The Lost and the Found
Jacob whipped his head around, startled by the slightly high-pitched scream.
It was Ryan.
The boy was sprinting over the grassy banks of the beach, ripping off his shirt in the process. He flew by the amused werewolf, and launched himself into the Pacific Ocean. In a series of frantic splashes that blatantly gave away the lack of any swimming expertise Ryan possessed, the boy gurgled and finally managed to pull out a very serene and smiling Evelyn. It took Ryan another minute to struggle his way out of the water, huffing and puffing uselessly until he managed to reach a point where his feet touched ground. It was quite dramatic, actually; the manner in which Ryan dragged Evelyn onto the rocks of the beach and collapsed.
Jacob watched, unimpressed.
"EVELYN! EVELYN! ARE YOU OKAY?" Ryan hysterically shook his sister.
"God Damnit, Evelyn!" the boy scowled, "How many times have I told you? How many times? The one day I take off work, I wake up and I find you gone. How any times have I told you: let me know! Do we need to go over this again?"
Evelyn leaned forward, placing a drenched hand on her brother's arm. She smiled peacefully, "Ryan, I always take a morning walk to the beach."
Ryan was at lost for words, spluttering pointlessly, "I –I…y-you…morning walks? S-Since when? What? Evelyn! No!"
Evelyn nodded, "Yes. Every morning. And as miraculous as it may seem, Ryan, I'm fine. As you can see, I have yet to suffer a debilitating injury."
Jacob's first mistake was to chuckle.
Ryan's eyes landed venomously on Jacob, who had yet to move during the entire incident. The boy carefully, never breaking eye contact, got on his feet.
"You," Ryan whispered dangerously.
Jacob raised an eyebrow.
Ryan stalked forward; bare-chested, shivering violently from the cold, his nice black pants completely sodden through with sea water, his lips turning an odd shade of purple, "You. Jacob Black. How dare you? How dare you come near my sister!"
Jacob's second mistake was to smile.
Evelyn was the one to speak up, "Ryan. Jacob is my friend."
The brother shook his head savagely, his grey eyes never leaving Jacob's impassive features, "No, Evelyn. No. Jacob Black," he spit his name as if it were the worst of insults, "Jacob Black is not your friend. And he never will be. Never."
"Ryan, you're being very rude," Evelyn pursed her lips.
"Evelyn, you're blind," Ryan threw right back at her, "You can't see him. Jacob Black is not someone I approve for you to hang around."
She sighed tiredly, "Sight is misleading at times, Ryan. You don't know Jacob, how can you judge him so quickly?"
"Oh," Ryan laughed dryly, "Oh, I know who Jacob Black is," he was talking to Jacob now, his eyes lethal, "I've heard about you. You ran away for three years: leaving behind your family, your friends, your father without even a note. And then, you come back like the prodigal son, and just sit there immobile like a madman. You have issues. AND, I know you're part of Sam Uley's gang. You're a mute, a felon, a good-for-nothing lunatic and I never want to see you near my sister again! Do you hear me?" he was spitting, red-faced by now, "DO YOU HEAR ME?"
There was a still silence - Ryan panting as he tried to regain his breath, his gasps of air condensing into white puffs in the cold morning air. The beach seemed to stretch forever in a continuum of grey stones and waves lapped gently at the beach. Evelyn was motionless, her blue eyes wide and slightly disappointed.
Jacob's third mistake was to grin.
For Ryan, that was the last straw. He threw himself at Jacob, apparently intending to fight him.
A growl resounded through the beach.
Ryan never got to even touch Jacob. In a split second, he was violently thrown back as Embry Call came to stand imposingly in front of Jacob, his usually easy smile replaced with a dangerous snarl.
"What do you think you're doing?" Embry intoned deeply, glaring at the shivering blonde who was beginning to develop odd red blisters all over his skin. Evelyn started, surprised at the new voice.
Ryan's expression of shock quickly deteriorated into a defiant line. He winced as he rose to his feet, "Keeping your friend away from my sister."
Embry caught the ingrained slur and growled, a terrifying predatory sound. Jacob remained as unexpressive as ever behind Embry, his dark eyes never leaving Evelyn's face.
"Ryan, stop. Right now. You're being unreasonable. And you're embarrassing yourself. Stop," Evelyn's voice was firm, commanding.
