A/N: So, I crossed # 8 off my insanely busy to do list . Sorry for the delay. My brain is running on fumes in the creative department. Read and review, please! Life is still happening. I'll update just as soon as I can, but it might be until after Thanksgiving. :(
I was shaking, positively shaking from my toes to the ends of my fingers. I could feel my heart beating away so fast it felt like it could have burst out of my chest and have run laps around me. I curled up after dressing myself again and pulled my knees into my chest. I watched Embry dress himself in the shorts he practically shredded in my effort to rid him of them a short while ago. Even my breath was trembling as it rushed into my chest and out again.
He fell to the earth beside me and raked both his hands through his hair. I tried to smooth down mine picking out odd bits of twigs and leaves and a few pine needles that were eyewitnesses to the previous moments. I had no words to offer. I was still shocked by my behavior. It wasn't something that I ever thought I would do. For some reason, I always pictured myself the sweet one in my family- the one who enjoyed candlelight dinners and long seductions.
Apparently, not always. It must be the vampire in me.
Embry was not happy about this.
"I'm so sorry, Serenity. This shouldn't have happened. I don't know what I was thinking!" He jumped up and walked a few feet away. My insecurity imploded, and I felt like my entire being was melting into a pool at my feet. I couldn't even look him in the eye.
"This was, I don't know. Damn. This was just, wrong. I…"
I might still have had the form of a person, but there was nothing on the inside. It was vapor, gone. I felt ashamed and humiliated and rejected. A new grief saturated all of these feelings. My heart was past comprehending any of this.
More tears. Would they ever end? Surely there comes a point in your life when tears aren't your first reaction to pain.
"God! I'm sorry!" He was wrapping me up in his arms immediately. "This isn't you. This isn't your fault. I'm so, very sorry. This is my fault. Please, don'y cry. Please, Serenity. Please, I'm so sorry." He tightened his hold on me and gradually I began to believe him.
"I'm sorry, too," I whispered, unable to make much of a sound.
"Don't you dare apologize! I did this. I started this, and I shouldn't have."
"But why not? What's wrong with being with me!"
"It's not you! I swear it's not you." He kissed the top of my head where his cheek was resting. "You're so wonderful and perfect. I just lost control. I should never have kissed you. I wasn't thinking at all."
"I wanted you to kiss me, Embry. I needed to forget. Just for a moment."
He mumbled my name over and over again. Interspersing it with kisses and tight embraces. "I just don't want you to get hurt because of me. I can't forgive myself if I mess with your emotions. I didn't mean to today. That just happened!"
He shook his head trying to clear his mind and figure out what exactly had prompted him to instigate his actions.
"I kind of liked that it happened," I said shyly, "but you're freaking me out because you're so freaked out about it."
"When you turned around to face me. I just got hit with this gigantic, hell, I don't know what it was. You're eyes were so intense, and…" he trailed off remembering.
"You're not disappointed in me? I mean, I haven't done this much."
Embry held me even tighter. "No, how in the world could I be disappointed in you? You're going to hate me if I imprint and leave you tomorrow. I don't want that to happen. You have no idea at the pain involved."
"I think I do."
Embry closed his eyes and sank a little lower. "Of course you do. I'm just not thinking. You've got me all messed up. I mean, my brain is shot to pieces."
If I had been a human, I'd be broken into bits by now. As it was, I felt safe at last. Safe enough to smile a very shy smile and look up to kiss him very gently and to have him return that small action with equal care. I shuddered a small sigh at finally feeling like myself for the first time in weeks.
Wrong. So, very, very wrong.
The whoosh of air parting for an object forcing itself through the forest glades hit my ears at the exact same time that Embry's warmth was ripped away from me.
A growl reverberated from the stone rock around us.
Embry flipped twice and shifted in the midst of the second twist to land solidly on all four legs, a beast of fur, muscle, and rage. My eyes sought the intrusion, and my body prepared to fight.
Edward stopped twenty feet from us.
I knew exactly who he was talking about. My mother and my father. My God, would it ever end with them?
Edward had sped ahead to give Embry time to phase and be prepared for their attack, and that's exactly what it was. They were after blood.
