Missing Moments Contest

Pairing: Emmett/Other Character (Unnamed Woman)

Disclaimer: I do not own these characters—they belong to Stephenie Meyer. I am in no way connected with the creators, producers, or franchisers, and no copyright infringement is intended. This is not the greatest story in the world, this is just a tribute.

To see all the stories that are a part of this contest please visit: www .fanfiction-challenges. blogspot. com

Suburban America, 1958

I turned up the radio and snorted as I recognized the song. Tears on My Pillow—more irony. What with Cry Cry Cry just before, I was sure someone was trying to tell me something.

Rubbing the wetness from my eyes, I dried my hands on my apron. Stupid really, to be crying like I was. After all, it wasn't like it had come as a surprise. Deep down I'd known—I just hadn't sought confirmation or a name.

And it was hardly as if I could do anything about it. What was I going to do, leave him? No, I would do what was expected of me as a dutiful wife and mother—stand by my husband and carry on like nothing had happened. Tomorrow, when I went to the store, I would walk past the gossips like I'd overheard nothing. All would appear well in my world.

But it still hurt, and I wondered how on earth inside my perfect suburban home I would manage to convince myself of domestic bliss. Certainly the loneliness that I felt every day wasn't helping. Bobby had left to go to college only the month before, and my husband was absent more often than not.

Yes, I knew why now.

I busied myself around my already spotless house to keep myself too occupied to dwell on my thoughts. It worked...a little.

As I reorganized my husband's shirts into color order in the closet, I caught sight of myself in a mirror. I was average height, and although I was not fat, I certainly wasn't as slim as I had been when I was younger. Wisps of grey had begun to pepper my hair and made my once fiery red curls look dusty and faded. Over the course of the day, my makeup had slowly worn off and looked a little stale, gathering in the wrinkles on my forehead and around my eyes.

Yep, I wasn't as young as I used to be, but there again, how else would any other forty-year-old woman's reflection look if she was standing here in my place?

I'd spent years trying to maintain the image of the perfect housewife, keeping the perfect home, and making sure my willful teenage son stayed on the straight and narrow—all the while living in a marriage that hadn't seen love for longer than I cared to mention. It was a lot of hard work, trying to maintain the image that life was good when it wasn't.

In the beginning it had been easy. I met Jim, and back then I'd been a beautiful red-head, full of sass and energy. After he'd come back from Europe, we followed the accepted pattern. We fell in love, he got a good job, we got married, and then we had a baby. Perfection felt natural and came without any effort on my part.

But then the good job hadn't turned into a good career, and Jim got real frustrated with himself, putting in all the hours he could to try and bring home a little more bacon. I spent most of my time half-frazzled, running around after my little boy, cleaning, and making sure that dinner was cooked to perfection for whenever my husband eventually came home.

It became so tiring for us both, and somewhere along the way I think we forgot what had made it all great in the first place. We stayed together out of familiarity and because, all those years ago when we'd been in love, we'd promised God that we'd be together forever, till death do us part.

Now, life felt like purgatory. The only light that had been left in my dreary day-to-day life had gone when Bobby had gone away to college. As he'd grew, he'd gotten a little more smart-mouthed, and spent only a little more time in the house than his father did. Still...he was always my baby and I was so proud of him. I missed him so much.

I plumped my curls, freshened my lipstick, and spritzed myself with perfume for my own satisfaction. I wasn't unattractive—in fact, for my age I was still rather handsome. I'd just lost my fire on the inside.

The young hussy that was currently entertaining my husband would keep him there for a long while yet, I was sure. She could have him. So long as I was still his wife and kept the marital home, she could do what she wanted behind closed doors. She saved me the bother of having to put up with his occasional fumbling. My libido had gotten a little dusty with age, too.

Speaking of beds, I decided that maybe I should change the bedding. The only thrill I ever got in the marital bed was the feel of crisp, freshly laundered sheets.

Part of me hoped that Jim wouldn't come home tonight, and I could enjoy the clean cotton smell to myself without his hulking form taking up all of the room. I didn't hold out much hope; Jim cared about keeping up appearances as much as I did. He would come home to his wife rather than stay with his lover—not because he cared about me or my feelings, but because that was just what he ought to do, out of duty.

"Ha!" I gasped out loud in disgust. Duty, duty, duty. Routine, routine, routine. Boredom, boredom, boredom. Welcome to my life—my suburban limbo.

I stripped the bed and took the linen downstairs to my shiny new washing machine. Yet another little labor saving gadget; I had so many of them now that it was a wonder there was any work left for me to do...although I did find they gathered dust easily. I dusted at least twice a day to keep them looking shiny and new—something to do to entertain me and distract me from thoughts of my empty life.

And so the rest of the day passed as any other, with no hint of drama other than finding out for certain that my husband was cheating on me. I made myself a quick sandwich, and left some dinner in the oven for my lord and master when he finally showed up. I'd put a little too much salt on his potatoes—enough to spoil his enjoyment of my usually excellent cuisine and satisfy my revenge.

