I promised I would give you a sneak peek into Time on My Hands. It is told entirely from Emmett's POV, and is a prequel of sorts, detailing vampire Emmett's encounter with Bella in Forks. Remember, this Bella hasn't met the Cullen's yet, so it should be pretty interesting to see what happens as Bella learns more about the Cullen's. And just how does Emmett plan to handle Edward? What will Edward do when he must face Bella? And, perhaps most important of all...just what precipitates all those cold showers Emmett mentioned in Time Will Tell?
SM owns all...I am but a minion allowed in her sanctuary.
Forks wasn't exactly a busy town, and the weather, while great for those of us who were photosensitive, left much to be desired. It definitely wasn't an ideal location for a vampire who seemed more edgy than usual.
And that was me, Emmett Cullen, edgy vamp. Lately I've also been crabby vamp, irritable vamp, and sullen vamp.
Of course, all this is coming from Jasper, the I'm-so-constipated vamp, and Edward, the stick-up-my-ass vamp. I'm usually pretty laid back, but lately I guess I have been a little, hell...edgy.
The summer before my junior year at Forks High I decided to help out the local police station by doing a little volunteer work. Nothing cadet-ish, just some minor carpentry work and standard repairs. It helped pass the time, and Carlisle always likes to maintain a good relationship with the human population, so it was a win-win.
I stayed on after classes started, at Chief Swan's request, doing some part-time work building book cases and other things. A few months into my job at the station, Chief Swan asked me to complete a set of built in shelves along one of the walls in his office.
I brought my usual tools and made notes regarding what I would need. I finished taking the last measurement along the back wall when Chief Swan said something, drawing my attention to him...and the picture on his desk.
It had been over seventy years since I'd seen her face, but every memory came flooding back to my mind as I stared at Bella. She was obviously young in the picture, but it was her, just the same.
"Am I right?" Chief Swan said, a small smile tugging at his face.
I gave a light hearted, half-laugh, "Yeah."
I had no idea to what, exactly, I was agreeing. As a vampire, I could easily follow several conversations, probably in many different languages at the same time, but seeing Bella's picture had thrown me off, and right now my brain could handle one and only one thought...Bella.
"Who's this?" I asked, pointing to Bella's picture, trying my damnedest to sound nonchalant.
Chief Swan picked up the frame, running his thumb across the glass. "My daughter, Isabella."
"Bella," I whispered.
Chief Swan furrowed his brow as he turned his gaze to me. "Yeah, Bella. She hates Isabella. How'd you know?" He narrowed his eyes as he waited for my answer.
I quickly plucked the frame from his hands, thankful my own didn't shake. I took in every detail of the picture, the sky, the sandy earth...definitely not taken anywhere near the wetland known as Forks. "Her bag," I replied casually, pointing to the backpack at her feet, the white script spelling her name across the navy canvas material.
Charlie took the picture from me, and I had to grit my teeth at the loss. Sure, it was just a picture, but it was more than I'd had in seventy years, and I didn't want to let it go just yet.
"Damn, I never noticed that," he said as he scrutinized the photo. "Good eye," he replied as he put the frame back on his desk. "You sure you don't want to be a cop?"
I shrugged noncommittally. "I'm guessing she doesn't live nearby...looks like a desert in the background." It took a maximum effort to turn away from Chief Swan and the picture, but that's just what I did, making useless notes about the bookshelves I planned to build so I didn't look like a creepy stalker.
I heard Chief Swan sit at his desk behind me, his computer whirring to life. "Yeah, she's with her mom in Arizona. She visits from time to time, though."
"Oh," I said, nearly breaking my pencil in half at his revelation. I closed my eyes, thankful that I had my back to the chief. "Do you ever visit her in Arizona?"
He pecked out a few keys before answering. "Yeah, I'm heading out there in a couple of months."
"I guess she's not exactly eager to come to Forks any time soon, huh?" I hedged as I pretended to measure an area on the floor. Again.
Chief Swan's huff was answer enough. "No, not exactly. The last time she was here, we spent the whole two weeks in La Push. It's been so long...I doubt her friend Jacob even remembers her."
"Jake," I all but hissed. I remembered hearing Bella talk about Jacob, and I had to squash the jealously bubbling inside me.
"Yeah, Jake," Chief Swan echoed behind me. "You know him? He goes to the school on the reservation."
I shook my head, finally turning to face him. "Nah, I never go to La Push." I shrugged my shoulders as he continued to stare at me. "Small town," I offered in lieu of a straight answer regarding my knowledge of Jacob Black.
