This was just this odd little thought I had, and somehow I managed to arrange it in to something somewhat readable. I'm ignoring Breaking Dawn for this story, and I do realize that the whole Imprinting process probably isn't quite so fast-paced as I wrote it here, but the way I wrote this just felt right to me. I'm still working on getting back in to writing (I haven't done any proper writing in ages), so please forgive me if it's a bit sloppy.
Tell me what you think!
I'm sitting at the table examining the basket of food in front of me, trying to decided if I'm still hungry or not. It's my third double cheeseburger, and normally I would be able to put away at least five, but today I'm just not in the mood. Quil's sitting across from me in the booth, I haven't been paying attention to what he's been eating but he's got four of those red plastic baskets stacked in front of him and now he's alternating between eating handfuls of fries out of a fifth and staring out the dust covered window.
Embry abandoned us for the bubble gum-chewing waitress who had been batting her eyes at him since he walked in the door of this cheesy little dive. When she came over to take our order he spent ten minutes introducing us all and making small talk before he finally decided that he needed to eat some time this year. Quil almost hit him for that, we haven't eaten properly since yesterday at breakfast, and I'm not entirely sure that coffee and lukewarm pancakes count as breakfast. Now Embry's up at the counter with this girl leaning almost all the way across so she's practically in his face. She's smiling at every word he says and I'm almost positive that there's at least one more button undone on her powder blue top than there was when we walked in. He's toying with one of her honey-brown curls that's pulled itself out of her ponytail now; it's making me sick to my stomach. She'll be number seven, no doubt about it, she's entirely his type. Female and willing. Seven girls in seven cities, Embry's on a roll.
This is how it's been since we left La Push two weeks ago. Sam sent us away (no joke), this whole road trip was his big plan to keep Quil's mind off of Claire. You see, she's seventeen and her mother decided that as a graduation present she could go on a month long vacation down to California with some of her girlfriends, apparently she's got an uncle down there who hit it big and now he's got this great little beach house on the ocean. Quil nearly had an aneurysm when he heard about this, and as a result Sam set up this nice little trip to keep his mind off of Claire, though I'm not sure it's working all that well.
I haven't got a clue where we are, Embry's been driving and claims it's the Midwest, but he's been known to get lost in his own backyard. I stopped letting Quil use the map because he couldn't stop calculating the miles between Claire and whichever small-town motel we were bunked in for the night. Of course, I made the mistake of falling asleep in the truck this morning which left the navigation up to those two idiots, and now we're stuck here in this tacky diner with red vinyl seats in the booths and neon signs occupying most of the window space. Quil can't remember if the last state border we crossed had signs saying 'Minnesota' or 'Michigan,' and none of us have bothered to ask, we've still got another two weeks to make it back to Washington, and no one's worried.
The cook just came out into the dining room to remind Embry's 'friend' that she has a job to do, she just smiled and hurried away to clear the tables while the cook threw Em a not-so-pleasant look. He's still up at the counter but he's facing our table now, he catches my eye and nods in the direction of the waitress, raising his eyebrows. She's just 'dropped' a fork from one of the tables she's clearing and she's making a show out of bending over to pick it up, angling her hips just right so Embry gets perfect view of her ass. I glance back at him, and he's falling for her little trick, I catch him mouth the word 'damn' before I turn to join Quil in staring out the window.
I almost feel bad for the girl; she could do better than some stranger just passing through town. But then again, with the games she's been playing with him I don't think that she's a virgin to situations such as this. She's definitely pretty, honey-brown curls and bright green eyes, a little too much makeup and a little too tan, but that seems to be the norm with these small town farmer's daughters. She's wearing the uniform powder blue shirt with a pair of jeans so tight it should be illegal, she's got white flip-flops on and her toes are painted pink, her name tag says 'Missy' and I can't help but wonder if that's even her real name.
I must have been staring out of that window for a whole lot longer than I thought because by the time I turn around Quil's shaking his head and Embry's sauntering back to our table with a smirk on his face. He's shoving something pink and lacy into the pocket of his leather jacket, not really making an effort to hide what it is. The idiot's been taking souvenirs. He's sick in the head.
