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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.


9. Chapter 9

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2944   Review this Chapter

EJPOV

I tried my best to sleep after the show, but it wasn’t happening. If it hadn’t been for the low hum in my ears or the adrenaline coursing through my body, I would have been out like a light. My back was to Jake and I considered rolling over to see if he too was awake. Before I could execute my plan, his husky voice rang out in the quiet room.

"Are you awake still?"

I rolled, then sat up in the bed. "Yeah. I can’t seem to wind down after all that. It was really amazing Jake, thank you."

He smiled easily, his eyes tired. "Hey, can I ask you something?"

"Sure. You can ask me anything." I stifled a yawn. Who knew having a conversation would inspire me to sleep.

"How did you feel about me holding your hand like that tonight? I want us to be on the same page here." He seemed nervous and that was a first.

Jake was playing smart. Putting the ball in my court left him wide open. Whatever my reaction, he would play off of that. Smart guy. I had to give him credit. "I uh . . . Well I like you Jake, quite a bit actually." Smooth, Emma.

His hand flicked the bedside light on quickly. The smile I’d seen in the dark was still there but along with a hesitant look that was new. "I never thought I could find someone after Bella. She was my first love and part of me will always feel that way."

"Don’t you think I realize I’ve been competing against her all this time Jake? It’s not really fair considering, I’m NOT her and she is married, to someone else."

He sighed. "Yes, I know. This, what we have, is more complicated. There are so many things you haven’t learned about my kind. I just need to make sure you understand what you’re getting into."

"Let me see. You can phase into a wolf whenever you please. What else is there to know?" My remarks bit into him, I could tell. I felt guilty being annoyed after such a wonderful night.

Jake stood to full height and began pacing in between the two beds. "Remember the story about Leah and Sam? The one I told you last weekend?"

What was he getting at? "Sure I do. Sam left Leah for Emily, and she was crushed."

"That could be you Emma. I don’t want that to be you." The corners of his eyes wrinkled as he squeezed his eyes closed.

"Huh? What on earth are you talking about Jacob?" This was a common occurrence for me. He usually spoke in riddles and I usually sat confused, waiting for the point.

He kneeled before me, taking my hands into his. I studied the immensity of them while waiting for him to explain. "Each member of the pack has one person out there meant for them. It’s called imprinting and that’s what happened to Sam. It just happens, out of the blue."

It was as if the ceiling fell in. My chest heaved and I grabbed at my shirt trying to ease the pressure. "Just call me Leah." I choked out.

"No don’t think that way!" Jake grabbed my shoulders and pulled me into a hug. "There is no guarantee I will ever run into that person. It’s pure chance but isn’t that life?" His pleading tone broke my heart.

"I really like you." I mumbled into his bare skin. "How could I compete with something that’s meant to be?"

Jake lifted me and placed me gently in the middle of my bed. I remained silent as he crawled in behind me and wrapped his warm body around mine. "I’m here now. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon."

Rather than discuss the topic any further, I closed my eyes, allowing his warmth to lull me to sleep.

When I opened my eyes the next morning, I was alone and my phone was vibrating on the night stand. Half asleep, I grasped for the obnoxious device before it could maneuver itself off the edge. "Yeah?" There was no need for pleasantries, I knew it was Alice.

"Good morning to you too grumpy. Would you mind telling me why the wolf is rushing us off so soon? I thought you two were following us home."

I laughed at the high pitch in her voice. "No idea, Alice. We had a really intense conversation last night. He told me about the imprinting."

"Oh I see. Are you ok EJ?" She must have known how it worked.

"I haven’t decided that yet. How could I be with him and live every day knowing he could leave me for "the one?"" Somehow I managed to laugh at my own misfortune.

"At least he finally admitted he likes you. In a very roundabout way though. Do you want to know what I think?"

"Yes oh wise aunt Alice. Please bless me with your endless knowledge of men." Her sigh on the other end made me smile.

"Respect your elders. Make fun all you want but I know just the person who could help you. She knows Jacob just as well as you and would have faced the same issue had she made a different choice."

Of course I knew who it was. "Bella."

"Bella is a wonderful person. She could shed so much light on things if you’ll sit down with her and just talk." Alice was right. She and I let silly things come between us and never attempted to know one another.

I realized I never considered her feelings on certain things. Much like Bella had misjudged Rosalie, I had misjudged Bella. "Thank you Alice. I’ll see you later tonight. Love you."

"You will be fine, don’t worry. I love you too." She ended the call while I sat, staring at the blank screen on my phone.

