A/N: The Twilight Universe and its characters belong to Stephenie Meyer.
HammerHips is the Schwoogie-Muffin. I love her to bits.
This is an outtake from my story "Control".
Outtake 4: Worry
Emmett's head was never in the right place these days.
Don't get me wrong. His heart was always in the right place. When it came to Sage, however, the overwhelming desire to protect his sister seemed to short-circuit his brain to the point of sheer stupidity.
Sage was stronger than he gave her credit for.
Sage was smarter than any of us knew.
She had a real future. Emmett wanted her to be some big-shot lawyer and make something of herself because he hadn't wanted to go to college and he knew she deserved more than he could ever give her.
We all knew this. Living with Sage was almost like constantly living with a Saint who had no idea she was better than the rest of us.
She had her own problems and I know Emmett was responsible for many of them… I knew I didn't help things much, but I didn't think I could fight her battles for her. I'd known her long enough to know that when something meant enough to her, she fought for it. Hard. She wouldn't let go.
I also knew that on some unconscious level, she partly blamed me because it always seemed Emmett chose me over her. She'd never know…
I hadn't wanted Sage to live with us in the first place. Emmett and I were comfortable in our tiny little apartment. We were happy. I'd fought tooth and nail, argued and screamed and pitched fits that would make a toddler proud.
It hadn't done any good, and in the end, I'd nearly lost Emmett. He'd told me in no uncertain terms that he and Sage were a package deal and that if I didn't like it, I could pound sand.
He wanted Sage to have a stable home life and a stable relationship with him and that Doctor Caius had said that more than anything, Sage needed stability. I didn't think we could actually provide that stability for her. Emmett saw it differently.
In the end, I did the only thing I could think to make the transition easier. I convinced Jasper to move in with us. I knew that he would provide the stability Sage needed.
I may be blond, but I'm certainly not dumb. My brother's been in love with Sage for years, even if he was too stupid to see it then.
I both hated and loved Jasper, and there were times I wasn't sure which one was winning out. He'd taken the belt for me. How could I hate him for that? But I did. I hated him because every time I looked at him, even when he was in long-sleeves, I saw those gashes seeping blood and our mother cleaning them as best she could while telling him that he shouldn't have gotten involved and that he shouldn't have made David mad.
I loved him for it too, because he'd taken that pain and anguish for me. He'd protected me like I'd never protected him.
When Mom died, a big part of me had wanted to get him out of that house and away from David. I owed it to him. He needed to be away from David.
But I'm selfish sometimes and the scared part of me that was afraid I'd always look at Jasper and see those seeping gashes couldn't bring myself to do it.
I bit the bullet when it came to Sage. She needed him and he needed her. They were good for each other. Emmett was jealous of their bond and all three of them seemed oblivious to what that bond was.
But I knew.
I'd always known.
And one day, hopefully sooner as opposed to later, they'd all see it.
Still, Emmett is nothing if not bull-headed. But I love the guy. I always have, always will. I want the white picket fence and the two point five kids and all that with him.
But I also want what's best for him… and what's best for Emmett is a healthy Sage. I just went about it differently.
I made one mistake with Sage and it cost me any small amount of trust she might've had in me. I'd made the mistake of saying "no questions asked" only to turn around and tell Emmett. That was one of the biggest mistakes I've ever made. I cried myself to sleep that night because I felt horrible.
I'd resolved after that to help Sage in any way I could. Mostly, it was little things. Like her Prom dress… Sage had taken one look at that gown and her eyes just lit up. I knew Emmett would hate it. He wanted her covered. He'd have been happiest if she'd worn a nun's habit, but Sage was happiest to look like a princess and that was more important to me.
Then, when Jasper told me he'd gotten into Berkley, I knew we needed him in the house with us if Sage had a prayer of having any sense of normalcy and happiness.
And I was right.
They fell together like two pieces of the same puzzle and it was amazing to watch. She talked, she laughed, she didn't mouse away so much. I wasn't actually sure for a while if it was the same Sage, there was that much of a difference.
It unsettled Emmett.
And I could understand that, really I could… but most of the time he was too busy trying to protect her from things like heartache and men and pain that he failed to realize that she needed to be cut loose every now and again.
That's why I suggested going out to Half Moon Bay. I wanted to give Sage some time out from under Emmett's thumb and maybe give both her and Jasper a chance to figure their feelings for each other out.
So far, I'd discovered that my brother and his best friend were complete and utter MORONS!
I wasn't even sure which one was the bigger moron! Possibly Jasper. He started dating Maria and I couldn't even bring myself to be supportive of that crapstorm. She was defensive and evasive and abrasive… Horrible!
