Whee! I don't know why I'm even bothering with another story when I barely have time for my first one. But I can't get this idea out of my head. Enjoy and review! Remember I don't really own any of this except Di.
Chapter One: Worlds Away
If I had an e-harmony profile it would probably tell you my name (Diana Byrne), my age (16) and my likes/dislikes, (photography, painting/ everything else). It would tell you that I don't talk much and when I do it's always a little too blunt. It would tell you my location (Boston). It would probably have a picture of me. Me being a 5'4", pale shrimp of a thing with a head of dark, fluffy waves streaked with blonde, little pink lips and distracted brown eyes. What it wouldn't tell you is that I'm newly orphaned. The last time I saw my mother was when I came out of her. She passed away giving birth to me. My father was never quite the same after she died but he stayed strong and worked hard to support me until the end. The end came too soon and by his own hand. Is it a little disturbing that the first thing I did when I walked in on my father's body, hanging on a rope from the attic rafters, was take out a camera and start taking pictures of him? Is it even worse that I sat down and drew him, suspended and blue, for three hours before calling the cops? I sat in that same spot after they took his body away, all that night and the next day, thumbing the canister of film that had the pictures of him on it. I'd gone catatonic, according to the state appointed psychologist. Whatever that means.
That was three weeks ago. After receiving the call from his lawyer and the check from the insurance company, I sold the house and all his things. I only kept a picture of my mom and him, a reminder of happier times. Now I was being taken to Forks, Washington to live with an estranged aunt. I'd be worlds away from this place, from that attic.
The long flight to Forks gave me time to think about what was next. I hadn't ever had a relationship with my father. He could never look at me without crying, said I looked too much like her. So I spent as much time out of the house as I possibly could. Drawing, taking pictures and the like. After a while I made friends who were artists like me. They came and went, all headed to New York to make it big. I wouldn't have that option. All I had were my clothes, cameras and some lady named Debra Moore who I'd never seen or spoken to. But I'd only have to live with her for two years and then I could book a flight to the city of lights. I smiled, my mood lifting. This sad, pathetic excuse of a life I'd had was over. I was in a limbo now and would be for exactly 730 more days.
I stumbled off the plane temporarily forgetting how to walk lugging my carryon. Unfortunately said carryon didn't have anything of use to me. Not an ID, dollar bill or phone. It was full of my favorite cameras, film, expensive brushes, pencils and charcoal. Everything I'd need to keep my sanity in a town with a mere 3,532 people. The good thing about Forks was that it had a completely different setting. I could now paint forests and wildlife instead of concrete and people. The bad thing was that it was cut off from civilization. I shook these thoughts out of my head and walked toward baggage claim. My bags were easy to tell apart from everyone else's, considering the fact that they were splattered with paint. I grinned when I realized it had been a smart idea to do that, it took me a few minutes to weave through the crowds and grab them. Now came the impossible task of finding my aunt.
I sat down and ruffled through my bags, trying to find my wallet to make a collect call. I'd at least had the common sense to scrawl her number on my arm but it wasn't smart to replace necessary items like a wallet or ID with cameras. I'd been so distracted ruffling through my things that I hadn't noticed the polite tap on my shoulder.
"Diana Byrne?" A slim, long haired woman said tentatively.
"Yeah." I furrowed my brow.
"I'm Debra –uh your Aunt Debra." She corrected.
"Nice to meet you." I squeaked. Go ahead, shoot me for being nervous.
"Nice to meet you too. Here let me help you with your bags." She bent down and helped me close the bag.
It wasn't until we were in the car that I got a good look at her. She was thin with long brown hair and splashes of gray. Her glasses did nothing to hide her big blue eyes framed with thick lashes. Aunt Debra also talked with her hands a lot and her copper bracelets constantly jingled. I'd been so distracted staring at her that I didn't even notice she was talking to me.
"Hello? I said don't you want to know how I knew it was you?" She smiled and I nodded, not wanting to squeak again.
"You look exactly like your mother." Aunt Debra said softly.
"How long until we get there?" I changed the subject quickly.
"A few hours unfortunately. I live on the edge of society." She whined, earning a giggle out of me.
