Where was Jacob? He was late. Well, technically, Bella was early. She was always early and then became impatient when people arrived on time, which to her, felt late.
So when Jacob wandered in 10 minutes later, even though he was early as well, Bella was annoyed. And he had Embry in tow. Why was he here? Bella liked Embry; she was just in a pissy mood now. She needed to stop giving herself too much time to get places.
"Bella!" Jacob smiled at her as he approached and Bella's anger disappeared. He really could light up a whole room with that smile.
"Hey Bella," Embry muttered dismally, nodding his head at her. "I'm gonna go get some popcorn," he told Jacob.
"No, that's alright, I didn't want any. Thanks for asking!" Jake hollered after him as Embry got in the long concession stand line.
"What's the matter with him? He looks like someone kicked his puppy."
Jacob tried to hold back his laughter and ended up snorting. "Sorry, I had to bring him along. Embry's had a rough night," he grinned.
"That's okay. I mean, I thought it was going to be just us, but it doesn't matter. What happened?"
"Well," Jake tried to suppress his grin. "Embry had patrol early this morning and was getting home around dinner time tonight. His mom had been home late from work all week and was supposed to be home late tonight as well. But she wasn't!" He burst out laughing.
Bella stared at him. "I don't get it."
"Well, Embry hit the woods at the edge of his backyard and phased back to himself. As he headed for the back door to the kitchen, he heard his mother scream." He started laughing again.
"Why? Why did his mother scream?"
"Cos she couldn't figure out why Embry was wandering around outside naked!"
Bella's eyes got wide and a snort escaped from her lips too. "Oh my god! He didn't put his shorts on?"
"No, why would he? He was home and he thought he was alone."
"Poor Em! How embarrassing!"
"Oh, that's not the worst of it. His mother thinks he's some kind of sexual deviant now. She didn't know whether to take him to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, or to the closest Catholic church for an exorcism."
"Yeah. He couldn't take her looking at him like he was going to start humping her fancy living room pillows or something, so he came to my house. I hope you don't mind, I had to invite him along with us to the movies." Jake glanced over at Embry getting his money out now to pay for his popcorn and soda. "I haven't told him yet that his mom called my dad and asked him to talk to him too."
"Bella! Oh thank god! Please save me!" Jessica Stanley was suddenly at Bella's side giggling and had grabbed onto her hand. "My parents are here to see Confessions from a Mid-Life Crisis and I figured going to the movies with them was better than doing homework, but now that you're here – what are we seeing?"
Jessica gave Jacob a glance and then quickly looked back, perusing him from head to toe. "Who's your friend?"
"Um, this is my friend, Jacob. Jake, this is my friend from school, Jessica."
Jessica's stare remained locked on Jacob. "Well, hel-lo Bella's friend Jacob."
Jacob's eyes rounded in direct contrast to Bella's narrowing.
Embry wandered back over with his popcorn and his soda. "How many more minutes till the movie starts?"
Jessica's stare fell abruptly from Jacob and locked onto Embry. Bella gave her a little nudge, muttering, "You can have him."
Embry's handful of popcorn was midway to his mouth when Jessica stumbled against him, thanks to Bella's helpful push. The popcorn fell out of Embry's hand and his mouth gaped open as he took in what was being offered to him.
"Hey," he smiled for the first time that day. "I'm Embry Call." He wiped his hand on his jeans before he took Jessica's hand. "Nice to meet you."
"Oh brother," Jacob groaned under his breath.
"Hi, I'm Jessica Stanley," she giggled breathlessly. "So," she reached into Embry's tub of popcorn and helped herself to a piece. "What are we seeing?"
"Vodka for Zebras."
"Oh," Jessica squealed. "Isn't that guy from the Sunlight saga in this?"
"What? Oh man! You didn't tell me we were seeing the movie with that douche in it!" Embry was not happy.
"Yeah, well, Bella chose the movie," Jake muttered.
"Ooooh, good choice Bella!" Jessica took a few more kernels from Embry's tub of popcorn.
"Let's go get a seat," Bella nodded her head toward the theatre hallway littered with dark doorways leading to the different movies playing.
