Disclaimer- Stephenie still owns the usual suspects.
I own my original characters and original story.
Tackling hugs and smooches to three lovely ladies: PixieKat7 and AurellaCullen, who helped purty up my words, and Cared who designed the perfect banner for this tale! I adore you all Muuuaaah!
Get ready for a completely inappropriate Emmett (my favorite kind).
The Self-Help Guru
"Edward!" Isabella's voice sounded loudly from the direction of their family room.
Edward's head shot up from his current project and he stared at the open doorway to his study in confusion.
Normally while engrossed in writing new software programs, it would be impossible to distract him, but the fact that his wife shouted his name, immediately drew his attention.
Isabella never shouted.
He didn't have a chance to respond before she shouted again.
"Did you know that Emmett was on Jerry Gimbel tonight?"
Edward pursed his lips as he pondered the proper way to answer that question. The fact was that yes, he had known about Emmett's appearance, but seeing that he and Isabella never watched the show, the information didn't seem important enough to share.
Did Isabella think it important?
Should he have told her?
Edward set his glasses on the desk and rubbed his eyes before shutting down his computer; knowing there would be no further work accomplished tonight.
He found his wife seated on the sofa, remote in hand, obviously waiting for the show to begin.
She turned and frowned at her husband; "Well, did you?"
"He may have mentioned it the other day." Edward moved to sit down beside Isabella.
"And you never thought to tell me?" His wife accused. "I had to find out from your mother, Edward."
"I suppose I didn't think it of any importance, we never watch that show." Edward shrugged and moved to put his arm around Isabella's shoulders. Her stiff posture told him that she was still displeased with him.
"Don't be angry Brown Eyes," Edward whispered in her ear before kissing the side of her head. Bella relaxed a little at the sound of the endearment.
Edward, although having a vast knowledge of the English language, rarely resorted to the formality of calling his wife by her given name, preferring instead to use one of the many nicknames he'd chosen for her over the years.
Bella swore that he had a different one for each letter of the alphabet. That fact alone made him all the more charming in the eyes of his loving wife, with the possible exception of the time he called her "Chunky Bunny" while she was heavily pregnant with their son, Adam.
Needless to say; after Bella cried herself to sleep that night, Edward never used that particular moniker again.
Knowing that she couldn't long resist him, he continued. "I wasn't thinking Sugarplum, I should've mentioned it."
Edward took silent note that Isabella was no longer frowning. "Honey, Emmett is the closest thing you have to a brother." She reached up to stroke the side of his face. "This is a really big deal for him; therefore, it stands to reason that it's important to us as well."
Edward nodded. Isabella was right. Come to think of it, she was often right; especially when it concerned family and relationships. Admittedly, those areas weren't Edward's strong suit.
Bella leaned up to kiss his lips. "I love you my Sweet Baboo."
"Not as much as I love you, Cupcake."
Bella giggled and melted into his side.
At that precise moment, their attention was drawn to the screen.
"My next guest's first book, which is entitled "Chicken Soup is for P*ssies", skyrocketed to the top of the New York Times Bestseller List, and has remained there for the past eleven weeks. Please welcome self-proclaimed Life Coach and Self-Help Guru, Emmett McCarty," with Jerry's words, the audience broke into loud cheers and applause.
Emmett sauntered onstage, his ever-present dimpled smile upon his face as he waved to the crowd before shaking Jerry's hand and taking his seat.
"Wow, that's quite a reception." Jerry said with a grin.
Emmett just smiled wider in response.
"So, Emmett, how does one become a 'Self-Help Guru'?"
"I guess just like any career path, it's all a matter of finding out where you excel and then devising a way to make a living doing it. My degree was in Business with a focus on Marketing, and I made the decision fairly early that the product I planned to market was myself."
Jerry nodded. "Your advice, your guidance?"
"So, you were a kid when you made this decision?"
"No, actually it was during my sophomore year in college. One eventful night changed my path entirely."
Bella and Edward both froze at the mention of that night.
"Care to share with our viewers what happened?" Jerry asked.
Bella grabbed Edward's hand and squeezed hard, her eyes never leaving the screen.
Emmett grinned while quirking an eyebrow, "Hell, what didn't happen that night? It's the only time in my life that I had a run-in with the law." He said with a chuckle before rubbing his chin with his hand. "I guess for the story to make sense, I'll have to tell you about my best friend, Eddie."
Edward swallowed hard, and Bella pulled the throw blanket over her head in embarrassment for what was to come.
"Actually, we're more like brothers…"
****Flashback – 10 years before****
While most other college students were out partying or on a date with their 'significant other', Emmett McCarty and Edward Cullen found themselves in the same place they did most Friday nights, excluding football season; eating nachos at their favorite Mexican restaurant.
Pedro's Place, although considered a dive by many, was perfect for the two close friends, if only for the fact that it was located halfway between the campuses of Emmett and Edward's respective colleges.
The two schools were a mere fifteen miles apart, but were as different as the two young men seated across the table from one another. Whereas Emmett had chosen to go to the very large, and exceptionally rowdy, Mayfield University, Edward had chosen the smaller, quieter, Collier University.
