A/N: Welcome one and all! This is my first attempt at fanfiction, so I would like to thank my beta for all her wonderful help tearing up my words and putting them back together in a coherent manner. You are amazing! love you!
I will be uploading the next few chapters rather quickly, but after that I plan to have a regular update schedule.
Warning: potential for difficult adult themes and violence.
Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight and character names. All plot lines, backgrounds, characterizations, and details belong to ElspethGordie.
Chapter One: Convergence
It's raining. Ack, of course it's raining. I travel all the way from the rainiest part of the Continential US, to the sunniest and I bring the rain with me.
Well, some say that the weather is a reflection of your mood. And the torrents of rain pounding the pavement outside the Phoenix airport was definitely reflecting my mood. My unbelievably chipper and joyous mood. Crap.
The airport was the same, gray dusky carpet with green stripes, and taupe textured walls, with easily read signs for terminals A-D, Bathrooms, and Baggage Pick-up. I looked around to see the scurrying horde buying cheap airport trinkets, trashy romance novels, and slightly burnt greasy food. Ugh, I think I'm going to vomit.
I frantically looked for the nearest bathroom, hoping I would make it in time. Where were those handy signs when you needed them? Not thirty seconds ago they were blaringly obvious, but as soon as I needed them, they disappeared. Forcing myself to remember the direction I slowly breathed through my nose, slightly subduing the nausea, though it wouldn't last long I'd been fighting the nausea since I got on the plane in Seattle.
I slowly reassessed my location. To the right was the way to the baggage claim I would need to remember that. Directly behind was the terminal where I escaped from that claustrophobic plane. How have I not puked yet? To the left, obscured by the airport cleaning staff, was the bathroom.
Pushing by a young janitor, ignoring her neon yellow sign that declared the bathroom closed, I dove into the ladies room. I grabbed the first stall and revisited my breakfast, and the cute little pretzels I had on the long flight. I'm never eating pretzels again.
My friends thought that I was moving in with my dad in Phoenix to get away from my Mom and her newest boy-toy. Now, don't get me wrong—I love my mom. It's been me and her for as long as I can remember. The best days of my life were spent with her, making something out of the nothing that was our podunk town.
Last spring we orchestrated the biggest town wide Easter egg hunt. People think that you get sick on candy at Halloween, but they've never seen Mom organize a "spring-renewal" festival. Or her save the redwood tree fundraiser. I've dressed up like a giant redwood tree for more years than I can remember. That costume's a boy-magnet, let me tell you. But she'd always sit and listen when I had a bad day, or pull out the peanut butter chocolate chunk ice cream to make me feel better. Nothing is better than peanut butter chocolate chunk ice cream.
No, I was here of my own accord.
Now, mom has had her share of boyfriends since the divorce but she never flaunted them at me. Honestly, I'm surprised that the town seemed to have bought the reason for my escape, but then again Mom was always exceedingly persuasive.
No, I was here, not because of Mom or her newest "friend" but to save her from humiliation. She was ashamed of me, and I couldn't put her through that anymore. She said she didn't blame me, but I knew it was only a half-truth.
She might always love me, but she would eventually resent me for all of my mistakes.
I love her more than anything, so I exiled myself to live with a complete stranger.
So here I was, away from home, already several weeks into the new school year, and vomiting into an airport toilet with a crazy cleaning lady behind me muttering something that wasn't English, and I'm sure wasn't flattering.
I slowly sat back on my heels, and grabbed some toilet paper to wipe my mouth. Tossing the paper in the toilet and hitting the metal flusher with my foot I turned around to meet the eyes of the less than excited cleaning lady. Excuse me sanitary management.
I gave back a glare much stronger—I had the practice—and caused her to take a step back. Yea, don't mess with the crazy puking teenager.
