Once Upon an Unfortunate September
Does time really heal all wounds—dull the ache—or erase the memories? Unfortunately after a decade, those things have yet to occur. My memories were too vivid—forever etched into my subconscious, an ever present and constant reminder that my life would never be a fairy tale. Fate had become my cruel mistress, sinking her dagger repeatedly into my heart—enjoying my misery. When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t expecting the day to head in this direction. Hardly! I predicted the weekend to sail smoothly. It was celebration of marriage—my best friend’s wedding, and I refused to allow anything to ruin their happiness. However, as I stood here and gazed into those cold, tawny eyes, I wondered how I would keep that from happening.—Excerpt from Chapter 5-The Boy I Once Loved. *Note: Stephanie Meyer's vampire and supernatural parameter's will be slightly altered to fit my story—mostly regarding Bella's (eventual) supernatural parameters. I've labeled it NC-17 for lemons, language, and violence. But don't expect too many lemons in my story. I don't want to story to be all about sex. ") This story is told in many points of view, mostly told by Jasper and Bella, but I will also include POV from the following characters: Carlisle, Edward, Alice, Embry, and an OC. Cannon through Twilight and up through E/B's separation in New Moon. From there everything changes - all bets are off. ") All couples are canon. (Eventual E/B HEA)* Beta-Zorradesombra
3. 3-Dinner at the Blacks'
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"A dream you once were,
A dream of all my realities,
A dream I can no long strive for.
In the wake of my manly betrayals”
― C. Elizabeth, Absolute Obsession
Chapter 3-Dinner at the Blacks'.
As the airport doors slowly retracted, I let out a huge sigh of relief. I never realized just how weighed down your day-to-day life can become while carrying around so much contempt for others, and my shoulders now felt lighter as a result. However, I probably would've felt magnificent had I forgiven the Cullens instead of chastising them for their misdeeds. Although, I have to admit that chastising Jasper was an extremely gratifying thing. I felt vindicated, and a smug smile crossed my lips.
I had a peculiar feeling about standing out in front of the airport without a backup plan. While my actions were gratifying, I essentially shot myself in the proverbial foot by not securing a vehicle. It's a fair distance from Seattle to Forks, so I guess my vindication came at a very steep price. However, my pride prevented me from remedying the situation, so I needed to contemplate another option.
"Damn, you look good enough to eat,” a husky voice whispered in my ear.
I let out a blood-curdling scream and jumped back, landing up against my would-be attacker. Immediately and without thinking, I grabbed the crook of the man's arm, squared my body, and hefted him up and over my shoulder. He landed with a thud on the sidewalk. Before he could move, I dropped my knee into his chest. There was no way on God's green earth that I would allow myself to become a victim of mugging twice in one night.
The man was three times my size, and I was secretly pleased that I got the drop on him, so to speak. I needed to remember to thank my self-defense instructor for his superior teaching skills.
"Jesus, Bella, you might be little but you sure pack a punch,” the man said humorously.
Pushing my hair behind one ear, I gazed down at the man and smiled sheepishly. My cheeks flushed bright red as I realized who he was. He returned my smile, flashing a set of pristine teeth.
"Oh my goodness," I squealed in delight. "I'm so, so sorry. You scared the shit out of me. Let me take a look at you."
I lifted myself off him and held out my hand to help him up. "Little Seth Clearwater, what happened to you? You grew up on me."
Behind me hoots of laughter echoed throughout the canopy. I turned to look just in time to see Embry, Quil, and Jared bent over laughing with tears streaming down their cheeks.
"Umm, wow! What are you guys doing here?" I questioned shakily, as I dragged the toe of my shoe absentmindedly across the pavement.
"What does it look like we're doing? We’re picking you up from the airport! God, has the Florida sun fried your brain, Swan?" Embry said sarcastically.
"Embry, I believe senility is setting in!" Jared chimed in.
Jared’s comment opened the flood-gates, and the boys burst into another fit of raucous laughter, slapping each other on the back. The brotherly bonding continued with a full round of high-fives. I shook my head at the flood of obnoxiousness and flipped them off. Boys! It didn't matter how old they were, they all stopped progressing after age twelve.
