Geographical Cure (a.k.a Geographic ):
While still drinking, an effort to cure our alcoholism by getting a 'fresh start' in a new location. It doesn't work. There is a saying around AA, 'Wherever you go, there you are.'
When you stop drinking, you have to deal with this marvelous personality that started you drinking in the first place. -Jimmy Breslin
a/n: Big thank yous to 4meJasper and Bigblueboat from Project Team Beta for AGAIN trying to show me how to use commas.
"What's this place called?" Emmett asks me, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel. We had tried to fly into Port Angeles, but it was too foggy. Crappy rural airports. Emmett likes them; he says he likes to pretend he's in Casablanca, walking right up to a little tiny death-trap plane. I mean, death trap in the "humans die in them" sense, of course.
So, we had to rent a car in Seattle and speed over to Forks, trying to get there before the sun gets high enough in the sky to attract attention to our luminescence.
"Forks," I say, trying to find some sunglasses in my satchel. "Did you steal my sunglasses?"
"Your sunglasses aren't big enough for my head," Emmett answers. "Just 'Forks'? Not 'Grand Forks' or 'North Forks'?"
"Forks," I answer tersely. "I know I put some sunglasses in here. Are you sure you didn't borrow them?"
"Read my mind," Emmett answers, grinning at me. "You lived there before?"
"Yeah, in the 1920s," I answer. "I can't always read your mind. It happened with Carlisle, too. If I spend a lot of time with someone, they develop natural ways to block me. Like, right now you're running numbers through your head."
Emmett just smiles and looks at the road.
"Did you take my sunglasses?" I ask him again.
"When would I have done that?" He glances over at me. "While you were sleeping on the flight? Oh, wait, you don't sleep." He shrugs his shoulders at me.
I give up on the sunglasses and slump back into my seat. Which is kind of uncomfortable since we are in this tiny car. I sit back up, scowling.
"Why are we in a clown car?" I ask Emmett.
"It is a little small, huh?" Emmett answers, looking around the phone booth sized car we rented. "I wanted a hybrid, and this is all they had."
"A hybrid?" I ask. "Why would you want a hybrid?" I grin at him maliciously. I know why he wants a hybrid.
"I wanted to check out the engine," he says. He refuses to look at me.
"Liar," I say.
"No," he says. "Really. I'd only driven that Prius in Toronto that time. When we went to visit that set? That was a great trip, right? Remember that woman recognized you from some big Nazi soiree in Paris in the 1940s and we convinced her that she was senile? What were you doing in some big Nazi-fest anyway?"
"I know what you're doing, Emmett." I shake my finger at him. "You think if you accuse me of being a Nazi sympathizer, I'm going to pretend that I don't notice that you rented this pathetic tin can just to impress Carlisle."
"At least I'm not a Nazi," he counters, looking back at the road.
"I'm not a Nazi," I say, slumping back down.
Emmett changes the radio station.
"I was listening to that," I complain. God, I wish we could have flown into Port Angeles!
"You were listening to the Grateful Dead station?" He looks at me skeptically.
"Yeah," I say. I change the station back. "That new job Kurt has for us is some Summer of Love thing. I'm researching."
Emmett and I work for Hollywood. He does those websites they put up for new movies that no one ever visits, and I do film scores. Don't ask me what films we've done, though. We don't tend to get the big, reputable movies. Hollywood people don't trust anyone who's not willing to sit down for a chai with them or attend two innings of a Dodger game in their front row seats.
In other words, we do weird little art films, B-horror movies, and stuff for Lifetime Movie Network. I'd love to do something that doesn't have someone from a nineties television show or an ambitious porn star. And don't get me started on the art films. Seriously.
"Anyway," I say. "You could impress Carlisle with your knowledge of hippie-rock if you listened to the Dead."
"They're 'the Dead' now?" Emmett did air quotes. "You're a big Deadhead now?"
"I've always been a man of the people, Emmett. You know that." Actually, I'm totally not. I make Emmett deal with real estate agents and delivery people. I can't stand having to listen to all the thoughts.
Emmett just laughs.
We have to drive through the town of Forks on the way to Carlisle's place, even though it's kind of out in the boonies. Which I suppose is great if he's going to invite a bunch of vicious bloodsuckers out here and expect them to go cold turkey.
I look at the sky. "Shit, Emmett! We're like five minutes away from being glowworms. You better speed this sardine can up."
Emmett steps on the gas. It takes us mere seconds to pass through the town of Forks because it's podunk like that. Unfortunately, it takes only a minute or two before we hear the sound of a siren and see flashing lights in the rear-view mirror.
Emmett looks at me with his eyebrows furrowed. "You couldn't have heard him thinking about doughnuts or anything?"
I glance at the cop behind us. His thoughts are really, really quiet. I totally missed them. I shrug my shoulders at Emmett.
He pulls over and rolls down the window. "I really hope we get some major cloud cover in the next few minutes," Emmett murmurs at me.
The cop ambles up to Emmett's window and leans down slightly. He's a typical-looking small-town cop, navy uniform, mustache, and ticket book. But his thoughts are unusually dim for me. It's disconcerting, especially since I can see a wry smile on his face.
"Gentlemen," he speaks dryly. "I didn't think you could speed in one of these."