Their usual waitress, Naomi was off for the evening, and a new girl was taking her place. The boys had been so intent on their conversation, that they never noticed her blatant attempts to flirt with them.
"She's just," Edward sighed loudly as he stared down at his plate, just before pushing his hair away from his forehead, and lifting his eyes to look at his best friend. "Out of my league, Emmett."
"No fucking way, Cullen. Isabella Swan is perfect for you." Emmett argued.
Edward cringed at Emmett's use of the swear word. You would think after all this time that Edward would be used to his best friend's rather colorful way of expressing himself, but he wasn't.
Despite the fact that they'd grown up together, next door neighbors and practically inseparable for most of their lives, the truth was that Edward and Emmett were about as different from one another as two people could be.
While folks in their hometown used to scratch their heads in confusion, dubbing them the 'Odd Couple' early on; Eddie and Emmett paid them no mind. The bond they had was unbreakable.
On the surface, Emmett gave the appearance of being his friend's protector, due to his outgoing personality and the fact that Edward was rather quiet and shy. But the truth of the matter was that, almost from the beginning, Edward had been the one looking out for Emmett.
Emmett's story was a sad one, but not uncommon. His father had abandoned him and his mother around the same time that Edward and his family moved in next door. To console herself, Emmett's mother turned to pills and alcohol. There were many days that her young son was left to fend for himself.
From almost the first moment of their acquaintance, Emmett had become a permanent fixture in Edward's home. It didn't take long for the Cullens to realize what was going on next door, and they took young Emmett into their hearts, considering him from that time on to be a member of the family; albeit a loud, boisterous, swearing one, for under all his bravado, they knew that Emmett McCarty possessed a heart of pure gold.
Even when his Grandma moved in to look after him while his mother checked into and out of rehab facilities more times than Emmett could count, he still spent most of his free time next door at the Cullens'.
"It's like this bro." Emmett began. "If you think she's too good for you, you're sabotaging any chance you have. You got to cut that shit out. Self-confidence is key."
Edward looked confused. "You usually agree with me when I say I'm not good enough for a girl, why not now?"
"Uh," Emmett thought about that for a minute. He wondered if he should lie this time, or break down and confess all his past lies to his best friend. It was a difficult decision, but one that he'd known he'd have to face eventually. Ever since Edward started noticing the opposite sex, and Emmett had shot him down repeatedly, the day he knew he'd have to tell Edward the truth had been looming.
He blew out a breath and scratched his chin as he stared at Edward. Then, he narrowed his eyes and began to speak. "Okay, I'm going to tell you something, and I need you to understand that it was all done out of love for you, man."
Edward gave Emmett a strange look.
"Dude, don't look at me like that. A man can love another man. It doesn't mean I'm ready for a commitment ceremony, you feel me?"
Unfortunately, that was the exact moment their server chose to reappear. She stared back and forth between the two young men as she silently refilled their drinks, but as she walked away, Emmett could have sworn that he heard her murmur what sounded like 'should have known, two attractive guys out together on a Friday night… All the good ones are either gay or married, or gay and married…'
Edward, too lost in his own head as usual, was oblivious to her mutterings. Truth be told, he hadn't even noticed that his glass of iced tea had been replenished.
"Let me ask you something." It was a strange way for Emmett to begin his 'confession', but Edward nodded.
"When you look in the mirror, what do you see?"
"Uh," Edward hesitated. He knew the answer, obviously, but it wasn't something he was completely comfortable sharing with another person, not even with Emmett. How could he say aloud that what he saw was a tall, insecure, misfit with nothing special to offer a beautiful girl like Isabella Swan? He winced and gave a little shrug. "Ah.. just, I don't know."
Emmett pursed his lips. "Eddie, it was never that you weren't good enough. Those chicks weren't good enough."
Edward looked confused.
"Dude, the first one slipped by me, but I swore after you broke up with her, that I'd make it my mission to be your wing man. No more skanks."
"Jessica wasn't a…, a skank," Edward, looking uncomfortable, whispered the last word.
"No, not in tenth grade when you dated her, at that time she was just a dim bulb. Harmless, but stupid. But later…" Emmett gave Edward a pointed look. They'd both heard the talk from the other boys about Jessica's behavior during junior and senior years. She was, in a word, promiscuous.
Edward sighed and looked down at his plate again.
He was doomed to die a virgin.
"So, you're saying that those other girls weren't too good for me?"
A look of disgust came over Emmett's face. "I never said that you weren't good enough, I just never corrected your assumptions."
Edward frowned. "Semantics, Emmett."
Emmett shrugged. "I suppose. The problem Eddie, was that every time a girl spoke to you, you considered asking her out. Every damned girl in high school had the hots for you, but unfortunately the ones who spoke up were nasty. I had to stop you. You should thank me dude, if I hadn't stepped in, you'd probably be battling an STD by now."
Edward winced. "Emmett, dating a girl does not automatically mean you will have pre-marital sex with her…"
Emmett gave Edward a dubious look. "Eddie, those girls would have been riding your dick within the first five minutes."