"Fuck off. Actually, I wasn’t expecting anyone to pick me up. I was planning to rent a car. Jake knew that. However, the car situation seems to have fallen through," I said shyly.
"Jake needed us to pick up some junk for the wedding. So while we were here, he said we should swing by and pick you up," Seth said nonchalantly, placing an arm around my shoulder. "Instead of gratitude, I get my ass kicked…by a woman, no less! Speaking of women—you look fantastic, Bella. What's the occasion?"
"Well, we are attending a rehearsal dinner, right?” I said, looking at all of them each in turn.
"Yeah, but…this is Jake's house, Bella. None of us are dressing up. Although…" Quil paused and started tapping his finger on his chin, and then after careful consideration divested himself of his ratty shirt. "Or, we could go au naturel."
"Yuck, Quil! We're not getting naked!" I balked.
"That's all right, Bella! You don't wanna see 'that' naked.” Seth motioned to Quil and then continued his chiding. "In fact, you'd be sorely disappointed, 'cause Quil lacks in the manliness department. His girlfriend actually came over last night to take a ride on Seth's giant sausage. I think she finally lost her virginity!"
I threw my hand over my mouth and snorted loudly. With eyes wide, I watched as Quil pounced lithely on Seth, socking him in the gut. Grabbing Seth's neck between two arms, Quil pummeled Seth about the head.
"Don't say shit about my girlfriend, Clearwater!"
"Quil! Seth! Please...stop," I pleaded, grabbing the nearest by the shoulder.
Quil socked Seth in the gut one last time and then slipped his shirt back on. "Asshole," he grumbled.
Seth rubbed his head furiously, groaned loudly, and then chuckled under his breath. "So...Bella, are you're gonna save a dance for me?"
"You have a girlfriend, Clearwater. Besides Ms. Swan is dancing with me tonight," Embry said assuredly. He grabbed my bag and slung it over one shoulder, clearly considering himself the victor.
This trip was starting to look up. I smiled sheepishly at Embry and bit my bottom lip. Maybe, Jenny was right. Perhaps I should attempt to have as much fun as possible.
"Let's get the hell out of here," Seth said shakily. "I'm double parked, and if I get another ticket in Mom's truck, she's going to freak."
"I wanna see that!" I said animatedly, clapping my hands together. "Getting your ass kicked twice in one day would be some sort of record, right?"
Seth's face fell into a grimace and his cheeks turned an adorable shade of pink. As we walked towards the truck, I giggled at Seth's reactions, because he could dish shit out, but he sure couldn't handle being on the receiving end.
Feeling eyes upon me, I slowly looked behind me. Standing at the double doors, I swore that I could see a pair of ocher eyes gazing out at me. However, before I could focus, he was gone. I worried that his presence might become a problem, both with the wolves and me.
"Bella, you smell like a leech, or…the airport smells like leeches," Jared stated.
All the boys agreed, nodding their heads while they looked around. Embry stiffened and grabbed me by the crook of the arm, tucking me behind his back. Geez, Embry, you're smooth, I thought and rolled my eyes.
"When I got off the plane, I…well, I ran into a vampire I knew," I said sheepishly, pulling out of Embry's embrace. I certainly hoped they wouldn't press the interrogations. "He's gone now, so no need to worry."
Fortunately, my explanation was sufficient even though only part of it was true. The Cullens have never been the wolves' favorite people. Therefore, not mentioning their names or what happened in the airport would be preferable. There was no need to start a war over a stolen purse. I only hoped our chance encounter was just that, and I didn't see him again.
Seth's truck was a mammoth of a vehicle, and I cringed internally, secretly wishing that I’d stuck with the classic jeans and sneakers. This wasn't my typical attire, so I found myself at a disadvantage. I had no idea how I was going to both hoist myself up into the mammoth beast and keep much of my 'assets' inside this blasted dress.