Ryan squared his shoulders, "It's my job to protect you. My job. Ever since…," his eyes momentarily flooded with anguish. It was gone as quickly as it came, "I have to protect you, look out for your best interests. And it is not in your best interests to hang out with Jacob Black."
"I think you should listen to your sister," Embry advised menacingly.
Ryan's head snapped right back up, "Don't tell me what to do."
Evelyn had stepped between the new voice and her brother, "Ryan," she warned.
Ryan grabbed her arm and placed her behind him, "Don't get near them, Evelyn. These people are dangerous."
"Seriously, Ryan. Stop," Evelyn huffed, and Jacob had the strong inclination that the girl would have rolled her eyes, had she been capable of it.
The shivering boy tried to put on a bold front, fixing his eyes on the two imposing werewolves, "You don't frighten me."
Embry grinned, raising his eyebrows, "Wouldn't dream of it," then the pretext vanished, "Go home. Now."
Ryan came to his senses. Embry wasn't going to back down. Jacob was obviously not going to say anything. And, frankly, Ryan didn't have a chance in a million against the two werewolves. The boy opened his mouth, closed it, and then let out a frustrated noise from the back of his throat. Taking Evelyn's hand, he turned back around, dragging her up the grassy bank, away from the sound of the ocean.
"Good bye, Jacob," came Evelyn soft voice.
Jacob started at hearing his name, his hard features softening if just for a second. "Good bye, Evelyn," he whispered.
And then she was gone.
Jacob tried to disappear. He really did – the last thing he wanted was a conversation with Embry after what had happened. Of course, Embry disagreed.
"HEY! Jacob! Wait!" Embry called out, rushing after his brooding friend.
Jacob kept walking.
"You know, a simple thanks would have been enough," Embry piped up sarcastically, matching Jacob's stride. The sun was much higher in the sky now, shining on the ocean in an uncharacteristic manner for the Olympic Peninsula.
Jacob spoke up without preamble, "Don't tell anyone."
Embry half-smiled to himself, his eyes kind, "That's her, isn't it? The one you always think about? I didn't think she was real."
The other werewolf swiveled to face him, showing more emotion than Embry had seen in a very long time. Jacob was surprised, confused…and was that embarrassment?
Embry chuckled, trying his best not to overwhelm his friend or cause Jacob to shrink to back into his shell, "Don't worry – I'm the only one that runs patrols with you, and I haven't told anyone. I rather you think about this - what's her name? Evelyn? – than that creepy emo numbness you specialize in. It's a nice change."
Jacob was slightly taken back, but for the first time since that letter, he felt a smile tugging at his face.
Embry saw it, and his grin grew wider.
Jacob Black, the Jacob Black was coming back.
And somehow, that blind girl had everything to do with it.
Jacob cleared his throat, turning his eyes upward towards the sun, shoving his hands inside his pockets, "I didn't need rescuing by the way, I was fine back there."
Embry laughed, punching Jacob's arm lightly - by werewolf standards, "Hey! No one lays a hand on my friend! I got your back, need me or not," he leaned in conspiratorially, "Besides, to tell the truth, it wasn't really you I was worried about. I don't think Sam would be too happy if he heard you mangled a civilian beyond recognition."
"Sure, sure," Jacob humored him, rolling his eyes.
Embry pushed him, "What's with this Ryan-character anyways?"
Jacob grinned, "He's jealous."
"Oh, of course. Why didn't I think of that myself?" Embry mocked good-naturedly.
The mood turned more serious as the wind pushed against them, spraying them with the cusps of the waves.
Embry stretched, glancing at Jacob through the side of his eyes, "So…you gonna to see Evelyn again?"
Jacob looked down at his feet, kicking a rock absentmindedly. Finally, he looked up, a determined glint in his dark eyes.
It has been a while, no? I want to deeply thank all of you who dropped off a review for this story even though my updating was seriously lacking: your encouragements keep me writing, even though life gets more and more hectic. :)
On another note: the old Jacob Black is resurfacing, lady and gentlemen! Still not quite there yet, but we're starting to see glimpses. And what do you think of Ryan? Slightly temperamental, don't you agree? Not to mention overly protective. But then again, that seems to be a pattern with all the men in La Push, so maybe it's not that big of a deal…;)