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Afterglow

Summary:
The in canon tale of the daughter Rose never thought she could have. When my mother found me, fate seemed to link us together. Not only was I the daughter she never dreamed she'd have, I was unusually unappetizing for a human. However, being raised by vampires does not come without conflict. This is my tale about growing up Cullen and finding love in the most unexpected place. The world's largest coven is about to get a whole lot larger!


Notes:
Sorrowfully, I do not own the Twilight saga or any of its characters. They belong to the glorious Stephenie Meyer. But Emmalie is MINE, as is the plot. :)


9. Dancing with...

Rating 3.4/5   Word Count 3223   Review this Chapter

"I want you to change your plans for tomorrow night!"

"Come again?" I asked, thinking I did not hear him right the first time.

"You heard me, Emm! Don't play me for a fool! You, Ness, and my Medusa of an older sister are planning to do something stupidly irresponsible. Whatever it is, cancel and do something else!" he barked.

Who the hell did he think he was? He had no right to tell me what to do! None! I growled as I stalked over to the M3 parked alongside the leaf-littered back road. Since my parents were taking their merry old time, I climbed in and plopped down in the back seat. This was beyond ridiculous! I was so going to give Seth Clearwater a piece of my mind.

"First of all, Seth, we're never irresponsible, and second, what I do is none of your business. I mean, really, who died and left you boss?!" I ranted into the phone, my acidic tone the pure likeness of my mother's.

"Emm, we promised Edward that the house would be under 24-hour surveillance. Tomorrow night is my shift and no one is going to be doing anything risky on my watch or-"

"-Or what, Seth? You'll go howling to my uncle?! Come on, Jake is coming with us and so is Leah. That is two-thirds of your stupid 24-hour surveillance wolf squad! I think we'll be alright," I argued, twisting a strand of my golden hair in pure aggravation.

"Emmalie, I talked to Jake. He said he knew nothing about your plans, so you can cut the act!"

"Seth, Ness has not told him because she thought he would compromise us! He does not know how to guard his thoughts like us. It's going to be a surprise. Ness planned it that way." I looked out the window and saw my mother and father a few yards away. "Listen, I have got to go! Promise me you will NOT tell!"

"Emm, as long as you change your plans to something that won't give me a heart attack or lower your life expectancy, it will be fine."

"Uhh...yeah, sure. I'll think about it," I promised -- I mean, lied.

"I mean it," he encouraged, but I hung up the phone because my vampire parents had taken their seats in the front of the car and were now looking at me quizzically. I smiled innocently and searched my mind for an excuse.

"Charlie wants Ness and I to come over to his house for dinner on Friday. Sue is making meatloaf and stuff. Seth was just calling to invite us," I said, maintaining that same weak smile. My father laughed as my mother grimaced at the phony menu.

"And he means it?" Popeye questioned, referring to the last barked words coming through the phone. Damn that vampire hearing!

"Yes, he means it," I repeated without thought.

"He means what, Emmalie?" he asked still laughing.

"That we are really invited." When I saw the bewildered look they both were wearing, I added, "You can't be more invited than us."

"How kind for the dog to be so genuine in his invitation," scoffed my Mia through clenched teeth. She rolled her golden eyes and peeled out onto the dirt road. "Should we let her go, Emmett?"

"I mean, sure, if that's what she wants to do. Charlie and Sue will be there," he reminded. I grumbled in the back seat.

I hated that they talked about me as if I was not there. I hated even more that they were acting as if I needed permission. I was a few short weeks from my sweet sixteen. In my mind I was adult enough to no longer need their thumbs up on everything. "I really don't know how she plans on eating with the dogs. The wolf B.O. always screws with my appetite."

"Well, Emm, you're clear to go. As long as you have Nessie take you and your phone is by your side, you should be alright." She gracefully shrugged in consent, but I could see her golden eyes examining me in the rear-view mirror. "Be safe and have fun," she added quietly.

Oh I will, I thought, more fun than you know.