She looked at Sage as though she were an enemy to be analyzed and destroyed… and poor Sage! She sat there and took it because Sage doesn't know how to make herself happy, but she'll be damned if she doesn't try to make everyone else happy.
Fuck. My. Life.
This is going to take a while.
Honestly, the best thing that could've happened was Maria wandering into Sage's room to snoop. I know how Sage is about her space… believe me. Been there, witnessed that apocalypse.
Emmett had been worried that if it came down to a choice, Jasper would choose Maria or some other flavor of the month, but I knew Jasper. I saw the way he looked at Sage… like she hung the moon.
Of course, Emmett saw the way he looked at Sage too… he just took it as another threat to his precious baby sister. Any time I tried to point out that Sage was, in fact, no longer a baby, the angrier and more defensive he got…
But I was so proud of Jasper when he threw that Mexican whore out on her ass for attacking Sage. I even helped him find a jeweler to fix the chain… I knew Sage must've been devastated over it. I was there when she got the letter that had the chain and dog tags in it. You'd have thought Jasper had offered her a million dollars.
Her face had lit up, her cheeks had gone red, her eyes were shining… and she cried… for the first time in a long time, she was crying because she was happy and flattered instead of because she was sad and depressed. It was the first real emotion I'd actually seen her exhibit since before she'd been diagnosed.
Emmett had been horrified by the whole damn thing, thinking it meant something more than it did at the time. He grilled Sage mercilessly about her relationship with Jasper and Sage had repeatedly denied anything more than friendship. She wasn't lying at the time, she was too young to realize what was between them, but I still knew that deep down, those tags were a subconscious way for Jasper to mark her as his. She wore them religiously. She wanted to be his.
And now, with Maria out of the picture, maybe Jasper and Sage would finally start to figure things out. I knew she was at least feeling jealous because of the amount of time she spent avoiding him and trying not to get in the way. And as soon as he tossed Maria out? They were back to being two peas in a pod.
Only a matter of time…
I shuffled my paperwork and rolled my chair over to the filing cabinet just as Emmett walked in carrying his cell phone. The familiar tune of "Little Sister" by Rick Nielsen was blasting from the speaker.
"Well I've been around here for way too long, it's really time to go, but there's reasons for my madness, though it doesn't show…"
We always had to talk on the phone in the back office. The noise in the garage, the air guns, the clanking of tools was always too loud to be able to hear correctly.
He closed the door and hit Speaker. "Sage? Why aren't you in class?" he asked as calmly as he could. He didn't approve of Sage skipping class.
"E-E-Emmett? This is Heidi… from Sage's-S-S-Sage's s-s-study group." She was stuttering so badly I almost didn't understand anything she'd said aside from her name.
Emmett's brow furrowed in confusion. "Heidi? Why are you calling? Where's Sage? What's wrong?" the worry was evident. Heidi didn't have any reason to call Emmett.
The voice on the phone sobbed and then she wailed, "S-S-Sage was a-a-a-a-a-attacked!" there was another strangled sob and then we heard a male voice yelling in the background.
"Sage? Come on, Baby, wake up! Please! Please? Come on, Baby, don't do this!"
And then another male voice.
"Sir, we need you to step back, please."
"What the hell happened?" Emmett roared and Heidi sobbed again.
"She… she got attacked! W-W-We had to call an ambulance! It's so bad! There's s-so m-much bl-blood on her face a-and she's p-passed out!"
"What hospital?" he ground out.
The panic was rising in us both. It was getting hard for me to breathe and I could only manage short gasps of air… I could only imagine how high-strung Emmett was feeling.
"M-M-Mercy… the ER's off Devon Avenue."
"We'll be there soon, Heidi. Please, please, please don't leave her alone. Someone ride with her, please!" Emmett whispered hoarsely.
"D-Demetri's going w-with her!"
"OK. We'll see you soon." He hung up the phone and I was already out of my seat and grabbing my purse. "We have to move. Quick."
I nodded and yanked the office door open. "Go start the car. I'll tell Leroy."
Emmett disappeared out the Staff door and I headed into the garage to find my fat, balding boss. "Leroy!" I yelled, waving to get his attention. "We have to go to the hospital. Emmett's sister's been attacked!"
Leroy nodded and waved me off. "Go take care of business, Rosie-Posey."
I fucking hate when he calls me that.
Instead of correcting him like I normally did, I hauled ass out the exit and climbed into the Jeep.
Emmett took off like a shot, speeding at least twenty over the whole way while I tried to soothe him.
"It'll be OK." I murmured, trying to convince us both at the same time. "She's strong. Maybe it's not that bad. She'll be fine."