Edward held up his hand while shaking his head. "Stop. Just stop. You make it sound like I couldn't have controlled the situation. All I ever wanted was a nice girl to date, maybe eventually marry and then" his voice dropped to whisper once again, "we would make love. Not before."
Emmett blurted out a laugh. "Dude, I appreciate you wanting to 'save yourself' and all, but that's just not the way it would have gone down. I'm telling you that as soon as one of those ho-bags had grabbed your denim covered crotch, your brain would no longer have been in charge."
Edward could feel his face becoming hot as he glared at Emmett. "I don't want to talk about this anymore."
"Oookay," Emmett answered while studying his friend carefully. "Let's talk about Isabella then."
Edward started furiously shaking his head. "No."
Emmett had first seen Isabella Swan weeks before at the coffee shop on campus where she worked. He liked to hang out there in the evenings to do homework. The coffee was good; the atmosphere even better. It was one of those old drafty places, filled with comfortable furniture and musty old books. It was also a lot quieter than his frat house.
As soon as he saw the young brunette, he was struck by how pretty she was, although rather clumsy and seemingly frazzled a great deal of the time. After observing her for many nights, the thought came to him that she would be a perfect match for his withdrawn, studious, and much too serious best friend.
He was finally able to convince Edward to meet him one evening for a 'study session' at the coffee shop and was silently pleased that Edward appeared to be quite taken with the young Isabella. From that time on, Edward found reasons for he and Emmett to meet there at least once a week, citing that he found the venue more conducive to study than even his own campus library.
Emmett was barely able to contain his laughter when it appeared that the only thing Edward 'studied' during those sessions was the beautiful girl who served them their coffee.
Now, weeks after seeing her for the first time, Emmett was in the unenviable position of trying to convince his best friend to speak to the girl who he'd convinced himself was too good for him.
"Come on, Eddie. You like her, and I'm pretty sure that she likes you." He reached over and playfully punched Edward's shoulder. "And for once, you're interested in a girl who is big brother approved." He grinned.
Edward scowled. "Emmett, you are two months younger than me."
"And your point is?"
"That you can't possibly be my big br… oh, never mind." Edward said with an exasperated sigh.
Emmett was not deterred by Edward's sullen mood. "The fact is that I already spoke to Bella, that's what she likes to be called by the way, and she says that if you wanted to ask her out she wouldn't say no." Emmett sat back with a satisfied grin on his face.
"You what?! You talked to her about…" Edward stuttered and gasped out the words. "How could you do that without asking me first?"
"Because I know you and because it's partially my fault that you have zero self-confidence. This is me trying to make it up to you."
Edward took a large sip of his tea and glanced around in bewilderment.
He thought about Emmett's words, "If you wanted to ask her out she wouldn't say no."
"Are you certain that's what she told you?" He asked warily.
Edward kept staring at Emmett. "Really? Because I find it hard to believe that she doesn't already have a boyfriend."
With those words, Emmett looked away from Edward, obviously hiding something.
"Emmett, she doesn't have a boyfriend does she?" Edward could feel his chest tightening, forcing him to take in shallow breaths.
"No. Not a boyfriend. At first I thought she might because there's this one dude that shows up at the coffee shop a lot. The last time he was there, she had words with him. It wasn't my business, but since I knew you liked her, I had to know what was going on."
Edward couldn't understand why the thought of Isabella with another man made him feel as if he'd been punched in the stomach.
"She looked pretty shaken after the fucker left, so I got her to sit down and talk to me. There wasn't anyone else around so she kinda spilled her guts."
Edward blinked hard a few times, trying to keep himself together until Emmett got to the point of his narrative.
"Seems she went out with the douche a couple of times and he wasn't, in her words, a gentleman. She ended the second date early when she thought she caught him trying to put something in her drink. The asshole's been stalking her ever since."
This time, Edward could feel his face heating up with anger rather than embarrassment.
Someone had tried to take advantage of that beautiful delicate flower of a girl?
Suppose she hadn't discovered his ploy in time?
Edward felt sick, and for the first time in his life, he considered the pleasure he could derive from the act of killing another human being with his bare hands.
He was both ashamed and exhilarated at the thought.
"Eddie, are you okay?" Emmett asked with concern.
Edward refused to look up at Emmett while he fought to control the emotions surging inside of him. He'd never reacted this way before to anything. Isabella Swan had affected him in ways that he couldn't understand. It was baffling, and definitely placed him outside of his comfort zone.
"I know the guy's name if you want to help me kick his ass?"
Oh dear God…
Edward's eyes shot up then, only to find Emmett giving him a knowing smirk. "But… I think you ought to take the girl out first, because then you'd have more of a right to fuck up his shit, if you know what I mean."
The fact that Emmett was actually making sense, made Edward question whether he was possibly asleep and having some sort of vivid nightmare…
"So what do you say, Eddie?"
Emmett sighed in exasperation. "Dude! She's free tomorrow night. It's the only night she has off for the next two weeks. I'll help you arrange everything; all you need to do is call her and ask her out."
"That's kind of short notice don't you think?" Edward asked; his eyes wide and frightened.