The next afternoon, in my nearly empty house, I hummed contentedly to myself. After Alice and I dropped the lovebirds at the airport, I had spent the morning straightening my tresses to silky smoothness, preparing for our night out. After I had received the seventh bullying text message from Seth, I turned off my cell phone. He was so loyal to my Uncle Edward it made me want to gag. He won't rat us out! He doesn't have the guts, I rationalized to myself.

Other than the annoying ringing of my phone, the house had been eerily silent all morning long. In fact it was so quiet that it almost felt like someone else's home. To comfort myself, I set down the ceramic flat iron and went downstairs to flick on ESPN2. Yeah, I thought, that will fill the void, and I nodded in satisfaction. Somehow I was eased by the booming of the final scores, scores of games that would have been watched were my father here.

"Awwww, you miss them don't you," Alice cooed, hugging me and smoothing my hair with her wintry fingers.

"NO. I. DO. NOT! They've only been gone for a few hours. I just miss all the noise they make," I hopelessly denied, pulling from her hug to turn on Esme's stereo in the kitchen. The classical music added to the surrogate background-noise.

My Uncle Jazz emerged silently out of the basement and looked me over. Trouble clouded his handsome face for a moment, but it dissipated when he shook away whatever he was thinking. He was a man of few words, only saying what he had to.

"This must be some camping party," he inquired wryly, eyeing me with dubious eyes and a strained smile. "Is it a formal affair? You look awfully nice," he added sweetly, letting the wave of pity come crashing down.

Resist! Resist! I thought, trying not to let him guilt trip me into a confession.

"Well...uhhh....you can never look too good for the great outdoors," I responded quickly with a little shrug. I could tell he was trying not to laugh at my lame excuse. It was obvious that they both knew something was up. He, however, was not going to push the matter.

My aunt was another story. She stood to his left looking overly rejected, as if by keeping a secret I was spooning her poison. For a moment she slipped into that unnatural daze, the one that so often got me in trouble. But she blinked it away, giving up. I knew that she had been grasping at visions of my plans, but they were fogged over by Leah's involvement. My uncle unceremoniously kissed her cheek trying to dispel her apprehension.

"I am going to go pack my, ummm, stuff," I explained, excusing myself. I could not take the guilty feelings or the pouty face for a second more. Then I darted up the stairs and skipped down the hall. Upon entering my room, I tripped over Ness's empty overnight bag.

She had come by this morning with her stuff. As always in absence of her parents, she planned on camping out on my trundle bed. Under their direction, she was to stay at our house, so she would not be alone in the cottage. But it was not as if she really stayed here. She was with wolf-boy every given moment, hanging out with him by day and sneaking out with him at night.

Even now, we were supposed to be getting ready together. But when she heard him howl, Ness was dressed and ready in thirty seconds flat, leaving a whirlwind of her clothes littered about my once tidy room. Since she was ready early, she used the allotted time to go on a walk with lover boy.

She had promised to be back by two so we could leave for ‘Claire's house,' aka Seattle. Leah was planning on meeting us there, since she and Jake could not be in a car together for over ten minutes without going rogue-wolf on each other.

I heaved a sigh, plopped down on my bed, and compared two possible nail polishes. I thought about my royal purple halter hidden deep in my closet and opted for the darker of the two shades. I had finished the first coat when I heard Alice's joyous squeal from all the way downstairs. The imp pranced into my room and shut the door, leaning against it as if she was keeping someone out. I looked at her questioningly, wondering what she had seen this time.

I wanted to be mad at her, but I just couldn't.

We almost looked the same age now. But, my Aunt Alice -- she looked like she stepped out of some fashion magazine. Today her outfit featured a white tunic, chocolate leggings, and knee high boots, complete with all the Alice accessories: coordinating head scarf, matching earrings, and a bronze chain belt. The outfit was typical of Alice, but her glowering expression was something new. Demanding my full attention she stomped one of her little designer boots at me.

