Thicker Than Blood
Anna Henderson and Embry Call have been best friends all their lives. When Embry starts acting strangely, Anna takes it upon herself to find out what's going on with him. What she discovers, however, is more than she could have imagined. Embry/OC
My first attempt at a Twilight fic...Please be kind and offer constructive criticism!
Rating 0/5 Word Count 2367 Review this Chapter
Anna stayed up all night, her cell phone glued to her hand, but Embry never called. He didn’t call the next day, either, and, at 3:30, when school was over and she still had not seen him, she finally broke down and called him. The phone rang five times before Embry answered, and his voice was scratchy and soft.
“Hello?” he croaked.
“Are you okay?” she asked immediately. “You sound terrible.”
“Anna?” he mumbled.
“Who else would it be? Did you go to the doctor?”
“No.” Anna couldn’t help but notice that his voice sounded short and distant, almost rude. She pulled the phone away from her ear and frowned at it before putting it back to her ear to catch the rest of Embry’s reply. “I’ll be fine.”
“You don’t sound like you’ll be fine,” she snapped. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. Listen, I have to go.”
“Damn it, Embry, don’t you dare hang up on me!” Anna said angrily, but Embry was already gone. “Ugh!” she yelled once she had closed her phone.
“Anna?” he aunt called up the stairs. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” she called back, already stuffing her feet into her shoes. She ran down the stairs, stopping briefly outside her aunt’s craft room. “I’m going to Embry’s house,” she said quickly.
“Alright,” her aunt agreed. “Just be back for dinner, okay?”
“Yeah,” Anna called over her shoulder, running out the door and hopping onto her bike. She pedaled the half mile to Embry’s house swiftly, earning herself a few honks from the drivers she dangerously cut off. When she reached Embry’s house, she dropped her bike at the foot of the porch steps and ran into the house, skidding to a stop outside the kitchen, where Carol was baking a delicious-smelling batch of peanut butter cookies. “Hey mom,” she gasped, doubled over and gasping for breath.
“Hey you,” Carol said in surprise, looking over at Anna in concern. “You okay, kid?”
“Yeah, fine,” Anna waved a hand dismissively. “Is Embry here?”
“No.” Carol sounded more surprised than before. “He didn’t call you? He’s fine today, must have just been the stomach flu. He’s out with Sam and his friends today.” Anna straightened up quickly, staring at Carol in shock.
“Sam?” she finally asked once she could speak coherently again. “As in, Sam Uley?” Carol nodded as she turned back to put the tray of cookies in the oven.
“Yep. Sam, Jared, and Paul came over this morning and told Embry to come to the council meeting.” Carol sounded very proud of her only son, but Anna couldn’t have felt less so. “He called a few hours later, saying that he’d be out with them all day.” Carol turned back to Anna and noticed the stunned, hurt look on her face. “Are you alright, dear?” she asked, concern evident in her voice.
“Yeah,” Anna replied numbly, staring at the floor. “Yeah, I’m fine. I have to go,” she said abruptly, turning and heading towards the door. “Bye mom,” she mumbled, Carol’s “Goodbye, dear,” barely registering in her numbed mind. She hopped on her bike and pedaled as fast as she could over to Jake’s house. She ran to the garage, but he wasn’t there, surprisingly. With one disgusted look at the empty garage, she sprinted to the house, knocking shortly and impatiently on the worn wooden door. Jake answered after three knocks.
“Hey,” he started to greet her, but she cut him off.
“Embry’s with Sam,” she said shortly. Jake stared at her, not fully comprehending what she was saying. “Did you hear me?” she asked sharply. “Embry Call, my best friend, your friend, is hanging out with Sam Uley!” Jacob stared at her, then scowled.
“C’mon,” he said shortly, hastily shoving his feet into his shoes, calling out to Billy, and yanking the door shut behind him.
“Where are we going?” Anna had the sense to ask.
“I don’t know,” he admitted through gritted teeth. “I was just going to drive around until we spot them.” Anna nodded, not really knowing a better answer. Jacob dragged her to the extra pickup that was parked just behind his garage.
