A/N: This fits in between chapters 36 and 37. I had originally thought I would include some of this in the story, but decided to keep it out. This was fun for me to write because I've wanted to do an Emmett POV since the beginning but it never fit. I finally got my chance. He's a little goofier here than usual, but he's also outside of school and away from Rosalie, who tends to dampen his silliness some. Enjoy…and Twilight is still not mine.
Emmett, Thursday Night
Emmett ran across the parking lot, fists pumping wildly. He credited the huge smile on his face to three things: the feel of the wind in his hair, the flex and pull of his muscles as they worked in tandem, and the sound of his little brother at least four lengths behind him. He took a quick look over his shoulder to check Edward's position and his smile grew even bigger. He so had this.
"Shotgun!" He yelled as he slapped the roof of Charlie's car and grabbed the handle of the passenger door. It was a ritual they'd had since they were little kids, but they hadn't fought over who got to sit up front in years. It pained Emmett to admit that Edward was faster and had usually beaten him to the car, but Emmett had the advantage this particular night. He'd been closer and might have forgotten to tell Edward that they were even going to race.
Edward's hand slapped the hood a few seconds later as he came to a screeching halt next to the car. "You're such a cheater!" Edward said as he bent over and rested his hands on his knees, panting heavily. The distance from Jack's apartment to the car hadn't been that far, but they'd been running full out.
Emmett's heart slowed and began to beat at a normal rate as they waited for Charlie to make his way across the parking lot. He had the keys and unlike them, he was taking his time. Charlie whistled quietly as he scanned the parking lot, still on alert for the hopeful pending appearance of Jack Senna. He patted his pockets when he got even with the car and Emmett heard the faint clinking of the handcuffs that had very recently been wrapped around his wrists.
Emmett rubbed his wrists gingerly with the memory. There were some faint red marks where the metal had been too tight against his skin. If Rosie saw them, she'd probably get mad. Not because he'd done something to warrant being handcuffed, but because he hadn't thought to bring a pair home for them to use during play time.
Emmett wasn't ashamed to admit that he got play time just like a preschooler would. His play time just involved different toys and a lot more satisfaction.
Charlie unlocked the car, bringing Emmett out of his reverie. He yanked the door open and slid onto the leather seat with a triumphant grin at his brother. Edward flipped him the bird before stomping around the front of the car and to the back door.
"Boys, place nice," Charlie said as he turned the motor on to heat the car for a while. It was early April and the nights still dipped below freezing. They'd been standing outside of Jack's apartment for at least thirty minutes, freezing their nuts off, and the heat blowing out of the car's vents felt good.
Emmett held his hands up to the warm stream of air. "I am the poster child for playing nice," he told Charlie before casting a discerning look at his brother.
Edward frowned at him and huffed. From the look in his eyes, Emmett could tell that their light-hearted conversation was about to take a 180.
"Emmett, about this morning…" Edward started to say, but Emmett cut him off.
"I already apologized. Do we need to rehash it again?" Emmett replied. Emmett wasn't one to agonize over the past. His philosophy was to just keep moving. In this case, it meant moving towards the future and not lingering on what should or could have happened. What happened was over and now they needed to determine how that would shape their goals and desires in the future.
"I just wanted to discuss the board and their role in all of this. Is it personal with them or what?" Edward sat forward now, on the edge of the back seat, and rested his arms on the back of Charlie's headrest.
Emmett sighed and rubbed his forehead. He had hoped to leave work behind for a while why they played cops and robbers, but as usual, that was not going to be the case. His job followed him everywhere. He sneaked a peek at Charlie hoping to use him as an excuse to get out of this conversation but he seemed enraptured by the conversation. Damn. It figured that he wouldn't be bored to death by this topic.
"You have to understand the purpose of the board of directors," Emmett said as he settled back against the leather seat of the car. "They have administrative and financial responsibilities that are vital to the success of Cullen Academy. They set the procedures and policies to which the school adheres. They are also responsible for the financial well-being of the school. The men and women of the board make sure that the school is running according to its guidelines and that we aren't in the red."
Emmett paused and turned his head to look at his brother. "The school is just like any business in that respect. Financial solvency is one of our goals, which leads to the security of the school and the happiness of the board of directors. The National Diamond Award of Excellence is a big deal. Prestige, recognition, money: the kinds of things that are important to people like board members. This particular award also has the added bonus of being secretive and very exclusive."
"Like Skull and Bones," Charlie interjected.
