Chapter Two: Princess Words
AN: Thanks so much to everyone who's showed an interest in this story so far! I hope you'll stick with me, and I hope you enjoy the ride! It's going to be a bumpy one.
This chapter features an OC of sorts. Lupinista appears as her generally fantastic self. Having said that, I still don't own anything, as she's her own person and I don't own her. Also, the section that she appears in uses Twitter messages, but FFn doesn't support the "at" symbol, so I apologize if it looks wonky. So anyway, let's get to it, yes?
We arrived at the Forks house in the afternoon, thanks to Carlisle arranging for a non-stop flight to reduce the risk we would be spotted by the media. The house was huge, the front made up almost completely of windows. I raised my eyebrows when I saw it. It didn't seem like the most private place. Not that I was altogether too concerned about anyone tracking us into the middle of nowhere anyway.
Nessie took to it immediately and spent the first couple of hours running around on her chubby little two-year-old legs, nearly giving Bella a fit when she got too close to a creek that ran behind the house, and driving poor Angela to near-exhaustion by the time she finally wound down enough to nap.
The leak had made Bella anxious, I could tell. So when she dismissed Angela to take a nap, saying that she would keep an eye on Nessie in case she woke up, I offered to do it instead. Bella looked ready to cry and just nodded silently at the offer before handing over the toddler and disappearing to some other part of the house.
I wasn't altogether too surprised. Bella had worked hard on the album. She had written all of the songs, unlike the first, when the rest of us had thrown in. Hell, even Emmett had contributed a few songs - a fact which was a constant joke with the rest of us, as "Fruit Machine" and "Traffic Light" had both bombed spectacularly.
But this album... It had been Bella's baby...so to speak. It was her project. Most of the songs were about the time during our absence, which was all down to her. And now she had nothing to show for it.
Well, that wasn't true. People would still hear it. Really, if this leak was spun correctly, more people would probably listen to it than would have otherwise. But still, she didn't get her moment. She didn't get to promote it or hype it up, or revel in the unveiling. It was just suddenly out there.
I curled up on the couch with Nessie, turning the TV on and lowering the volume quickly so as not to wake her up. The news was reporting the leak. The actual news, not E! or something. Must've been a slow news day. Of course, with so many bands affected, I guess that was a lot of product. It would probably plummet stocks or something. So maybe it was real news.
I changed the channel to a rerun of some sitcom and I must've half-drifted off, because the next thing I knew it was an hour later and there was a knock on the door.
I saw Emmett cut from the kitchen, past the staircase, and open the door. I thought about warning him to check who it was first, but then dismissed the idea. Anyone who would find us out here would probably have a real reason to be here. Besides, I didn't think the paparazzi were going to be so kind as to knock when there were plenty of windows to peer through.
"Oh, fuck no!" I heard Emmett shout, followed by the slamming of the door. Nessie started awake. She looked disgruntled, but she didn't start screaming. I was really glad she was past that stage.
"What happened?" I asked, sitting up.
Emmett came stomping into the room, his eyes wide. "You're never going to guess who's on the fucking porch."
"Language," I warned.
Nessie glared at Emmett. "That's not a princess word." The admonishment was somehow dulled by the fact that Nessie couldn't make the "r" sound.
Emmett just stared at her for a second. "Yeah, well, your uncle's not a princess, is he?"
The door opened and closed. I raised an eyebrow at Emmett as he cursed under his breath. The next second three people walked into the living room, looking every bit as confused as me and angry as Emmett.
We stood out on the porch for a minute, surprised by what had happened, before Alice put a tentative hand out and twisted the knob. The door swung open and we walked in. Jacob closed the door behind us.
"What's Burnt Vermillion doing here?" Alice hissed, her eyes narrowed.
I shrugged. "Your guess is as good as mine."
We headed into what turned out to be the living room to find ourselves face-to-face with Emmett once again. Jasper Whitlock, the band's guitarist, was sitting on the couch, a girl who couldn't have been more than three sitting beside him. That surprised me. I didn't remember any of them having kids. Or at least, they didn't when we toured together to promote our debut albums.
What a nightmare.
Well, it wasn't so much at the time, at least not for me. But what followed was pretty ghastly.
"There must have been some mistake." Jasper was the first to break the silence. "I'm gonna call Carlisle."
He stood and gathered up the kid before disappearing into the next room. I wanted to ask if she was his, but it felt weird. We weren't exactly friends, any of us. This wasn't really the time to just be catching up.
"So I guess you guys got leaked too?" Alice asked softly. She was really too nice for her own good most of the time. She didn't particularly like any of them. But there had always just been something inside of her that stopped her from voicing thoughts like that.
Emmett just glared at her but didn't answer.
Jacob scoffed. "Tragedy."
"Excuse me?" Emmett's eyes were still narrowed, but now his attention was fixed on Jacob.
"I mean, it's not exactly like you guys put out anything substantial." Jacob shrugged. "I mean, it's cute and fun and all, but it's not, you know, actually good."
I closed my eyes, waiting for the blast. There was really no need for Jacob to say that. Even if it was true.