Chief Swan nodded slowly, his posture and expression telling me he knew that already. "Yeah, I didn't think I'd ever seen you in La Push. Chief Black seemed less than pleased when he found out I had one of the Cullen kids working the station." He cocked his head as he pulled his hands down and away from the keyboard, giving me what would have been an intimidating stare if I weren't already at the top of the food chain. "You wouldn't know anything about that, would you?"
I feigned ignorance as I shook my head. "No idea. Maybe he has me confused with someone else."
And he did, that damned judgmental, werewolf-blood-havin', dog. We weren't the bloodthirsty fiends they made us out to be. They refused to believe that we could coexist among humans without feeding and killing. How Carlisle ever convinced them to agree to the treaty was beyond me.
I reluctantly moved the conversation away from Bella and La Push, figuring Chief Swan would eventually pick up on my ire. Instead, we talked about building materials and functionality...mindless things. Final measurements in hand, I said my goodbyes, making my way to the hardware store before heading home.
"Her name is Bella Swan," I said to no one in particular as soon as I tore through the door.
"Swan?" Alice said from somewhere upstairs before appearing in front of me in an instant. "As in Chief Swan?"
"As in Chief Swan's daughter," I responded. "Not Hale," I added, glaring at Jasper.
He put his hands up in mock surrender. "How many times do I have to tell you, I don't know what you're talkin' about."
I closed my eyes in frustration. I knew that Jasper had no memory of going back in time to Tennessee with Bella. That Jasper didn't seem to exist yet. This Jasper was similar, but came along a few years after my change. He was still uncomfortable around humans, and not nearly as calm as the Jasper I met in Gatlinburg before my own change. Alice and Carlisle seemed more than confident that Jasper and Bella would eventually merge into the people we met all those years ago, but my hope was floundering...and my patience was wearing thin.
"No wonder we couldn't find out anything about Bella Hale," Alice said, smiling as she toyed with a new catalogue.
"Now what?" I asked as I flopped onto the sofa.
"Now nothing," Carlisle said as he rounded the corner. "You know the deal...you both do," he added, eyeing both Alice and myself. "No interference. Whatever happens, it will happen as it is meant to happen. We cannot push this in any one direction."
Alice's eyes found mine before going back to Carlisle. She shrugged. "I saw her today. Bella," she clarified. "In a vision."
I perched on the edge of my seat, not sure I'd heard her correctly. "What? And you're just now mentioning this?"
"Well, you started talkin' as soon as you came in," Jasper said quickly as he defended his wife.
"She's coming, Em. She'll be here soon."
Alice made her way to Carlisle, putting her hand on his shoulder as she continued to speak. "It's happening...and soon, a few months at most."
I jumped up, hauling Alice into a bear hug of epic proportions. "Thanks, Al," I said, kissing her temple before heading out to hunt.
I left the house in a great mood, but I soon found that I still couldn't shake the nagging fear in the back of my mind. How would Bella react to me? More importantly, how would she react to Edward? Would she still fall in love with him?
And could I sit back and follow Carlisle's advice? Could I let that happen without at least trying to stack the deck in my favor?
I slowed my hunt, eyeing a large male grizzly as he made his way to the clearing ahead. Moments later, another male grizzly stepped into the field. The two watched each other closely, both growling and occasionally scratching at the earth. The two gave a final huff, clearly deciding to fight. My hunger ratcheted up a notch, and I instantly knew my answer.
To hell with letting things happen. I would fight too.
Time is a funny thing when you are immortal. The next few weeks went by in slow motion. I finished the built-in that Chief Swan requested, probably adding more detail than necessary. The extra touches gave me a chance to glean additional information from him, and before I knew it he said that Bella's mother was getting remarried, and that Bella was coming to live with him.
Alice shared my enthusiasm about the news, while Jasper seemed less than eager. Carlisle and Esme were cautiously optimistic, and Rose was an super-bitch, as per usual. Edward kept his distance, not at all happy about being close to his singer again.
My work at the station wrapped up, leaving me with no excuse to visit Chief Swan, so I resorted to driving by his house. Frequently driving by his house, as Alice liked to point out...though she went with me on more than her fair share of drive-by visits. We watched and waited, hoping for a glimpse of Bella, but so far we'd had no luck.
On a particularly gray Wednesday, Edward met us in the parking lot at Forks High. He stood with his hands in his jacket pockets, his head tilted down. To anyone else, it would look as though Edward were half listening to one of us talk, but we all knew what Edward was doing...he was listening to everyone. The entire school. And it must be something good, because he was focused.
He lifted his head, his eyes finding mine immediately. He looked pained when he spoke, but he wore a hint of a smile. "Looks like it's showtime," he said vaguely.
We all stared at Edward, even Rose tore her attention away from toying with her hair to fix her gaze on the telepath. "What?" she asked, her tone clipped and not at all pleasant.