"I've got lunch covered." He is so full of himself. "Just make sure you leave a nice tip for Missy, she was terrific." He's not hiding the innuendo, or the smile that he flashes to the girl as he walks out. He's all about the theatrics; he's just going to go wait for us in the truck.
I glance over at Missy, she's holding up better than the last few girls. Her hair is out of its ponytail, and the buttons on her shirt are not only undone but missing (she's got it tied up over a white tank top now), she's missing an earring too but I don't have the heart to tell her. She's already got another piece of gum in her mouth and is busy behind the counter reapplying her lip gloss. Number three, Candice maybe, a cashier at a grocery store somewhere in Idaho had had an extremely difficult time wiping the grin off of her face once Embry had finished with her.
Quil's been ignoring all of this, he's got his wallet out and there's already a few bucks on the table. We both get up to leave at the same time and Missy throws a little wave in our direction as we walk out the door. Once we're outside we find Embry leaning up against the truck flirting with a redhead who doesn't look like she's quite interested in what he's selling, that would be a first. Quil's growl is barely audible as he approaches the two, politely introduces himself, and escorts the girl halfway back to the diner before coming back to the truck and throwing a punch in to Embry's shoulder. Clearly, he has been paying attention, and he's getting sick of it.
We're in the truck and on the road before Embry launches his defense for his actions. He goes on for a while about how just because Quil refuses to even look at any girl save Claire it doesn't mean that that the rest of us have to be like that. It's giving me a headache and for once I'm actually happy it's not my turn to drive. I shut my eyes and try to tune out Embry's voice; Quil's probably doing the same thing.
When I wake up I feel like I've only been out for ten minutes but a glance at the clock on the radio tells me it's been a whole two hours. We're pulled up at a gas station in a very desolate looking town; both Quil and Embry are outside the truck. Quil's leaning against the door staring at the numbers on the pump as they increase, Embry's sulking against one of the cement pillars, Quil must have said something to shut him up.
"Hey Jake, can you take a look at the map? Romeo here won't, he's upset that the chicks in the last two towns weren't quite up to his standards." I can almost feel the annoyance in Quil's voice from the other side of the truck as I get out the passenger side door taking the map with me.
I lean up against the pillar next to Embry and try to make sense of the crumpled mess that was once a map, it's my fault that it looks like this so I really don't have a right to complain, I tore it out of Quil's hands somewhere in Montana and shoved it under the driver's seat. I'm still trying to figure out which one of the pastel colored states we're currently in when I hear a low whistle from Embry.
"This lovely little town looks promising boys." He's got that smirk back on his face again, and I think my headache is coming back. "That right there is definitely something worth looking at." He inclines his head slightly in the direction of the 'something,' and for once he's actually making sense to me.
Right across the narrow street from the gas station is a repair shop, the neon sign on top of the cement building blinking something that must be 'Johnny's Garage,' but it's missing both Ns and a G. That's not what Embry's talking about though, it's not even the '69 Mustang that's parked on the gravel right outside the shop, and even Em's less than mechanically-inclined mind could appreciate that kind of car. What Embry's talking about is the girl leaning over the car's engine.
She's not just a girl though, from this angle I can only see her from the waist down and I already know she's beautiful. She's wearing a pair of tan work boots like they're the latest fashion from Milan, and cutoff denim shorts that could easily register as the eighth deadly sin. Her legs are long and tanned and her ass really is something to be admired, and on top of all that she's underneath the hood of a car like she knows what she's doing. She's beautiful.
Embry's pushing himself up off of the pillar, no doubt going to introduce himself with the hopes of adding to his 'collection,' but before I know what I'm doing my hand's on his chest and I'm pushing him back against the cement.
"What the hell Jake?"
He's actually angry? "She's not your number eight Em." My voice is a lot harder than I had planned, and I'm not really sure what I'm saying, I just know that I'm not going to let Embry have this girl.
Quil's already joined us on the passenger side of the truck and I miss the look that he shares with Embry because I'm already headed across the street.
"What the fuck is he doing?" Quil's practically hissing at Embry. He's tired from driving and he just wants to find a motel so he can pass out; one less day until he gets to go back to his Claire-Bear, maybe this will be the time that she actually missed him as much as he misses her.