"You may be able to hide your destination from me, Emmalie, but don't think I'm unaware of your little schemes. Inviting Leah just to keep me from knowing! Yes it works, but it is heartless and cruel." Even her yelling had a harmonic tenor to it. "Still, I'm not completely blind," she bragged, exceedingly proud of her little self.

Stick to the story, I coached myself, but I knew already she had won.

"I saw you wearing some not-so-appropriate camping apparel. So do not even try that one," she accused. Her lip jutted out in a pout and her boot tapped an annoying rhythm.

"Where did you get the top?" she asked, dropping the act and letting her voice lighten more than she probably intended.

Her love for fashion was overriding her grown-up obligations. I looked at her for a moment and then waddled to my closet, since the tissue was still between my freshly painted toes, and untucked a shopping bag. I lifted out the sultry purple halter that I had bought with Nessie weeks ago. Then I showed her the cute little jean skirt.

"I'm very proud....oh...and disappointed," she added, remembering she was supposed to be the mature one. "Emma, really, you cannot go out wearing this. None of the men in this house would approve!"

"Oh, Alice, this is the 21st century! Women don't ask for approval of attire from their uncles," I trilled in an almost sixteen-year-old's whine.

"They do if they are 15-year-old little sneaks!" She fingered the denim and gazed at the silky purple top, her mind wheeling with possible shoe choices. I knew her looks too well. "Ok, I will strike a deal with you. Your parents went away this weekend expecting me to keep an eye on you. You can go dressed in your seductive little number - if you let me come along. I promise you can go wherever you want and neither your parents, nor any other, will hear of it from me."

"I'll take it," I exclaimed after giving it very little thought. She would be cool about things. At least I thought she would be cool about things.

Alice nodded, pleased that this bargain earned her a say in what I would wear. Her golden eyes drifted to my crimson toenails and her lips curled up, no longer pouty.

"So that's where the Ruby Red went to. I was looking for it this morning for Bella," she exclaimed, exceptionally delighted. I shrugged apologetically. Alice had all the nail polishes labeled with their proper name and in alphabetical order. I of course wrecked the system; but as always, she never lost her patience with me.

My Aunt Bella had to suffer through the ‘Wrath of Alice Day Spa' this morning. My mother escaped with an early flight. Alice tried to makeover my mother in the distant past, but it did not go over so well. So Alice steered clear of her older sister and played with her little sister. Aunt Bella was a compliant victim.

She and my Uncle Edward were probably landing in rainy old New York City; we were expecting a phone call any minute to confirm it.

Just then the door lurched an inch or two.

"You two better be decent because I'm comin' in," announced my Uncle Jasper's sweet southern voice with a gentle rap to my door. He usually did not let the accent come out; it was reserved for extreme manipulation, both Alice and I knew that. I hid the outfit under my pillow and steeled myself.

He came in, eyed his pixie-like wife suspiciously, and heaved a sigh.

"You two are fogging up the whole upstairs with deceit. What in the devil are you planning?" he asked in his sweet enticing way. It was the honeyed voice that made you want to tell all. But being subject to his gesticulations for so long, both Alice and I recognized this wave of openness we were feeling. He was so good at getting you to spill your guts.

"Darlin'?" he asked my beloved aunt, planting a kiss on her pale forehead. Southern endearments! The ultimate weapon in manipulation warfare! He's playing dirty now, I thought to myself begrudgingly. I was sure she would give in and tell all. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised when she did not crumble. I think he was impressed as well, because he pulled away and let his eyes burrow deeper into hers.

"Very well, Alice. Just remember when you two get caught, I'm not going to keep Emmett from pounding you," he lovingly teased. His thin fingers found their way under her arms, tickling her into agreement. "I'm going out to ride on my bike. It would be helpful to me if you both had departed for your sinful outing while I was away, that way I can truly say I had nothing to do with it."

He danced for a moment in her arms, then added, "Nessie is not answering her phone. If you happen to see her, remind the girl that the device only works when it's on. Oh, and tell her that her parents landed safely. Emmett and Rose, however, got laid over in Vancouver," he informed, cringing slightly at me.

