Title: Ache, Chapter 7 Pt. 2
Fandom: Post-Breaking Dawn
character/pairing. Catherine. Canon pairings
rating. T for language
summary. The story takes place in Portland, following (some of) the events in Breaking Dawn. A human, Catherine, moves to Portland after a terrible accident in Texas. She meets Emmett Cullen at the university, and they become friends. But some things can't be buried no matter how much distance you put in between yourself and them.
disclaimer: SM owns it all.
On to Part 2:
Catherine opened the door looking like a little boy. She was wearing a sweatshirt that was too big for her, the oldest pair of jeans I have ever seen in my undead life, and sneakers that would send Alice into a frenzy before she dragged this poor girl into a shoe store. I chuckled, because it was obvious this poor girl had too much McCarty in her blood.
I could hear her dog barking in the back room. Animals have never been fond of us, but normally they just stay away. This dog had it out for me. He would do anything to protect this girl; including attacking a predator he has no chance against. It made me feel a little better about her being alone in the city.
“You ready, Catherine?”
She nodded as she grabbed a slim, black wallet and placed it into her back pocket. She was not a purse kind of girl. She closed the door behind us, locked it, and joined me at the bottom of her stairs.
We walked together at a leisurely pace to the city. “Are you hungry?” I asked her.
“Starved. How about you?”
I feigned shame and answered, “I ate right before I left, but we can grab something to eat. What do you want?”
She didn’t even hesitate in her answer. “There’s this place up the street that has pizza and beer. I’ve heard good things about it.”
I laughed and gestured for her to lead the way. As we walked, we exchanged casual conversation. She was quick to laugh, which made me happy. She reminded me of a woman in my human life, I’m not sure if she was an aunt or a cousin, but I remember her laugh vividly. It used to fill the entire house, and she laughed often. It was boisterous, almost inappropriate, but I admired her for it. She never tried to cover up her laugh for fear that she wouldn’t get a man. She was always just her.
When we reached the pizza bar, it was jam-packed full of college students. Catherine and I chose one of the last tables available, a little two-seater in the corner of the restaurant. It took a little while for service, but Catherine didn’t seem to mind. She was studying the menu intensely.
“What are you gonna get?”
“An alfredo pizza,” she smiled triumphantly as she set down the menu. A lanky boy of about 18 finally came over to our table. He seemed nervous, but when Catherine teased him he seemed to lighten up a bit.
“What can I get for you tonight, ma’am?”
“It’s Catherine, and I would like an alfredo pizza with chicken, spinach, onions, mushrooms, and bacon. Also, do you have Shiner Bach on tap?”
He looked at her with frightened eyes. It seems he had never heard of the beer before. He answered nervously, “No, ma’am… I mean, Catherine.”
She chuckled loudly, and once again it calmed the kid down a bit. “That’s fine. Miller Lite, please. The biggest glass you have.”
The kid rushed off, happy to be away from the situation. “Poor guy, I think he’s about to wet his pants,” I said.
“He’s just nervous,” she said, waving her hands in dismissal. I couldn’t help but compare her to the family I had in my human life. Her laid back nature reminded me so much of my mother.
Things became awkwardly quiet. I saw Catherine looking around the room, as if searching for a topic of conversation. I decided it was going to have to be up to me.
“What’s Shiner Bach?”
She looked at me incredulously. “Only the best fucking beer you will ever have!” She covered her mouth and I could see a smile in her eyes. “Pardon the language. I picked it up from my brother and dad.”
“Did you grow up only with your brother and dad?”
She nodded, “My mom died when I was really little. She had cancer while she was pregnant with me, but no one knew because the pregnancy masked the symptoms of the cancer. By the time they figured out she was sick, it was too late to do anything.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
She waved her hand as if she was waving off my sympathy. Our server came back and placed an enormous beer in front of Catherine. It smelled revolting and inviting at the same time. Catherine’s eyes lit up like a kid in a candy store. She placed her hands around the giant glass, and tipped it into her mouth. She took three large gulps and set it down, exhaling happily.
I laughed at how little it took to make her happy. She grinned at me. “I love beer. It must be a Texan thing.”
“What part of Texas are you from?” I asked, trying to keep the conversation rolling. She sure was making it hard on me.
“I’m from a little town called Rockwall. My dad owned a ranch that my brother and I would work on. Well, my brother did most of the work. He’s a lot stronger than me. I mostly tended to household stuff, but I was never afraid to do any of the ‘big boy’ stuff.” She laughed as she continued. “I drive a mean tractor.”