The boys began piling in to the vehicle. Jared and Quil jumped into the bed of the truck, while I clumsily clambered my way into the truck. Once I was situated, the two massive men sandwiched me between them, and the heat that radiated off their skin felt wonderful, maybe too wonderful. However, I didn't think either of them minded being sandwiched in the cab with me, because both of the boys would be able to grab several comprehensive looks down my cleavage. Boys are creeps.
Seth drove like a maniac taking the curves with reckless abandon, but the speed didn't bother me. For the first time since I got off the plane, I felt at ease just as if this was where I truly belonged. I suppose it could have been, if I wanted to come home. That was the crux of the matter…I didn’t know where I belonged.
On our way to the reservation, we all had a great time rehashing old times. We spoke about all the changes in pack, Sam and Emily getting married and having a baby, who had imprinted and who hadn't, and of course, Jacob and Angela's wedding. Therefore, I felt fully caught up by the time we rolled into Jacob's driveway.
Jacob was waiting in the doorway with Angela draped in one arm. Boy, did he look bigger. Well, all the boys seemed larger. Was that even possible? I thought and smiled widely. The two of them looked so in love, and the thought of many happy years warmed my heart.
The boys began piling out of the truck. My admirer, Embry, who I believed was still trying to impress me, lifted me out of the truck. His warm hands around my waist made me shiver with delight. Maybe I should wear a dress more often, I thought, feeling pleased. It'd been a long time since I had felt special and wanted.
Gazing around the property, I spotted Billy, Sue, and Leah sitting under a lovely linen awning in the front yard. Shortly the three were joined by the boys and their dates, which had already loaded up plates of food and were stuffing it into their faces.
Twinkle lights and ribbons embellished the surrounding the trees, setting a soft glow upon the ground. The lights illuminated, Sam, who was grilling a massive amount of steaks on the grill, while his wife, Emily, swollen with child, was arranging bowls of various foods on folding tables.
I stepped awkwardly away from Embry, only to be caught up into a rib-breaking hug and swung around by my best friend in the whole world, Jacob. It felt wonderful to see him again. He kissed me on the top of the head, and I pulled away to look into his wide, childlike eyes which were glittering with excitement.
"Sorry, Jake…you first."
"I was just going to say you reek," he said, smiling widely.
"Gee, way to make a girl feel good about her self. I love you, too, Jake," I said in annoyed tone, placing my hands on my hips.
"Seriously, Bells, you aren't hanging out with the bloodsuckers again, are you?"
"Nope, not even if you paid me a million bucks. There was a vamp at the airport, and I got mugged. He was nice enough to retrieve my purse from the dickhead who stole it," I said assuredly, holding the purse under his nose.
"Ugh, that's frickin' nasty. Put that thing somewhere where I can't smell it and come get some grub. I'm starved."
Once I disposed of my purse, Jacob and I made our way over to the buffet table. The food looked wonderful, and I watched Jake grab a plate and start generously piling it with food. He scampered away, dropping at Billy's feet. Before his ass made contact with the ground, his mouth was already full of food.
I shook my head and a broad smile crossed my lips. I grabbed a Coke out of a nearby cooler of ice and laid it on my neck. All the excitement coupled with the events of the day, made my stomach ache. I popped the cap and sipped gently at the cool liquid.
"Swan, aren't you gonna eat anything?" a deep voice cooed in my ear.
I squealed under my breath and swung around. "What the…? Embry, don’t sneak up on me unless you want me to kick your ass, too."
"Baby, you can do anything you want with me," he said, wagging his eyebrows at me.
"Embry, you're incourrigible"
"...and proud of it, baby," Embry said playfully.
I snorted and blushed, turning away before he could see the emotion clouding my face. I had a feeling he was going to attempt to pursue me, and I was unsure how I felt about that. While it did feel pleasant to feel desired, it was both a weird and wonderful feeling. I hadn't dated anyone since Edward, and I didn't know if it was possible for me not to feel jaded about all relationships.