I fell asleep with the MP3 player in my ears, knowing that she would probably talk enough for the both of us. As promised, Aunt Debra shook me awake three hours later. I yawned and stretched before exiting the car. A note about Forks…it's surrounded by clouds and green. Literally. The house before me was on the border of a (probably) never-ending forest, I sighed and dragged my luggage inside. Aunt Debra did some more talking at me, giving me a tour of the house before stopping at a door. I thanked her silently for leaving me alone. The room I was going to be living in for the next 730 days was much better than my old room. It was completely white and I was eager to start decorating it. First I'd have to unpack. An hour of folding, hanging and tucking away later I was done. I looked at my clock and smiled when I saw what time it was. There were a few hours before the sun set, prime time to take pictures. I yanked on a sweater and carefully placed all the cameras in my carry-on on top of my bed before selecting my 1942 Argus C3. I also grabbed a 7D and a Holga Pinhole, sliding my head through them as well. I jammed a few rolls of film in my pocket before placing the only aluminum film canister, the one with my dad on it, in my pocket as well. I could feel tears pricking my eyes but I blinked them away and bounded downstairs. No sense wasting perfectly good picture taking time, thinking about stupid things. I almost slammed into Debra…Aunt Debra I guess. That would take a while to get used to.
"Whoa, whoa whoa! Where's the fire?" She laughed.
"Sorry. I wanted to get a few rolls of film." I forced myself to sound sheepish and pointed to the three camera's dangling off my neck.
"I don't know if that's such a good idea," Aunt Debra started, "It's just that the woods are dangerous. This isn't Boston. There are bears and wolves out there not to mention you could easily get lost."
"I'll be fine." I asserted, eager to get out of the house.
"I can't exactly say no to you but here, take this bag. And promise me you'll stick to the trails." Her face was desperate so I nodded before taking the leather messenger bag and walking out of the house.
I practically ran through the forest, only stopping when I got on the paths Debra had begged me to stay on. I grabbed the pinhole first and snapped a few pictures but frowned. The trees in this area weren't as dense as I thought they'd be and the animals were almost non-existent. It was too commercialized. The leather bag bumped into my thigh and I stopped to inspect it. I contained a laugh when I saw what was in there. Maps of the trails in Forks and the neighboring town, La Push, color coded by 'danger level'. A compass, heavy duty LED flashlight with extra batteries, dried food, water bottles, a blanket, a lighter. At the very top sat a flare gun. That's right. A freaking flare gun. I took out a few maps and carefully put everything back, praying for the flare gun not to go off. I mean that could happen? It's possible, right? No? I guess being weird and paranoid.
I suddenly realized how silly I was for talking to myself. I came out here for a reason. My lips silently moved, reading the map. If I cut straight across, heading west, I could be in La Push within a matter of minutes. Almost all the trails in La Push were labeled black, being the most dangerous. I laughed at my Aunt's fear. It probably wasn't anything to be concerned about. I stuffed the maps back in their rightful place, grabbed the Argus this time and snapped more pictures.
"Love of mine, someday you will die. But I'll be close behind I'll follow you into the dark." I sang softly, feeling at peace.
After a while I was halfway through a roll of film and on the border of La Push and Forks. I stopped and looked up to see the usually cloudy Washington weather was rewarding me with a few rays of sunlight. The bands of light filtered through the canopy of trees and I raised the pinhole, taking at least a dozen pictures. It was so beautiful. I almost regretted not bringing my sketch book with me. My gaze dropped down and I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye.
All those warnings came back of bears and wolves, things that go bump in the night. I slowly turned around, holding my breath. I let it go when I realized it was just a man but my cheeks flamed red when I saw he was naked. Tall, muscular with a deep tan and cropped hair. He looked comfortable in the chilly weather, whistling an unfamiliar tune. His eyes went to the sky and my hands went for the 7d around my neck, silently capturing this moment. He sighed and searched for something in the bushes before pulling something blue out, I squinted and walked forward for a closer look but inwardly-cursed when I stepped on a crunchy leaf.
"Embry, leave me the hell alone. I don't care for all this imprint business and you know it." He boomed, not turning to look even once.