Five seconds ago, this secluded part of the forest was completely silent except for mine and Embry's quiet exchanges. It was now vibrating with the growls and snarls of vampire and wolf alike. Mom and Dad moved like lightning through the hollow taking him from front and behind. Mom grasped his left leg and a sickening crack resounded as Dad aimed for his head. Just before contact, Jacob flew into the mix and dug his fangs into Dad's left shoulder and tossed him through the trees severing his left arm cleanly from his body.
Seth appeared half a second later followed by the rest of the crew.
Two wolves squared off against Mom and Dad. Embry and Dad were both roaring with pain. Carlisle and I rushed to Embry's side while Esme and everyone else rushed to Dad, mostly to keep him from doing anything else stupid and to help him attach his arm.
Thus it ended as quickly as it began.
Embry phased back and lay coiling with pain. I held his head trying to focus his attention on me. He stared in my eyes desperately trying to hold it together. Sweat poured down his face, and I wiped it from his eyes while Carlisle deftly set his broken leg. I didn't dare glance at my parents. I was seething internally at their stupid, stupid actions.
I was reminded of a woman in a mall once who took her two boys to an outside play area. They looked to be about the same age and build. They might have been paternal twins. Alice and I walked by watching the kids wrestling on the grass. They looked like they were killing each other. The mother's expression said, 'Sometimes you just have to let them fight it out. Get it out of their system.'
That could apply here. Definitely.
"I'm sorry, Embry. My parents are crazy." My voice quivered and broke when Embry cried out in pain. Carlisle had to twist the bone a fraction of a millimeter as it began to set incorrectly.
Carlisle assessed the situation. "I apologize, Embry. I know this is painful. If I had bandages, I could set this with a splint. Try not to move. As soon as I'm sure that everything is neutralized here, I'll send someone back to the house."
Emmett's profanities reverberated through the forest intermingled with his growls. Rosalie spoke up, "Serenity, he's taking advantage of you. Why don't you see that?"
"Technically, I was taking advantage of him."
"Wonderful!" Emmett roared.
Alice couldn't seem to help herself. "You know, she's a lot like you, Rosalie. I don't know why I didn't see it before."
Rose hissed in response. "Embry's been trying to get to her for years, and I refuse to allow her to get hurt that way. She's just lost someone.
Edward's input was on the same level as Alice's. "Yes, because they jumped right into this the moment they were able, right?" He continued with a small shake of his head. "You and Emmett are hurting her more right now than anyone else here."
Emmett grimaced in pain as the venom began reforming the tissue to connect the arm back to his torso. The fire burned any the microscopic residue that lingered between the body parts, and that fire was no less intense than during the transformation process. Fortunately, it only lasted for minutes rather than days.
"Why does it have to be a damn wolf, Serenity?" Emmett groaned once more as the fire's intensity hit its plateau.
"Because who else is around? Where do I fit in here? I'm not human, and I've tried that route; it didn't work. I'm not full vampire, and there are no vampires around to consider anyway. It's not like any other mythical creatures are imprinting on me—no mermen, no fairies, no giants or centaurs. Maybe we should see if Hades will release the Kraken; I might get lucky."
Emmett cursed again as Rosalie put the slightest pressure on his arm to ensure a solid connection for the healing. "Where did you learn to be such a smartass?" he spat.
And the entire coven plus two wolves burst out in laughter. Jacob and Seth snorted their amusement. Even mom and Embry smiled; the hilarity of the situation wasn't lost on anyone—Dad included.
Emmett scowled and his face contorted once more and the reattachment was complete.
Carlisle used his hands to cool Embry's face while I continued to support his head in my lap. "Bella, would you mind getting my medical supplies please? I'll need to set this bone properly. It's going to take several hours before the healing secures it correctly. You know what to get?"
"She should. She has more personal medical knowledge on broken bones than anyone else here," Edward teased. Bella slapped his backside as she took off through the trees.
Carlisle's diagnostic intuition reached Emmett. "Are you okay? Is yours and Rosalie's anger under control?"
Both cut their eyes towards Carlisle and then at Embry. Their mouths twitched which was the extent of an answer that Carlisle would get.
"Jacob?" He stood there and cocked his head to the side. You could almost feel the attitude coming off him.