Maybe I would find some little way each day to sour his perfect life as he'd soured mine. I smiled bitterly as I looked out the window.

Day was slowly fading into night and it was getting dark. I noticed my sheets billowing in the wind on the line outside. By now they'd be dry and I could put them straight on the bed, freshly laundered and back so soon you'd never know they'd been removed. I grabbed my laundry basket and went outside into the dusk.

Autumn—I loved this time of year, and I loved my perfect square-fenced garden. I'd spend so much more time out here than in my clinical, plastic, convenient house if my neighbor's kids didn't spend so much time in theirs. Right now, outdoors was deserted and I was free to enjoy my little patch of heaven as I saw fit. Our house was right on the edge of the small suburban utopia we lived in, overlooking fields and an almost forgotten country lane that was slowly grassing over.

I took a moment and breathed in the cooling autumn air. If I tried not to think or feel, just be aware of my senses, this could almost be perfection.

We had two apple trees, one at the bottom of the garden and a smaller near the house. I could smell the apples, and it reminded me of happier times.

I remembered picking the fruits with Jim years ago. I'd been holding the base of the ladder while he'd climbed and passed the ripened fruit to me. As he looked at me intensely, I realized that he had a perfect view down my blouse. He'd rushed down the ladders, practically chased me into the house, and we'd made love right there on the kitchen floor. It was one of my most memorable moments with Jim.

The thought made my heart pound a little. For a moment it felt like yesterday, not almost twenty years ago.

I snapped out of it. I had many other memories of this garden. Bobby's first steps across the lawn, sunny days, snowy days, and gardening in peaceful solitude. The apple trees were no longer an excuse for my husband to peer down my cleavage, nor were they somewhere for Bobby to climb and play around. These days, they were somewhere for me to tie my washing line, and the apples were another foodstuff for me to prepare...or tidy up if I wasn't quick enough to pick them before they got overripe.

It was then I realized I was not alone.

Up the track I could see a tall dark figure, too far away to make out if he was someone I knew, though it must be a stranger. I didn't know anyone who I could fit with that large, broad-shouldered, slim-hipped silhouette.

I was surprised. Hardly anyone came down this track anymore; it only skirted the edge of the built up area and carried on towards the next town. Most people took the main tarmac road that led the same way.

I looked back at my washing, and tried to guess where the man was going and why. I would appear busy until he got near, then I would look up and give him a neighborly, "Hi!" Maybe he would take the time to explain, or maybe he would carry on.

When I decided that he was close enough to look up in advance of calling out my greeting, I took the opportunity to see if he was someone I was familiar with. He was certainly young, if not quite as young as Bobby. Maybe he was someone my son knew?

Hmm, I didn't think so. I couldn't ever recall seeing anyone around town that looked like he did.

He was uncommonly tall and very well built. If you did not look at his face then he would certainly seem to be a fully grown man, but the face definitely belonged to a boy. His head was topped with dark baby-like curls, and for all his jaw was angular and hard-looking, there was still a youthful petulance about his mouth and a softness to his cheek.

He did not look over to me.

From a distance, his eyes seemed dark and they were hidden under arched, almost triangular eyebrows. His skin was very pale, the color at odds with his physical presence as it suggested that he was far from the outdoor sort. He was most definitely handsome. I was sure I would have noticed him around town before now if he was a local kid.

The strange man-boy walked on without making eye contact, obviously too concerned with going about his own business to notice a silly middle-aged woman trying to make his acquaintance.

And so I turned back to remove the billowing sheet from the line, disapproving of my own nosey behavior. I was no better than the gossips at the store.

I heard a sound like rushing wind behind me, although it sounded far from natural. I whirled around to find the source of the noise as the large white sheet suddenly rose up around me, obscuring my view for a second.

The sheet floated back down, and as it did, I gasped. My heart almost leaped out of my chest in shock—here was the boy standing just feet away from me. How on earth had he gotten over here so quickly? I'd only taken my eyes off him moments before.

Sorry, did I say he was a boy? Standing so close it was quite hard to believe. He was much taller than I'd first thought; I'd never seen someone so huge. Underneath his white shirt there was more than a hint of muscle—in fact, he looked strong enough to be able to remove either apple tree from the ground with his bare hands, roots and all. No boy could be that imposing, I was sure.

The thing that I found most unusual, now that I was able to view the stranger in more detail, was his eyes. Set in his chalky face under those angled eyebrows, there was no hint of a child about them as they burned back into my own. I could not say that they were exactly a man's eyes, either—closer to animal.

His eyes were dark, as I'd first guessed, but my imagination could not have gotten close to how pitch black they actually were. They were narrowed and focused unblinkingly on me; I felt myself suddenly shrink and cower from his gaze.

Why was this exceptionally good looking man-boy or animal here in the garden with me?

"Err...h-hi, c-can I help you?" I murmured incoherently.