We all knew that my Mia would undoubtedly go medieval on whoever it was that was holding up her trip. The airline people in Vancouver were probably getting to see ‘Witching Hour' at its best. Uncle Jasper smiled, kissing his wife's hand in his gentlemanly ways. Then true to his word he made himself scarce.

When he had left us Alice set to work, satisfied with the chance to be included in anything that involved dressing up. After she had left her artistic mark on me, she skipped away to give one of her never-worn outfits a night out. I used the moment to inform my missing cousin about a re-vamp in plans.

Speed-dial forwarded me to the usual ‘Ness' message.

"Hey, it's Ness! Jake and I cannot get to the phone right now. I usually don't listen to my voice-messages so feel free to speak your mind. Go ahead! Tell me all the things you would never say to my face! I'll call when I can, love you much!"

Beeeeeep.

"So here's the deal: I've got a ride to Seattle, so you don't have to worry about me. Now you and Jake can take that bike of his and I don't have play the third wheel. Seriously, Ness I'm going to be alright. And I'll cover for you; I'll tell Alice you two are doing something. Have a good time and do not forget that I expect you to show me details. Love you. Text me when you get there," I rambled in one breath. I realized then that there was something about that beep that made me babble like a fool.

After a minute or so, I was over my voice-message remorse. I gathered my phone, fake ID, and a wad of most likely unneeded cash, and tossed it all into my ‘Alice selected' clutch. Next, I went to pull Alice from her closet, but just as my hand went to her door knob, she flung open the door. Her head was cocked to one side and her big eyes were betraying her hurt.

"Seattle?" she asked, as if she was stunned that I even knew of the place. I realized then that she had thought we were going to Port Angeles. I had not really run the plans by her and now she looked a little shell-shocked by the vision she saw.

"Yes, I was coming to tell you that we should leave now so we can get there. It's a good 4 hour drive," I explained, shifting nervously, waiting for her to back out of our agreement. Her big golden eyes ran up and down me, as if she was meeting me for the first time.

"Yes, I know, but, Emm...it's just....you've never been to Seattle. We were going to take you when you turned sixteen," she informed me. I chewed at my lip for a moment and then pretended to be interested in my feet. When I looked up, I saw the certainty she had melt. And then the realization hit her. "You've done this before, haven't you?"

I did not want to make her feel bad, so I just shrugged. "Well -I mean - I may have been there a few times," I admitted, turning to flee down the hall. In two vampire strides, she was in front of me, blocking the stairs. She looked overly disappointed in herself.

"I'm a failure as a psychic aunt," she sorrowfully claimed, looking to me acknowledge the fact. In her mind, she had failed the family by not seeing me sneak out. I carefully attempted to smooth a particularly stubborn spiky black strand of her hair and smiled weakly. When Alice was her bubbly self she verged on bothersome, but sad Alice went against nature; it was truly unsettling.

"No, you could never be a failure. You're just not...perfect. No one is," I said, borrowing my uncle's words. She looked somewhat relieved, as if they were the words she needed to hear. "...and just so you know, it has not been the least bit easy wolfing-up your visions. Ness and I have perfected that deceit to a fine art. You're a good psychic aunt; we are just bad girls," I added in a jest, showing my dimples.

She giggled at my response then raced down the stairs, bubbly once more.

"Well, I can be bad too! Come on!" she beckoned, prancing toward the garage. I giggled and clicked down the stairs in my stilettos.

Passing through the kitchen I spotted that cursed pillbox, white against the dark granite, the one thing that always was reminding me that I was sick. The pillbox and I, we had a strained relationship.

Growling, I trudged over, flicked it open and tossed the pills in my mouth, swallowing without water. If I did not have to do that every day, I might have been able to pretend I was normal. I tossed the case carelessly back on the counter and stalked out the garage door, slamming it behind me. Glad that bubbly Alice was waiting in her Porsche to cheer me up, I left.