed in my life. Thanks to Charlie I was the new receptionist down at the Forks Police Station. Work gave me direction and my very own money in the bank. It never occurred to me that I wanted a job so badly. My mother sheltered me, or so I was learning. How does one live a normal existence without the guidance that most children receive early on in life? Apparently, they get advice from their great-aunt the vampire and her filthy rich family.

Alice’s idea of teaching me the ways of the world was buying me a brand new foreign car and dumping money into my bank account when I wasn’t looking. Fortunately I talked her out of the car. Instead I purchased my very first used vehicle with a down payment that I had earned answering phones and making sure Charlie had enough coffee in his cup.

Emmett approved of my new Jeep Wrangler. Two days after I brought it home from the lot I realized there was a very complicated stereo system sitting nice and shiny in the dash. He assured me it was an excellent investment and he couldn’t possibly ride in the thing without a decent system to listen too.

Saturday had finally arrived. It was cold and void of sun but I knew it was going to be a wonderful day. Jacob and I planned on testing out the new tires on the Jeep in an empty, muddy field. The tires that came on the Jeep weren’t made for doing three sixties in a slippery field; learned that the hard way. Alice wasn’t so keen on my friendship with Jacob Black; however, I was certain the problem was Bella.

"Emma!" Jake called from the foot of the stairs.

I hadn’t heard him come in. He stopped knocking days ago, Charlie insisted that family didn’t knock and he was practically family. "I’ll be down in a sec." He mumbled a response that I couldn’t make out.

Jake was my favorite person to spend time with besides the Cullens. He was always talking me into trying new things and he always had a smart ass comment to go along.

"Ready?" I asked after hopping off the last step.

He rolled his eyes as he passed me and opened the front door. "Only you would put make-up on. Don’t you realize we’re probably going to be filthy when we get back?"

"That’s ok. I’ll just be filthy and girly at the same time." My smile went lopsided.

"I’m driving this time." He yelled as he jogged across the yard and started to open the car door.

I followed, slamming the driver’s side door shut with the palm of my hand. "No way Jake! You drove last time and I almost flipped out of the window."

Jake laughed and pried the door open anyway. "You left the window panel open; that is not my fault, EJ." He got into the red Jeep, smirking at me as I walked to the passengers’ door and crawled in, fuming.

"You are so annoying. I don’t want to be your friend anymore." I managed a really convincing pout, much to my surprise.

"You want a little cheese with that whine?" He turned the key and pulled away from the curb.

"I find it disturbing that you take my almost dying so lightly."

His hand found mine and I laughed as the warmth of it spread quickly up my arm. "You’re one of the best friends I have right now and I would miss you." He winked before placing his hand back on the wheel.

My lips formed a smile on their own; they had been doing a lot of that lately. "Thanks that makes it all better." Perhaps it was all the time I was spending at his house lately.

"Pizza!" Jake yelled from the base of his stairs.

I bounded down the steps, my stomach growling loudly. "I am starving."

He laughed and tossed me a paper plate. "Hiking makes most people hungry. Me? I’m hungry all the time anyhow."

I stared at the remaining pizza and kissed my chance at a third piece goodbye. There were no eating extra helpings with Jake around. If his buddies were around, you were screwed.

We had spent the day on the reservation, exploring the trails and splashing in the frosty water. I finally met Billy, Jake’s father and according to Jake, he loved me.

"It’s about time you found another lady friend." Billy had said rather loudly before clapping his son on the arm. I had laughed and stolen away outside to explore.

I wandered through some bushes and stumbled across Jake’s homemade garage. I ran my fingers over the handlebars of two bikes, sitting side by side. They were hidden away under a blue tarp that I had thrown haphazardly to the dirt floor.

"What are you doing out here?" Jacob asked from behind me.

"Why would you cover these up? They are amazing!" I bet he would never guess I could ride a motor bike.

Jake grabbed the tarp and frantically covered the bikes again. "One is Bella’s and one is mine. I haven’t used them in a while and they probably won’t even start."

I let the subject drop.

"So when are you gonna tell Charlie you found a place?" He was rather pleased with himself since he was the reason for my new home.

