Disclaimer: All recognizable characters and situations are the property of Stephanie Meyer, not me.
This story is taking place in the middle of a much larger one called She Hates Me, directly after the events of Chapter 52. It will NOT make ANY sense if you have not read that story. It's not supposed to; don't expect it to. And any attitudes displayed in the story are those of the characters, as I imagine them seven years after Breaking Dawn, not me.
Warning: The language in this one crosses a line sometimes. Heads up.
Three Wise Monkeys
"I know we routinely run around naked and then jump on each other and wrestle in a rather Grecian fashion, but I have to say that the current grunting is pushing the level of homoeroticism to a rather uncomfortable level. Wouldn't you say?"
Quil hits me on my good arm. And then gets me grunting again.
"I hate you," I say when he finally pulls away, finished for today.
"If the grunting bothered you so much, you could have stopped. No one makes as much noise as you, Embry. Claire doesn't cry that much when she hurts herself."
"I did a little more than scrape my knee," I remind him. Not that I need to. Quil has just finished forcing my dislocated shoulder back into place—for the past twenty minutes he had a pretty good view of all the ways in which I'm more than a little scraped up.
"Remind me why we're not telling Jake your imprint might very well tear you to pieces one of these days?"
"She didn't mean to," I say.
It is the truth. It was my fault, for yelling at her. Loud noises make Shelia think of fighting—I couldn't blame her for defending herself. Even if I wished she had cut her nails beforehand. It wouldn't happen again. This week, at least.
"You're being an idiot," Quil informs me.
"He'd want to get rid of her. I can't—she can't leave."
Quil sighs and goes to watch the rain pour down. It isn't the nicest thing I've ever done, forcing him to fix me up and yet keep the reason why I need fixing away from the rest of our brothers. But I can't have Jacob ordering me away from my girl.
"We telling Seth?" my best friend asks.
I try not to roll my eyes. Really. "Of course not. He'd tell the vamps." Not to mention one of the few people Shelia might listen to, if they said she'd have to go. That was not going to happen. "Why?"
"Gloria's truck is coming down the street."
I curse—there was no time to waste wondering how the kid managed to mooch off of his ex-girlfriend even now, because there was no time to lose. "Help me get my shirt back on."
"He's still going to notice," Quil warns me.
I don't listen. Seth might on occasion pick up on things he shouldn't, but tonight isn't going to be one of those nights. I have a feeling he's going to be a little distracted. And when he comes through the door paler than usual, I have a feeling I'm right.
"What's eating you?" Quil asks, making the kid jump three feet in the air.
"Nothing," he mutters as he sits down in my desk chair. "What the hell's wrong with Embry's face?"
"Nothing," I say. "You could have knocked."
"Your mom's not home and I saw you through the window. You weren't going to come down to let me in. No point in knocking."
"You're getting my floor wet."
Seth doesn't respond. Running his hand through his hair to get the water out, he looks a hundred miles away. I would snap at him to pay attention, but I have a feeling that I already know what he's going to say and I feel bad enough as it is. I let him take his time. Eventually, he gets to the point.
"You'll be happy to know that I just said my last goodbyes to the Cullens, since I'm not going to see them until Christmas."
Quil speaks up. "You're not coming to—"
"No," the kid interrupts, interrupts sounding so guilty that Quil would have guessed, even if I hadn't asked for his help in dealing with the situation a few months ago, when I finally realized there was a situation.
"Sorry," Quil says, "But it's for the best."
"The best for who?"
He's stopped staring at the floor and looks at us. It isn't the most pleasant of accusatory stares.
"The tribe," I say as honestly as I can. It's the truth, and the kid knows it. It was why he deflates a little bit. He already knows the answers, but I guess he finds it reassuring to hear us repeating them. "The universe, Seth. The cosmos. This is the way it's supposed to be. Who are you to screw with that?"
His skin is completely dry, but the water from his clothing still keeps dripping onto my floor. It makes him look rather pathetic. Not quite as pathetic as his next question, but still.
"Has Jake ever...with my sister?"
"They do a lot of shit together," Quil say. "You're going to have to be more specific if you want an answer that still won't justify whatever stupid plan you're considering."
"No matter what the answer is, huh?"
Seth looks rather mutinous. I should have known it would have come to this. That same defiant expression had been on his face when I first ordered him to stay the hell away from the Alpha's imprint. I actually had to explain to him that flirting with your brother's soul mate was considered a no-no—and whatever the hell he wanted to call it, flirting is exactly what Jacob would call it the second he noticed. Why couldn't Seth just do what he was told? Just once.
