AN: This was an old challenge from Tamfan who loves Billy Black. There should totally be more Billy Black love in the world.
Thank you to everyone who voted for 'I'll be home for Christmas' and for me as favourite author in the Non-Canon awards. I got third! Thank you all so much.
I have also been nominated in the Favorite Veteran Author category of the Fanatic Fanfics Multifandom Awards. I've not heard of these before, so again, thank you to whoever nominated me! the website is here:
Awards fanaticfanfics com
Disclaimer: the characters and all recognisable situations belong to Stephenie Meyer - this is a work of fan fiction, except for the legends and histories of the Quileute that, of course, belong to them. I pay my respects to their gods.
Thanks to BanSidhe [ruadh sidhe] and Feebes86 for betaing and pre-reading.
Tiffany Call had made a lot of mistakes in her life. Some days she thought she had made so many, that they just all blurred together into one continuous mistake. Or maybe they tied themselves up into one big, knotted mess that was now her whole life. She couldn't find the end anymore, to even start trying to unravel it. Maybe her first mistake was being born? She gave a bitter chuckle. All downhill after that.
She sat in her living room waiting for her son to come home. He had snuck out. Again. She picked at the arm of the couch with nervous fingers.
She probably would not have noticed, but she had a sour feeling in her stomach and she had got up to get a glass of water. She loved watching him sleep. He looked angelic and young. All the worries were wiped from his face when he was asleep. She didn't know what he was worried about. He wouldn't tell her. But tonight, his bed was empty.
She didn't understand. Embry was a good kid. He had always been a good kid. He had been the one joy in her life. She had watched him like a hawk and he didn't seem to be exhibiting any behaviour of a teenager experimenting with drugs. He hadn't stolen any money from her. She had looked it up on the Internet at the tribal centre to be sure. He was hanging around with boys much older than he was. She worried. Some of them were not nice boys.
She asked and he refused to tell her and then she'd get upset and frustrated with him. She knew she was losing it. She found herself shouting at him and she didn't know how it had happened.
The more worried she got; the less sleep she got and the more easily she lost her temper the next time that they had an argument. It was killing her. She hated the person she was becoming. She had struggled along as a single parent for his entire life. She had no back-up. She didn't even have grandparents to support her. She didn't know what to do or who to ask for help. And Embry had never kept secrets like this from her before.
So, she worried.
He had changed. He was so big now; physically intimidating. And he got angry so easily. She was terrified it was drugs.
She got up, looked through the front curtains one last time, made sure the door was unlocked so he could get back in to the house and she went back to bed. She'd shout at him in the morning when he would (no doubt) stubbornly refuse to tell her where he had been, who with and what he had been doing.
"Oh, Embry," she sighed.
She cried herself to sleep.
She was rearranging the display in the window of the tourist shop where she worked, when she saw Billy Black. He was arguing with Jacob. That struck her as odd. Jacob had always been a good kid; just like Embry. He had never been disrespectful. Now she noticed it, he looked huge, too. He was bigger than Embry and he looked angry, as well. He stormed off up the sidewalk and left his father sitting in his wheelchair.
She glanced at Billy's face. He looked just as worried as she felt.
Maybe she wasn't quite so alone?
She went around the next night, to talk to Billy. She had no idea what she would say. She wasn't even sure she had a right to ask. The tribe had been pretty accepting of her, but she knew that they still thought of her as different to them. Even if she came from Neah Bay; a few hours' drive away, it made her different. She wasn't Quileute, she was Makah; still, after all these years.
She didn't belong anywhere. Her family had disowned her when she had fallen pregnant. No options. No discussion. Just thrown her out. She followed him to La Push, but that hadn't worked either. Joshua Uley had lied to her. He was married with a kid of his own. He had absolutely no interest in being responsible for her kid. She caused a scene. She went around to his house and screamed at him. She didn't know what else to do.
In the end it was his wife, Allison, who stuck up for her. She looked at Tiffany with something in her eyes that looked like pity. So far, it was the most positive reaction she had received. She put her hand on Joshua's arm and stopped him from doing whatever he was going to do. "Leave her alone," she said. He did.