Emmett shrugs his shoulders and smiles. "Sorry, sir." Emmett trots out that corn pone, backwoods, Southern accent of his and that Boy Scout smile. "We're running late for breakfast. Mom's gonna have our hides!"
The cop squints at us skeptically. "You have family here?"
"Esme and Carlisle Cullen," he says.
"Out on Mill Creek?" Finally, Emmett's words hit cherries in the cop's head, and I can hear something in there. He can't believe Esme's our mom, though.
"Dr. Cullen mentioned expecting his kid," Officer Quiet-Head says. I shoot Emmett a gloating look at the use of the singular "kid." Then I feel kind of bad.
"Yeah, we're staying with them for a while," I say. Mumbly-Thoughts looks at me closely for the first time. He's not impressed. Whatever. I've been not impressing small-town Americans since before his predecessors were driving Commies and artistic types out of town.
"Well, I guess I don't want to keep you if Mrs. Cullen's expecting you." The cop smiles and straightens up. He's not that tall, but this car is so little that we're staring at his cop belt buckle.
Emmett and I glance at each other in relief, but then he stoops back down.
"Don't let me catch you driving like that again, boys." He addresses us but his suspicious cop-eyes are on me.
"No problem, Officer…" Emmett smiles at him and waits for his name.
"Chief Swan," the cop says. "Give Dr. and Mrs. Cullen my regards."
With that he walks away, but I know that Emmett is going to have to do the runs to town for a while because Chief Swan has decided that he no more trusts me living out here than he would trust a snake not to bite.
Great. Just what I need.
Thankfully, we get to Carlisle's house before turning into early-morning disco balls. I don't get it. Forks is supposed to be the rainiest place in the United States. Must be global warming.
Carlisle's new house is way out in the woods, right on the edge of Olympic National Forest. Perfect location for teaching to someone to change their diet from people to deer.
There's just one thing that's worrying me, but I have my answer as soon as I get out of the car.
Ever since Dokibatt-K'wa'iti had made the first person from a wolf, the Quileutes had enjoyed the isolation of living on the edge of the world. Mild weather, endless forests, the Pacific Ocean and plenty of privacy.
They responded to their first encounters with Europeans by enslaving them which may have given the tribe an unrealistic amount of hubris in its dealings with the encroaching world.
Never would they have expected to be signing a treaty eighty years later, which limited them to a little corner of their once vast world and taking away their rights to own other people.
Then followed the white teachers who took away their names, and the settlers who burned their homes. It was enough to make you howl.
So, when they encountered a couple of nicely dressed vampires hunting in their territory, he wolves of Quileute had had enough.
They had encountered monsters like these before. Occasionally a vampire or two would wander into their territory to find themselves quickly outnumbered. As much resentment as the tribe may have towards the people of the town, they hated vampires more.
They could identify the malefactors by smell from several miles away and always went in eagerly for the kill. And the enmity was mutual.
So, with their territory clearly marked, why would this group of overgrown ticks decide to hunt on their land?
Carlisle Cullen wasn't just any overgrown tick; he had been abstaining from human blood for his entire three-century life. He knew about the vampire-friendly climate and isolation in this part of the country. He figured Forks would be the perfect place to take his newly changed spouse and willful, erratic offspring. He also knew about the Quileutes, but he hoped that they could reach an agreement.
Emmett hasn't experienced the wolves of Quileute first-hand, so he doesn't know what to make of the rancid-wool funk permeating the house. I see his nostrils twitch, but Esme and Carlisle have come out to greet us before he has a chance to ask me.
"Boys, I'm so glad you're here!" Esme hugs me. She's like the only one who's allowed to do that.
Emmett greets Esme and Carlisle like the eager puppy dog that he is, but as they are walking back into the house, he catches my eye.
"Is it just me or does something smell…weird?" He uses his best "quiet" whisper, but he's pretty bad at "quiet" so Carlisle totally hears him. He pauses to let Esme go into the house before talking to us.
"Just so you know, we've got a guest here already." Carlisle makes eye contact with me to make sure I understand. Esme is apparently quite fond of her new dog.
"What?" asks Emmett. He's impatient to be let in on the secret.
"Just make sure you're being polite to the boy, and try not to leave your slippers out for him to gnaw on." I say. Emmett gets it and shakes his head.
"We've got a werewolf here?" he asks.
"Shape-shifter, actually," Carlisle notes. "Werewolves only change with the full moon. The local tribe change at will or when agitated."
"What's he doing here?" I ask. Like this isn't all screwed up enough that I have to engage in all of Carlisle's craziness, but I have to wear a clothespin on my nose while I do it?
"The tribe was less than thrilled about my proposal. I think I convinced them that it was in everyone's best interest that more of our kind learn to control their bloodlust, but they still want to have someone here for…quality control."
"Makes sense," Emmett says. Because he would basically agree with anything that Carlisle says.
"Are they going to pay to get the carpets fumigated when he leaves?" I ask.
Carlisle frowns at me. Then I see it in his head. I stare at him, appalled. "He's not leaving?"
Carlisle nods. "He'll be staying here as a form of in-house security. He's a nice young man. Esme adores him."
I follow Carlisle into the house. Which smells like a kennel.
God, it just keeps getting worse.
a/n: Thank you so much for reading! xoxo JuJu