"Yeah," Quil warns him.
Kid's too stupid to shut up.
"Has Jacob ever slept with my sister? And don't bitch about definitions. You know what I mean."
He asks, so I respond. Serves him right.
"You ever fuck the she-vamp?"
Quil is now the one with the grayish tinge to his skin. It's actually sort of funny. I think I gave Quil an apoplectic fit. In a nice bit of symmetry, Seth now looks healthy again. Perhaps it's the anger, though he sounds quite calm when he says:
"All the female vampires I know are married."
"Give it up."
"Were you talking about Nessie, who is half-vampire, half-human being?"
"Kid, it's been seven years. Vamp, half-vamp, same thing. We aren't going to change."
"Maybe you should."
"It's just words."
"Then it should be easy to stop."
"You're ignoring the question."
Seth shakes his head and rolls his eyes. Stupid petulant kid. But he answers.
"So what if I did?"
Now I'm the one having an apoplectic fit. Jacob's going to kill the kid. And the she-vamp. And maybe me. What a waste. We were all so young. And so pretty. "I can't believe—!"
"Relax, Embry," he snaps, colder than the vampires. "Chill. It was just a joke."
"It wasn't funny."
"Neither is that fact that there are about a thousand reasons why I would absolutely never do that and you couldn't even think of one."
"Absolutely never?" Quil rejoins our conversation. "Seriously? She's kind of super hot. If the circumstances were different even I would consider—"
"Boy, shut up," I try to order.
"Like you've never thought about it."
"You're missing the point."
"The point wasn't that Seth was lying?"
"You can't just say he's lying, idiot. You have to be subtle about this sort of thing."
"Like you've ever been subtle."
"Hey, remember that one time—"
Seth sighs. "Who needs crazy great aunts when I have you two?"
We flip him off in unison, though Quil keeps pressing: "You have eyes, right? She's a babe, not to mention your thing for redheads—"
That started this year, but never mind. Seth's already cut Quil off.
"We get it," he all but growls. "Shut up. We aren't talking about if she's...shut up. I meant I wouldn't fool around with Jacob's...whatever, which is what Embry was talking about, right? Which doesn't really relate to Jake and my sister, but I'm ignoring that."
"I have a point," I promise. "You haven't screwed the vamp—but somehow the two of you fucked up anyway. So really...what does it matter that you actually did or did not sleep with her. Capisce?"
Anyone else on the planet would point out that I just gave what, in layman's terms, is called a non-answer. It's a non-answer of epic proportions. A non-answer coupled with a pathetic, unfair metaphor. No one else on the planet would be content with that sort of crap answer.
But Seth is.
"Yeah," is what he says. The weirdest part is that I think he may have understood a little bit more than I did.
"I think I missed something," Quil sighs.
"What else is new?"
He flips me off, but laughs. "Now that everyone's okay with life, can we go get something to eat? I'm starving."
I get up to follow him out, but Seth's not finished. That would be too easy. "You two are really okay with what we're doing to Nessie? You don't feel guilty? Or like a major asshole? Or...something that you sometimes mistake for hunger pains? Nothing?"
"We're not doing anything to Nessie," Quil says stoutly. "We'd never hurt her."
"Right. So that's why we're telling her that if she doesn't go through with everything Jake's going to slit his wrists and die in a pool of his own hopelessness?"
"More like pool of his own patheticness."
Ignoring Quil—like all intelligent people should—I say: "We didn't tell her that. We just let her infer—"
"We're assholes for inferring, then. To be clear. And Leah out and out told her."
"Well, Leah's a bitch." I force myself to add, "But she's the beta. Her call. And it doesn't mean she was wrong. Nessie's always been big on knowing the truth of the matter, hasn't she? Why should we hide the facts from her?"
"Because we're just fucking guessing!" He cusses me out a bit, and then adds, "Eventually you'd think we'd grow up."
"Boy, she can either be the kid we take care of or the girl you want to fuck. She can't be both."
"I wish everything was as simple as it is in your uncomplicated head. Dogs are colorblind, Embry, not werewolves." He feels sorry for me; it's written all over his face. "And fucking stop talking about her like that. You know she'd hate it."
"Sorry. Forgot she's purer than artificial snow." Only teenager on the planet that seems to treat holding hands like it's cause for matrimony. "How in the world did that house of sin—" the vamps embarrass me and my girlfriend is a sex-addict "—manage to produce that prude?"