She wasn't her friend, but Allison didn't make her leave the reservation. As it turned out, the one who did leave was Joshua. Not happy with anything that he had, he left and they hadn't heard from him for over a decade. Didn't even know if he was still alive.
She and Allison had never spoken again.
Tiffany had borne her child alone. He became everything to her. Her reason for getting up every morning. Her reason to stay alive. To have a job, to earn money and put food on the table. She adored him with her entire being.
Now, she was terrified that he was turning into his father. Funny, he didn't even know who his father was. She had never had the courage to tell him what a complete mess she had made of her own life. She kept waiting for him to reach some magic age when he would be old enough to understand. And now, he had grown up so fast, it had shocked her. She had clearly missed her chance. Allison hadn't ever told Embry who his father was either.
All this flashed across her mind as she waited for Billy Black to answer his door.
He looked up at her with his face studiously blank. "Tiffany Call," he greeted her.
"Billy." She stopped. She should have practised what she wanted to say, not thought about her past. "I-I saw Jacob today… outside the shop."
Billy said nothing.
"I wondered… if I could talk to you?"
Billy made a small sound, like a sigh. He reversed his chair and motioned her inside. She closed the door behind her and followed him to the kitchen. She didn't sit down.
"Did you want a drink of anything?" he offered.
"No, thanks. I won't stay long." She wrung her hands nervously. "I just wanted to ask you if Jacob is okay?"
Billy didn't answer her.
She blundered on, "I mean, he looks a lot like Embry does these days and I don't know what is happening or what he gets up to and I-"
"Tiffany," Billy interrupted.
"Jake's okay." He paused. "Embry is okay, too."
She took in a shaky breath. And then she just cried. She had no idea why she unreservedly believed Billy, but she did. She didn't think he would lie to her. She just stood there and cried.
Billy looked unnerved. "Do you want to sit down?" he offered.
"No," she wailed. "I sh-should g-go."
She felt so bad. She had broken down and wept like a complete drama queen. She was so embarrassed and she was utterly certain Billy was embarrassed, too. Part of her wanted to pretend it had never happened and another part of her wanted to apologise and a third part wanted to know why he was so sure the boys would be okay. She decided to follow parts two and three.
It took her a couple of days to work up the courage.
She made him a sugar free walnut and apple tea loaf, as a gift. She knew he had diabetes and she knew he was in the wheelchair because of circulation problems in his legs.
She went back over to his house, fully intending to just leave it and run, but Jacob opened the door before she could get away; almost as if he knew she was there. Embry did things like that, too. She clutched the plate and mumbled that she had something for his father.
"Smells good," he said. "Dad!" he called out, as he ushered her into the house.
Billy looked nervous when he saw who his visitor was.
"I came to apologise," she said, holding out the cake, exactly like a peace offering.
"It's sugar free," she hurriedly added.
"Thank God," said Billy. "I insist on a hot drink this time."
She cracked a small smile. "Thank you. That would be lovely."
She found a knife on the draining board and sliced the cake. Billy refused to give Jacob any. He sulked and went off to work in his garage.
"His friend Bella bakes for me," Billy explained, "but she always forgets about the sugar. Usually, Jake gets to eat it all." He took a bite and moaned with delight. "He's not getting any of this," he told her.
Tiffany felt inordinately pleased. They chatted and it was only later, after she had got home, that she realised she hadn't asked him about the boys. But she had really enjoyed her visit.
She found more no-sugar recipes and more reasons to visit. Billy looked pleased to see her now, so she visited again.
She was sitting one day, with him, lost in thought. She remembered Billy working on his fishing boat; his legs strong and muscled as he lifted the crates of fish onto the dock. She had many regrets in her life, and one was missed opportunities.
"I never dated long term. Maybe that's Embry's problem; no father."
"He's a good kid, Tiffany. He'll get through this."
"Whatever 'this' is."
Billy dropped his eyes to the table.
She sighed. "I'm not quite sure how to say this, Billy," she started.