"Eddie, she's sort of expecting your call." Emmett paused. "Tonight."
Emmett, tired of waiting for Edward to make a move, demanded his friend's phone and added Bella's number to his contacts. He also convinced Edward to phone her immediately.
In a daze, Edward placed the call.
Less than five minutes later, after saying goodbye to Isabella, Edward sat back in his seat, a blissful smile upon his face.
"She said she was expecting my call." Edward sounded a little out of breath. "She can't wait to go out with me."
Emmett smiled broadly. "I told you."
"Who would have believed it?" Edward answered in an awed whisper.
All the next morning, Emmett fielded phone call after phone call from a nervous Edward. After Emmett reassured him about what clothes to wear, and reminded him not to talk about boring stuff over dinner like his Physics class, Edward seemed to relax a little.
"You're gonna do fine Eddie, she already likes you. All you gotta do is keep from fucking this up."
Edward groaned, worried that he'd do exactly that.
"Oh and Eddie," Emmett said.
"Wear that cologne Mom gave you for your birthday. Chicks dig that expensive shit."
That evening, Emmett was greeted at the door of his fraternity house by a frantic Edward. He was in the black dress pants and dark grey button down that Emmett had assured would make him look 'fucking smooth'; but instead of appearing self-confident, he was falling apart.
"It's all ruined Emmett! I can't… " Edward gasped as he pushed his way inside, hands tugging at his hair. "I can't go out with Isabella… I have to cancel." He said as he threw himself into one of the overstuffed chairs in the living room.
"Hold on Eddie. Start over and speak slowly." Emmett instructed as he moved to sit on the sofa. "What the hell happened?"
There was silence for a moment before Edward began to speak in a slow measured tone. "I man the University's radio station on Saturday evenings."
"Well," Edward took a deep breath. "I called Trevor Holmes last night because we usually cover for one another whenever there's a problem. Everything was set for him to work tonight, but he called me a little while ago. He's sick with some kind of virus, he's puking and everything!" Edward gave Emmett a forlorn look.
"Okay, well get someone else."
"I tried," His voice rose in indignation, "Don't you think I would have tried that before I even considered cancelling my date with Isabella?"
Emmett suspected correctly, that Edward was on the verge of hysterics.
"All I could manage was to get the guy who works before my shift to agree to stay an hour later. But he has prayer group afterwards and refuses to miss it."
"Jesus." Emmett muttered, causing Edward to glare at him.
"I don't want to cancel," Edward began in a small, defeated voice, "but it seems that I have no choice."
Emmett knew that later that night, while he was playing lame-ass wimpy music for the students of Collier University, he would want to punch his own face for what he was about to do, but at that moment, his friend needed him.
After all, Edward and his family had been there for Emmett every day for the past fourteen years.
"Eddie, I'll take your place. Just give me the address."
"What?" Edward asked in disbelief. "But, I can't ask you to do that. I mean, you'll hate it."
"I can't argue with that, but seeing as I'm the one who got you into this, I feel responsible. And I also think that if you chicken out now, you'll never have the balls to ask Bella out again."
Edward sighed loudly. "Why do I get the feeling that this is a terrible idea?"
"Dude, shut up and go pickup your girl."
Edward swallowed hard and thought about the exquisite Isabella, and the fact that he couldn't find it in his heart to disappoint her; she'd sounded so happy when he'd asked her out. "Alright. But Emmett, you have to stick with the playlist." Edward wrote the address on a piece of notepaper and handed it to Emmett.
"Not a problem," Emmett reassured as he ushered his friend out the door.
"Okay, goodbye." Edward said with a nervous smile. "And thank you," he called as he sprinted toward his car.
Emmett had just grabbed his keys and was heading over to his own vehicle when his cell phone rang.
"Hey Emmett, I forgot to remind you about the hotline." Edward rushed out the words.
"Yes, we talked about this a couple of weeks ago. Reverend Morris, our president thought it would be better for students to be able to speak with people their own age about certain issues," Then Edward whispered something, but due to the fact that Emmett had just started the engine, he didn't quite catch it. "Please tell me that you remember, Emmett, or I won't be able to agree to this."
Emmett knew he had to fake it. "Sure Eddie; I remember."
"There's a manual in the desk drawer if you get stuck trying to answer a question."
"Sure, sure. Stop worrying."
After almost an hour of playing the 'pre-approved' songs over the airwaves, Emmett had determined that the hotline must be for suicide prevention.
It made complete sense.
No Beastie Boys, no Zeppelin, no Radiohead, not even any Coldplay. He found one U2 song and played that, and there was a Lifehouse song that was pretty good.
"No fucking wonder they want to off themselves if they're forced to listen to this shitty music all the time." He muttered.
It wasn't that many of the songs were religious per se, they weren't. Emmett wasn't some kind of asshole who put people down for their personal beliefs, not at all. Edward's family was very dedicated, and Emmett quite often attended church services with them.
The real problem was that the songs were just so fucking wimpy, and boring; and if it continued for much longer, Emmett feared he would do something rash, although he leaned more toward homicide rather than suicide.