Jake and I rode in silence all the way back to Forks. I spent the trip wondering just how the meeting between Bella and I would go. It wasn’t that I was afraid of her. I wondered if she would pity me, the decision I would have to make. Maybe she would sympathize completely having made the same choice herself. Only, I didn’t have another guy to run to.

I dumped my overnight bag on my floor, glad to be home. I could hear Seth and Paul laughing through the wall. They showed up almost as soon as we got home.

It didn’t bother me that Jake and I weren’t talking. He was giving me my space. The faucet in the kitchen dripped with a soothing rhythm as I stood in my front room, letting reality sink in.

When I grew tired of standing I lay on my couch and began to stare at the small water stain on the ceiling. A knock on my door made me abandon thoughts of what was leaking upstairs. I smoothed the back of my hair and pulled the heavy door open. Bella stood before me with a nervous look.

"Hey Emma. You must think Alice sent me but she didn’t." She wrung her hands probably expecting me to reject her. "I would really like to talk to you."

Instead I opened the screen door and motioned for her to come in. "I’m really glad you came over Bella. You are just the person I need right now."

She looked shocked. "I kind of had this whole speech planned out. Do you mind if I just get that over with?"

"Uh, no. Not at all." I was intrigued. She studied the seating arrangements in my living room only to stand in the end.

"I told Jake I chose Edward over him after he and the pack risked themselves for me, for the Cullens. I broke him Emma and I will carry that around with me for eternity." Finally she sat gracefully at my kitchen table, pulling a chair out for me. "You know I love Edward and I know I made the right choice but I never really thought past that. I never thought about seeing Jacob with a girl or the feelings that would come with that. I am so sorry for what happened."

"I forgave you already. You must want me to apologize but I can’t. I only stated the truth or the version I was familiar with." She let out a low breath and then gave a single nod. "I guess I should tell you that I feel like I’ve taken on your life. Like I stepped in to continue on in your human shoes. It’s weird." I smiled at her, trying to show I wanted us to be friends.

"You kept Charlie company. Obviously you have Jake’s attention. We shouldn’t have stuck you in the middle of our problems’ Emma. I should have been more honest with myself."

I blushed. She knew more than I expected. Alice was a meddler, damn her. "Bella, what would you have done if you chose Jake? I mean, you weren’t his imprint."

Her eyes registered my concern. The thought must have crossed her mind too. She pulled on her lip with her top teeth, a leftover human habit. "I would have cherished every day with him. Knowing me, I would have done anything too win him back if he imprinted."

"How do I get past it? I can’t get past the thought of giving myself to him and then losing him."

Bella placed her hand over mine. "You and I are more alike than I thought Emma. Do you know I could see myself with Jake, married and chasing two little children around a yard?"

"Why did you marry Edward?"

"Because he was the one I couldn’t live without." She said it in such a matter-of-fact tone that it shocked me. Was Jake the one I couldn’t live without? If he was, then how would I move on if he found his imprint while we were together?

I ran my hands through my hair. The stress of it all was getting to me. "Things are so complicated in this town."

Bella laughed and I joined her. It was the first time we really connected. "Don’t rush into it. Let things happen naturally. If one day you realize you would go crazy without him then you’ll have your answer."

"That’s what I’ll do then. Thank you Bella for everything."

"You’re welcome. I’m glad we can move on. Actually, I am glad I could begin to let my human life go finally. It’s harder than I thought." She hugged me quickly, still the tiniest bit nervous about where we stood. "I’ll see you later then?"

"Yeah, you will." My relaxed posture comforted her and she waved on her way through the front door.

Jacob poked his head in a few minutes later. "Was that Bella I saw leaving?"

I should have known he was spying on me. Sometimes living next door to him was a nuisance. "It was. She came by to talk and we worked some things out."

"Good to hear. I’m glad you two are ok now." He hesitated as if he wanted to ask something else but changed his mind. "Do you want to come over and have some pizza? Seth won’t stop talking about your guitar skills." His eyes rolled and I smirked.

"Who’s jealous now, huh? Tell Seth to take a rain check. I’m going over to spend some time with Alice and Jazz."

He looked a bit dejected but nodded and closed the door quietly anyway.

Later that night, I sat next to Edward on his piano bench, playing with different melodies for my song. Carlisle and Esme were out hunting, leaving the house to the remaining Cullens. Rose and Alice were in deep discussion over my party dress while Bella sat unmoving on the couch, listening to Edward and me.

A loud thump echoed around the open living room. "What are they doing up there?" I questioned. Em and Jasper had been hammering and banging since I’d arrived.

"They are putting my new closet organizer together." Alice called from the computer desk.

