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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.


8. Chapter 8

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3014   Review this Chapter

APOV

Ever since EJ and Jake began healing their friendship I had not been able to see her future. I assumed it was the ever present wolf and the fact that she was falling head over heels for him. The feeling was mutual apparently as I watched them shove each other back and forth across EJ’s living room. She took Jacob’s tendency to burst into a furry dog much harder than he thought she would. Personally, I would have been more fearful of the vampires although you could say that I’m biased.

"I don’t mean to interrupt your childish fun but this tree is not going to decorate itself." My patience was wearing thin with the pair of them. We spent most of the weekend looking for the perfect Christmas tree and it was like pulling teeth getting anyone besides me to decorate it.

"Fine, Alice. Fine. Calm down before you explode." Emma swatted Jake once more before grabbing ornaments and started dangling them from the evergreen branches.

I seated myself on my husband’s lap and tangled my fingers in his disheveled hair. He smiled at me lovingly before kissing me full on the lips. "This is nice." He murmured quietly enough so only I could hear.

We watched Jake and Emma laugh as they dotted the tree with different decorations. Just a short month and a half earlier there was less hope for a moment like this. I was caught between my vampire family and my human family.

"I don’t understand why all of this is happening to me. I just want to live a normal life." EJ sobbed, staining the silk scarf adorning my neck; I really liked that scarf.

Edward stepped forward, his hand almost reaching for her shoulder. He warned me with wild eyes that her thoughts were less than coherent. Bella waited in the hall, feeling guilty for the whole situation.

"EJ, he is still Jacob. Just as I am still Alice, Edward is still good ole’ Edward . . . "

"I thought I could outrun problems and distance myself from people to keep from getting hurt
." She sniffed, her tears finally subsiding. "I’ve done just the opposite. I planted myself right smack in the middle of drama town." She smacked her hands together for emphasis.

Edward and I chuckled quietly, afraid to offend her.

"Such is life, EJ. You are just as normal as the rest of the humans wandering around this place. Actually, even we have our own issues." Edward nodded in agreement. "Bella is proof of that."

"Despite your fears, you should sit down and talk things through with Jacob. He is hurting as much if not more than you are." Edward was excellent damage control.

EJ looked concerned that Edward was sifting through her private thoughts; yet, let it drop. "How do you know that? He had plenty of chances to help me understand him better, to trust me with his secrets."

"I have seen his mind Emma. He has been hovering in the woods outside the house for hours now. Is it fair to say that you expected his complete trust in you after yours was laid in him?"

"Is it fair to say that I’m hopelessly naive and failing miserably at being an independent and responsible adult?"

That was the final straw for me. Self pity was getting her nowhere. "We understand that you are hurt but that is no excuse to come down on yourself. Leave the self loathing to Edward."

The young woman before me, my great-niece, was an intelligent and strong person. She was a far cry from the withdrawn girl with dull eyes that I picked up on the shoulder of the road. If she could care for her dying mother by herself then she could manage to forgive the wolf.

"I’ve never been in love." EJ whispered, embarrassed. "If I forgive Jake I just may fall in love with him. It’s all too similar to what happened between him and Bella, except I would be stuck in the friend zone."

"Please, I will just pretend I didn’t hear that." Rosalie spoke in distaste from the doorway. "I do not in any way enjoy the smell of that disgusting dog but if he makes you happy then I can hold my breath while he’s around."

"There you have it. If Rose can pretend to accept it, then I know you can." Her future was gone from sight and for once I was not upset about it.

EJ took a deep breath. Her hand shot to her left side, Carlisle would have to give her something to help her sleep.

Jasper held the front door for me while I hugged EJ goodbye. I missed her more and more since she moved into the empty apartment next door to Jacob Black. The biggest reason for her absence at my home was Bella. Pleasantries were exchanged should the two ever meet but the uncomfortable, awkward feelings were still there.

"See you tomorrow night." Jasper added in a relaxed tone. No words could describe how proud of him I was. He and EJ were closer than I ever thought they could be.

Once in the car I shut the radio off. "I think I am beginning to understand Edward a little better Jazz. I had virtually no human memories but now I almost feel human when I’m with EJ."

"Her presence here has been good for both of us, Alice. Who would have thought that one day I would be a great-uncle?"

I replayed the moments we had just spent in the small duplex, watching Emma decorate her first Christmas tree. The holidays took new meaning with her around. It felt nice to have both my families represented in the same place, even if I did have to remain blind to the future and breathe in the smell of werewolf daily.The uncomfortable nature of it all was worth seeing her happy.

"How is Emma?" Esme questioned me as soon as my feet crossed the threshold. "Were you able to find a suitable tree?"