He knew Edward's musical tastes were closer to his own, and couldn't believe that he willingly played this crap over the airwaves every Saturday night.
He glanced at his backpack where it sat on the floor, knowing full well that it contained several CDs full of music he'd ripped from his favorite playlists. His fingers twitched, wanting to pull them out and wake up the students of this sleepy little school.
Just as he reached for it however, the hotline, the suicide prevention hotline, which had remained silent up until then, began to ring.
Emmett saw a little pre-printed card sitting in front of the phone and gave it a quick glance. It gave instructions on how to answer. He shrugged and picked up the handset before taking a deep breath and punching the button to answer the line.
No one was gonna bite the big one on his watch…
"You've reached Collier's student hotline; Emmett speaking."
"Oh… hey… um. I found this number posted on the school website…" The statement came out as more of a question as the noticeably nervous male at the other end of the line forced out the words.
"Hey, look man, don't be nervous. Why don't you start by giving me your first name?"
"Um, okay. My... my name's Jasper." There was a long pause.
What the hell kind of name is Jasper?
Emmett kept that thought to himself as he spoke. "Hey, well first off, I want you to relax. We're just two buddies talking; okay Jasper?"
"Yeah, okay." Jasper's voice cracked a little on the second word.
That was followed by another long silence.
"Jasper, I want you to know that it took a lot of courage for you to call. You should be proud of yourself man."
"Hell yeah. A lot of dudes just go off and do something stupid rather than admit that they need help. But you're obviously smarter than that."
"Well, I do have a 4.0 GPA." Jasper answered in a low voice.
Emmett gave a whistle. "See? Now that's what I'm talking about. You got the grades man. You've probably got a lot of other stuff going for you as well. You got a girlfriend?"
"We just broke up." Jasper said in a sad voice.
"Oh, I see. Is that what's got you down?"
"Not really. She was kind of bossy. I didn't like that."
"Yeah, the Dominatrix type can be fun, but usually not outside of the bedroom, am I right my man?"
Jasper coughed as if he'd choked on Emmett's words.
"Hey little buddy, take it easy. Drink some water or something." While he waited for Jasper to stop coughing, he queued up the next lame-ass CD to play over the airwaves. "So anyway Casper, this chick wasn't the be-all and end-all, you know? You can't give up hope. You've got your whole life ahead of you. It's like I always told my friend Eddie, the right woman will come along and until then, you've always got your hand."
Emmett smiled widely at his own advice.
"Um… it's Jasper."
"Whatever. You know Jasper, I'm serious here. Losing a girlfriend feels like it's the end of the world, but it isn't. This thing you had with her just wasn't meant to be, or some shit like that. And it's definitely not worth doing something drastic."
"You probably miss the sex, and that's understandable. We're young, our hormones are raging. I get it. And hell, it's not every girl who will take charge in the bedroom like your ex." Emmett paused. "Just curious, did she ever handcuff you?"
"What?" Jasper asked in a high-pitched squeak.
"Too personal, huh? Sorry, dude, I get carried away sometimes." Emmett said with a loud chuckle. "Anyway, I myself have never been handcuffed. Don't know if I'd like it but hell, I'd be game to try it at least once." Emmett tried to school his thoughts away from fantasy bedroom antics and back to the conversation at hand. "So, as I was saying, you probably miss the sex. Do yourself a favor my man, and don't hook up with someone else right away. Rebound sex may sound exciting, but in actuality, it sucks monkey nuts. In your desperation to get laid, you could make the mistake of knocking boots with a bitch who's done half the football team. I say no thanks; I'd rather be jerkin' my own gherkin, if you know what I mean."
With those words, Jasper seemed to choke again.
"Gaspar dude, you really should see a doctor about that cough." Emmett paused and considered that for a moment, "You aren't smoking weed are you? I promise no judgments, but that's a bad fucking idea, especially if you want to keep that stellar GPA."
"It's Jasper; and no, I don't smoke… anything. Ever." Jasper answered once the most recent coughing fit had subsided.
"Good to know."
"And, Emmett, I should explain that I don't believe in sex before marriage." Jasper added in a very small voice.
Emmett winced as realization dawned on him.
How could he have committed such a monumental blunder? Of course this guy didn't screw around. Didn't his best friend Edward believe the same thing? And didn't Edward specifically choose this school because so many like-minded people went there?
"I'm sorry man, I fucked up."
"It's okay. I mean a lot of people don't understand my beliefs, but aside from the religious aspect, sex before marriage can really complicate your life."
Emmett nodded sagely. "Amen, brother. And I do understand. My best friend thinks like you. As a matter of fact, he's supposed to be here tonight. I'm taking his place so he can go on a date with the girl of his dreams"
"Oh." Jasper answered. "So you don't go to this school?"
"Nah, I'm a sophomore over at Mayfield."
"I guess that explains a lot."
Emmett drew in a deep breath. "Just so you know, I'm not much of a player, Jazzman. I've only rounded the bases with three chicks, two of them were girlfriends and one was a mistake. But for being almost twenty years old, that hardly qualifies me for man-whore status."
