Thank you so much for all your prayers and well wishes for the state of Alabama. We'll need them for a while, so keep them coming...
I wrote this because while Firefly in Summer makes perfect sense in my little head, some of you have questions, blank spots, WTF moments... you know what I mean. While these little one-shot chapters may not answer all your questions, and in fact may raise more... I think at the very least they'll get you thinking.
These are not beta'd. Please forgive any glaring errors.
"Edward, get off the damn phone and tell me how to work this thing." Emmett's large fingers scrolled through the options on the camera's touch screen again, but he couldn't figure out how to turn the flash on. He'd taken some pictures earlier but the light was really low, and he wanted to make sure the next picture he snapped was a good one. He turned it over and over in his hands.Hiscamera had a little switch on the top for the flash. Every camera should be that easy.
"Hold on, hold on… no really… hold on," Edward rolled his eyes and grinned. "She loves me, what can I say?" he said to Emmett in a stage whisper.
"Come on, man." Emmett wanted to grab Edward's phone and throw it in the lake. "The hot chick I've been talking to went to the bathroom for just a second. I want a picture with her when she gets back."
"Fine, fine. Keep your panties on, big guy," Edward laughed as he brought the phone back up to his ear. "Hey, baby. I gotta help Em out with the camera. I'll call you back. I will, I promise… oh yeah? Yeah? You'll miss me that much, huh?"
Emmett sighed when Edward's eyes widened at whatever Tanya was saying over the phone. He glanced over at the bathroom again, impatient. Rosalie's sister came out and started chatting with Leah. She was a cute little girl… he thought Rose might have said her name was Bella when she pointed her out across the room. Edward probably wouldn't mind hooking up with her if he ever got his head out of his ass.
"Fuck me… take a picture of that and send it to me, okay?" Edward squeaked. He looked over at Emmett, holding the phone away, mouthing, you're not gonna believe this girl…
Emmett made a swipe at the phone and Edward ducked, laughing, stumbling. "Holy shit, I've had too much to drink. Tanya, baby, get it on and I'll call you back in a minute. Okay… okay… bye." He snapped the phone shut. "Yeah, fuck off Em. So she's a little clingy. She's hot. She is fucking hot, man. Did you hear what she's doing right now while-"
"I'm happy for you E— but for fuck's sake explain this piece of shit camera of yours, please. I just want the damn flash on."
Edward grabbed it from him and pushed one button and handed it back, smirking.
"Thanks," Emmett muttered. Evidentially he was an idiot.
"No prob," Edward said as he shook out a cigarette, scanning the room. "Hey, Seth! Come over here- Em wants a picture of you to keep by his bed when he gets lonely at night." Edward had been introduced to Seth an hour ago and already they were best friends.
Emmett took one last glance at the bathroom door and sighed as Seth ambled over. Seth was a good kid, and good on the field too. He redshirted last year, so he should see some playing time this season, God willing. He slapped him lightly on the back. "How's it going, kid? Where the fuck is Garrett? I had plans for him tonight and he disappeared."
"Yeah, I don't know where he went. He better not leave me though; he was my ride. He saw somebody he knew, I think," Seth shrugged awkwardly, still a little star struck at Emmett McCarty, All-American. "But I'm good. Awesome party, huh."
Emmett made non-committal noises and drank more of his beer while Edward talked up some girl in a pink shirt. There was something about Edward… he'd never been without a girl, as long as Emmett had known him. Whatever… more power to him, and all that shit. Rosalie was worth a hundred of E's conquests, he could tell that after only talking to her for 20 minutes. He wanted to kick himself for letting Rose follow her little sister into the bathroom without getting her number… or even her last name. He was itching to go look for her but she'd asked him to stay put, so that was exactly what he was going to do.
"Turn around, Heisman, and smile for the pretty lady," Edward grinned, and threw his arm around Seth's shoulders.
"Aw, now, don't start that shit," Emmett laughed, a little bashful. He shook it off and smiled widely for the pink-shirt girl, now holding E's camera like it was pure gold. She looked as if she was plotting to hide it in her bra just so he'd have to go after it.
One last glance at that damned bathroom door. He supposed Rose would come out when she was ready. His ego was stung a bit, to tell the truth. It'd been years since a girl had blown him off.
The flash popped bright and they all blinked.
"Hey, don't walk off with that camera," Emmett called halfheartedly, rubbing his eyes. He downed the rest of his beer and rolled his shoulders. Damn it. She'd blown him off. Well, fuck. Plenty of fish in the sea and all that. Too bad. Rose was the kind of girl he would've loved to keep. The kind of girl that would have kept him guessing… would have kept him on his toes.
After ten minutes of shooting the shit with Seth and watching fucking bleary-eyed Edward talk on his fucking phone, Emmett was ready go, just looking for a reason to dump this party. And then his reason stumbled in, white as a fucking bed sheet.
"Holeee shit, Garrett! What in the hell happened to you?" Seth hooted. "You just got sick like a little girl didn't you?" He grabbed his teammate arm, wrinkling his nose. "You smell, dude."
"Let's go. Now." Garrett's eyes darted around the room. Emmett frowned. The guy smelled like he'd just barfed all over himself but he was stone cold sober. And spooked.
"What's up?" Emmett said quietly. He felt a responsibility toward these guys, his younger teammates. There had been a couple of guys who'd looked after him when he was starting out; he was just returning the favor. "You in trouble?"
"Em, you know anything about Royce King?" Garrett glanced at him, eyes panicked, like a rabbit's.
"Naw, man. Can't say that I do."
"Let's just say he's a motherfucking psychopath. I really wanna get out of here, okay?"
Goosebumps crawled over Emmett as he looked around again for Rose. Where the fuck had she gone? Something wasn't right about this. How was it that he felt so protective of her? He'd only known her twenty minutes.
"Hang on a minute, there's somebody I need to find," he muttered, starting for the back door that would lead outside, down to the lake. Maybe she'd slipped out the door and he hadn't noticed.
"No, come on. The cops are on their way," Garrett pleaded, "I'm sure of it."
Em stopped and sighed, torn right down the middle. He and the guys had to show up for practice next week. If something illegal was going down, the last thing he needed was to get mixed up in the middle of it. It'd be all over the media, even if he weren't involved. Coach would absolutely kill him. "You gonna tell me what happened?"
"I ain't talking man. You're better off not knowing, believe me. Come on." Garrett had already turned away, with Seth right behind him.
"Alright." Em nodded and pushed Edward toward the front door, pulling his keys out. Edward was still on the phone, damn him.
Years later, Emmett would lie awake at night, stretched out on a bunk designed for one, his big hands laced behind his head. He still wore a uniform everyday, only this time it was state issued. He'd stare at the ceiling and wonder where his life went wrong. He hadn't realized it but he'd been searching for her, for golden-haired Rosalie, everywhere he went after that one night at the lake house party. He'd look up in the stands, thinking she'd be there, because she'd told him she wanted to transfer to Florida. He'd look at his growing bank account, wishing he knew where she was so he could buy her something pretty… flashy… sparkly. He didn't even know what kind of things she'd like… but if he ever found her, he'd make it his business to know. At the club that night, the night he'd killed those people, still… he'd looked for her there before he'd gotten into the car.
He was an idiot. A monster. Searching for some elusive something, that probably didn't even exist in the first place. He deserved this, where he was… this punishment. It didn't matter that he was never much of a drinker. He'd been a drinker on the night it mattered most. He should have never gotten back in his car with the keys in his hand.
He hoped Rose was happy, wherever she was. He could stop looking for her now. A murderer like him didn't deserve any chance at happiness. There wasn't much he was sure about these days, but he was sure about that.