Jacob leaned in and whispered to Bella, "So what did you mean when you said Jessica could have him? You don't want her to have moi?"
"Just shut up Jacob."
They found four seats together smack dab in the middle. The boys took the outside seats and the girls sat in between them, Bella alongside Jake and Jessica next to Embry.
"They look comfortable together," Jake murmured quietly to Bella, as the two of them watched Jessica and Embry making small talk and Jessica flipped her hair and giggled incessantly. They stared as Jessica took the soda right out of Embry's hand and took a sip before helping herself to some more of his popcorn. Embry didn't seem to mind in the least.
"Do you work-out?" Jessica had her hand on Embry's bicep over his short-sleeved t-shirt. He had a sleeveless sweatshirt vest on over that, and the bulge of his muscles strained against the short sleeves.
"Why yes I do. I also run a lot, if you'd like to feel my quads. My friends say I'm a bit of an animal."
Jacob snorted at the smarmy tone of Embry's voice and the animal comment.
"What a tool," Jacob whispered to Bella.
Jessica's hand started to move toward Embry's thigh taking him up on his invitation to feel it till she caught the death stare that Bella was giving her. She pulled her hand away slowly, re-thinking the move.
"I'm gonna go run and use the restroom before the movie starts," Jess told Bella.
"Hurry up, it's gonna start in a few minutes."
Jessica scraped past Bella and Jacob and made her way to the door at the back of the theatre.
"Want some?" Embry held a handful of popcorn out to Jacob and Bella.
"No thanks," Jacob told him disgustedly. "Who knows where your hands have been?"
"Your loss," Embry told him shoving the whole handful into his mouth at once.
The lights still hadn't gone down yet and Bella kept looking at her watch impatiently. "They're late Jacob. It's 8:34, the movie should have started."
"It's only four minutes Bells. Maybe your watch is fast."
"That's him," Jacob could hear Jessica behind them, whispering to someone at the back of the theatre. "I'm sitting with Bella Swan and her friend, but that's the guy I plan on going home with." Jacob turned around subtly and saw Jessica standing next to a short haired blonde girl and pointing at Embry.
"Oh my god! Is that Embry Call?" Jacob heard the girl hiss quietly to Jess.
"Yes! Yes, that's him. Do you know him?"
"Oh, I know him alright. Our moms are good friends. Not only is he two grades behind us, you knew that right?" Jacob couldn't see Jessica shake her head, but he almost fell off his seat at the girls' next comment. "Yeah, not only is he two years younger than us, but I heard my mom on the phone with his earlier tonight and he's crazy!"
Jake looked over at Embry who was just taking off his sleeveless vest and froze as he also heard the conversation with his super sensitive hearing.
"No! He's really nice," Jessica argued.
"Seriously Jessica, he's like a… a PERVERT! His mother told my mother she saw him earlier tonight wandering around La Push naked!"
Embry looked at Jake and shook his head. "I might as well make this good," he mouthed. He reached behind his neck and grabbed the collar of his t-shirt and pulled it off over his head.
"Look! Look!" The girl squealed to Jessica. "He's taking off his clothes now! I told you!"
The boys heard the two girls emit high-pitched squeals, and Jessica muttered to her friend on their way out, "I really wanted to see that guy from the Sunlight movie too, dammit."
Jake and Embry both turned around and Jessica was gone.
"What was that?" Bella whipped around in her seat at the sound of screaming.
"Nothing honey. Jess isn't coming back though. Dude, put your shirt back on, you wanna get us thrown out?"
Embry pulled his t-shirt back over his head. "Yeah Bella, you're friend just couldn't handle the fact that I'm a sexual –"
"Predator." Jake finished the sentence before Embry.
"Whatever, be quiet you two, the movie's starting."
The screen opened up to a shot of the pale, vapid Sunlight star shirtless and climbing aboard a moving train.
"Ah, my eyes, my eyes!" Embry said loudly, shielding his face with his arm.
"Ssshhhh!" Bella hissed at him.
"Put your shirt back on before my corneas burn!"
"Jacob, knock it off!"