"I …, I wouldn't know…, and it's Jas… oh, never mind."
Emmett rubbed his chin and considered what to do next. There was still the fact that this guy had phoned the suicide hotline. He was obviously depressed, so there had to be a way to fix this.
And then it hit him. He just needed to convince Jasper that there were reasons to stick around.
"How old are you, Jasperillo?"
Jasper blew out a breath. "I'm eighteen."
"Dude, you've got so much shit to look forward to. I know right now it seems like graduation is a lifetime away, and it's easy to get depressed when you ponder that, but it will be here before you know it. After that, your time will be spent building yourself a career, and you may possibly meet that girl you will want to spend the rest of your life with. But for now, you gotta take the joy from each day as it comes."
"Study and work hard of course, but you gotta make sure to take time to stop and smell the roses."
"I'm allergic to pollen," Jasper answered.
Emmett sighed, beginning to think that this guy was hopeless. "That's beside the point; just tell me that you get what I'm saying."
"Ya got a lot goin' for you Jasmine."
Jasper audibly sighed.
"Just don't think so hard and learn to cut loose every once in a while. Now, I realize you've made a decision to be celibate until marriage, and I respect that. But there's nothing wrong with a little buffing the banana. As a matter of fact, it would probably do you a world of good, Jarvis."
"What are you talking about?" Jasper sounded confused.
"You know, Bleeding the weasel? Cranking the shank?"
"I don't understand." Jasper answered in a bewildered tone.
"Dude! You know… Fisting your Mister?"
Emmett realized he needed to be more direct.
"Um, okay how about Pumping the python? Whipping the Willy? Jer-king-off?"
Finally a gasp of recognition sounded from Jasper. "Emmett, you can't… I mean, it's not…"
"Calm down Jacinta. Take a breath and hang on for a moment while I do something I should have done an hour ago."
Emmett set down the handset and grabbed his backpack from the floor. A moment later he pulled a CD from its case and stared at the silver disk.
This collection of music he'd gleaned from one of his playlists was the key to helping save an untold number of Collier students from the wallows of depression and anxiety.
He cued up the disk and selected the songs he wanted to play, before grabbing the microphone that would broadcast his voice over the airwaves. "Never fear faithful listeners," He began in a low, alluring tone, trying his best to sound like Gavin from Pirate Radio, even affecting a fake British accent, "for I have heard your anguished cries from across the barren desert of shitty music. Rest easy. I am here. All will be well."
His finger hovered over the 'play' button as he continued.
"My friends, it has come to my attention that many of you out there may be suffering needlessly. Your lives are filled with the drudgery of school work; some of you have jobs to make a little extra cash. You spend what little free time you have studying and going to prayer meetings. Am I right?"
Emmett nodded to himself.
"As the saying goes, "All work and no play makes Emmett a very dull boy," Emmett snickered to himself, "For the next," Emmett glanced at the clock on the wall, realizing he only had thirty more minutes before he could leave, "half hour or so, we're going to discuss ways to relieve stress and anxiety, because we know that those things lead to depression, and I don't want any of you falling victim to the effects of that slippery slope. So, sit back, calm your fears, and imagine me right there in your dorm room, just shooting the shit and playing some great tunes."
I wonder if I can say 'shit' on the radio?
Emmett shrugged and continued. "I know a lot of you don't indulge in the typical relaxation methods for people our age. Probably no drinking, no drugs, and I guess a fair number have also ruled out pre-marital sex. I commend you for that. You could fucking rule the world someday my friends."
I wonder if I can say 'fucking' in the radio?
He shrugged again. "Anyway, to put things in perspective, there are still things you can do. Exercise has been a proven method to treat depression, so make use of that gymnasium I passed on my way in tonight, hell you're paying a shit-ton of money to be here, so you may as well take advantage of the benefits."
"Next, meditation is another great way to alleviate stress. I think most of you already do that, although you call it praying. It's all good."
Emmett did a little fist pump in the air, he was on a roll.
"Last but certainly not least, there's sex. Hands down, in my opinion, the best stress relief out there. I know, I know; most of you are probably saying 'What the hell Emster? You know I've put doing the Wango Tango on hold until much later, so why are you even bringing it up?' Believe me, I feel your pain sisters and brothers and have come up with a solution. You no longer need to suffer the effects of terminal horniness. When the need arises, so to speak; take a little time out and indulge in a few moments of 'self-love'. Here to continue that thought, the Divinyls."
I love myself
I want you to love me
When I'm feelin' down
I want you above me
I search myself
I want you to find me
I forget myself
I want you to remind me
I don't want anybody else
When I think about you
I touch myself
I don't want anybody else
Oh no, oh no, oh no
Emmett sat there bobbing his head and tapping his hand as he listened to the song, almost forgetting that he'd left poor Jasper hanging on the phone.
"Hey, almost forgot about you there, Jedediah."
"Emmett, what are you doing?" asked Jasper, his voice frantic.
"Providing a service for my fellowman of course," Emmett answered with a satisfied smile.
"Emmett, the whole point of this hotline is to, you know, keep people from doing that. I'm really confused."