I should feel scared, I told myself. So how come I felt so jittery and almost mesmerized by his mere presence? A knot was tightening in my stomach, and the almost forgotten flush of sexual attraction rose from the tip of my toes to the hairs that stood on end on the back of my neck.

Get a hold of yourself, I chided mentally. You're old enough to be his mother.

It felt like he did not answer my question immediately, although I was aware that time had slowed, and the seconds dragged as my heart pounded hard in my chest. Maybe the delay was only in my mind? Eventually he spoke, deep but almost a hiss through his teeth, and he never once took his eyes off me.

"I'm sorry, but you just smell so goddamn good..."

His voice was pleasant in my ears, yet there was definitely some kind of threat hidden within the words. I didn't even have time to turn the statement over in my head to work out its meaning before I realized that he was not feet but now only inches away.

I hadn't seen him move towards me, but he was now a lot closer than anyone had been in a long time. The attraction only increased with the proximity, and my entire body seemed to throb in time with the beat of my heart. Looking up, dumbfounded, into those intensely dark eyes, I saw hunger.

That moment, he let out a groan and his trunk-like arms were around me. My heart almost stopped in shock. His head moved in an instant and it was at my neck.

Oh, my God! That hurt! Was he biting me? He was biting my neck!

I yelped and my arms flew up to protect the area, but instead all they met with was a pair of broad, muscular shoulders under a crisp, white shirt. And, oh my word, how good did he smell? The yelp collapsed into an almost groan of pleasure.

Just like that, the pain was forgotten. All I could register was the fact that I was here in my perfect little garden with a tall, young, almost bear of a man, and encircled by a pair of strong arms that I was sure would not let go of me anytime soon. It felt wonderful. So amazing, in fact, that the lead weight of the last fifteen years of drudgery lifted from me, and I was once again young and full of fire. Fifteen years of wasted hormones and desire hit me with the force of a second puberty.

My breath escaped me as I exhaled in ecstasy. My hands roamed across his shoulders—then one travelled down a bulging, massive bicep, and the other tangled up in his dark hair, losing itself in the curls before encouraging his head further into the curve of my neck. I didn't register what he was doing, but if he wanted more he was welcome to it.

A gurgle escaped him and we tumbled to the ground. The earth felt almost like a feather bed underneath me compared to his granite mass above. He surrounded me as I lay there, feeling the slight dampness of grass under my back.

His head did not move, but before I realized what he was doing, my apron was gone and my blue blouse ripped open, exposing my chest within its brassiere to the night air. His hand quickly settled on my décolletage and I noticed that it was cold, not warm like I expected it to be. A not unpleasant shiver shook my body.

His weight was immense above me, but I enjoyed the pressure. I tried to push myself closer into his solid mass as something smiled within me. Right now, I couldn't imagine a more pleasurable and abandoned moment in the whole of my life. My eyes rolled in my head, and all rational thought drifted away from me.

I looked up and saw purple and orange dancing in the sky above me. Beautiful. This had to be a dream. How could it be anything else? Certainly, it felt as if I was slowly drifting to sleep. I was so...tired...

No longer the picture of the suburban middle-aged housewife that I had perfected through practice, here in his arms I was red-haired and full of fire. Decades of monotony and pretence had not ground me down and deprived me of my passion and vitality.

Pinned under this beautiful mountain of a boy, I was not imprisoned by four walls and shiny plastic. This moment was the concentrated essence of everything that had been missing since I'd fallen into the rut of everyday human life. It was overwhelming, and it filled the empty core of my world.

The stranger wound one arm around my back, and the other hand moved to my hip to pull my limp body closer into him.

It wasn't just his arms that were cold, his entire body was like ice, although I couldn't feel the difference between his temperature and my own so much as I had. Feeling the wind blow on me, it too had lost its chill as my body cooled.

A realization hit me—I was dying. I was literally having the life sucked out of me. This was closely followed by the realization that I really didn't care. There was nothing I needed more right now than this contact with my welcome executioner.

I thought of my son; it felt wrong to be leaving him. Still, he was a man now, not my baby to mollycoddle. He didn't need me like he used to. Mentally I hugged him and told him how sure I was he would do me proud.

I gave my husband a quick thought. I would not miss him and he would not miss me, just the routine. He was widowed. He would get over it and probably remarry. The thought did not affect me or hold me for more than a second.

Darkness began to envelop me. I did not feel crushing weight above me or the ground beneath any longer. It was as though I was observing through a TV screen, everything black, white, and fuzzy—aware but not quite in the moment.

If I could have predicted my death, I could never have conceived of an ending like this. Nothing could end so right, so calm, so enjoyable...

If my life had been perfection on the outside and slow pointless torture on the inside, then the opposite could be said of my passing. I did not regret a moment and as I drifted away, I thanked the bringer of my perfect end wordlessly. I surrendered myself to the darkness, the TV screen switched to black, and I was gone.