"Just because we don't need a full orchestra for a show—" Emmett's calm voice surprised me, but when I opened my eyes, that kid was clinging to his leg, swaying slightly on unsteady toddler legs. So he was keeping his cool for her benefit. Interesting.
I remembered Emmett as being very hot-headed, quick to anger. And his little display at the door had done nothing to disabuse me of that idea. To see him holding back was somehow novel.
"Yeah, well, that's music, isn't it?" Jacob crossed his arms defiantly. "I mean, actual music, you know? Then again, you might not be able to recognize it."
Emmett was visibly shaking with anger by this point. I opened my mouth to tell Jacob to cut it out, but Alice beat me to it.
"I don't know, their new album isn't bad..." She frowned a little, her brow furrowed slightly. "Or, at least it finally convinced me that Bella might be able to actually sing instead of screech."
"Well, that was uncalled for."
We all looked around to find Jasper standing in the doorway, his phone in hand, a decided frown pulling down the corners of his mouth. Oddly, though, there was a strange glint of amusement in his eyes. "I hope you don't feel the same way about my vocals."
"I did like that they were more prominent in the new release." Alice's tone was begrudging but she looked slightly flushed.
"Yeah, well, anyway..." Jasper held up his phone. "You guys are gonna love this. The label has 'limited properties suited for this purpose'. Everyone who got leaked is being doubled up. We're pretty good and stuck with each other."
"Oh fuck no." Emmett finally lost his temper. "I'm not staying with these assholes."
"Princess words." It was the first time I had heard the toddler speak. She sounded determined, even if what she said made no sense.
"I'm not a fucking princess," Emmett grunted, but his hand came down to tousel her hair reassuringly. "Your mom has got to find another way to explain that shit to you."
"Maybe you should've just tought her earmuffs." I clapped my hands over my ears to demonstrate.
"She's not mine, dumbass." Emmett took a deep breath, trying to compose himself. "She's my neice."
"Wait. So this kid is Bella's?" My head started to swim. No way was this kid Bella's. She hadn't had a kid when we toured together back then, and that was almost three years ago. This kid looked about three, but she must be younger. Which probably meant...
I should've known. I should've fucking known. She was way too fucking easy. No wonder she hadn't answered my calls after the tour. She didn't give a shit about me. She probably had a laundry list of guys she was fucking.
Emmett nodded. I shook my head and looked at the floor. I didn't trust myself to say any more. No one else knew about our...affair, I guess you'd call it. It wasn't love, and it wasn't a relationship. Obviously.
"Maybe we could trade with someone." Even as she suggested it, Alice's voice was doubtful. And she was probably right. Esme probably wouldn't be all for us moving again.
"Let's just find our rooms," Jacob said, seeming to arrive at the same conclusion. "Are there even that many rooms?"
"There are six. Bella, Angela, and Nessie are in one, Leah's in one, and Emmett and I each have one." Jasper shrugged. "We got here first. You two will have to double up, and Alice can have a room."
"We've also got Rose coming," Alice pointed out.
Emmett groaned. "Great. Cause things weren't bad enough already, now that bitch..."
"I'd really love it if you didn't talk about my best friend that way." Alice glared at him.
It was pretty common knowledge that Emmett and Rose couldn't be the same state without causing some shit with each other. I had no idea how it was supposed to work with them in the same house.
"She could sleep by the curb with the rest of the trash," Emmett suggested innocently, shrugging.
"Do you think I won't whip you because I'm small?" Alice demanded, stepping forward. I grabbed her by the arm reflexively.
"Seriously, Emmett, that was kind of low," Jasper admonished, but he seemed to be holding back laughter.
Emmett shrugged and bent over to pick up Bella's kid before heading for the stairs. "Whatever. You guys can figure it out. I'm done. I just want to wait this out and get on with my life."
An awkward silence followed his departure. Finally Jasper cleared his throat. "Well. This should be interesting."
After the day we'd had, I wanted nothing more than to sleep. Potentially forever. Logically, I knew I couldn't do that. I had responsibilities and all of that. But logic had no place in my desires.
I had barely drifted off when Emmett came bursting through my bedroom door, waking Angela. Angela always woke up really quickly, ever since the time Nessie had managed to climb out of her crib and fall to the floor. She wasn't seriously hurt, but she wailed for hours, and Angela had been absolutely positive that I was going to fire and sue her. Now she wakes up quickly at the slightest noise. I don't think she's had an uninterrupted night of sleep in about a year.
"What? What happened?" she stammered, reaching for her glasses.
"You are not going to believe this shit." Emmett sat Nessie down on the bed beside me. "But first, please find a way to explain to your daughter that I'm not a princess. It's embarrassing."
I rolled my eyes. "Come on, Em, it's not that big of a deal. So what's going on?"
"The label is doubling us up. We have another band staying with us." He rubbed his face with one hand, looking more aggitated than I had seen him since... Well, since I had told him I was pregnant, actually. "And given our luck for the day, I'll only give you one guess who it is."
Dread sank into my stomach like a rock. There was only one band - or one group of people, at all, really - that could affect Emmett like this. I closed my eyes, breathing deep, resisting the urge to hurl.
"It's Seattle Thorn, isn't it?" I asked after a moment.
