It had been two weeks since our last family hunting trip, and the lengthy fasting was beginning to show in my family member's behavior. Carlisle liked to keep well fed in order to prevent any 'accidents' at the hospital -as unlikely as they were- and the dark circles and pallid complexions of Alice and Esme grew more prominent every day. Jasper still struggled with our dietary choices, and Edward's encounter with the human girl –Bella Swan- triggered his need to feed more frequently in hopes of easing his internal battle against his thirst. I was constantly reminded of this weakness whenever a human ventured too close at school. All in all, it was time to orchestrate a group outing.
Rosalie opted to stay behind, claiming she could use the time to work on my Jeep which "desperately needed the repair." I smiled and shook my head at the memory of Rosalie's thorough examination of the Jeep's inner workings. She could be so protective of all things mechanical sometimes. Her passion for auto work continued to baffle me. They seemed like polar opposites, the two of them: Grease and cleanliness, dirty work and beauty. But I was happy to let her work on my car; I knew she would take care of it, and it would likely gain some speed due to her handiwork. Plus it was free- or almost. I knew she'd find some way for me to make it up to her later…
"Emmett! Are you coming?!" Alice's sing-song voice held a slight edge of impatience. I didn't need Edward's mind-reading ability to know my whole family was growing irritated with how long it took me and Rosalie to say good-bye.
I waved to Rosalie as we pulled away. With a toss of her golden hair, Rosalie gracefully sashayed into the garage, mindful of my eyes still on her retreating form. Even with her work clothes, tool belt, and layers of grease and grime, she was still the most beautiful being I had ever seen.
Edward's gagging noise brought me back to reality. I glanced over apologetically, aware of his burden of hearing every uncensored thought that passed through my mind at that moment. He rolled his eyes and turned back to the window. I sighed. It was going to be a long car trip.
The ubiquitous cloud cover of Forks began to yield a few raindrops as I lightly jogged back to the garage. The faint sounds of metal on metal and the steady drip-drop of oil leaking –sounds only my vampire hearing could pick up- told me Rosalie was still tinkering with the Jeep. The absence of extensive curses and exasperated sighs told me it was going well and safe to enter. If it were anyone else working on my car, I would have been alarmed at the sight of unidentified car parts strewn across the floor. But Rosalie knew what she was doing. Upon seeing me, she put aside her wrench and wiped her hands on a rag. I was impressed to see her French manicure was still perfectly intact.
"How were the grizzlies?" She asked, naming my favorite snack.
"Irritable," I answered, grinning. "Just the way I like 'em."
She flashed a dazzling smile and turned towards her work bench. She bent to pick something up, presumably another tool, and as she turned back around, and I let my eyes admire her incomparable beauty. Her long luscious locks, snow-white skin, sparkling eyes, the CD case held between her fingertips, her shapely…
My mind backtracked to the case. She quickly hid it behind her back, but it was too late. I already knew what it was.
"Was there anything you were trying to hide from me, Emmett?" She smiled coyly, obviously trying to get me to confess. Not a chance.
"I don't know what you mean, Rose." I silently thanked my vampire ability to lie smoothly, better than any professional actor. Unfortunately, she didn't buy it.
"You didn't have anything stashed in your glove box that you didn't want me to find?" I struggled to keep my face blank. "All-American Rejects?" She prodded.
"The All-American Rejects weren't hidden in the-" I shut my mouth as soon as I realized what I was saying. Her full lips curved upward in a triumphant smirk.
"And how do you know?" She moved closer, turning the full mesmerizing force of her eyes on me. I gulped. If I were human, I would have broken a sweat.
"Because…I know what's not hidden in that glove box…" My voice trailed off. Rosalie pulled the CD case out from behind her back.
"Hanson?" She questioned, barely concealing her fiendish delight.
"I can explain!" I cried, throwing my hands up as if to shield myself from her mocking gaze. "It was a petty indulgence!"
"I was tempted to search the rest of the car to see what else you're ashamed of showing me." Rosalie was having way too much fun with her discovery of my love for indie rock. "Celine Dion stuck in the radiator? Backstreet Boys up the exhaust pipes?"
She flipped the CD case over and examined the songs. "Which one is your favorite? 'This Time Around?' 'Strong Enough to Break-' how cliché. It couldn't have been these songs- was it Taylor's attractiveness that got you hooked on Hanson?"
I felt a momentary pang of jealousy –the kind I always feel whenever Rosalie finds another man good-looking- but that was soon forgotten when I realized the repercussions of her find. She must have recognized the jealous expression that had flashed across my face.
"Don't worry," she cooed. "I still think you're handsome."
I stupidly felt relieved. Maybe, if she was in such a generous mood, she might be willing to let this incident go…
"Rose, why don't we just keep this between the two of us?" I said, pointlessly lowering my voice. I swiftly plucked the case out of her grasp.
She ambled over to the open driver's door of the Jeep. I opened the case. It was empty.
I looked up in horror, just in time to see her turn the car stereo on. Even with my inhuman speed, I was too late to stop the "MmmBop" suddenly blaring through the car's speakers, at maximum volume. The whole garage shook with every "doo-wap" of the Hanson brothers. I heard the sounds of my family members approaching the garage over the music. I squeezed my eyes shut; this was supposed to be something between me and my Jeep as we cruised down the highway. Now my whole family was in on it.
Edward reached the garage first. He instantly recognized the band, having switched the station every time they came on the radio. He took in the scene before him. Between Rosalie's sadistic expression and my pained one, he quickly grasped the situation. His shoulders began to shake with suppressed laughter, and he pinched the bridge of his nose as if he had a headache.
"Too…many…jokes…" He gasped. "How do I choose?"
Alice and Jasper stood in the doorway. "Hanson?" They asked in unison.
"Oops," Rosalie said, covering her mouth with her hand. "I guess the word's out, Em."
Edward had almost gained control of his laughter. "Emmett-bop," he breathed, testing me. I couldn't help it; a low growl built in my throat.
If my family was laughing before, they were howling now.
"Careful, Ed. Emmett's very protective of his Ike, Zac, and Tay," Rosalie teased. "I think I'll bring this into school. The boys in auto class need to appreciate the wonder of Emmett-bop."
Carlisle and Esme had arrived at the scene in time to overhear Rosalie's last statement. Esme's motherly instincts kicked in, leading her to be sympathetic towards my predicament.
"Now, now, kids, Emmett can listen to whatever he wants. Let's not gang up on him." I felt grateful to her for taking my side, but at the same time I knew how comical it was for my siblings to see a grown man –and one of my stature- needing his mother to put the bullies in their place. People like me usually were the bullies.
"Right, Carlisle? Carlisle?" Esme tried to casually elbow him into a response.
"You like Hanson? Are they even still together?" He asked, incredulous.
Edward, Alice, and Jasper were dangerously close to dying from laughter- figuratively speaking, of course. As if dying were that easy for us vampires. They'll find themselves much closer to death when I catch up to them, I thought, mentally punching my fist into my palm. I caught Edward's fit of laughter in my peripheral vision. I'm sure he found that last thought highly entertaining.
I hung my head and slouched out of the garage. I was painfully aware of what I was trading –my reputation, possibly my sanity-for a little work on my Jeep. I was generally the one picking on my siblings (Edward was the usual scapegoat); they'll certainly use this opportunity to exhaust this discovery to the max. Lucky for me I'm immortal; it'll take a century to live this one down.