Grabbing my purse, I stalked past her to the sink to quickly wash my hands and my mouth. I refused to look in the mirror. I knew what I would see. I would see the wide brown eyes, surrounded by heavy bruises, of a seventeen year old girl who felt sixty. I would see long brown hair, wavy and unruly from not taking the time to blow dry it last night, the last night at home. I would see a face, too thin, with prominent cheek bones and the shadows of bruises that no longer exist along her jaw and hair line. I would see an old UW sweat shirt ragged at the sleeves, and washed out jeans from Salvo.
I knew what I would see, but I did not want to see it.
The cleaning lady started muttering again, but ignored me and went about the job that I had interrupted a few minutes before. Setting my backpack on the counter, I rifled through for some gum or breath-mints, otherwise I was never going to get out of this restroom without hurling again. In the front pocket of my stained navy bag from freshman year I pulled out some spearmint gum, old and stale. It'd have to do. I yanked the zipper shut, with only a little protest, and left the room, keeping my eyes on my beat up pink knock-off chucks.
I pulled my cell out of my pocket, and glanced at the clock; three missed calls. Mom, Mom, and Dad. Sighing, I put my phone back in my pocket.
I didn't really want to talk to mom. I would see Dad soon enough.
Heading back the way I came, I followed the signs to the baggage claim. I didn't have much with me, all of my clothes were for the cold and the rain, but then again I hadn't thought that I would bring the rain with me.
I picked up my pace, eager to leave the airport, and found that my lonely bag was the only one left on the conveyer belt. The rest of the passengers from my flight were already on their way. I hoisted the bag from the belt and almost teetered over. My balance was crap.
The man next to me laughed. Looking at him under my eyelashes, I realized he wasn't a man, but about my age, only… huge. He reached toward me and lifted the mottled grandma-print flowered suitcase into his hands. My mouth slightly dropped at his audacity.
"I don't want you to hurt yourself. You seemed like it was gonna make you topple over like a bunch of dominoes," he chuckled. I narrowed my eyes.
"I'm Emmett. Your dad sent me to pick you up." He offered his hand to shake.
I stared at his hand, wincing inside, and waved awkwardly instead. "I'm Bella, Bella Swan."
He nodded and indicated to the sliding doors.
I stopped him before he began to move. "Wait, why should I come with you? Who are you and why would my father send a complete stranger to come get me?"
Emmett cocked his head to one side, and asked, "Didn't you get his call?"
I shook my head.
"My dad works with your dad on the force. They're partners actually. I see him just as much as I see my own dad. They have a really important case they are working on, and something came up this afternoon. So he gave me a call, and asked me to pick you up." He smirked and checked me out. He leaned forward into my face, hot breath against my own, "Don't worry Bellarina. I'll take care of you."
I scrunched my nose at his comment. Bellarina? Who does he think he is. Ugh. He waited, smiling and waiting for my response.
Ignoring him I pulled out my phone and called my dad.
"Hey dad, it's me. Bella"
"Hey Bells, how was your flight? Did you find Emmett alright?"
"You mean the behemoth man who is holding my suitcase hostage until I come with him?"
Emmett's eyes widened and he began to laugh. A big belly laugh that makes you hold your stomach to keep from rolling on the floor. Geez, I'm not that funny.
"Yea he's here." I sighed, and pushed my hair out of my face. "So I take it he's legit, and not trying to kidnap your only daughter?" I heard a soft chuckle over the phone.
"Yes, Bells he's legit. I'm sorry I didn't call you, I guess that time got away from me. But this will give you time to get to know someone before you head to school on Monday. He's a senior this year too."
Oh great, just my luck. He expects me to make friends. It's not like they are going to stick around long. "Okay, dad thanks. I'll see you later."
I snapped the phone shut, and focused my best I'm-an-innocent-angel look at my ride home.
"So everything's on the up and up?" He swung the suitcase up onto his shoulder like it was a boom-box from the nineties.
"Yeah." I bit my lip, trying to sound semi-intelligent. "Sorry. I didn't mean to be all distrusty." He smirked and raised an eyebrow. "But you know, new town, everything's unfamiliar."
