Author: princesswingnut PM
In which Embry Call does the following: falls in love, falls out of a moving car, blows off an essay, goes ice fishing, and finally, FINALLY finds out exactly who his real father is. All basically at the same time. EMBRY FIC. Compass Points series.Rated: Fiction T - English - Embry & Tanya - Chapters: 36 - Words: 68,430 - Reviews: 659 - Favs: 186 - Follows: 88 - Updated: 01-18-09 - Published: 11-29-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4686214
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Third compass point :). The usual notes before I jump into this—since I am me, you can pretty much bet there will be canon inconsistencies sprinkled throughout. Sorry. Sometimes I get carried away. Feel free to nail me on 'em when you find them. Also, ideas are always welcome, especially in relation to my next installment—got any underwritten characters you're in love with? Drop me a line. I love those guys. And oh, feedback. It is loved. It is loved so very much. That is all.
They say the only things in life you can't get away from are death and taxes. Well, I can. I can get away from them.
The death part is easy. I'm a werewolf. Due to various Mystical Quileute Things that we still haven't entirely figured out, as long as we're changing to wolves regularly, we don't age. It's like vitamins, or something. I can live forever if I want.
For the record, I don't want.
Taxes—now that's a little more complicated—try to keep up. I live on a Native American reservation, and since reservations are technically sovereign lands, well…no taxes. Pretty neat, huh? I'm sure I'll appreciate it when I'm thirty.
So, death, taxes, no big deal. I can get away from those. The only thing I can't get away from is Jill Keyes.
You see, dating is difficult when you're a werewolf. How are you supposed to take a girl to Olive Garden and a James Bond movie when all you can think of is that your true love could walk by you any moment, and then ZAP. Try explaining that one to your date. Because that girl, imprint girl, surprise true love girl—she could be anywhere. She could be at Olive Garden. She could sit down across from you on the bus. It's like a time bomb, really, that's what it is.
Obviously, I couldn't explain that to Jill, though ("I'm sorry, Jill, the reason I can't date you is because I occasionally turn into a wolf the size of a horse. Maybe we can still be friends?"). Not that I'm heartbroken or anything, because she wears kind of a lot of eyeliner. And fake fingernails. I don't know what it is about fake fingernails, but I think all guys are secretly afraid of them. We won't admit it, but we are. They're like claws. Witch claws.
I don't know what the legal definition of stalking is. I've thought about looking it up a couple of times, along with the definitions for harassment and restraining orders, but I haven't gotten around to it. Anyway, if I filed for a restraining order, I would basically never hear the end of it from my friends. They didn't have to worry about this kind of thing—most of them were already locked into their biologically mandated epic romances. They didn't understand.
See, I was pretty sure that showing up at my work every day and drinking coffee until closing time, staring at me from her corner booth, might be considered stalking. It was definitely creepy, whatever else it was. I always tried to pretend I didn't notice, but that usually only lasted an hour or two before I started twitching a little under her gaze. Nobody can stand being watched for that long—probably not even models or celebrities.
Because I was 6'3 and she was 5'5, though, because I had shoulders that could hardly make it through a doorway and she was little, slight, female, there was no way my boss was buying my harassment theory. That meant I had to go over there every time her coffee mug went empty—and let me tell you, that girl could drink coffee—I had to go over there and fill it back up. And try to keep the terrified expression off my face, because she could probably smell fear. I really wouldn't put it past her.
"Embry," she said, in that special voice she reserved only for me. Quil could mimic it perfectly.
I tell you, this had better not be what love is really like, because if it is, then love is creepy. "Hi. How are you?"
"I am—just great," I lied. "I am so good. Coffee?" Take the coffee, just take it, get me out of here.
"I am so glad to hear that," she said, both hands still wrapped around her mug. She knew what I was here for, and to her it was leverage. "So what are your plans for the weekend?"
"Um—my mom and I are going to…Seattle," I invented wholesale. Anything to get me off her radar for the next two days. "She wants to—get a dress?"