“Um, Jake?” she said hesitantly, looking down at her hand. “You know, you’re really kind of strong.”
“Oh, right. Sorry.” He released her hand, a small, sheepish smile on his face. Anna shook her head, but her face grew serious as she climbed into the cab and settled on the worn seat.
“Let’s start down by the store, okay?” Jacob nodded, started the truck with a roar, and back out of the driveway. They drove in the general direction of the store, neither of them talking, both of them keeping a sharp eye out the windows. They passed the store, but saw no hint of any of the boys – or men, in Sam’s case.
“Stop!” Anna cried suddenly. She had happened to glance behind her when they drove past the store, and had caught a glimpse of someone who looked like Paul. Jacob stomped on the brakes, clearly startled, and earned an irritated honk from the car behind him. He waved apologetically and eased the truck forward to park out of the way on the side of the road. Anna turned her head to look out the back window and, sure enough, there was Embry, surrounded by Sam’s gang, looking at them curiously and, oddly, warily. Anna opened the door of the truck and jumped out hurriedly, then stalked over to where the group stood, almost in the woods behind the store. “Embry Call!” she yelled furiously.
“Hey Anna,” he said softly. He was staring at her in a peculiar way, like she was the only person he wanted to see, and yet the last one. His voice carried no warmth, and he started to turn his back to dismiss her, but Anna was having none of that.
“Don’t you dare turn your back on me, Embry!” she hissed once she had reached them. She grabbed his arm and yanked him around roughly to face her. “Where have you been?” she demanded, releasing his arm.
“Around,” he said vaguely, not meeting her eye. Anna noticed how different he looked just from the day before: he had cut off all of his long, silky black hair, and the expression on his face was sullen, almost angry. With a start, Anna realized that he looked just like Sam and his gang.
“Embry,” Anna said softly. “Where have you been?” she repeated, laying a gentle hand on his arm.
“Around,” he said again, more irritably this time. He shook her hand off his arm, leaving her standing there, stunned. This was not the Embry that she knew and loved. This cold boy was not the same one who had held her when she cried after the boating accident that had claimed her parents. This wasn’t her best friend, who had stayed up until all hours of the morning countless times, laughing and watching movies. She didn’t know him anymore, and it broke her heart. More than that, it made her so angry that she could hardly see straight.
“Damn it Embry!” she cried, stamping her foot. “I was worried about you! I leave you at your house yesterday burning up, looking like you’re about ready to die! Then this morning, not only do you sound terrible, but you hang up on me!” Anna was nearly screaming by now, and she felt angry tears spilling down her cheeks. “And then, when I go over to your house, because I was worried about you, your mom tells me that you’re with them!” She gestured wildly at Sam, Paul, and Jared, who were looking at her with expressions of pity, sadness, and, almost, anger. “I thought you hated them, Embry!”
Embry had stood quietly taking her tirade, but at that last comment he turned so that he was facing away from her. “I was wrong about them, Anna,” he said softly. His calm tone only served to infuriate Anna more.
“What is wrong with you?” she demanded. “Who are you?” Embry turned back to her, his expression tortured and hurt.
“Anna,” Sam said, finally speaking up. He reached out as if to place a hand on her arm, but she jerked away violently.
“Don’t you touch me!” she yelled, backing away. “This is your fault!” She was crying in earnest now as she turned and ran back to the truck where Jacob was waiting for her. “Drive,” she hiccupped once she had gotten into the cab and closed the door. Jacob did so without comment, only speaking once they were several blocks away from the store.
“So he’s one of them now?” he asked sadly. Anna nodded numbly, too choked up to speak. “Are you okay?” Jacob asked unnecessarily.
“Just take me home, please,” Anna whispered. Jacob looked at her for a moment before nodding and turning his eyes back to the road. When he pulled up in front of her house, he cut the engine and turned to face her again.
“Are you going to be alright?” he asked worriedly. Anna attempted a smile, but it turned out as a teary grimace.
“I don’t know,” she said honestly. “Maybe if Embry comes to his senses.” She unbuckled and opened the truck door. “Thanks, Jake,” she said softly, stepping out of the cab.