He waited patiently, as he often did, for her to get out what she needed to say.
"Maybe you and I … should… I don't know what to call it… date?" She made it a question.
"You're still young, Tiffany."
She noted that wasn't actually an answer. She was young; she was thirty five.
"So are you. And?" she prompted.
Billy shook his head.
She felt a stab of disappointment. She shifted nervously in her chair. Pushing her coffee mug a little across the table. His rejection hurt.
"It's not that I object to dating you," Billy said. "It's just that I am not sure how much use I could be to a woman anymore. In the bedroom," he added, obviously.
Did he mean he couldn't function? "Oh, my god. I'm so sorry. I never thought about it." Of course. Diabetes caused blood flow issues and he'd need blood flow to sustain an erection. "I'm an idiot. I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have mentioned it."
Billy gave a wry smile. "It's okay. Have to say, it was the first sign that something was wrong. Neuropathy, it's called. The doctors said it was often that way. Not that, with Sara gone…" he trailed off.
The vital, physical man she knew was gone. Missed opportunity indeed. His shoulders and upper arms were still as broad and as strong as they had always been. He must be so frustrated to be trapped in a wheelchair; dependent on others sometimes to get around. She glanced around the kitchen. They couldn't even afford to rebuild it, to make it more accommodating for him.
She reached across and put her hand on top of his. "I apologise."
"I am pleased that you even offered."
"The offer still stands," she said, impulsively.
"I have slept alone for more than fifteen years, Billy." She shrugged. "There is more to dating than sex."
He nodded. "I know what you mean."
"So?" she checked.
"Can you get yourself to bed?" she asked.
Billy tried to pout. "Don't I get a kiss, first?"
She chuckled. "Good idea."
She stood up and approached him in his chair. She bent down to kiss him, their lips met and pressed together. It was very awkward. It didn't feel right. Her neck was at a weird angle and she didn't know where to put her hands.
They both laughed nervously.
"This is ridiculous," she said.
"You could just sit on my lap," he offered. He pushed the chair away from the table to give them a little more room.
"I won't hurt you? I don't want to bruise you or anything."
"It's probably easier for me. I can't lean forward from the waist very well." He looked down at the chair. "Let me get this arm out of the way or you will be the one bruised." The arm of his wheelchair pulled off to allow him to transfer himself off it.
"Oh. Okay." She put her hand out and he took it. He squeezed it, in what she hoped was encouragement. She clambered onto his lap. Their faces were much closer together now and also closer to the same height.
"That's better," he said.
She slid an arm around his neck and across his shoulders. "You always had the best shoulders," she said.
"Still got those."
He grinned at her. "Kiss me, Tiffany."
When Embry got home that night, his mother wasn't there. There wasn't a note from her, either. He was a little annoyed. She always left him a note. (He didn't notice the double standard.) He went back outside to look for her. He phased back to wolf to see if his sharper eyes could notice anything. Jake was phased, too.
Jake: Oh man. Embry? Is that you?
Jake: This is your fault.
Embry: What is?
Jake: Your mother is at my house.
Embry: She is? Disbelief.
Jake: In bed with my father.
More stunned silence.
Jake: What are you going to do about it?
Embry: What? What can I do?
Jake: With my father? Grumbles. At least it doesn't smell like sex-
Embry: Jesus, Jake. Do you have to?
Jake: They are whispering and making out like teenagers.
Jake flashed Embry a memory of it.
Embry: Fuck's sake, Jake. Don't show me that.
Jake: Well if I have to see it, you can, too. Ugh. That's it! I'm sleeping at your place.
Jake phased out and headed for Embry's house.
Tiffany opened her eyes. It took her a second to remember where she was. She was squeezed into Billy Black's single bed, with him. The bicep under her face was firm and well developed. She rubbed her cheek on it. His elbow was folded up and his arm was holding her close.
"Morning," he whispered.
"It's a good morning, isn't it?"
He reached for her hand, their fingers interlaced. He gave it a gentle squeeze. "Do you have plans for today?"
"Are you asking me on a date?"