"EJ is just fine, actually. Jake helped us in the tree search." I listened for a split second for Bella’s presence. She was not in the house. "Esme, you will never believe what the wolf is giving Emma for Christmas."

Esme’s eyes lit up. I squealed the tiniest bit, hardly able to hold the secret in any longer. The commotion had drawn Rose and Emmett into the living area from the porch. "What is going on in here? Why are you prancing around like a horse, Alice?" Rose insisted.

"Oh, Jacob has let Alice in on his present for EJ. Isn’t that sweet?" Esme cooed.

"Let us hear what it is and then we will decide." Emmett urged me on.

I pictured the triumphant smile on Jacob’s face when he explained his plan to me. It was right up there with something I would plan; I was impressed. "He is taking her to dinner and a concert in Seattle. He pulled me aside this afternoon and asked for my help in buying the tickets and booking a hotel room!"

"Then he invited Alice and me." Jasper added.

"I am not impressed. No diamonds or silver, no air freshener? Come on Em." Emmett shrugged and ran off in a blur with Rose.

"That is wonderful. I am so happy for all of you, I hope you know that." Esme gave my shoulders a squeeze. "To watch a member of your family live and love; it is really amazing."

Jasper nodded, agreeing with Esme. "Esme is right, Alice. You and now I have become very lucky. Not even the thought of having little werewolves running around could change my mind."

I laughed, wondering if indeed things would turn in that direction. Normally I would be extremely frustrated at not being able to see Emma’s future; this time was different. Living day to day with the two of them was the closest connection I had to being human.

EJPOV

"Can I talk to you for a second?" Jake grabbed my hand and pulled me to the couch.

Thoughts of possible topics invaded my mind and I had to concentrate in order to stay calm. "Sure, is everything ok?"

"Everything is great, actually. I just wanted to talk to you about your Christmas gift. It’s actually next week and I don’t have any choice but to tell you." His smile was relaxed. I loved when he smiled at me like that.

"I thought we discussed this; you know, not making a huge deal about gifts. I don’t really want to go overboard since renting this place." I flung my hand up and over my back for emphasis.

He laughed and it made me nervous. "I know EJ but I couldn’t help it. The ad was in the paper that was laying on the counter at work and I took it as some sort of sign."

I closed my eyes, taking a deep breath. "Ok, lay it on me."

Jacob hesitated. "We’re gonna go see Bon Jovi, in Seattle. You, me, Alice and Jasper."

"What! Jake, you didn’t!" I jumped to my feet and attached myself to his neck. "I love Bon Jovi!"

"I knew you would love it." I admired his smug grin for a moment before smacking his arm and backing away toward the tree.

"Wait. How did you know I loved them? I never told you that." At least I didn’t think I had.

"Maybe it was the constant rotation of their greatest hits when you clean your house." He tapped on the living room wall. "I can hear it through the wall."

"Oh." What else did he hear? "Well, how in hell did you come up with the money Jake? Did Alice put you up to this because she is the pushiest?...."

"No, nothing like that. I came up with the money and I only asked them to go with us today."

I pondered a list of ways he could have come up with that amount of money and found nothing plausible. "Tell me where you got all of that money from Jake. They sure don’t pay you that well at the garage. If you pawned something old and important, I’ll strangle you, after the concert of course."

Jake stood, looking confident in his stance. "I sold the bikes. Got more than I thought I would too."

My eyes felt like they would explode from my head. He sold Bella’s bike and his own bike in order to buy me a Christmas gift. It was the first sign, in my eyes, that he was letting her go whether she was ready for it or not.

"I can’t believe you would do that for me." My voice cracked. I let him pull me into a hug and I welcomed the warm feeling he gave me in my stomach.

"There is a list of things I want to do for you Emma. I’m working through them one at a time, ok?" The vulnerable tone in his voice melted me into a puddle. Finally I could see that there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. I could only hope that the worst times were on a very long hiatus.

"Why didn’t you tell me Jake? Please don’t you dare say you didn’t trust me. I spend my free time with a coven of vampires for heavens sake." My stomach twisted in knots. My best friend was a wolf, a shape shifter.

His eyes were glistening although I couldn’t be sure who he was really crying for. "Don’t you see EJ? I gave myself over before and lost. You of all people should know how hard that is."

"Bella has nothing to do with my mother! Besides, I didn’t hold anything back from you. I thought we had a connection." My own eyes betrayed me with tears to match his. We were a pitiful pair, crying together in his apartment. "You love her Jacob, I get that but she is married to Edward, she chose him."

He squeezed his eyes shut as if he were in pain. "I know."

I stroked the back of his hand against my cheek, and the fresh tears lessened the friction. "If you would only give me the same chance you gave her you’ll see I’m an excellent friend."