He smiled, "It's alright Bellarina. You never know who you can trust. Especially when you have behemoth teenager holding your suitcase hostage." His smile widened to show an adorable dimple in his right cheek. I could feel the heat rising in my face, and he smiled even bigger. I didn't know that was possible.
I didn't expect what happened next, though I guess I should have. Emmett, in what I could tell was his usual manner chuckled and draped his arm over my shoulders. I didn't expect it. I wasn't prepared.
The world narrowed, smoky and dark, indecipherable. I was there in that room. The music blaring some annoying loud indecipherable mess that could never be viewed as more than screaming. And he was there. There was no place for me to go. He would find me. He knew me better than anyone. Someone in the room was whimpering, "Don't touch me. Please don't touch me."
And then it was gone.
I opened my eyes to find Emmett frantic above me; somehow I was on the floor of the baggage claim, my cheek on the cool tile. I moaned.
"What happened?" I knew what happened, I just didn't want to freak him out anymore than I already had.
He squatted down and peered into my face. "You passed out! Bella, are you alright?" He moved to help me up, but I flinched back. He stopped short, and waited. I achingly pulled myself off the ground. He hovered around me but didn't try to touch me again. I'm so glad he hadn't thought to catch me as I fainted, that would have been bad. Yes, I am the queen of understatements. All hail Bella, Queen.
A crowd had assembled around us, and I scrambled to assure them I was alright. Long flight, stressful day, yada, yada. The truth is so overrated.
From a distance, I followed Emmett out to his car. He kept looking over his shoulder at me; I could tell that I freaked him out. It's not everyday that being friendly causes some strange girl to 'pass out' in the middle of an airport.
Emmett stopped at a dark green jeep covered up to the handles in mud; the rest dusted with a fine red dirt except for the paths of the windshield wiper. He opened the passenger door for me, and let me jump up myself. Huh, a gentleman and a quick learner.
After setting my suitcase in the back, he jumped into the driver's seat and pulled out. I took the awkward silence as time to inspect him; I had been a bit preoccupied before. Emmett was huge, muscled, built, ripped…whatever you want to call it. Perhaps buff. Yea, if anyone deserved the term buff it would definitely be Emmett. His arms were toned and as big as my thighs, no wonder he lifted my suitcase like it was filled with sponges instead of the current contents of my life. He had dark curly hair, and hazel eyes, the kind that changes from a green brown to a blue brown. His hands griped the wheel perhaps a bit too tightly, but that may be due to me. I have that kind of effect on people.
Sighing I broke the silence, "Hey, Emmett," I drew in a deep breath, I could do this. "I'm really sorry about earlier." He glanced over at me with obvious concern in his eyes. "You don't know me, and I get that this is a bit weird. But I really am sorry."
His mouth turned slightly down in disapproval, "Bells, I have no idea in hell what's going on. But I'm willing to be a friend. I mean I would like to be your friend. Honestly, I don't know how you'll get rid of me," he smiled. "You know, my dad and yours are best friends, and partners, the only time I see my dad nowadays is when they are together. It seems like they never stop working." At that statement his smile lessened, then burst bigger than before as if he had a brilliant idea. "Can you work an xbox because I am going to kick your butt at Modern Warfare 2!"
I tucked my hair behind my ear, and couldn't help but roll my eyes. Sure he scared me a bit at first, but Emmett seems like a big teddy bear. He kept glancing back at me from the road waiting patiently for a response.
He had no idea what he was getting into I may look all soft and girly, but I can hold my own. Those twelve year olds on xbox live had nothing on me. "I might be able to work an xbox… we'll see who has the mad skills."
"Awesome." He smirked, the dimple peaking through. "So tell me about yourself."
I scrunched my nose. Hmm… tell the truth and freak him out? I'll settle for evasion. "What do you want to know?"
He tapped his finger on the wheel, and twisted up his eyebrows as if he was focusing. "What do you do for fun?"
"Uh, I like to read. I cook—"
"Really?!" He looked like a little kid in a candy shop. "What can you make?"