She smiled. "I'd like that." She thought for a minute. "What will we do?"
"Whatever you want."
"Not fishing." It was a statement.
"Awww," he mock complained, "What's wrong with fishing?"
"Nothing. But surely you do enough of that?"
"A man's gotta eat and feed his boy."
"I hear you. My gosh, they eat so much." She stopped suddenly as she realised they were back on shaky ground.
She felt Billy's lips press at the back of her neck. "He'll be fine."
"I know. You told me. But you didn't… you know… tell me."
The silence stretched.
Tiffany thought about her son. "Oh, no! I didn't go home last night."
"No. You naughty girl."
"Embry will be fine. He's sixteen, like Jake. He looks after me half the time."
She squirmed. "I know… but-"
"But nothing. Now we have some things to do and then I will meet you at the kitchen table."
"Something like that."
"Oh. Okay." She had no idea what he meant.
They did their morning ablutions and then had coffee. They kept touching each other; kissing and maintaining physical contact.
Billy patted his hand on the table top. "Up you go, Tiffany."
He huffed out a breath. "I can't be spontaneous or romantic and sweep you off your feet. I can't even get it up for you. But I can still look after you."
She blinked. "P-pardon?"
He lifted his eyebrows. "I've got hands and a mouth," he suggested.
She looked completely blank. "You want me to… on the table?"
"Easiest for me. And you said you liked my shoulders."
"What about Viagra," she asked suddenly.
Billy shook his head. "Nitrates. The combination would be bad."
"What if someone sees us?"
"It's early. No one will come over." He frowned at her. "I never thought I would need to talk you into it."
"Oh, gosh. I'm sorry. I'm being kind of rude. It's just… I-"
"Do you want to do this, Tiffany?"
"Yes. Sorry." She smiled at him. "What do I do?"
"Come here." His voice was low and sensual.
She sidled closer to him. His hands reached up under her dress and slid her panties down. They dropped to the floor and she stepped out of them. "Are you sure?" she asked suddenly.
"I cannot tell you how much I miss the taste of a woman," Billy said.
He patted the table top again. She clambered up awkwardly. She sat on the table with her legs hanging down. Billy manoeuvred his wheelchair closer to the table and slid his hands underneath her thighs.
"Scoot forward a bit," he requested. "Towards me so that you sit right on the edge of the table."
She did. He lifted her foot and put it on the arm of his chair. She put her hand on his head. She still looked concerned.
"Seriously, I want to do this," he said. He rubbed his hands along her legs and up her thighs. He kept his eyes on her face and his warm palms on her skin. He just kept touching her until she had relaxed a little. Then he lowered his face and kissed her, extremely gently on the inside of the thigh. She shivered. Her fingers clenched in his hair.
He kissed her again a little further up. He kept placing delicate kisses on her thighs until she was almost wishing he would kiss her somewhere else.
"Mmm, you smell good," he sighed.
She closed her eyes. She leaned back on her elbows and gave herself to him. She forgot about his disability. She let him love her.
He paused, and then placed another kiss at the top of her pubic mound. Then he kissed his way lower.
She wanted to squirm. She had to try hard to hold herself immobile. She was already so excited. She groaned aloud when he reached her clitoris. He placed a tantalizing kiss right on top of it. He grabbed her around the thighs and shunted her back towards him. He buried his face in her. His tongue licked at her and his lips nibbled at her labia.
"Oh, Billy," she groaned.
He moved slightly and lifted her leg onto one of his wide shoulders. The other he pushed so that it lay flatter on the table; opening her right out for him. He returned his mouth to her and then slid a finger inside her. She pressed herself onto him. She could feel how wet she was. He slid a second finger inside her at the same time that he nibbled at her clit gently and she cried out.
The boys approached the house. Embry heard his mother cry out and ran forward before Jake could grab him. They both got an eyeful of Tiffany spread out on the table.
They turned and ran back to the forest. Just inside the tree line, Embry grabbed hold of Jake's arm. "We will never speak of this," he said vehemently.
"Yeah. No way, man. Never," agreed Jake.