His eyes finally opened, bloodshot and swollen. "You’re still here with me. That’s a good sign."

"Yeah, well, my Jeep needs to be washed but I’m out of here as soon as you’re done." I smirked, tired of the pity party we were participating in.

Jacob laughed and wiped his face. "What if I never wash your dumb Jeep?"

"Then I’ll always be here."

Thinking about how far Jake and I had come since the night Bella attacked me brought a smile to my face. I never thought my life would one day be filled with vampires and werewolves, let alone enough drama to fill a whole season of a soap opera. Self satisfaction was my new favorite feeling.

The next morning over a plate of cold scrambled eggs I agonized over what to give Jake for Christmas. After hearing his gift to me it was only fair that I returned the favor. Buying something was out of the question; I refused to touch any money in my savings.

I realized my eggs were no longer appetizing and I stood to rinse the plate. I switched the radio on before washing the other stray items in my sink but froze as an idea hit me out of nowhere. I could write Jake a song and possibly kill two birds with one stone. A gift and an admission of love all at once.

Leaving the dirty dishes I flipped my phone open and hit the speed dial for Edward.He sounded slightly shocked that I was calling him but he agreed to help me anyway. The possibility of seeing Bella worried me, even though she had apologized for what transpired between us. Charlie seemed to think that she was the reason I moved out and I did my best to convince him that wasn’t so. I would not cause a rift between father and daughter.

~*~

The drive to Seattle had been mellow. I was able to hold my end of the conversation without thinking about sleeping in the same room with Jake. Alice stressed the fact that she booked us a room with two beds for my own sake. I still wasn’t sure what that meant. Not that anything would happen if she hadn’t. He had no idea how deep my feelings for him ran. At most, he suspected a crush.

Seattle was beautiful and luckily somewhere I hadn’t been yet. Alice and Jasper played tour guide until the sun started to set. With the pinks and oranges invading the sky, I stood silent and took it all in. There were so many things I took for granted while mama was alive because there was never time to just stop and be still. That was a mistake I wouldn’t make again.

The endless palette of colors pleased me, almost calming me. With a sideways glance I checked on Jacob as he stood in line for a street vendor. I imagined him in his wolf form, remembering the night before.

Flurries of snow floated past my window. I stared in amazement before throwing on a coat and venturing outside. I was covered in the tiny snowflakes when Jake got home from work. He laughed heartily at my fascination.

"Lets go for a walk." He dropped his empty cooler on the front porch and grabbed my hand.

"How was work?" I questioned while I trudged through the woods behind Jacob.

He stopped and turned abruptly. "It was work. Lay down, we’re gonna make snow angels."

"Ha! I’m going to make a snow angel, you’re going to make a snow giant."

"Jealous."

I lowered myself carefully onto the freezing ground and began moving my arms and legs. I closed my eyes, enjoying the fresh scent of the woods and freshly fallen snow. When I opened them to the night once more, Jake was gone.

"Jacob Black! If you’re trying to scare me, I’ll beat your ass!" I listened but heard nothing.

A few minutes later the brush rustled directly in front of me. The largest wolf I had ever encountered sauntered toward me with confidence. My mouth hung open and my breath left me in clouds as I panted.

"Jake?" My arm extended toward him. He gave my fingers a nudge with his large nose causing me to laugh. I laughed freely, no longer frightened. Jake the wolf moved until his huge body was looming over mine. Again, he nudged my hand. Carefully, I ran my fingers through his thick fur, admiring the softness. "This isn’t so bad. Weird, but cool all at the same time."

His black eyes twinkled in the early evening moonlight, the snow long forgotten.

When we all convened at the Key Arena, my excitement was beyond containable. Alice and I resembled one another in clothing and energy. Somehow we ended up with second row seats. Jake eyed me suspiciously as I tried to sit still in my chair.

"Are you ok EJ?"

"Great. I can’t believe we’re here. I’ve never been to a concert before. I can’t BELIEVE I’m in the second row." My mouth moved at an unreasonable rate.

Before anyone could respond to my out of character behavior the lights went down and the screaming almost deafened me. Not knowing what to do, I just stood and stared at the empty stage, waiting for Bon Jovi to make their entrance. Next to me Alice and Jasper huddled together, looking in the same direction as I was.

As the first chords of Livin’ On a Prayer began I felt Jake’s large hand cover mine. The familiar warmth spread up my arm and my breath hitched. Out of the corner of my eye I could see his face was still dedicated to the band on stage. Seconds later his fingers spread mine expertly and our hands locked. It was a foreign gesture to me but it brought a smile and blush to my face anyway.

"I can let go if you want." I felt his soft lips against my ear.

Suddenly, the band and screaming crowd were gone. "Don’t let go." I pleaded. "Never let go."