Boy he would be disappointed when he saw I wasn't this Embry character. I remained silent, cataloging the word 'imprint' in the back of my mind.
"No comment? What a terrible friend you are! Can't even comfort me…" Mystery-Man whined dramatically before walking away.
I didn't breathe until he left. That was a close call, he could have had me arrested for trespassing. Or worse, come close enough for me to see his hoo-ha (use your imagination for that one). I turned around, ready to make my way back to Forks but slammed into a warm, shirtless thing. I fell on my butt, the film canisters falling out of my sweater pocket.
"Sorry!" He apologized quickly, helping me up.
I stood up, bristling at his offer to help, knowing my eyes were probably popping out of my head. The first thing I noticed was that he was tall, so tall I had to crane my neck up to see his face. And if I didn't I'd be staring at his toned chest, which was the second thing I noticed. He looked at me oddly and opened his mouth to say something.
"How did you get out here?" He started.
"I was just hiking, taking pictures." I looked away, not wanting to stare. This was beyond awkward.
"It's getting kind of dark out. Do you need a ride back to town?"He asked casually.
"I don't even know you." I said quietly.
"I'm Embry." He stuck his hand out and I shook it reluctantly.
Embry motioned for me to follow him and my eyes narrowed. This wasn't a good idea. Wasn't it a little weird to run into two practically naked guys in the woods? Maybe this was some kind of coordinated rape attack or something. But my feet were sore and I wanted to hurry home and ask Aunt Debra about any darkroom's available in the area or possibly converting a room in the house. I curbed my common sense and followed him quickly, the bag bumping into my thigh again. I was practically jogging to keep up with his long strides. He weaved in and out of the trees while I stumbled behind him, not even bothering to look back. He could at least slow down. Eventually the trees thinned out and we were out of the woods completely, standing in front of a red house with two trucks parked in a gravel driveway. Embry paused, considering something before continuing.
"Come on." He led me into the house and I was surprised by how many more naked guys were in there.
There were three shirtless guys lounging around and a woman's distinct voice floating in from the kitchen. The three guys were also like Embry, toned and weirdly tall. It clicked in my mind then. Anabolic steroids. Duh.
"Who's this?" One of them asked and they all turned around, looking a little expectant.
"Debra's neice…I think. Ran into her in the woods." He explained.
"He ran into me." I corrected, narrowing my eyes. How did he know who my aunt was? Maybe this was a coordinated rape.
"You're aunt is a teacher at the reservation's high school. She talked about you coming for a week non-stop." Embry directed at me and I relaxed immediately.
"This is Quil, Jared and Seth." He pointed each of them out.
"I'm Quil Ateara." The wavy headed one repeated in a sensual manner.
"I'm Di." I blinked surprising myself. Why the hell did I tell them my name? I convinced myself that it was only so they wouldn't have to know me as 'debra's neice'.
"Who's this?" The woman came in from the kitchen and I stiffened.
She had perfect copper skin and glossy, black hair. There were three long scars running down her face, pulling down the corner of her eye and mouth. But there was a hopeful, almost eager look on her face. I looked away expertly and waited for Embry to explain. But he never came to my rescue, he had disappeared from the room altogether.
"That's Di, Embry brought her around after she ran into him in the woods. He's giving her a ride back to town. It's not what you think." Seth, the gangly one, piped up.
"He ran into me." I rolled my eyes, getting a little annoyed with being ignored.
"Oh." She sounded a little disappointed but smiled anyway before slipping back into the kitchen.
I fiddled with my hair until Embry came back out. He had changed into dark jeans and a t-shirt, rattling a pair of keys in his hand. I politely said goodbye and followed him out the truck.
"Sorry about that." He apologized when we were in the car.
"If you don't mind my asking, what were you doing running around out in the woods in the dark?" He laughed.
"Trespassing. Taking pictures." I replied, getting a grin out of him.
"You've got dedication. Anything could have happened out there. I hope you got what you wanted." Embry said.
"Yeah. The problem will be developing the film though. I don't have the same access to a darkroom like I did back home and I would rather do it myself." My hand hovered toward the pocket and I screamed when I realized it was empty.
"It's okay, I'm sure you can use the darkroom at La Push High." He said startled at my reaction.