I tried to imagine her on a tractor with a straw hat and overalls on. The mental picture came easily and I let out a laugh.
“My brother is from Texas,” I informed her after my laughter died down a little.
“Edward? What part?” she asked, honest in her curiosity.
“Oh, no, I meant my brother Jasper. He was born in Houston, but he’s familiar with Dallas and Galveston as well.”
“Houston has the worst traffic ever!” she said, rolling her eyes. I couldn’t help but laugh.
“How big is your family?”
“Pretty big,” I answered. “You should come meet them sometime. I know Bella would love to have you over. She’s a pretty big book nerd. Jasper is too, but he’s not a big Jane Austin fan.”
Catherine smiled. “I’d like that.” Right after she uttered the words, however, the expression on her face looked like she regretted it.
I looked at her confused, but she didn’t say anything. I shook it off and continued, “So, what would you like to do after this?”
She was about to answer, when our server came and set down an enormous pizza in front of Catherine. “Enjoy,” he muttered, his voice cracking slightly.
Catherine dug into her pizza like she had never eaten before. It’s been a while since I’ve had human food, but I’m pretty sure even I couldn’t pile it in faster than her. As she started working on her third slice, I had to laugh.
“What’s so funny?” she asked with a mouth full of pizza. It only made me laugh harder. Her ears started to turn a little red, but I couldn’t tell if she was embarrassed or angry.
“Please don’t choke,” I said in between bouts of laughter. “I don’t know the Heimlich.”
She frowned and placed her slice down. She picked up her napkin and quietly wiped her mouth. When she was finished, she set it down, and then pulled her fierce blue eyes into my gaze.
“Emmett, now I know we haven’t know each other for a long time, but I’m about to let you in on a little secret. I’ve been wolfing down pizza for as long as I’ve had a brother and a father, because if I wasn’t fast enough, it would all be gone and I would go to bed hungry. Consider me a pro when it comes to eating. Now, if you don’t mind, you are ruining my flow.”
I stared at her with my mouth open. She calmly picked up her slice of pizza and resumed eating. She was eating a little slower, however. I smiled as I watched her eat. She became self-conscious and looked at me.
“Are you sure you don’t want anything to eat?”
I shook my head. “I’m a vegetarian.”
“They have veggie pizzas.” She gave me a look that screamed, Duh, retard!
“Now what kind of vegetarian would I be if I gave my hard earned money to a facility that supported the murdering of animals?” I would have to thank Edward for that line.
She stared at me with her eyebrows furrowed. “You are a strange character, Emmett Cullen. Just when I think I have you figured out, you say something to surprise me.”
“Well, I’m all out of surprises,” I said. She smiled, and finished her last slice of pizza. She chugged the rest of her beer, sat back in her chair, and let out the longest most disgusting burp I had ever heard. I couldn’t have been prouder.
“Bravo!” I yelled, clapping my hands. She got out of her chair and took a bow. People were staring, but she didn’t seem to notice.
“Come on,” she said. She threw down some money on the table. I picked it up and handed it back to her.
“It’s on me,” I said, throwing down some cash. She opened her mouth to protest, hell, she was probably about to yell at me. I held up my hand and gave her my serious face. “It’s on me,” I repeated, slower this time. She closed her mouth, a sure sign of resignation. I smiled and led her outside.
“Where now?” I asked. She shrugged, not saying anything. I rolled my eyes, and we just kept walked. The night was a little cold, but not too uncomfortable. Well, nothing’s uncomfortable to me, but I could tell that Catherine was feeling too chilled. We walked to a park and sat on a bench.
“Tell me more about your dad and brother.” I was anxious to hear more about this family that I would never get the chance to know.
If I let her, she would have talked about them for hours. Her family was small, just her and her brother and father. All of the extended family was spread out and never bothered to get to know them. But they liked it that way. They were close, much closer than families seem to be in this day and time. It made me happy to know that.
She also told me about the kind of life she had in Texas. She told me about the small town she grew up in, but moved into a suburb of Dallas to attend community college. When I asked her, why she moved to Portland, she stuttered, saying that she needed a change of scenery. I accepted her answer, thinking nothing of it.
“What’s up with Chance? Is he always so…” I couldn’t find the word to finish it.
“Protective?” she offered. I nodded; it seemed like the appropriate word. “It’s a new thing with him,” she started, but then stopped. She looked like she was trying very hard to choose her next words.