"Then let me continue. I expect you all to understand that this is never to happen again. Despite the fact that the wolves have incredible healing abilities and that our kind can be 'put back together again', I am not allowing this family to fight amongst ourselves."
Rosalie's mouth dropped open to counter, but Carlisle silenced her.
"Yes, Rose, we are a family, the wolves included. They have risked their lives multiple times to protect all of us and continue to do so by their presence here. I don't care about your issues with the wolves. That problem belongs to you and Emmett. This family is my concern. Esme and I love every member here, and we will preserve our ties with each other in civility at the very least. Am I clear to everyone here?"
Carlisle's soft-spoken, yet undeniably firm chastisement was met with silent accord.
Edward spoke, "Jake and Seth need to move Embry to their house. They'll have to phase first. They're giving you a chance to leave."
The crowd dispersed silently. "Embry, I'll come over soon to check on you, okay?" I whispered into his ear."
He managed to form that heartbreaking smile even in the pain that visibly rocked his body. "Yah. Don't want you comparing me and Jake. You'll lose respect for him."
My head shook back and forth while Carlisle chuckled softly.
Jacob's voice boomed out. "Beat it girly. He's not going anywhere."
I left for home.
The house was buzzing as I approached. Nevertheless, everyone ceased their conversations when I walked through the door. Mom was tending Dad though he seemed well enough to me. Alice and Jasper sat with Bella while Renesmee and Edward had a near silent discussion at the piano.
I skipped the family reunion and headed up to take a shower. I wasn't alone for long.
Renesmee pranced into the bathroom and sat on the counter. Alice followed.
"Dang, Serenity. You can turn this household upside down faster than anyone else I know."
"You can't blame me for my parents being hotheads. They've always been that way."
Alice was arranging some clothes for me to wear but still voiced her opinion. "You know they were getting along really well before. It almost felt like it did back when, you know?" She off-handedly mentioned to Renesmee. I could feel Nessie's agreement. I turned off the shower, grabbed the towel, and opened the door.
"You're blaming me for that episode a few minutes ago?" I asked. "Mom and Dad pick a fight with the wolves, and it's my fault?"
"No, of course not. I was just saying…" Alice started.
"How did it happen anyway? Did you see it?" I wondered.
"I saw their decision to go look for you, and then, out of the blue, they decided to kill."
"They were going to kill him!" I screeched.
"No, not literally. I mean, it was a possibility. Everything went black, how was I supposed to know what would happen if I couldn't see it? So anyway, Edward saw what I saw, then Rose and Emm noticed. They decided to leave, and Edward tried to give you a heads-up. You're lucky he's so fast."
"Yah, fortune's my middle name." I dressed quickly and pulled a comb through my hair. It would dry soon enough. "Renesmee, can I spend a few days at your house? Please?"
She hesitated and glanced at Alice. "I need to ask Jake, he's…"
"I'm not asking Jacob. I'm asking you if I can stay over for a couple of days. I'm not requesting a transfer of deed." I asked again, "Please, Nessie."
She nodded her head quickly. "Of course. It's fine. Stay as long as you need. Embry's a slob, so be prepared."
"Thank you. Alice, can you pack me some clothes?"
"Don't leave again, Serenity." Mom requested as she and Esme appeared at my door.
"I'm not leaving. I'm going to take care of Embry until he's healed up." Alice appeared with a bag of clothes. "I'll be back in a few days." I grabbed the bag, wiped some products from the counter into it, and took off out the door.
Renesmee and the wolves lived in a two-story on the edge of town. There were plenty of trees, and they provided enough privacy for an easy come and go. Renesmee led the way in through the back door. She took a turn down a basement corridor where Embry stayed.
The basement had all the signs of a chronic bachelor. Clothing lay in piles, there were heaps of unopened shoeboxes and plastic shipping wrapping. A trashcan overflowed with popcorn bags and fast food containers. At least there wasn't a rotting food smell. The wolves didn't waste a crumb of food.
Carlisle was still checking Embry's leg when I walked up to the bed. Embry grinned sheepishly.
"Yah, it's a mess. I know. I need to imprint just to have someone to keep it clean."
I slapped him on his shoulder. As if…
"You're aren't that great a catch. You need to seriously learn how to use a trashcan. It's not difficult, you know."