Jacob moved from the reservation and his father’s home shortly after Bella and Edward returned from their honeymoon. The reasons were never explained to me and I wasn’t sure it was pertinent for me to know. That was beside the point; I was about to rent my first apartment.

Jake and I carried on our usual banter back and forth until the vacant field came into view. The window panel was zipped tight this time. I didn’t want a repeat of our last romp in the mud. He eyed me and I nodded signaling I was ready. The muscles in his forearm flexed with each shift of the gear stick and then again when he jolted my jeep into four wheel drive.

My eyes stayed with every move Jacob made. Somehow, without me realizing I had developed a crush, a silly schoolgirls crush on someone who was already in love with someone else.

"You ok EJ?" Jake asked, concerned.

"Great…I’m fine." The forced smile was back, he noticed. "Let’s do this." I shoved his hand back toward the wheel.

With doubt still evident in his deep black eyes he turned and propelled the vehicle out into the mud once again. I squealed and held onto the dash as we spun and the mud splattered the windshield. My mind wandered.

"Why do you put up with it Jake? I don’t understand why you can’t let her go." The slice of pizza on the plate in front of me was long forgotten.

He hesitated. "Why, are you interested?"

I shoved the plate away and sighed. "I’m serious. From one friend to another, you are a great guy and I think you could find a girl that would make you happy if it wasn’t for your obsession with her." The words exploded from my mouth before I could stop them. This could only end in an argument; just like every other time I brought Bella up.

Jacob stood, his large hands on his hips. "Don’t start this again, Emma. You don’t know what you’re talking about. I haven’t seen you out there looking for Mr. Right. Pot, kettle." He pointed at me and then back to himself.

"Then tell me!" I yelled. He had to have been shocked. "Stop calling me your best friend if you can’t actually let me be your best friend!" I grabbed my jacket and stomped through the front door of the duplex. We had the same argument on a weekly basis and I still wasn’t sure why I cared so much.

By the time I reached the jeep he was right behind me, breathing in and out trying to compose himself. I shot him an annoyed look and climbed in the driver’s seat. He let me drive away, like usual.

"It’s gonna take days to get this thing clean." Jake laughed drawing me back to reality.

"That’s what I have you for Mr. Black. My own personal car wash attendant."

He yanked the gear stick into park and turned the car off. I watched with suspicious eyes as he crossed the hood and opened my door. "Step out of there." He said with a glint of mischief on his face.

"No way, uh-uh."

When he realized I was hip to his game he grabbed my elbow and lifted me from the seat. Moments later I was butt first in the cold, sticky mud.

"Jake! You ass, I can’t believe you did that!"

His grin spread from ear to ear. My complaints were drowned out with his deep laugh. Clearly, we were at war. I drug my fingers through the dark earth then tossed a handful that landed on his shirt.

"That’s it." He lifted me as if I weighed nothing and tossed me over his shoulder. We spun until I thought breakfast was going to make a second appearance.

Dizzy and breathless we fell to the slippery ground, laughing. I shivered in the cold mud. He stared into my eyes and it felt like he was looking for something more, something deeper. This was my movie moment, the moment when the leading man realized the leading lady was the one. Only, it didn’t go that way.

"We better get back and get cleaned up. Sue is expecting me for lunch." Jake left my side while I stayed, staring at the indent his warm body left in the murk. "You coming EJ?"

"Yes." I was a fool.

Charlie’s cruiser was still gone when we got back. In my usual spot was a silver Volvo and a very impatient Alice. Her face tightened as we got out, covered in mud and laughing. When I noticed Bella unmoving in the front seat, my stomach clenched. The pained look on her face made the guilt rise like bile into my throat. She held Jake’s eyes, staring into his soul. That was what I couldn’t grasp. Jake would never see me for me with that going on.

"I tried calling; you didn’t answer." Alice put her happy face on. "I thought you might want to come over later and help with the plans for your birthday party."

My birthday was months away. "Sure." I muttered, still feeling like I had been caught with my hand in the cookie jar. "The sooner the better."

Alice rolled her eyes and waved a flimsy wave in my direction. She smiled at me sympathetically and drove away with Bella still eyeing my close proximity to Jacob.

"That was really awkward." I breathed.

Jake rubbed the back of his neck with his muddy hand. "Yeah." His shoulders slumped forward and I knew exactly what would happen next. Or, I thought I did.