"Sounds like a great plan," Jill said, though I could see her mouth turning down at the thought of me leaving. There went her sitting-in-a-coffeeshop-all-day plans for the weekend. I guess there wasn't a lot to do in La Push. I mean, we didn't have a bowling alley or anything. "When are you getting back?"
Just give me your mug! I yelled silently. "I don't know. Never."
Oops. I grabbed her mug from her hands while she was distracted, sliding it across the table and filling it quickly, expertly to the brim. "Well, have a nice day!" I said brightly, and got the hell out of there.
I made it to the safe harbor of another table, my back turned to Jill, and focused on another customer, for once—a sharp-boned man with separated black hair, like he'd just run a hand through it. A crescent scar that ran through his eyebrow and down into his jaw, feather-white and eye-catching, visible. I'd never seen the man before, but he was a customer and he wasn't Jill, so I filled his mug and smiled.
"That girl over there," he said, nodding to the corner booth. His voice sounded strange--overtense. He didn't look me in the eye. "She's got a crush on you."
"Yes she does," I confirmed grimly. "Any chance you want to take her with you when you go?"
"Sorry," he said sadly, brooding into his coffee cup. What was up with this guy? Even by the standards of the weirdos that we usually got passing through, this was a new high. "I've got no room for anyone else in my life. I wish I did, but I don't."
"I'm—sorry to hear that," I said diplomatically, already backing away. I only had fifteen minutes left on my shift—Sue could deal with this guy, she was better with the nut jobs anyway. "Enjoy your coffee. You can let Sue Clearwater know if you need anything else, she's right behind the counter."
"Hey," he said when I was already halfway gone, making me turn and look at him. Then when I did, he was just looking at me—mouth half-open like he was trying to spit something out, but couldn't quite do it. He wasn't looking at me the way Jill did, but with a narrowed intent—like he was trying to see all the way through me to my bones. I got goosebumps on my arms, and I brought a hand up to rub them away. "Thanks for the coffee, kid."
"Anytime," I said uneasily, and retreated. I'd been doing a lot of that today. In fact, I guess I did a lot of that in general.
I mean, there was a certain amount of bite-first-ask-questions-later that came with being a guy who turned into a wolf, a certain ability to spar and scrap, but sometimes—I don't know. I always seemed to be the last one pouncing, the one too distracted to hear the starting gun. When I ran with the pack I was always near the back, and I couldn't get my grades above straight B's. There was a hesitancy in me that I hated, couldn't get rid of, that last wavering second of indecision before the plunge. I wished I could be sure about things the way that everyone else always seemed to be sure. I was a poorly-stitched rag doll, I was a dotted outline of a person. I was never whole—and I knew why.
But what did any of that have to do with coffee? Nothing, that's what, absolutely nothing. I guess it was just the way the guy looked at me that jarred me a little—it was a weird moment. I shook myself and got back to the counter, sliding my empty coffeepot across the table so that Sue could trade me for another one. Eight months of me working here and we had this down to an art, the perfect timing of slide-grab-slide-go, and my hand was stretched for the full pot she would slide over. Except she never did.
I looked up at her in surprise, and she was standing there with the pot still in her hand, staring fish-eyed over my shoulder. Staring like she'd a ghost or a date palm or her old college boyfriend; something she'd never expected to see ever ever again. And she was staring at the table where the man had been sitting.
I whipped around to look, in case he'd suddenly grown another head or something and I'd missed it, but the man was gone. His mug was turned neatly over on a napkin, empty, and his chair was pushed in. Two coffee rings the only signs he'd been here at all.
"What?" I demanded.
Her face twisted like she meant to say nothing, but couldn't quite make it there. This was not nothing, and that was for sure.
"What?" I asked again, I was not letting this go. "What is it, Sue? Who was that guy?"
"Embry," she said helplessly—like she knew it was something she wasn't supposed to say, but had to, because of a sudden situation she'd never expected to be in. "That was your father."