"Rose, please be quiet." He replied through gritted teeth. He didn't want me to make him feel better… He wanted to be panicked and pumped with adrenaline. He needed that right now, and I knew why.
If Emmett was amped up, he wouldn't care that he was in a hospital. He hated hospitals ever since mother died. He'd spent too much time at the hospital while she was dying and he just didn't deal well with them. He'd once waited a week to seek treatment after dislocating a finger.
Still… I understood his compulsion to avoid hospitals whenever possible… but I thought that maybe for Sage?
We pulled in just as two ambulances pulled into the ambulance bay and we were out of the car and trailing the paramedics as they unloaded Sage. They'd already started a line in her arm and one was pumping air into her through a mask covering her nose and mouth.
"Eighteen year-old female attacked in a parking garage. Witnesses say she hit her head on a concrete pylon. Multiple abrasions, head lacerations, and contusions covering her chest, abdomen, and face." The lead paramedic informed the doctor that was waiting in the doorway. "Possible internal bleeding and concussion. Passed out in the field."
"How long's she been down?" the doctor yelled over his shoulder.
"Is she OK?" Emmett cried. "Please, is she OK? Will she be OK?"
"Are you family?"
"I'm her brother!"
"We'll know more once we check her. Sir, I need you to find a nurse and fill out some paperwork. We need to get a chart started and get everything logged."
"I'll stay with her." A shaken voice startled us and we turned to find Demetri standing behind us, pale and haggard looking with blood on his otherwise spotless white shirt. "I'll stay with her… she won't be alone, Emmett, I promise."
Emmett nodded resignedly and I followed him to go get the paperwork. We sat in the crappy plastic chairs and I watched him scribble Sage's name and birth date and begin listing off their family history. When he got to the box marked Allergies, he paused.
"I can't remember the type of drugs she's allergic to." He whispered. "She's allergic to something and… and…" his face crumpled. "I can't remember the name of the drugs!" a tear slid down his cheek and dropped onto the paperwork, smudging the ink slightly. "What's it called, Rosie? The ones… remember, she had that virus affecting her hip joint when she was eleven… remember? They gave her some prescription and it gave her a rash and then she went into anaphylactic shock."
"Sulfonomides." I whispered. "Just put sulfa, Em. It's OK. It's gonna be OK."
"It's not gonna be OK!" he whispered hoarsely. "Did you see her? Did you see her face? And they were helping her breathe! What am I gonna do if—"
"Stop, Emmett." I snapped. "Stop it. She'll be fine. Sage is strong. She's going to be fine."
This time, I wasn't sure how much I believed what I was saying at all. I'd never seen someone so banged up… and I'd seen and experienced a lot in the Beaten All To Hell department.
"You should… you should call Jasper." Emmett murmured as he continued on through the intake forms. "He'll want to be here."
"Yeah." I sighed. "Yeah… I should."
I pulled out my phone and stood, retreating to a vacant corner of the waiting room just as two uniformed police officers sat down across from the Study Group kids. I'd pulled up Jasper's number just as a sob bubbled up in my throat and I didn't think I could speak, so I sent a text instead.
A moment later, my phone buzzed and Jasper's face flashed across the screen.
"Jasper…" I whispered shakily.
The conversation was short. He'd be here shortly.
For the first time in I don't know how long, I prayed. I prayed for Sage to hang on. I prayed for Jasper to make it in time. If something went wrong… if something happened and Sage didn't pull through, Jasper would never forgive himself for not getting here in time. I prayed for Emmett, because he needed Sage's brand of strength right now. I prayed for whatever son of a bitch did this, because if I ever caught up with them, there wouldn't be a body left to find. Anyone who'd attack my family deserved to die.
I don't think I've ever actually thought of Sage as my family before…
But she is.
She really is.
Jasper appeared, frantic and gesturing wildly as he tried to get information out of me, but I didn't have the answers and I'd never felt as helpless as I did in that moment. Jasper was used to fixing Sage's problems, being the one to make the pain go away and I didn't have any answers for him.
Instead, he took to questioning the kids. The girls were sobbing, the boys were doing their best to comfort them, and Jasper was firing off questions and listening intently, quaking with anger and anguish all the while.
Something Heidi said made him start and he shot up out of his seat and retreated to the corner of the room I'd vacated earlier, sliding down the wall.
I watched him the entire time… watched his eyes slide out of focus as he slowly rocked himself and tapped his neck and I knew he was trying to keep calm…
But I also knew he was realizing something big.
Things were going to get very, very bad.
And I wasn't sure we'd ever be able to recover.
End Note: So… What do ya'll think?