"Go on, go home and mope some more. I’ll catch you tomorrow." I waved as I turned toward the house but his hand was wrapped tightly around my wrist, causing me to jerk backwards. "What the hell Jake?"

His body trembled and I felt the slightest change in the atmosphere. "You don’t know enough to be pissed at me right now. Maybe you should talk this through with Bella first."

My mouth fell open but my disagreement was not voiced. Instead I watching Jacob’s skin ripple and his face twitch. I was sick of the hypocrisy and I was really sick of always being accused of being mediocre. I wrenched my arm from his loosening grip, pointing my index finger straight to his face. "I am so tired of your crap Jacob Black. No one asked me to be misinformed or uninformed, that’s your doing. At least the Cullens had the decency to clue me in on their secrets. Sadly, I can’t say the same for you. It’s all a big merry go round with you and Bella. So maybe you’re right. Maybe you should shove off home and leave me the hell out of your complicated issues. Clearly I’m not smart enough to understand them."

He staggered back from me and the friction between us was palpable. The shivers through his body worried me, I thought he might explode. His eyebrows furrowed over his dark glistening eyes. He realized finally that my feelings had started to go a different direction. I turned, tears streaming from my bloodshot eyes. The rabbit roared to life behind me and I didn’t have to look to know he was already down the street and around the corner.

My phone rang, the annoying happy chirp that drove me insane. When I didn’t pick it up the first time the caller tried again and I realized it was probably Alice. "Hello." My voice gave me away immediately.

"What did he do EJ? Do you need me to come get you." This was why I loved Alice. She was my cold shoulder to lean on.

"Can we talk about this later? I just need to get cleaned up; meet me here in thirty minutes."

"Ok, see you soon."

The shower cleansed me of the frigid mud and my ridiculous crying fit. I packed an overnight bag and headed downstairs to sit on the front porch. Alice’s Porsche screeched to a halt at the curb right on time except it wasn’t Alice that stepped out to load my bag.

"Jasper?" We hadn’t been alone together since the night in the woods and to be honest I wasn’t upset that he was avoiding me. I liked breathing and eating animals the normal way.

"Alice was busy with something and she was afraid you would worry when she didn’t show up on time. I offered to drive you." His sorrowful eyes bore into me and I was certain he could practically taste the uneasiness emanating from me.

I angled my body away from him as he lifted my bag and squashed it into the tiny car. "I’ll be fine Jasper." A wave of calm rushed over me while I snapped my seat belt into place. "Thank you for that."

"Your welcome." He spoke to me with such sincerity. "I have heard from Alice the predicament with you and Jacob Black. I’m sorry if it seems forward to mention but I wanted to make sure you take it easy with Bella. She has done well controlling herself so far."

It dawned on me why Alice had stayed behind. She wanted no part in being in the middle of the emotional web I had created. I couldn’t say I blame her. "I appreciate the warning. Trust me when I say I have no intention of provoking a vampire for any reason."

Jasper cringed as he caught the double meaning in my words. "There is no other way I can apologize to you EJ, except to simply say I am sorry."

"Send some more of the calm my way and we’ll call it even." He laughed and I felt my tense muscles relax. It felt wonderful to be elated over absolutely nothing.

~*~

The house in the woods was full for a change. I hadn’t seen them all in the same place since the first time I met the family. Alice was in high spirits, overwhelming me with decoration and food ideas for my party. After the sun set we migrated to the living room where her and Rose mulled over my dress. I stood as still as possible while the wannabe seamstresses pinned different fabrics around various parts of my body.

"Do either of you know what you’re doing." My faith in the homemade dress was failing fast. I almost regretted suggesting it.

"I knew we should have ordered something months ago." Rose glared at me. Emmett snickered in the background.

Alice laughed her bell like giggle. "You two don’t know me very well if you think I don’t have a backup."

Edward and Bella sat, backs straight on the couch ignoring the television. I could hear Edward sigh every now and then. I did my best to clear Jacob from my mind but it was too late. He knew everything. Feeling brave I looked him in the eyes and saw nothing beyond understanding. Bella did not miss our exchange and the shift in her tense body made me nervous.

"Easy Bella." I heard Jasper warn her. He was moving toward her slowly.