"I have no idea." Embry's slightly dazed; no one has ever tried to stop him from getting a girl that he wanted.
I make it across the street and there's about ten yards of gravel between the curb and the car. My boots crunch against the stones and I know she can hear me walking up. I make it about half way there before I'm stopped.
"It's not for sale." She doesn't shift her position even slightly, clearly focused on finishing whatever she's working on. There's annoyance in her voice but it doesn't register, mostly because her voice echoes in my head like wind chimes; it's low and rich with a local accent that slides off her tongue like butter. It's the kind of voice that could manipulate and persuade; the kind of voice that could bring kings to their knees.
"Wasn't asking," my reply is easy, and I continue my approach, just slower now. Her shoulders tense a bit and she hesitates in her work for a fraction of a second when she hears my footsteps.
"Then what do you w—," her voice catches as she straightens up, turning to face me and making eye contact.
We both stop short, leaving about five feet between us, and I take advantage of her distraction. She's tall-ish, at least 5' 7", with a long blonde ponytail tossed over one of her almost-too-broad shoulders. She's wearing a white t-shirt that leaves only a little to the imagination; the girl was blessed with curves in all the right places. She isn't delicate at all, she's strong and sure of herself, her mouth is a sultry pout and her eyes are a gunmetal grey that I can't say I've ever seen before.
It's her eyes that catch me; it has to be hours that were locked like that, probably drawing odd looks from anyone passing by. I wouldn't have noticed, my whole world is shifting. She's the only person I can see, the slight irregularities in her breathing are all I can hear despite the traffic right behind me, all I can smell is her perfume, vanilla and lavender. I'm not even sure how I know that.
This is it, I can feel the entirety of my life up until now fall away into a distant part of my brain, from now on she will be my life. This is what it feels like. Imprinting. She is my one. And I'm almost positive that she can feel it too, which makes no sense to the rational part of my brain, but that's not really the part that I'm listening to right now.
"Is it yours?" I'm only halfway out of the haze when I'm asking this, I'm not even positive that the words came out right.
"Wh—? Oh! The car?" She's fumbling for words, her eyes haven't left mine. "Yeah, it's mine." I hear her exhale of relief after getting the words out properly.
"You from around here?" What a stupid question! I don't even know where 'here' is, and that sounds way too much like one of Embry's lines for my liking.
"No, not really." Still, unbroken eye contact. "I'm not really from…anywhere." She's calming down a bit.
I don't understand her answer, I can feel my brow crease slightly in confusion, but I'm still not entirely sure that I'm in complete control.
"My parents passed away two years ago. I've lived in four different states since then. I pick up work when I can find it, usually fixing cars." Her sentences are sort of broken and she's wringing an oil-covered cloth in her hands.
"I'm sorry, I just can't seem to think straight right now," she's shaking her head, her eyes breaking away from mine. "I don't know what's wrong with me." She's leaning back against the car now, tugging at her ponytail and staring at her feet. Is this how it was for Emily when Sam first saw her? It must be, because this surely isn't normal.
"Tell me if this is out of line," I've got too much confidence now, I'm afraid I'll scare her, but I can't stop the words that are coming out of my mouth, "But how opposed are you to moving just one more time?"
"To where?" She's whispering now, I hadn't realized how close we were until now, there's about a foot between us. I blink once, twice, I can't believe the words that are coming out of her mouth. She's not scared, she's not looking at me like I'm crazy, she's perfect.
"I've always wanted to see the Olympic Peninsula." I'm almost on top of her now, there are inches between us.
"You're perfect." It's a fact.
She's leaning forward slightly, her eyes aren't hazy anymore, they're determined and before I can catch myself my lips are brushing against hers. I hesitate slightly, the rational part of my brain kicking in, but she's not having it, her mouth moves against mine and I can feel her hands tug at my wrists, coaxing me closer. I can't understand how this happened so fast, but I'm not complaining or questioning, I have forever to think about this moment, right now I just need to feel it.
Her hands are sliding upwards from my wrists, over my biceps, and resting lightly on my shoulders. My hands are at her waist and she's starting to become a sensory overload, my head is filled with her. Our mouths are still moving together and I trace my tongue along her bottom lip, needing to taste her. She complying, nipping gently at my bottom lip before allowing access to her mouth. Our tongues are sliding against each other but she's not giving in, she wants dominance. I can feel her hands shifting from my shoulders to sink in to my hair, her fingertips on the back of my neck have me suppressing a growl and I know I have to slow this down before I'm unable to stop it.