Emmett raised his eyebrows, surprised that Charlie knew about the Yale secret society. "Yes," he replied. "Naturally, the board was extremely anxious for the school to win. The time and effort that the board put into preparing the school for the judging process was unbelievable. They were hungry for it and this morning, when we got the phone call, well, you can see how upset they would have been."
Edward was quiet. Emmett turned so he could look at his brother. Charlie continued to scan the parking lot. Some of the anger was gone from Edward's face now and Emmett was glad for it. The situation was fucked up, but they needed to keep their minds clear and emotionless in order to move forward. "It's not personal, Edward. It's just the way they've always been. If it had been Alice, or Angela, or Felix, or Eric, the results would have been the same. They would have been released immediately and sent on their way. Should it have been handled differently? Absolutely. Will I be fighting for Bella? You'd better believe it. I love your little flower and I absolutely hate what happened this morning, but we can't dwell on it. We're taking steps now to correct the situation and just like that freaking Scarlett O'Hara says, 'Tomorrow is another day.'"
The car was silent for a moment before Edward and Charlie both started cracking up. Emmett smiled right along with them. Sometimes, it was just better to say stupid stuff to make them laugh than to be serious all the time.
"Did you just quote Gone with the Wind?" Edward asked, slapping him on the shoulder.
"Yep," Emmett replied unapologetically.
"You are messed up in the head," his brother told him. Emmett agreed with him to some extent, but he wasn't going to admit that. Besides, it was nice to see a smile on Edward's face. He would have stood on top of the car and danced like Beyonce if it meant wiping the frown away.
He decided that it was time to get back to the real issue at hand: how to catch a sneaky reporter. "So, Charlie, what's the plan? Are you going to call in backup? Have a helicopter on standby? How do we take down the perp? And when do I get my gun?" Emmett rubbed his hands together in anticipation.
Charlie's bottom lip protruded a bit as he appeared to contemplate Emmett's questions. He twisted to the right slightly and wrapped his arm around the back of his seat so he could see Emmett better. "You ever handled a weapon before?"
"No, sir," Emmett said as he took over scanning the parking lot. This was way better than Law & Order. Emmett was pondering the possibility of writing and starring in his own TV series when Edward pushed open the back door and climbed out.
"I'll be right back. I'm going up to Bella's to grab us some snacks," Edward said. Emmett watched him lope across the parking lot and up the stairs to Bella's apartment.
Emmett continued his slow scan of the parking lot until he looked back to his left and realized that Charlie was still looking at him. "What?" He asked, wondering how long Bella's Pop had been staring him down.
"Son, why in the hell would I give you a weapon if you've never even handled one before? That's just plain stupidity. You'd probably shoot your foot off the first chance you got and that would just look shitty on me." Charlie tapped his fingers a few times on the steering wheel, punctuating the important words like "stupidity" and "shitty."
Emmett nodded in understanding. He didn't blame the Chief for being cautious. "I've had plenty of practice though. Edward and I play Halo all the time on my Xbox. I kick ass. Besides, we can't send you in there alone. You need me to cover your six."
Charlie was silent for a moment. Emmett leaned down to turn on the radio, hoping to catch the tail end of the Cubs game, but Charlie's hand shot out and covered the radio before Emmett even got close. "Edward did say that you're the school's principal, right?" He asked keeping his eyes glued to Emmett's face.
Emmett sat back reluctantly. "Yes, that's right."
"So, you've probably got a couple fancy degrees then too."
"I guess I'm glad Bella went to school in Washington then. She knows the difference between handling a real weapon and playing a video game."
Emmett laughed at Charlie's remark. "Chief – did you really think I meant that I would be able to shoot a gun just because I've played a video game? I was just yanking your chain. I would have your back though. I played tackle in high school and I could probably still take down a few people, even as out of practice as I am."
Charlie stared at him dubiously for a moment before shifting his gaze back to Jack's apartment. "You're not as serious as your brother, are you?" The hint of a smile played at the corners of his mouth.
Emmett relaxed back against the seat. "Not all the time. I do have my moments, but I would say on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being an Edward, I'm more of a 7." Emmett glanced over at Charlie again and then checked the stairs to Bella's apartment to make sure that Edward wasn't on his way back yet. "Edward's a good guy. He loves Bella, you know. We all do. He may screw up sometimes, but what guy gets everything right all the time? She's good for him, but I think he's good for her too." Emmett didn't want to get all girlie with the Chief, but he felt like he needed to reassure him regarding Bella. He knew that Edward was going to propose soon, and he didn't want Charlie to worry about Bella, especially since Charlie lived so far away. All of the Cullens were going to take care of her.