Rosalie scoffed. "Please, it sounds like they are coming through the floor. Jasper is probably putting the thing in while Emmett carries around the tools trying to look even more manly, if that is possible."

I shook my head then returned to the task at hand. Bella came over earlier to talk with me. Did she tell you?

Edward nodded ever so slightly, trying not to draw her attention.

She loves you so much, I wish it were so cut and dry for me. I frowned down at the keys but quickly fixed my face, not wanting Bella to know I was talking or actually thinking about her.

"Do you still plan on giving this song to Jacob for Christmas, EJ?" Edward asked. He glanced at Bella out of habit. She only smiled to reassure him.

I exchanged glances with her, recalling our earlier conversation. "I don’t think so. I’m not ready to put myself out there like that."

"Trust me, I understand your hesitation. We will complete the song and I will make you a cd just in case. I assume you want to add acoustics and vocal?"

Shit, I need a guitar. Edward laughed loudly and Bella raised an eyebrow in his direction.

"I know, I know. A lady shouldn’t use such language. You do know that I’m not a lady right Edward?"

"Nonsense, you are as bad as Bella. You two and your self doubt." He eyed both of us, pointing an accusing finger.

"Let’s go to the cottage and listen to loud music full of obscenities." Bella grabbed my arm and pulled me along. Rose and Alice left the computers to tag along with us.

~*~

For the first time in my life I woke to a snow-covered ground on Christmas day. I did a little dance that would have made Alice envious before rushing into the shower. The thought of spending the holiday with family was exciting, even if most of them were clinically dead.

I looked at my reflection in the floor length mirror for the longest time. It was surreal as if I was seeing myself for the first time. My cheeks were pink with excitement giving my skin a healthy glow. When I began to feel vain, I stopped gawking and leaned in to apply my eyeliner. "Some things never change." I muttered to myself.

"EJ?" I heard Bella call me from downstairs.

It was unusual for her to visit me, with our new found friendship still in the fragile stages. I made my way down the steps, avoiding the loose plank on the landing. Bella was admiring a pile of gifts under my tree. I stopped next to her, admiring them myself.

"Where did those come from?" I probably already knew the answer.

"Looks like Alice and Jasper took over Santa’s job this year."

They were wrapped beautifully, with different colored bows and ribbons. Bella kneeled and lifted the box closest to her. "You might want to open this one." She shoved the blue box at me.

I flipped the card open; it was from Emmett. The mysterious box shifted in my arms and then it barked. I ripped the top off and was immediately assaulted by a puppy with a very cold nose. Bella gave me a knowing look. "You knew didn’t you?"

"Em asked me to make sure you found her. He was worried about putting her in the box. I tried to talk him out of it but he’s a sucker for cliches."

I snuggled the small puppy who panted happily. "It’s ok, so am I." I spoke in my best baby voice.

Before I could say anything more, Emmett came bursting through my back door with a grin from ear to ear. He lifted me, with the puppy in my arms, easily and spun me around once. "Merry Christmas EJ!"

"Wow Em, are you excited or something?" Bella asked with a sly smile.

"I love the puppy but why did you get me a dog? I would have been happy with seat covers or a cd." I snuggled the little puppy under my chin.

Emmett laughed loudly. "It was Rose’s idea. She said if you wanted a dog then this was the better option."

"Typical Rosalie." I mumbled into the dog’s soft fur. "What should I call her?"

"I’m leaving on that note. Animals and I are not compatible." Bella slipped out the front door.

Emmett sat on my couch and flipped the tv on. "What are you doing?" I asked.

"I’m watching the Christmas parade until everyone else gets here. Have you thought of a name for that thing yet?" He pointed at the small animal in the crook of my arm.

Last time I checked the party was at the Cullen’s house. My eyes jumped around, surveying the appearance of my small home. At least I was a neat person and my vampire family didn’t eat. I left Emmett entranced in the parade to take my new puppy outside. She sank in the snow when I put her down and I quickly moved her to a more shallow drift.

"Nice save." Jake said from his spot on the porch we shared. "Where did the puppy come from?"

"Emmett and Rosalie." I refrained from telling him the joke attached to the gift. "Are you going home?"

He nodded and walked toward me. "Yeah, Sue and Emily are making dinner. Merry Christmas, by the way." His bare fingers stroked my gloved ones.

I peeked up at him through the faux fur on my hood. "Same to you. Have fun today."

"Be ready at three. I’m coming back to get you." There was no smile but the eager look was good enough for me. "Dad asked for you specifically; he likes you."

I turned my attention to the puppy waddling through the snow. He knew I wouldn’t say no, how could I? "Sure, I’ll be ready."