"You know Jethro, I realize that Suicide is a nasty, dirty word. But how can you contemplate it if you can't even say it?"
"Suicide?" Jasper gasped the word.
"Yeah, Suicide. I'm trying to save your life here man, but you sure as hell ain't making it easy."
"Emmett, I think there's been a misunderstanding."
"This isn't a suicide prevention hotline, not at all. This line was set up to help students avoid giving in to temptation." Jasper emphasized the last word.
"What do you mean? Temptation as in what? Eating dessert before dinner?" Emmett laughed at his own guess.
"No, Emmett. Temptation as in the exact thing you're promoting. What did you call it? Oh, yeah, 'self-love'. It's a sin, Emmett."
"No shit?" Emmett asked.
"No shit." Jasper responded.
"What are you saying, Jermaine? Are you telling me that this is a masturbation prevention hotline?"
Jasper cleared his throat. "Well, not just that. It's meant to help you through those moments where you feel weak."
"You mean like a fucking AA sponsor?"
Emmett just sat there stunned, wondering why Edward never mentioned such a thing before. Suddenly, he realized that Edward had mentioned it. Although Emmett, at the time, was clearly not paying attention.
Eh, it happens.
I love myself
I want you to love me
When I'm feelin' down
I want you above me
I search myself
I want you to find me
I forget myself
I want you to remind me
I don't want anybody else
When I think about you
I touch myself
"Fuck me." He muttered out loud as a second phone line began to blink. "Hold on dude, I gotta get another line."
"Collier hotline," Emmett answered in a subdued voice.
"This is Reverend Morris, who are you and what have you done with Edward Cullen?" Sounded a gruff male voice in Emmett's ear just as the next song he'd chosen began to play.
I was walking down the street when out the corner of my eye,
I saw a pretty little thing approaching me.
She said I never seen a man who looks so all alone,
Oh, could you use a little company?
"Hey there Reverend. I'm just filling in for Edward, um, he couldn't make it tonight."
"Your name young man?" The Reverend pressed.
"It's Emmett McCarty."
"Well, Mr. McCarty, you will cease and desist playing that horrid, sinful, so-called music immediately, and apologize to the students of Collier for your obvious lack of judgment."
"Reverend, I am sorry. I had no idea that uh," Emmett coughed, "Spanking the monkey was a sin."
"Oh dear God." The Reverend muttered. "At this point, it doesn't matter, you have crossed a line here tonight and both you and Edward will suffer the consequences. Unless I am able to work a miracle, the school is going to be fined heavily by the FCC because of your inappropriate language, not to mention the psychological damage you've inflicted on my students!"
"Hey Rev, I take full responsibility for this. Please don't punish Eddie. He's not involved."
"He is involved. For whatever reason, he passed this job off to you, and he will answer for that." The Reverend paused to take a breath. "How do you even know Edward? I find it hard to believe that young man would have a friend such as you."
Emmett was a bit taken aback by the vicious tone in the Reverend's voice.
"We're best friends." He muttered.
Reverend Morris grunted. "Well, I will consider not punishing him if he takes my advice and dissolves what is obviously a very unhealthy friendship. But that doesn't apply to you. You will pay for what you've done tonight. As a matter of fact, I am on my way to you right now, and will have the campus police with me when I arrive."
Emmett's heart sank.
"Look Reverend, I'll do anything you want, but Eddie's like a brother to me…"
"As Abel was to Cain, I'm sure." The Reverend sniped.
"Are you really comparing me to a murderer? You don't even know me." Emmett was feeling defensive.
"It's good to hear that you're familiar with a portion of the Bible at least. And I don't need to know you. It's sufficient that I know your type."
Emmett sighed in frustration. This guy was a complete asshole.
"Reverend, just let me apologize and explain to the listeners that I honestly didn't mean any harm."
"No harm?! You have used my radio station to promote illicit sexual acts to these young people, every one of whom is worth ten of you."
"I thought Jesus was all about forgiveness, or did I get that wrong?" Emmett asked, beginning to no longer feel sorry for his mistake.
"Don't you dare lecture me about the teachings of the Church young man."
"No, I won't tell you how to run your school, or your church, but I do plan to make Edward aware of how much of a dick you are."
"How dare you!" The Reverend was shouting now.
"Well Rev, I gotta go. It's been real." Emmett muttered before disconnecting the call.
He rubbed his eyes hard out of frustration.
Emmett grabbed his backpack, deciding that he wouldn't be waiting around for when the Reverend arrived. He noticed then that line one was still blinking and pressed it to see if Jasper was still there.
"I'm sorry dude. I have to go. Reverend Morris is on his way and there's a whole lot of shit about to rain down on my head."
"Oh man. Is there anything I can do to help?"
"I appreciate that, bro. If he causes trouble for me at school, maybe you could put in a good word?"
"Sure Emmett. I'll explain that it was all a misunderstanding."
"Thanks, Jasper. It was good talking to you. If you have a chance, stop by the Pi Kappa Beta frat house on Mayfield's campus sometime and look me up."
"Will do, Emmett."