Emmett nodded. "And apparently we're stuck with them. No matter how long this takes to sort out."
I shook my head. Nessie climbed into my lap, leaning back against my chest, and I wrapped my arms around her tightly. "They're all here?"
"No." Emmett shook his head and my spirits lifted a bit. "Rose isn't here. Yet. I've been assured she's coming though," he added sarcastically.
My hopes plummeted again. So he was here. I was stuck in this house with him and...
I looked down at Nessie, who looked like she was about to go back to sleep. I guessed the chaos that had likely ensued downstairs had woken her from her nap.
What was I going to do?
I had to get hold of Jacqui.
Jacqui and the band went way back. She had been a fan practically since day one, coming to all of our little local shows, helping us with merchandise and crappy homemade demo CDs... She pretty much ran the product table at our shows for a little over a year. She was our biggest cheerleader.
Around the time we signed with Unwound Records, she found out she was pregnant. She was a year under us, and still in high school. She had been absolutely certain that she and the father were going to be together forever...and then everything just started to fall apart. Mainly because he was a giant asshole. So now she was single, and her son, Robert, was about a year older than Nessie.
That was why I had run to her when I found out. She had helped me through everything. Well, really, she was the only one who could. She was the only one who knew everything.
I pulled out my phone, accessing the Twitter app and scanning my feed. It looked like she was online. I typed out a quick message.
vermillionbells: therestisdetail you're not going to believe this. I'm stuck in a house indefinitely with HIM.
"Who are you messaging?" Emmett asked. I waved him off.
"I thought Carlisle said we should limit contact?" Angela sounded worried. The poor girl was constantly afraid of getting in trouble, even by association, which was actually pretty silly, since she technically worked for me, not the label.
And besides, I didn't think Carlisle would throw a shit fit over me tweeting someone. As long as I was careful not to say where I was.
"It'll be fine," I said out loud. My phone beeped and I looked down at it. Jacqui was so speedy.
therestisdetail: vermillionbells NO. what is happening?!
I ignored Angela's slight protests and started typing, careful of how to phrase it.
vermillionbells: therestisdetail you've heard about the leak, right? well, the label's shacked us all up. I sent that, and then realized I hadn't actually asked her anything. What was she supposed to say to that? I quickly typed a follow-up. vermillionbells: therestisdetail I have no idea what I'm supposed to do about this.
therestisdetail: vermillionbells have you seen him yet?! has he said something to you? do you think he would suspect anything?
vermillionbells: therestisdetail No. And I don't know. It's pretty obvious to look at her but...I mean, I haven't talked to him since.
therestisdetail: vermillionbells omg. you said you're shacked up... is there any way for me to come see you?
I thought about that. It would be a huge relief to have Jacqui here. I felt myself calm down a little just considering it. But I wasn't sure how she fell into the whole "laying low" idea.
vermillionbells: therestisdetail I'll have to check with C. We're on lock-down. I hope so. You'd do that?
therestisdetail: vermillionbells OF COURSE. until further notice, just take baby steps. start out with being in the same room as him, but without her around. that might cause unnecessary questions.
She had a point. Of course, Nessie had been with Emmett, and if Emmett had seen them, there was a good chance they had seen her. So that damage might already be done. Still, it was pretty sound advice, and it couldn't hurt anything to follow it.
Even if the idea of being in the same room with him made me nervous as hell.
vermillionbells: therestisdetail good idea. Alright, I'll ask C. It'd be a huge help to have you out here. Plus, you'd get to see vermillionem. ;)
Jacqui had such a crush on Emmett. He pretended to be annoyed by it, but I was pretty sure he secretly enjoyed the attention. He was nice enough to her, anyway.
therestisdetail: vermillionbells you sold me at vermillionem! ;) anything I can do to help. stay strong!
I exhaled deeply. Easier said than done.
I looked up to find Emmett and Angela looking at me expectantly. I smiled at them as Emmett's phone pinged. He pulled it out of his pocket and pushed a few buttons. After a second he raised his eyebrows, a smile tugging at his lips.
"Jacqui's coming?" he asked.
I shrugged. "If Carlisle says it's okay. I don't know if we're allowed to have visitors."
"Excellent. We'll have them outnumb..." He trailed off halfway through his sentence, still scrolling through his phone. His eyebrows practically disappeared into his hairline and he raised his eyes to me, his jaw slack. "It's obvious to look at her?" His voice was practically a full octave higher than it had been previously.
Crap. I should've thought about that before I used his actual username.
"Isabella... Marie... Swan. Are you telling me that..." He didn't seem able to form a complete sentence. "Is... He's..."
"Emmett, calm down."
He opened and closed his mouth a few times. Angela whipped her head from side to side, looking between the two of us in alarm. After a moment she acted, coming over and taking Nessie from me and leaving the room.
It was quiet for a few more seconds as Emmett struggled to make a sound. Finally, his face red with effort and probably anger, his hands balled into fists at his side, he blurted out: "Princess words!"
And then he turned on his heel, stalking from the room and slamming the door behind him.
AN: Goodness. Well, I guess I'll turn it over to you guys now. Thoughts and such?