Charlie huffed and tapped the steering wheel a few more times. "He's been better today," he said after a moment. Charlie seemed to like his silences. "Not as uptight or grouchy. He finally stopped calling me sir all the time too. That just makes me feel old." A real smile spread across his face now and it made Emmett glad to see it. Bella's Pop was pretty ok in his book.
Emmett spied Edward crossing the parking lot then. He carried a plastic grocery bag in one hand and a few bottles of water in the other. Emmett would have preferred a beer, but he would make do with the water. The Chief probably expected them to stay sober while they kept watch.
Once he was settled in the back seat, Edward passed up two bottles of water and a bag of potato chips for them to share. "Won't Bella be mad that you're taking her food?" Emmett asked as he dug into the bag like he'd been a contestant on Survivor for the past month.
Edward finished gulping down some water and then wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "I don't think so. Besides, I'll just buy her some more tomorrow."
Emmett finished his bottle and asked for another. "Dude – that's supposed to last you all night," Edward said in disgust.
"Sue me – I was thirsty." Emmett tossed the empty bottle into the backseat, hoping that it would "accidentally" hit Edward in the head.
"I expect my car to be as clean when you leave as when you stepped foot inside it," Charlie remarked as he set his still full bottle of water into the cup holder.
Emmett nodded his head and eyed Charlie's bottle of water, wondering if it was worth the risk to try to take it from him.
"I still have my handcuffs, Emmett," Charlie said as Emmett's fingers twitched towards the bottle. He pulled them back with a curse and stared out the window for a while. He was just getting to the point of wondering aloud who could actually win a battle against the Incredible Hulk when he realized that he shouldn't have drunk his water so quickly after all.
"Edward, let me have Bella's key."
"Man, do you really need to ask? I just downed a bottle of water."
Edward groaned and Emmett heard the jangling of the keys as he pulled them out of his pocket. "You were always the worst on car trips," he said, handing over the keys.
Emmett pushed the car door open and ran full out across the parking lot. He cursed his bladder the whole way up the steps and then cursed the door lock for not opening quickly enough. He finally got the door open but almost tripped on some small piece of carpet that Bella had sitting right inside the door. He cursed that too as he slammed the door shut and blindly found his way into Bella's bathroom. He reappeared a few minutes later and headed directly into the kitchen, flipping on some lights on his way.
In the fridge, he found six more bottles of water which he promptly set onto the counter. They were soon joined by a loaf of bread, mayonnaise, a package of sliced turkey and some deli-cut cheese. He took his time making his sandwiches, enjoying the warmth and peacefulness of Bella's apartment. He'd only been by a few times to visit, but he knew that she had slowly put her own personal touches into her living space.
When Emmett was done eating, he proudly put back everything that he'd dragged out. Rosie had trained him well. It might have taken a year or two for him to figure out that cold stuff actually needed to be returned to the fridge in order to stay cold, but his wife had been extremely patient with him. She had an excellent system of rewards and punishments. Sometimes, the punishments were just as good as the rewards.
Somehow, he managed to carry all six bottles, lock the door and make it back to the car without dropping any of them. Unfortunately, his dumbass little brother had stolen the front seat while he was gone and he was going to have to squeeze himself into the backseat.
"You are such a cocksucker," he said as he dumped the provisions onto the seat next to him.
"Move your feet, lose your seat," Edward chanted. Emmett had an overwhelming urge to punch his brother in the head, but he resisted. He didn't want to make him look bad in front of the Chief.
Instead, they talked about sports for a while. Edward fell asleep about halfway through their discussion of what city had the better fans, but Emmett nudged him awake each time his head fell forward. It was Emmett's turn to fall asleep when the Chief and Edward started swapping stock tips. Luckily, Edward banged his empty water bottle on Emmett's knee every time he started snoring.
"I don't think I'm going to make it," Emmett finally admitted after the third time that happened. "Maybe we can just come back tomorrow and talk to Jack then."
"No," Edward said emphatically. "It has to be tonight. We need to get this fixed now. I can't wait any longer."
Emmett rubbed his eyes at Edward's proclamation. There was no way he was going to be able to stay awake all night.
"Emmett, why don't you go ahead and sleep for a while? I'll wake you up in an hour and you can relieve Edward," Charlie said, tapping the steering wheel again.
That was all Emmett needed to hear. He rolled over, punched the arm rest a few times for good measure and promptly fell asleep.