"We have to go back. Turn around, we have to go back!" I didn't care how desperate I sounded. I was so dumb, I'd left all my film in dirt in the middle of the woods. I'd left my dad out there.
"Relax, relax. The canisters that fell on the ground, that's what you're freaking out about right? I'll get it myself later tonight. You can stop by Emily's house tomorrow and pick it up." He reassured.
"I could care less about the others, just find the aluminum one." I sighed, forcing myself to calm down.
Breathe Di, breathe. Embry would have it taken care of. I remembered how easily he'd maneuvered around the woods for comfort. Finding them should be easy right?
"Alright, aluminum. Got it." He seemed happier now that I wasn't as frantic.
"Pull into here." I instructed.
I thanked him, remembering my manners and was surprised when he took the key out of the ignition and got out of the car with me.
"What are you doing?" I asked in disbelief.
"Saying hi to my favorite teacher." Embry rolled his eyes and leaped up the steps before knocking on the door. I followed warily.
"Embry Call what did I say about visiting me?" My aunt's voice was stern but her face was smiling.
"Good to see you too Ms. Moore, I was actually just here to drop off your niece. She was pulling a 'Crucible', dancing around and singing in the woods before running into me." He laughed, running a hand through his hair.
"You ran into me!" I threw my hands up in frustration, you're kidding me right?
"Well, good to see you get reactions out of her. Most of what I say goes in one ear and out the other." Aunt Debra laughed and moved out of the doorway to let me storm into the house.
I swiveled on my heel remembering to remind him of the film.
"Tomorrow, I'll be at Emily's house right after school. Not a minute later." I half-heartedly threatened him.
In all honesty I was kind of feeling…grateful. Besides if he didn't bring it, I could always sic my aunt on him. Dinner with Aunt Debra was less awkward than I thought it would be, mostly because I forced myself to be friendly. I didn't want her thinking I didn't appreciate what she was doing for me. It worked, she was in a pretty good mood. At least in a good enough mood to let me tag along with her to high school up at the reservation tomorrow, although she firmly reminded that I'd have to go to school at Forks the next day. I didn't care, one day in a dark room was all I needed.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you!" I hugged her tightly for the first time, ignoring the fact that it caught her by surprise. I wasn't that big of a bitch for her to be shocked that I hugged her.
"How was your hike?" She asked, still surprised.
"Oh it was fantastic. I really like the setting out here and I kind of regretted not bringing a sketch book. I went through a bunch of rolls of film so I'm sure one of them will be good enough. I just have to hope for the best tomorrow in the darkroom. I was wondering if there were any shops that specialized in photography around here? Oh yeah and I also found this really cool spot to take pictures, all that's left is finding it again but I'm sure if I get you to threaten to fail Embry he'll do it." I was rambling, once you got me started about art you couldn't get me to stop.
"I'm glad to hear that. There should be a shop or two in Port Angeles if not, I'm afraid you're only option will be to go to Seattle. It's about a five hour drive. Also I'm not using my teaching position to threaten Embry! He'd take you if you were a little nicer. A little less…candid." She worded carefully.
"Oh alright if you want to do it the hard way." I humored her, taking no offense to her largely accurate description of me.
I went upstairs after that, exhausted. It was so much effort, being friendly, outgoing and sparing people's feelings. Why couldn't the entire world just be straight-forward, honest? There were a lot less words involved that way. I changed into my teenage mutant ninja turtles pajama's and looked through the Canon 7d to see what pictures I'd taken. I stopped on the picture of the naked guy. Paul I think. What the hell was wrong with him? Walking around, naked in this weather? I was blushing though and I scolded myself for having a reaction in the first place. If I wanted to make it anywhere as an artist I couldn't be blushing at male anatomy. It was art and it was a beautiful picture. I decided I'd develop it and give him a copy tomorrow. I fell asleep thinking about what developing process I'd have at my disposal tomorrow and how he would react to it.
What did you think? Diana is kind of different compared to Lacey huh? I've always wanted to do a story about Paul though so hopefully if this generates enough interest and I can manage my time better this will be a long one. So please, review, review, review! Next chapter will have the imprint.