“No problem,” he promised. “Embry’s my friend too.” Anna stared at him for a moment, then nodded slightly before turning and heading into her house.
The next day, Monday, dawned grey and gloomy, matching Anna’s dark mood perfectly. She dressed for school without really paying attention to what she was doing, and ended up putting her sweatshirt on inside out before she actually realized what was going on. She hurried through a breakfast of blueberry pop-tarts, again without paying any attention at all, then walked out the door and down the two blocks to school, earning herself an annoyed honk when she crossed the street without looking.
The rest of the day passed in a grey daze, and when the final bell rang, releasing them from class, Anna wasn’t entirely sure what, if anything, she had learned. She was halfway down her driveway before she noticed the dark figure standing on her front porch. She stopped in her tracks and stared at Embry, who was looking down at the boards of the porch morosely. Anna approached him hesitantly, half relieved and half angry that he had showed up.
“Hey,” Embry said without looking up.
“What are you doing here?” Anna asked quietly, not sure if she should yell at him or not.
“Fair question.” Embry chuckled humorlessly, still not looking up.
“Well?” she said, crossing her arms. She was beginning to get irritated.
“I just wanted to see you.” He raised his head to meet her eyes, and his face was tortured, so much so that Anna unfolded her arms and took an involuntary step forward.
“Embry,” she whispered, reaching out a hand. “What’s wrong?” He stepped back, out of reach of her comforting hand, leaving her standing there, arm outstretched, shocked look pasted to her face. His face grew even more pained as he took in her hurt expression.
“I’m sorry,” he choked out, before turning and sprinting into the woods to the side of her house. Anna stood on her front porch, staring after her best friend as he ran away from her.
Anna stood on the porch for several minutes after Embry left, staring blankly at the spot in the trees where he had disappeared. Her aunt finally called her inside at dinner time, breaking Anna out of her reverie. Anna turned numbly and entered the kitchen to find her Aunt Mary and Uncle Arthur sitting at the table already. Their son and daughter, her cousins Jackson and Laura, had left that morning to go back to college.
“Hey Anna Maria,” Arthur greeted her in his booming voice. He was the only one who ever called her by her full name.
“Hey Arty,” she said quietly, taking her usual seat on the side by the window.
“You okay?” Mary asked with some concern, setting Anna’s plate of spaghetti before her on the table.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Anna replied, forcing a smile for her aunt’s benefit. “Carol says hi, and that she wants to get together for lunch soon.” Mary smiled, her concern obviously soothed.
“I’ll have to call her tomorrow then. Arthur and I leave for San Francisco in three days, remember?” Every year, Mary and Arthur would go to San Francisco for two weeks, for a family reunion/Arthur’s parents’ wedding anniversary, which all of Arthur’s immediate family attended. Since Anna was only Arthur’s niece by marriage (Mary being Anna’s mother’s sister), Anna no longer had to attend.
“Right, yeah, I remember.” Anna twirled a forkful of spaghetti, then set it down, finding that she really had no appetite whatsoever. “You know,” she said, pushing her chair back from the table, “I’m not really hungry after all. I think I’ll just go up and do my homework.”
“Okay,” Mary agreed, eyeing Anna with concern again. “I’ll just save your spaghetti for tomorrow, all right?” Anna nodded and walked out of the kitchen. She leaned against the wall outside the kitchen briefly, rubbing her forehead as she felt a headache beginning right behind her eyes. With a sigh, she turned and took the stairs two at a time, heading into her room and shutting the door behind her. She crossed her room in two strides and sank wearily to her bed. Before, when she and Embry had been on friendlier terms, the thought of two weeks alone would have been exciting: two whole weeks of take-out and pizza, and several different movies from the video store every night. Now, though, the prospect was bleak, and she could foresee the 14 or so days stretching endlessly before her. She sighed and buried her head in her hands. She was morosely thinking of her lonely two weeks when the floor by her window creaked. Her spine stiffened and she started to turn, but before she could, a hand clamped over her mouth, stifling her scream.