"I’m fine Jazz I just need to talk with Emma about a few things." She rose from the cushion fluidly and the memory of Jasper’s swift movements in the forest crossed my mind.

I narrowed my eyes. "Right now?"

"No better time. There are no secrets here. I only want to know how Jake is doing. He and I don’t talk anymore." I could almost hear Edward’s lifeless heart break.

"I’m not sure what you want to know, Bella. Nothing I tell you is going to make controlling him from a distance any easier." Maybe I should censor myself better around Bella. It concerned me when Edward grabbed her hand almost as if he were restraining her.

The room was silent as we stared at each other. I should have been frightened but the anger cancelled that out. Bella hadn’t made any attempt to know me or any attempt to contact Jake that I knew of. In my mind, she had no claim on him. In her mind, he wasn’t mine to claim.

I felt the impact before realizing what happened. I cracked one eye open to see Edward and Emmett holding Bella across the room from me. I shrieked as a stabbing pain made itself known in my side. She must have broken a rib or two.

"Real mature Bella, real nice." I croaked out. She glared, her nostrils flaring. "You have the nerve to attack me over your ex-boyfriend in front of your husband!" My mind flew. There was so much I wanted to say.

Edward flinched. "That’s enough Emma."

The whole Cullen family was gathered; watching. Rosalie bared her teeth a bit and that surprised me the most. She was sticking up for me. Alice, on the other hand, was trying to blend in with Jasper and not choose a side.

"Leave him alone!" Bella screamed. Apparently the girl never raised her voice, everyone’s jaw was on the floor. "Just back off of Jacob!"

Rose helped me stand. "You listen to me Bella. I deserve every chance to be happy just like Jacob does. Maybe if you let him go..." I didn’t know what else to say. Clearly I didn’t know enough about what transpired between them before I came to Forks.

"You have it all; everything." Her body shook with tears she couldn’t cry. "My dad, my friends and my Jacob. You have my family." She glanced at Alice who gave her a stern look..

Edward brushed Emmett away, sweeping Bella into his arms. "I didn’t know you still felt this way. Why didn’t you say something?"

I blew a heavy breath out through clenched teeth. My ribs were starting to throb and I fought the sick feeling in my stomach. "Don’t worry about it. I’m moving out of Charlie’s house."

"When did this happen and why didn’t you tell me?" Alice quickly forgot the confrontation. Her small foot stamped the carpeted floor.

"I feel like I have to defend myself constantly around here. If you must know, I’m moving into the empty place beside Jake." My eyes went to Bella who looked more hurt than outraged. Edward was still holding her tightly to him. "I thought we would be good friends, especially since you offered your old room to me. I can’t live in your shadow Bella, you lead and everyone else follows."

Emmett made his way across the room and lifted me easily, thanks to Carlisle’s instructions, no doubt. I buried my face into his bear like chest and gritted my teeth. I would not cry, not this time. Carlisle led us to what used to be Edward’s room and then forced everyone from the room as he examined me.

"You have two broken ribs but that is easy enough to fix. Rest and time is all." He wrapped my chest and I held my breathe trying not to scream. "You will find that trouble seems to gravitate towards the human members of our family." He turned and smiled at me before flicking the light switch, plunging me into darkness.

I wasn’t sure if his statement was meant to be a warning. Even so, I wasn’t planning on going anywhere. Forks was my home.

I positioned myself so I could stare through the glass wall. Movement in the backyard caught my eye. Bella, Edward and Alice stood single file as if waiting for something to emerge from the woods. Imagine my shock when I saw Jacob walking slowly toward them in nothing but a cut off pair of sweats.

The four of them carried on a discussion that my human ears couldn’t hear from the third floor but I could tell in the body language that it wasn’t friendly. The heated debate lasted for mere minutes that felt like years. Jacob’s body began to tremble as it usually did when he was angry or upset except this time he seemed more intent on escaping quickly. He turned on his heel but just as he reached the tree line his body seemed to explode, his pants ripping to shreds and falling to the cold ground like cotton snow.

I tried to scream but only managed a high pitched squeak. I had hidden my face instinctively only to remove my hands and find an enormous russet wolf gazing up at me through the window. He emitted a howl that sent shivers down my spine before charging into the trees.