I break the kiss and within milliseconds I'm regretting it and my mouth is against hers again. I'm drawing on all of my self control to pull away from her lips, and I'm settling for shifting my attention to the corner of her mouth, then her jaw, then her cheek. I still can't pull away, so we're standing here, locked in an embrace.
"You're perfect," I whisper.
I can hear someone clearing their throat over my left shoulder, and I feel her hands drop from around my neck and a soft 'Oh' escapes from her lips. It's Quil and Embry of course, more Embry than Quil, the latter is still about five yards away with no intentions of moving. Embry's introducing himself now, but she's not paying attention, I think he's only doing it to be polite because he's still staring at me like I've gone completely insane.
"Is she…?" He's asking stupid questions, as usual.
I'm nodding, but my eyes haven't left her.
Behind me Quil's laughing, I mean really laughing. I can't tell if it's at the look on Embry's face or if it's just at the whole situation. Because in all honesty, it's pretty ridiculous. I'm standing with this girl between me and a Mustang, she's still bent backward slightly and her mouth looks thoroughly kissed. She's blinking at Embry now, and leaning slightly to get a look at Quil. Her eyebrows knit momentarily and now she's smiling, laughing too, almost as hard as Quil is behind me. Her laugh is beautiful.
"I'm Jake." I'm only now realizing that we've never been introduced.
"As in Benz?" She laughs and offers me her hand; I take it and brush my lips against her knuckles. She wasn't expecting that and it's making her blush beautifully.
It's been two weeks and we're crossing the Washington state line, there are smiles on everyone's faces. Mercy's next to me in the Mustang, which after hours of persuading she finally let me drive, her bare feet are up on the dashboard and she's singing every word to Sweet Child 'O Mine as loud as she can. Her fingers start tracing patterns on my wrist every time I shift gears. Quil and Embry are following us in the truck. Embry's thrilled because he's positive that his 'collection' is bigger than Paul's was before he imprinted on my sister, and Quil's shaking with the anticipation of seeing Claire again, he's been this way for three days now.
We spent nearly a week touring the Great Lakes, and Embry spent three of those days with the same girl, which must be some sort of record. Her name was Nichole, and she was terribly shy, and terribly quiet, and completely not his type, but Em walked right up to her, introduced himself and invited her to watch the fireworks over the lake with him. I think he's actually going to miss her. She was lucky number eighteen, I think. There were twins at one point and I'm not sure how he's counting that, I don't even want to think about it.
We camped out under the stars on our way back through Montana and Quil told the old Quileute legends. When he was finished, Mercy told him he was brilliant and I swear he blushed, he's going to be better than his grandfather at telling those stories some day. The best part was when he got around to the stories about the spirit warriors; Mercy leaned closer, clinging to the words. She almost begged Quil to tell her more, but he hasn't quite perfected the rest of them, so she'll have to wait.
We spent a night in this small little town with only one run down motel. They only had one vacancy so we took it, no questions asked; we were all too tired to notice the look the manager gave us as we took the key. When we finally all stumbled in to the room we were faced with the problem of there being only one bed. It was an easy decision, we gave Mercy the bed and Quil, Embry, and I crashed on the floor. At around three in the morning I heard the springs in the mattress shift slightly and I locked eyes with Mercy as she slid off the bed and on to the floor next to me. She was shivering slightly so I pulled her closer and watched as her eyes fluttered shut. Quil was almost angry when he woke up in the morning and found an empty king sized bed that he easily could have taken advantage of.
Before I know it we're back on the rez and I can see Sam and Emily's house down the road. I can see dark hair blowing in the wind that's so long it can only be Claire's; she's waiting on the porch and I just know that Quil's patience is finally going to seem worth it.
"Where are we?" Mercy's asking. She's unbuckled her seat belt and is a whole lot closer to me now, watching the houses and trees go by through the driver's side window. She's humming slightly and muttering things like 'beautiful' and 'green,' her fingers ghosting aimlessly over my shoulder.