Emmett hung up and grabbed his pack, shoving his CD inside. He hesitated at the sound of the phone line ringing once again.
His finger hovered over the button for a moment before he punched it.
He didn't get a chance to say a single word before Edward was shouting in his ear, "Emmett!"
By the sound of it, Edward knew about Emmett's screw up. Emmett attempted to apologize, "Yeah, Ed. I'm really sorry I…."
But Edward cut him off, "I need your help! I don't know what to do!"
"What's going on?"
"It's Isabella, she's acting crazy. She keeps trying to take her clothes off!"
"And that's a problem because…"
"Emmett! She's acting as if she's intoxicated."
"Have you two been drinking?" Emmett asked incredulously.
"Of course not! I think she's having a reaction to some allergy medication she took when she couldn't stop sneezing. Remember the cologne you told me to wear?"
"Well it seems she was allergic to it. This date has been a nightmare…" Edward whimpered.
"Okay, save it for when I see you, Eddie. Where are you now?"
"I'm near the Wawa on Riverside."
"Whoose tha' on the phone, Gummi Bear?" Emmett could hear Bella's voice in the background.
She sounded completely wasted.
"It's just Emmett, Sweetness. Now, please do me a favor and put your shirt back on."
"Uh-uh. I wanna go skinny dippin' in the lake."
"Emmett! Help me!" Edward cried in an agonized voice.
"Edward, you need to take her home and sober her up."
"Not to my dorm! I'll be expelled."
Emmett decided not to share the fact that, because of his own stupidity, Edward's student status at Collier was probably already in jeopardy.
"Okay, what about her dorm?"
"I know what building it is, but don't have any idea what floor or room. And I don't feel like hauling around a half-naked woman while I try and find out!" Edward groaned. "No Buttercup, please don't take off your skirt."
"Shit. Edward, how close are you to the frat house?"
"Well, go there and take her straight to my room. It's Saturday night, all the guys are probably out. I'll catch up with you as soon as I can."
Emmett hung up and hesitated before turning toward the door. He couldn't leave things like this.
He cleared his throat before pulling the microphone close to his lips.
"I just want to say to all the listeners out there that I'm sorry if I offended any of you tonight. It was never my intention to make anyone feel uncomfortable. But, it seems that being sorry isn't enough for Reverend Morris. He's on his way here now, intending to have me arrested."
"In my defense, let me just say that, as God is my witness, I had no idea that Choking the chicken, otherwise known as Rubbing one out, was a sin, and for that I do apologize."
"In closing, let me ask you all to do something for me. Every now and then, I want you to stop what you're doing and take a good look at the world around you. Breathe it in. Dream big, but at the same time, learn to just live in the moment. None of us are promised tomorrow, so make the most of every single today. See you cats on the flip side. Emmett McCarty over and out."
And with those words, he was gone.
************End of Flashback************
Jerry was still laughing and shaking his head as he managed to ask Emmett the next question. "I gotta know Emmett, were you arrested?"
"I was never taken into custody, but I did have to go to court. The FCC threw out the fines as long as I agreed to do community service." Emmett shrugged. "Reverend Morris tried to sue me, but failed. My buddy Edward was so pissed about it, that he switched schools. Our new friend Jasper eventually joined us, and we all graduated from Mayfield."
"So whatever happened to Edward's girlfriend?"
Emmett chuckled. "When I arrived at the frat house, I found Bella, fully clothed, dancing around my room. Evidently I'd missed the part where she'd danced downstairs in her underwear. It took a couple of hours and several cups of coffee to clear her head."
"Once sober, she explained that the drugstore she and Eddie stopped by, didn't have her usual allergy meds, so she'd purchased some no-name brand. Big mistake."
"I'll say." Jerry was laughing.
"It was quite a memorable evening, but one I wouldn't change for the world because that was the night I decided that my calling was to help others when they're struggling with relationships or with life in general. I obviously had a lot to learn, but that night was the start."
"Emmett, I've got to ask, for a guy who gives out such great relationship advice, why is it that you yourself are still single?"
Emmett looked down at his hands and took a deep breath before looking back up at Jerry. "I suppose I'm still looking for that special woman." Emmett's gaze seemed to drift then as his attention was drawn by someone, or something, off stage to his left.
There she stood, the statuesque blonde he'd met only an hour before.
A beautiful name for a beautiful girl
She was an assistant director on Jerry's show, and in the short time they'd spent together, there was no denying the attraction. It was unlike anything he'd ever felt before.
Right then and there, Emmett McCarty decided that as soon as the show was over, he would ask her out.
He never regretted giving Edward the push he needed to take Bella out that first time. It was time to follow his own advice and take a chance.
When he looked into Rose's eyes, he saw a glimmer of hope that maybe he could experience the same kind of happiness that Eddie and Bella had.
The winds of change were blowing, and just like that night ten years earlier, it was time to follow a new path and begin the next chapter of his life.
A/N Song credits: "I Touch Myself" by the Divinyls. "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" by Cage the Elephant.
I won't discount the possibility that I will write this night from Bella and Edward's perspective at some future date. It's too tempting not to explore.
Thanks for reading!