"Um, anything really, as long as I have a recipe. But I can make a mean pork tenderloin with a black bean and corn relish."
He began to tap the wheel in excitement. I guess it really is true—the way into a man's heart is through his stomach. If I don't screw it up, with the help of my special peanut butter rice krispy treats, we could be friends.
But that's unlikely.
The awkwardness faded, and Emmett stopped fidgeting like someone had stuck itching powdered down his pants. The drive went quickly as he pointed out landmarks I might be interested in. The mountains were beautiful. There was one that even looked like it was praying. I should probably start doing that.
Before I knew it we were pulling into the driveway of a white stucco ranch with a tile roof and giant orange tree in the front yard. Emmett leaped out of the car, enthusiasm obvious in every movement he made. He had a definite bounce in his step. Catalog that for later ammunition.
I slowly opened the door taking a good look around. Emmett hummed "pa-pa-pa poker face, pa-pa poker face," as he grabbed my suitcase from the back. And that as well. Palm trees lined the street, and yard was full of little pebbles instead of grass. Several large cacti lined the side of the house. I would have to steer clear of those if I didn't want to end up in the ER with a giant needle in my arm.
I called out to Emmett, "Is it always this brown?"
He laughed. "Hun, you are not in Forks any longer."
Yea Toto, I so know the feeling. "If this is Oz then, who are you? The Cowardly Lion?" He guffawed, and almost ruffled my hair, but stopped short as I froze.
I wrapped my arms around my stomach and looked into his face.
He awkwardly wiped his hands on his shorts and whispered, "Bella, I'm sorry." I nodded, and looked away guilty. He hadn't done anything wrong. He shouldn't have to worry about me freaking out when he came near.
"No, I'm sorry. It's me. It's me." I repeated. He shook his head, his smile replace with a serious expression. I felt even guiltier for wiping that teddy-bear smile from his face.
"No worries." He took a big breath and let it out slowly. A small smile grew on his face, "So do you want to see your new house?"
I nodded, and he unlocked the door. He already had a key to my house; I needed to get one of those.
I walked in the front door into a small atrium, sparsely decorated. I continued into that house, and ended in the kitchen. It was surprisingly cheery. The colors matched the kitchen at home. Mom's favorite room had always been the kitchen. It seemed Dad remembered.
The cabinets were all white with black knobs, and the walls were a bright welcoming yellow, almost bursting 'good morning.' I couldn't wait to break in the appliances—they looked as if they had never been touched. I peeked in the fridge and confirmed my suspicions; there was an almost empty carton of milk, a few Chinese take-out containers, and what looked like two-week old pizza. I would need to make a grocery run as soon as possible; maybe I could bribe Emmett to take me with the promise of dinner.
The kitchen led back into the living room, and I saw Emmett exiting the hall right of the front door. Cocking an eyebrow at him, "Poker face? Didn't peg you for the type." He blushed. Blushed, and I smirked my sassiest smile and swept by him.
I could hear him laugh to himself as he sat down on the couch and turned on the TV. The first bedroom was obviously my father's, the bed had not been made, and I was pretty sure that there were more files on the floor. Next was the bathroom, the only one. Great.
And finally my room.
The room was nice, much nicer than I expected. The walls were a soft blue and the bed had a white fluffy comforter, a white desk, and matching dresser. There was a beautiful bay window with a window seat. I've always wanted a window seat. It's a perfect place to read on a rainy day; not that I'll have many of those here.
Emmett had set my suitcase at the foot of my bed; I set down my back pack next to it and breathed a sigh of relief. I was here. It was done. My decision was made, I would not go back. I took another deep breath through my mouth and let it out through my nose just like my mom had coached me when I was nervous. Looking at my room once more, I smiled softly, patted my growing tummy and head out to talk Emmett into taking me to the grocery store.
Reviews are loved more (almost more) than a behemoth Emmett carrying your bags like a 90s boom-box!