It had been ten unbelievably, long years and while my heart had partly healed, I was unsure if it could stand another rejection. Edward hadn't been just any person. Our relationship, well my portion, at least, had been so much more than a high school crush.
Whatever I felt with regard to Embry, it felt wonderful to take part in life instead of merely existing. Unfortunately, everything would return to normal on Monday, because I knew myself all too well. This was what he…Edward had done to me.
"I just don't feel well.”— I turned slowly and looked into his eyes.—“Um, Embry, can I ask you a question? It sort of personal, though."
"Sure Bella, you can ask me anything. What would you like to know?" he said, his brown eyes sparkling.
"While I understand the mechanics of imprinting, Jake explained it to me once. Why hasn't it happened for you, do you think?"
"I don't know, really. I'm the odd man out, I guess. Maybe, it just because I haven't found the right girl," he said smiling at me, tucking some hair behind my ear.
"I was just wondering. Curious I guess." I turned abruptly and pulled away. "I should really go say hello to Angela."
Yikes, I thought, as I hurried over to the large group. A bead of sweat ran down my neck.
Angela, Emily, and Leah were deep in conversation when I walked up, and I flung my arms around Angela, hugging her tightly. A wave of calm settled over me the moment her arms responded to mine. She pulled away and gazed into my eyes. It had been so long since I'd seen Angela. Yet when she looked at me, it was as if I never left. As if I never ran away and our friendship hadn't suffered.
"I'm so happy for you!" I said shakily, tears prickling at my eyes.
"I can't believe what's happened, Bella! On one hand, I'm so incredibly happy with Jacob. He makes me feel so special and loved. On the other hand, it's a completely new world with vampires, wolves, and traditions…it's a lot to take in, somewhat overwhelming. Jake said you've know about all this for years. How is that? It's kind of a secret society. And the Cullens--" she broke off, ducking her head in embarrassment.
"Yes, it's true, all of it. I have known about all of this for years," I said, motioning with my arms to include the whole area and everyone in it. "I guessed the secret, so I'm a special case."
"Did you leave Forks because of him?" she questioned.
"That's part of it. However, after Charlie’s murder it was just too much. Too much hurt and way too many memories…" I trailed off sadly. "Enough of that unpleasantness, though. So, Saturday is the big day."
"Well, I should’ve asked you sooner, but I was afraid you might not come. You know, with you and Jake's history. But, since you're here now...will you be my maid of honor?” she said sweetly, gazing at me through thick lashes.
"I would be honored, Angela," I said, tears streaming down my face. I pulled her into an all-encompassing hug and held her tightly as both of us broke into nervous and tearful laughter.
The evening was chock-full of good friends, food, and music. I decided to take Jenny's advice and just have fun, even if it was only for the weekend. I danced with everyone, twirling around the dance floor so often I almost forgot about my earlier displeasure. Luckily, my friends found my clumsiness endearing instead of pitying me for my two left feet. It was worth it, every second of it.
Since the boys had sipped a few beers, I opted to drive myself to the motel in my old truck (which I had gifted Jake when I moved to Florida). Embry had offered his house but everything about that situation seemed wrong.
Driving the old beast felt fabulous. The familiar rumble of the engine, faint smells of tobacco, and remnants of peppermint soothed my nerves. Even though it was freezing, and took a lot of hard work to roll down the windows, I let the cool, salty air fill my lungs.
My journey ended at a Motel 6 just on the edge of town, and I checked in for four days. Sunday afternoon I would fly home if everything went as planned. All I wanted to do was celebrate Jake and Angela's union and get the hell out of this town, as memories threatened to engulf me.
My room was, of course, on the third floor. My feet were exhausted, so I slipped the little heels off, swung my purse and bag over my arm, and trudged upstairs. Room 222 was at the end of the hall. I fiddled with the stupid plastic card, swiping it several times before the lock released.
Throwing my junk on the bed, I made my way to the bathroom, washed my face, and slipped out of the dress. Several minutes later, I was fumbling through the dark, stubbing my toe on the bed frame, and slid the curtains closed. However, when I turned on the light, I wasn't the only person in the room.
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