Edward's eyes remained locked on mine. "You're girlfriend is here. She's inside. And she already causing quite the sensation."
"Bella's here?" I asked, hauling my backpack up on my shoulder as I prepared to leave.
"Wait," Alice said, stepping in front of me to halt my stampede. "Wait," she pleaded, placing her small hand on the center of my chest. "We can't overwhelm her, Em. She doesn't know us."
"She'll just have to get to know us, Alice," I said, my voice sounding strained.
Rose laughed behind my back, and when I turned to glare at her she met my glare with one of her own, cocking her designer jean clad hip against her convertible. "Oh really, Emmett?" she hissed. "And how will that introduction go, exactly? 'Hi, I'm Emmett. Let's go somewhere private so we can get to know each other,'" she cooed seductively. "'Oh, and by the way, I'm not exactly human.' Gee, what could possibly go wrong?" She quipped.
I turned so that I could fully face Rosalie. I crowded her personal space before speaking to her in hushed tones. "I don't need your shit today, Ro'."
I realized that to anyone passing by, we probably looked like a couple having some sort of minor argument, given our close proximity. The very idea of being involved with Rosalie made me want to vomit.
As if sensing my train of thought, Rose pushed herself off the car and used her shoulder to shove past me. "Have fun with your new pet, children," she said to no one in particular as she stormed off toward the main building.
Jasper exhaled a long breath before turning back to me. "You get her so jacked up, Emmett."
I shook my head. "She does it to herself."
"Guys," Alice said lightly, drawing our attention back to her, "we need a plan here."
Edward put up his hands, "Hey, I'm with Carlisle on this...whatever happens, just happens."
My eyes narrowed. "Sounds fair," I said, my voice flat and lifeless.
Alice's mouth scrunched at my tone, and I could tell she wasn't buying what I selling. "Jasper," she said, "stay close to Emmett today. I'll watch Edward-"
"I don't need a babysitter, Alice," Edward scoffed.
"I'm just trying to keep things, fair, Edward, and safe. She is your singer," Alice chided as we all made our way inside.
Edward glanced around the main corridor, his eyes flitting from one group to the next. "You don't have to worry about me, Emmett," he said coolly as we paused for the first period bell. "But you should know that your girlfriend is the main attraction in several less than savory fantasies at this very moment."
I heard the scrape of teeth on teeth as I ground my molars against each other.
"Damn it, Edward," Jasper hissed as he reached for my sleeve, dragging me from the Edward's knowing eyes.
I glared at every male as Jasper and I made our way to class. By the time we cleared the doorway, I felt better...no doubt in large part due to Jasper's gift.
I rolled my shoulders as I dropped my bag, glancing toward Jasper. "Thanks," I said, genuinely grateful for the lack of tension.
Jasper just shrugged his response.
One period down, I somehow trudged through three more before lunch. Still, I'd seen nothing of Bella.
"What the hell, Alice?" I said as Jazz and I fell in step with her, Rose, and Edward. We briskly walked through the quad on our way to the cafeteria.
Before Alice could speak, Edward tensed beside me. "She's here. Inside," he clarified.
We all fell silent, our footsteps slowing somewhat as we made our way to the building. I reached the door first, but stepped aside so that I could hold it open for everyone else. Rose made her way through the doorway first, her face a mask of annoyance. Since Alice halted beside me, Edward followed behind Rose. Jasper reached for Alice and they moved around me.
"Smile," Alice said before turning to leave. "She's a sucker for your dimples."
I rolled my eyes at Alice's statement, though she did achieve her goal. I felt myself smile, genuinely smile, as I rounded the doorway to catch up with the group.
I quickly scanned ahead, searching for any sign of Bella. Would she be alone? Would she be sitting with a group? Would she be waiting in line for the dreaded mystery fish meal?
I heard her voice before I spotted her, and my eyes drifted to a table near my right. Smile still plastered on my face, I turned to find her staring at us as we made our way through the maze of chairs.
"Don't creep her out, Em," Alice's voice filtered through my elation. "Stop staring and get your butt over to the table."
Judging by the blush that spread across Bella's cheeks, I realized that maybe I had been staring a little too long. But still, I turned my head one last time to glance in her direction before making my way to my seat.
Well, it's only a taste, a hint of the first chapter in Time on My Hands. I hope you guys are eager to see how Bella reacts to each of the Cullens, and I know I am eager to see how Emmett handles his fears and desires now that Bella is back in his life (and yes, the word "handles" is very much a double entendre in that last sentence as my mind so frequently finds its way to the gutter these days).
Stay tuned for what I hope is some mega-steamy reading. Watch for Time on My Hands soon!