“Catherine?” I asked. She turned to me, still unsure how to proceed. “Catherine, it’s okay. Whatever it is, you can tell me. Chances are, I’ll probably forget whatever it is you tell me, so there’s no possibility of me telling anyone.” I worked up the biggest grin I could muster. It seemed to do the trick.
She giggled, her face brightening the smallest amount. And she began.
“Back in Texas, I lived with my best friend while we went to the same community college. We had a two bedroom apartment together with Chance. It was small, but nice. Chance was Christy’s dog, but I always treated him like he was my own. I just never had to worry about vet bills,” she said, chuckling. She continued, “One night, there was a fire.” She closed her eyes, and I thought she wouldn’t go on with her story. She surprised me by taking a deep breath and started to speak again. “The fire was enormous. It only took it a short amount of time before it engulfed the entire floor. I wasn’t home at the time, I was lucky. Christy, however…” Her voice hitched in her throat, and I understood. I could tell she was trying not to cry. I looked away from her, giving her the privacy that she needed.
“How did Chance make it out?” I asked.
She smiled slightly, but I knew there was no happiness behind it. “No one’s really sure. When I reached the apartment, I was stopped by a firefighter. They wouldn’t let me pass. I called for Christy and Chance. I don’t know how, but when he heard me call him, Chance ran out of the flames. He was burnt, but he survived. It’s nothing short of miraculous.”
I didn’t know what to say. This girl had been through so much. I couldn’t even begin to try to understand the depths of her situation. I told her so.
“Don’t worry about it, Emmett,” she said, waving her hand. She seemed to do that a lot. Didn’t my sister do that? “It’s weird to talk about it with someone. I came here to be alone, you know?” She swung her legs on the bench and looked at the ground.
I wrapped my arm around her. She stiffened, and I immediately pulled my arm off of her. “Sorry,” I said. “It’s just a knee-jerk reaction. I can’t help myself when someone is sad. I have to make it better.”
She turned her head and smiled. She nodded her head slightly, and I took that as permission. I threw my arms around her, stood up, and swung her around. She was laughing, and it made my heart swell.
I put her down and patted her head. She scrunched her nose in mock anger then giggled.
“Come on, let’s get you home,” I said. The walk back to her apartment was nice. She told me more about her life in Texas. It saddened me that she was so far away from her family. Well, the family that she knew.
I resolved to myself that I would do whatever it takes to take care of her. She shouldn’t be by herself in a place she is unfamiliar with. I would be her protector, a big brother of sorts. Bella always told me that I was the big brother that she always wanted but never had. Maybe that’s what I can be for Catherine.
When we reached her apartment, I bid her a good night.
“When can we hang out again?” I asked. I gave her my best puppy dog eyes. They always seemed to work on Rose.
I could practically see the wheels in her brain turning. I didn’t want to give her the chance to tell me no. “Come on, I’ll take you to meet my family,” I pleaded, laying the puppy dog eyes on thick.
“Okay,” she surrendered. “How is Sunday?”
“Perfect. Everyone should be home.”
She shook her head, an obvious sign that she was disappointed in the decision she just made. I plastered a ridiculous, even for me, grin on my face. She opened her door, and walked inside. I could hear the locks clicking as she turned them into place.
When I got home, everyone was in the front room waiting for me. No sooner that I stepped into the house did I get overwhelmed with questions. The only person I wanted to see was sitting down on the couch silently.
“How did it go?” Rose asked softly.
“It went well,” I answered. By this time, the rest of my family joined us on the various couches in the front room.
“What’s she like?” Rose still wasn’t looking me in the eye. I worried that she was upset with me for something.
“Are you upset, Rosie?” I would do anything in my power to make her feel better.
Rose finally met my gaze. I instantly recognized the apology written in her features. I gave her a big grin and wrapped my arms around her. All is forgiven, my embrace told her.
I spent that majority of the evening telling my family about Catherine. They were all really interested in hearing about it, especially Carlisle. He’s always such a nerd about these kinds of things.
I told them about Sunday, and Esme got super excited. It had been a little while since she had the opportunity to entertain a human. I’m beginning to think it’s becoming one of her favorite pastimes.
When I was done telling all I had to tell, Rose and I retired to our bedroom. I felt bad, like I had been neglecting her. I spent the whole evening treating her like the angel she was.
After another amazing evening, I told Rose how excited I was for her to meet Catherine. She promised to be on her best behavior. I chuckled and pulled her close to me.
Everything is perfect. What could go wrong?