"And that's why the only girl you could get is suffering from PTSD."
"Okay everybody!" Quil says in a booming, overly-cheerful voice. "Let's not go back and forth insulting these girls that we all like and always have to hang around—one of who is underage, Embry." Quil frowns. "And Seth."
"More mature than both of you put together," he mutters under his breath, but he does address me and say, "Sorry about that. And about before. Trying to make your head explode, thinking Jake's imprint wasn't going to be a virgin sacrifice was mean of me."
"Shit apology." Kid finally gives me a real grin. He still looks pissed as hell, but now it's clear that he's not mad at me, just mad he can't do anything. I tell him more truth: "She can do whatever the hell she wants. With Jake, or without Jake. We really do mean that, even if we are hoping she decides one way. As long as it's not with you."
"Yeah, I got that memo, believe it or not." He gets up and informs us, "She's going to do it. Nothing on the planet's going to change her mind. Make it harder for her, sure, but not change her damn mind. Cosmos in order—Alpha's imprint by his side. So what if Nessie never had a chance."
"Oh, before I forget, she's going to invite Sakhet and Elmira to her birthday. So you better figure out how you want to deal with the sisters-in-law from hell, because if they see your face, Embry, they are going to drag your girlfriend out of here so fast Leah won't be able to keep up with them."
I sigh. "Thanks for the heads up."
"Yeah," and then he heads out. Charlie's? Jake's? Seattle? I wonder what Gloria's doing tonight—I'm a real dick sometimes. Kid'll end up bunking with one of the pack. Mood he's in, might even go to Paul's, see if he can't pick a fight, blow off some steam. I hope he's okay after that.
"Embry?" Quil moves so he's standing right in front of me, so close I want almost joke about him wanting to kiss me, but the look on his face stops me. His sense of humor has taken the night off. "You ever—and I mean ever—talk about Claire the way you just talked about Nessie, I will beat the ever loving shit out of you, then I will stomp on it, and then I will drag your empty corpse around town before I dump it into an incinerator. Got it?"
"I would never insult Nessie," I say. Girl's all right—sort of boring, but all right. Sweet kid. Kind of adorable on the rare occasion she loosens up. "I was talking about Jacob's imprint."
"And you're supposed to be uncomplicated?" Quil snorts. "I'm glad you established that Seth just wants to do Jacob's imprint. You should say it again, just in case I missed the first hundred times."
"Dude... No one deserves to deal with the mess that will happen if it's not just about getting laid."
He snorts. "If it really was just about that, he'd have done everything he could to stop us."
I know too well that it's only because Seth knows he's so biased he makes Fox news seem even-handed, only because he thinks he has absolutely no moral high ground at all, that he hasn't done his best to sabotage us at all costs. If he had been objective, we would have been so screwed. I guess it's a good thing he started liking them brainy and condescending.
"Stupid moral compass," Quil says. Then he tries to win the record for best non sequitur ever by saying, "You remember when Leah used to be nice?"
He's asking the wrong person. Even though I'm old now and have an imprint to boot, I can still remember back to when I was fifteen and hopelessly in love with the sweetest, kindest most beautiful girl in La Push. That she happened to be a crazy, psycho bitch in nice girl clothing completely escaped me. But there had been good reasons for my crush, and sometimes I can remember them.
"At least Seth doesn't get off on insulting...everything. He'll cut it out when he calms down."
"After her birthday."
"Yeah." I smirk a little. "Don't tell Leah, but I think he might be better at it then her."
"Just what we need," Quil sighs. "A competition."
We stand there for a second, trying to imagine the horror that would be the Clearwaters trying to prove who can strike the absolute lowest blow. Now that would be one fight I would not want to see. Smart money would be on Leah, but I think I might be able to make a killing off the kid, if I could just get him mad enough.
My girlfriend doesn't have anxiety problems. For the record.
"Are we pushing Nessie?" Quil asks. He's thinking about Claire, all of nine years old, but it would be a waste of breath to point out what we both instinctively know.
"It would happen anyway." The truth, and even Seth knows it. "We're just pushing up the timeframe." Jake might be the Alpha, but he needs Leah—and she needs this. We're a pack. It's her call and bonus points that it makes Jacob happier than he has been in years. Seth's good at bouncing back. Nessie...why should she complain? She's getting a lifetime of love and devotion, free of charge. "Hey, I'm hungry. You want to get something to eat?"
"Yeah. I'm kind of in the mood for a hot dog."
In the interests of not having my life turn into bad gay porn, I leave that one alone.