"Embry, keep your leg as still as possible. The bone is set, but there was ligament damage at your pelvis. I'm sure it will mend soon enough." Carlisle looked him steadily in the eyes. "Be careful. No moving," and he looked pointedly at me. "Keep him flat on his back," Jacob snickered behind me. "and keep it uneventful."
Carlisle's knowing gaze caused the blood to rush into my face. How embarrassing to have your grandfather lecture you on coupling. I dropped my bags on the floor to the right of his bed and shook my head at the adorable form laying beside me.
"You're eating this up aren't you?" I asked.
"More than you can imagine," was his reply.
Jacob's voice rang out. "Hot damn, we got us a girl who can cook!"
Embry stayed put for four days. I'm positive that he was fully well on day three, but he milked the attention for all it was worth. It took me an hour to clean his room, which, if I weren't going to be living there, even temporarily, would have stayed the pigpen it was. I, however, don't sleep in the midst of cobwebs and trash heaps. The basement turned out to be a really nice setting once it was straightened up.
He had two big screen TVs mounted side by side on the wall with piles of games all over the place. Once I organized them into their respective console groupings, I realized that if Embry and I weren't sleeping together, Dad would love this setup. Esme reigned in his gaming hobby, but I could totally picture him in the middle of a thousand games playing from sun-up to sun-up again.
Embry even had a hot tub, but I refused to touch it on principle. There was no telling what had happened in there and with whom. I had never caught an infection, but I wasn't planning on courting that disaster.
I kept the wolves' bellies full—minus the dog food—and Embry swore that he was going to tie me up and never let me go.
Part of me wished so very much.
"I just don't see why we can't keep this going for a while, at least," I pouted.
He was sitting up rubbing my back. "I saw it happen with Sam, Emily, and Leah. It's wasn't just about Sam imprinting on Emily. When Leah joined the pack, the pain in her head was unimaginable. Men don't have any clue what they cause to people like you unless they can see it for themselves. Leah's entire security was shattered. She was a nice person before, but when Sam imprinted…" his voice dangled. "It destroyed her self-confidence. She was angry and confused, hurt and rejected. She was bitter, and no one should have to know that type of hurt. She felt like a sub-species. Like she wasn't good enough for normal guys. It took her months, Serenity, months before she could separate herself from that feeling of being discarded. That's probably a good word for it. If I imprint, and we're still together, you're going to feel like I've thrown you out with the trash. I won't be able to do anything about it. We can't deny an imprint. We can't fight it. I know I'm not telling you anything new here, but I just don't think you're hearing what I'm saying."
"I hear you, it doesn't feel like it's really going to happen to you. If nothing changes, it won't happen right?"
Seth walked down to join our conversation. "Do you know what Quil was doing the day he imprinted on Claire? Going to Jake's house. But for some reason that he didn't understand at the time. He just had to go the opposite way. He had no idea why he was going to Emily's house. He just had to go. If Embry's even close to his imprint, he'll move like a magnet towards her. He won't even realize that he's doing it."
"I know that."
"Imagine he's at a movie with you, and you want to sit in the back, but he walks to the front to sit next to a nine-year old girl, and he never looks at you again. Or he's supposed to drive you to one place, but he goes someplace else to see a cashier. How about a baby is born in La Push, and Embry hops on a plane, and you never hear from him again."
"I think you're stretching it a little."
"I sure hope so," and Embry shuddered. "I want to imprint on a 45-year-old woman to worships Botox, is filthy rich, pets me senseless, weighs 130 lbs with huge…"
I slapped him. "You're a jerk."
"I'm waiting for you to figure that one out and run for your virtue."
"I don't have much of that anymore."
"Maybe we are perfect for each other," Embry mused.
Jacob called down from upstairs, "Phase it guys, we got vamp reek comin' in."
A/N: You know who this is, but he's hasn't appeared yet. Review and I'll send you the first 3 paras from the next chapter. (make sure you're logged in!) They're rated T. Love you all! Dawn
A/N: You know who this is, but he's hasn't appeared yet. Review and I'll send you the first 3 paras from the next chapter. (make sure you're logged in!) They're rated T. Love you all! Dawn