After waving my goodbyes to David and Meagan, I walked out into the damp grass and headed to the spot of the beach I had been to before. When I got there, Leah was already waiting for me.
"Hey." She said. She didn't expect and answer. In the short time that Leah and I had known each other, she had learned that I didn't talk and she didn't push it. I got a feeling she liked being around someone without being required to make fake pleasant conversation. We walked side by side in complete silence to her friend's house where the party was.
As Leah had promised, the walk was short. We arrived at a house with numerous cars in the driveway after only a few minutes of walking. I followed behind Leah as she walked up a few stone steps and through a glass door.
We walked into a brightly lit room where several people milled about. Three huge tan guys sat on the couch and a pretty girl sat in the lap of one of them. A woman with three long scars marring her face stood in the kitchen stirring something on the stove and a man (muscular and tan, of course) stood beside her just watching her. A few more people sat in various places around the room. They were all talking amongst themselves. At least, they were until Leah broke the semi-quietness.
"Hey, everyone." Leah said loudly, making me wince from my place beside her, "This is my therapy buddy, Evelina. We have to hang out so that Mrs.-Pushy-Andrews will leave us alone. Evelina, this is Paul, Jared, Kim, and Embry, my little brother Seth, Quil, Sam, and Emily." She said the last two names slower and more quietly than the others, and I noticed how her voice got harder. Did she not like them?
I gave everyone a wave, for once being brave and meeting each pair of curious eyes instead of staring at my shoes. When I met Embry's eyes, the only form of greeting besides a wave I ever gave, his once politely interested expression transformed into one of intense adoration. Honestly, at first I thought he was looking at Leah, but when I turned around she was already across the room sitting in a chair by herself.
I turned back to face Embry, who was still looking at me feverishly, and noticed that everyone else in the room was looking at him with please smiles on their faces. They all had a secret that I wasn't in on. Shaking off the weird prickling feeling I got when I looked at Embry, I stuck to my original plan and found a chair near the wall and sat down. I was distanced from everyone else, and that was the way I liked it. No one asking me questions I wouldn't answer, no one having a conversation with someone who wouldn't talk back.
My preferred solitude didn't last long, however. Soon, someone pulled a chair up beside me much closer than I felt comfortable with. "Hello." A deep voice asked from right next to me.
I turned my head and saw Embry grinning at me. I gave him my pitiful smile, but predictable stayed silent.
"What?" He said, laughing, "No hi?"
I lifted my hand and wriggled my fingers. Embry smiled again. I couldn't understand why he was so happy. He continued talking to me, and my not responding began to make the one-sided conversation awkward. Thankfully, Leah chose that moment to leave her own isolation and come over to us. "She doesn't talk." She told Embry matter-of-factly.
Embry's face twisted up in confusion and worry. "Ever? Why?"
Leah shook her head. "Never. At least, not since I've known her and she never talks to Mrs. Andrews. And I don't know why. Maybe that's why she's in therapy."
Embry looked over at me even more concerned than he had been before. He surprised me by taking my hand in his which was extremely warm, and tugging gently on my arm leading me to the door. My curiosity won out over my slight fear of the large boy, and I followed a few steps behind him. We walked for a while, Embry looking back at me every few seconds to somehow reassure himself of something.
After a while, Embry stopped and I followed his example. We were back at the beach, and images and memories of my sister and I flooded my brain.
"Evie! Come play with me!"
I couldn't help it. Tears stung in my eyes and I turned my head away from Embry so he wouldn't see.
Maddie and I exchanged ice cream cones, taking turns tasting each flavor. My fingers were sticky and the sand was hot underneath my bare feet. She had chocolate smeared on her cheek, and when she saw me laughing at her she stuck her tongue out and began running towards the water. I giggled and chased clumsily after her.
"Evelina?" A husky voice asked fearfully in my ear. He pulled me from my thoughts, but the flow of tears didn't stop. I couldn't stop seeing my sister's long blonde hair and cheerful blue eyes crinkling when she laughs. I couldn't stop seeing my parents sitting on a towel looking at us and making funny faces just to see us smile.
"Evelina, please." He said, pleading with me for something, I wasn't sure exactly what. Even though this beach was dark, cold, and damp, in my head I was miles away at a beach in California where it was bright and nearly unbearably hot.
A pair of strong, warm arms wrapped around my shoulders and pulled me to his chest which was equally warm and muscular. The close proximity unsettled me, but the abundant amount of tears pouring from my eyes blurred my vision and made it nearly impossible for me to pull away. His presence, despite my only knowing him for about half an hour, was oddly comforting. I missed my parents and Maddie so bad I felt a physical pain in my chest.
Suddenly, I was exhausted. Every muscle in my body just wanted to give out. I wanted to collapse and lie on the wet sand and just sleep. Sleep until I dreamed that my family was alive and I hadn't caused them to be murdered. I leaned my head against Embry's chest, allowing at least some of my tense muscles to relax. The tears kept flowing freely, and now my body was shaking with sobs. They were silent for I refused to allow the noise to escape any farther than my throat. Not after the last time I made a noise, I couldn't screw everything up again. I couldn't handle it.
"Shh. Shh. Shh." He said softly, his lips inches away from my ear. We stood there, his arms wrapped around me pulling me tightly to him and me sobbing soundlessly into his chest for quite some time. Eventually, the tears slowed and I wiped the remaining ones from my eyes and separated myself from Embry. He seemed somewhat reluctant to let me go, but I was persistent. Once I was a few feet away from him, I smiled thankfully before turning and walking back down the beach towards David and Meagan's house.
I had only taken about two steps before Embry was at my side again, walking beside me. He didn't say anything, he just kept pace with me despite the fact that his legs were much longer and he could easily walk much faster than me. His arm brushed against mine a few times and each time I didn't want to move away, but I did. He was so warm, and the night had quickly gotten chilly.
I shook my head. I was being crazy. My being around people, anyone not just Embry specifically, for extended periods of time wasn't smart. I just caused trouble. No, I wasn't so crazy as to think that by spending time with Embry I would eventually cause his death, but still being around people wasn't good. Not only was I worried that something bad would happen, but I was also worried that I would become attached to people, make friends, and they would be taken away from me somehow.
As I was consumed by those thoughts, I didn't notice when we stopped outside of David and Meagan's house. Embry pulled my back to reality by resting his warm hand softly on my shoulder. "You okay? Better anyways?" He asked, his voice low and soothing.
A paused for a moment, not wanting to lie to him, before deciding on my answer. I nodded and shot him my signature weak smile. His apprehensive and concerned expression didn't relax, and my smile obviously didn't assure him as I'd hoped. I quickly wrapped my arms his broad shoulders and gave him a slight squeeze that passed as a hug before releasing him and waving goodbye. I was about to turn and head inside the house, still exhausted and prepared to collapse and sleep for hours, when Embry gently spun me around and gave me a peck on the cheek. I smiled at him and waved goodbye again before going inside. As soon as I shut the door, my pinch of happiness and peace that Embry had given me vanished and I was once again left alone with my memories and guilt.
A/N: Yay! Embry makes an appearance! Please review, so I know if anyone wants me to continue.