Bella spent most of the movie rolling her eyes, shushing Embry and elbowing Jacob in the ribs.
About three quarters of the way through, Bella looked over to see Jessica standing at the end of the aisle, a sheepish look on her face.
"Can I get through?" she whispered.
Jacob and Bella shoved their feet back under their chairs so Jess could squeeze over. Her seat next to Bella was still empty. Embry had stayed in the chair he had started out in.
"Hi," she smiled lopsidedly at Embry.
"You came back?" Embry's voice was about 2 octaves higher in surprise.
"Yeah, I decided anything is better than sitting through some boring movie with my parents on a Friday night." She hesitated a minute. "You put your shirt back on."
"Y-yeah," Embry stuttered. "I can take it off again if you want."
"No you can't," Jacob interrupted threateningly.
"Maybe later," Jessica told him, reaching over and taking his hand.
Once the credits rolled about 15 minutes later, the four of them got up and made their way to the lobby. The lights seemed bright after the darkness in the theatre and the smell of buttered popcorn filled the air.
Jessica's parents' movie didn't let out for another 20 minutes, so Bella, Jake and Embry stood outside the small arcade area and kept her company while she waited.
"Are you really only 16?" Jessica asked Embry, as she led him to a red velvet bench against the wall.
"Yeah," he admitted reluctantly. He was surprised when she didn't get up and leave again.
She scrutinized his face and his tall, muscular body sprawled out on the bench. "You don't look it."
"I know," Embry smirked.
"Are you really a… I mean, do you really wander around… um, naked?"
Embry's face colored. He wasn't prepared to discuss the incident from earlier that night and he didn't have an answer ready, so he said the first thing that came to him off the top of his head. "I was sunbathing."
"In a dark theatre?"
"Oh, you mean earlier? Oh no, something bit me. I think there was a spider in my shirt or something, so I just uh, I um, I… shook it out. Yeah."
"Oh," she nodded. "Well, my friend told me that your mom caught you wandering around La Push with no clothes on."
"That's when I was sunbathing. I wasn't "wandering around". I was in my own yard. My mother exaggerates." He rolled his eyes.
Jessica squinted at him. "But it was raining today."
"Uh, w-well," Embry stuttered. "The sun's rays are strongest when it's cloudy."
"Really?" Jessica wasn't totally convinced, but she wasn't discounting his story either.
"Oh yeah!" Embry insisted.
A crowd of people came milling out into the lobby.
"My parents' movie just let out," Jessica jumped up from her seat. She waved to a middle-aged couple a few feet away. "I'll be right there!" she yelled to her mother and father. They nodded and continued to walk slowly toward the exit doors.
"Sooo Jessica, maybe we could get together sometime and uh, sunbathe."
"It's supposed to rain tomorrow," she smiled. "Give me your cell; I'll give you my number."
Embry reached into his back pocket, not believing his luck and handed it over to Jessica who quickly tapped her digits into his phone. She placed her hand on his shoulder and let it run down his arm, hesitating over his bicep and then deposited it into his hand.
"I'll call you," he practically choked.
"Goodnight," Jessica gave him a quick hug, her hands giving his broad shoulders a grope before she turned and caught up with her parents at the exit doors.
"Wow, I'm impressed," Jacob told him.
"I'm not," Bella rolled her eyes. "Jessica is a –"Both the boys looked at her. "A forward girl," she finished diplomatically.
"Well, I'm still impressed. I mean, with the age thing and the pervert thing and she still gave you her number? Props to you, man."
"Psh, what can I say?"
"But dude, sunbathing? Really?"
"Hey, she bought it."
They walked through the parking lot and piled into the Rabbit.
Jacob started the car and took Bella's little hand, which always seemed to be cold, in his. It had been a long day.
"Not too bad an ending to a crummy day," Embry smiled to himself. "Can I stay at your house though, man? I'm afraid I'll wake up tomorrow morning and my mom will have Dr. Phil sitting at my bedside or the pope performing an exorcism over me."
Jake smiled at Bella before answering his friend.
"Sure, sure. As long as you promise to keep your clothes on."