Unblinking Eyes

Chapter Seventeen

PART THREE: The Ties

Sunday 2nd April 2006

2:21pm

Seth's POV

"Come on Eve!" I called up the stairs, leaning on the banister. I heard her move more quickly, busting around her room. She ran to the top of the stairs and thundered down the steps, breathing quickly. She nervously flitted the skirt of her light blue dress, looking up to me.

"Do I look okay?" She asked anxiously, pulling up her dark blue cardigan sleeve. I grinned.

"Of course you do."

She frowned, moving to the mirror in the hallway and gingerly touching the slightly raised scar on the left side of her forehead. I sighed a little, moving next to her.

"You look fine." I tried to assure her. She brushed some of her smooth blonde hair over the scar, her shoulders drooping.

"I'm so pale." She whispered, touching her cheek. I shrugged.

"Never mattered to me." We began to walk outside where her grandfather's car was stalling. "And it won't matter to them, okay?"

She glanced to me as we got to the car. "Okay." I smiled.

"Don't be nervous. I'll be right there."

She smiled softly. "I know."

Eve's POV

Upon arriving at Emily's house, I gripped Seth's hand tightly as tall men- thankfully dressed from top to toe- came out of the abode laughing.

"What kind of barbecue is this?" My grandpa asked.

"I have no idea." Seth chuckled, nodding calmly to me as he opened the door. I let go of his hand as he climbed out and the guys slapped him on the back, laughing. Seth reached back inside, his eyes warm and happy as he reached for my hand. I let out a breath and let him pull me out of the car.

"Evelyn!" They all cheered and I blushed. Seth leaned over me to my grandpa.

"Thanks Mr Hund."

"That's alright. Take care of her, okay?"

"Yes sir."

"Bye." I waved weakly and my grandpa smiled, speeding steadily off into the distance.

"Mmm burgers!" Seth sniffed the air as the men began to walk back into the house.

"Huh?" I asked. I couldn't smell anything but the fresh air and the sea. Some of the guys laughed.

"Ah, human girlie, you wouldn't be able to smell them." Said one of them. He reached over to shake my hand. "I'm Jared."

"Hi." I smiled gingerly. Jared pointed to one of the other ones wearing a blue shirt. "That's Paul, and then there's Jake and Embry over there."

Jacob grinned at me and waved. "Hey, you called in on my pop, didn't you?" He asked as we got to the kitchen.

"Umm... yes."

Jacob nodded and punched Seth lightly before running out to the backyard with the others. I could see them all attack the largest man who was cooking the hamburgers and hot dogs.

A thin woman gently sailed over to me. I didn't notice the scars on her face until she looked me in the eye.

"Hi, I'm Emily. You're Evelyn, right?"

I nodded lightly and she smiled, looking to Seth. "Sam's still angry at you."

"I know." Seth mumbled.

"For what?" I asked.

"For encouraging you to find out." Seth frowned, looking outside.

"Go on. I'll be alright." I encouraged him, patting his arm.

"Okay." He grinned and jumped away, joining in on the play fighting. I looked around to Emily and the two other women preparing the food. I knew one of them- Sue- who was stirring a stew which smelt amazing. The other was smaller, more slight with black hair reaching her shoulders.

"This is Kim." Emily told me, taking my arm and leading me over. I felt instantly comfortable with her- she was warm and calm, serene like a gently flowing river. Kim smiled at me from behind her fringe. "Kim is Jared's girlfriend." Emily explained. Kim blushed a bright red and turned quickly around to continue preparing bread rolls. I quickly glanced out the window to see the tallest guy talking to Seth. My heart tightened for some unknown reason and I looked away.

"Can I help?" I asked.

"Oh... but your arm..." Emily pointed at it.

"It's just in a brace now. I can do most stuff." I assured her. "Please, I want to help."

"But you're the guest." Sue turned with a bowl of salad, giving me a gentle smile. "The guest of honour."

I blushed a little. "I'd really love to help though."

"Okay, how are you with making devilled eggs?" Emily asked as Sue took the salad to the table. I made a face.

"I know how to make them but ergh," I shivered, "people eat that?"

"They'll eat anything." Emily laughed. "But Sam likes them to get loads of protein."

Sam. That was the big guy, Seth had told me. I immediately didn't like him, mainly for what I had seen him do and for the nightmares that plagued Seth.

Emily showed me to the eggs and so I got under way, answering the questions she gave me. Kim was quiet, working quickly and efficiently. Jared came in some way through and wrapped his arms around her, kissing her cheek lightly. I caught her eye and she blushed a deep red. I fleetingly looked away, feeling strange to have witnessed something so personal.

When I had finished and brought the eggs out, Seth came bouncing in with a huge grin on his face.

"Sup?" I asked. He chuckled.

"Come on out," he tugged at my arm and forced me outside. "Someone wants to meet you." He whispered in my ear as we got onto the grass. For some reason, I blushed when feeling his warm breath on my cheek.

Seth brought me over to Sam who had begun plating up the food. Seth's pack mates were talking while drinking cans of soda. Sam glanced around when he saw us approach. His dark eyes connected with mine.

"Ah, Evelyn." He reached out to shake my hand. "How are you?"

"Um... fine."

Seth smiled nervously next to me. "So, Sam, we're good now?"

Sam looked intently at me and sighed, turning back to the barbecue. "Yeah, we're good."

Seth let out a breath and turned me around, wrapping his arm around my shoulders. "Whew."

"Was it that bad?" I asked.

"Mm." Seth murmured. "But its alright now." He grinned, turning his head to me.

I smiled. "I'm going inside to help, okay?"

"Okay. See you in a bit." He let go of me and I walked quickly back inside. It was warm, the smells of delicious cooking meeting me as I passed through the door. Emily got me to bring out the plates and the cutlery- though she said they probably wouldn't use them anyway. I felt the urge to tie up my hair and put an apron on. I was used to the kitchen and my grandfather cooking with me.

When everything was nearly done I stood wavering in the doorway, Emily and Sue chatting to me. When things were a bit quieter I caught Seth's eye through the window and waved dramatically. He did an army salute to me and I let out a laugh- which made Kim glance around to me.

"I didn't know Seth had imprinted." She said, her eyes lighting up. I curved my brow.

"What's imprinting?"

Her eyes popped and she quickly turned back to the sink.

"Seth hasn't imprinted, Kim." Sue murmured. "We would know by now if he has." She glanced nervously to me and then quickly disappeared outside with the glasses.

Feeling a little strange I wandered outside, sitting on a bench under the veranda. Hamburgers and hot dogs were being served and I cautiously watched Seth talk to Sam.

"Hey Evelyn." Someone said and I looked over to see Jacob sit next to me with a plate of four hot dogs and two hamburgers.

"Hi." I murmured. He grinned-reminding me of Seth in a way- and began to tuck in.

"Go ahead and get something." He said after swallowing.

"I'm okay at the moment." I assured him.

"So... you came to my house." He said after a moment. I flushed instantly, twisting my hands in my lap.

"It felt like a life or death situation." I murmured.

"As in?"

I gazed up to him. "As in I couldn't live without him."

"Does he know that?" Jacob asked calmly. I bit my lip.

"I don't know... I'm just happy I'm here." I tried to smile, my eyes flickering to Seth as he laughed with Jared and Embry. My throat tightened. Though I now knew, he still felt so far away.

"My dad said you asked about... Bella." Jacob said after a few minutes.

"Oh... yes." I murmured. "I walked to her house."

Jacob chuckled heartily. "Yeah... I know about that."

I smiled. It hadn't occurred to me that walking all that way in the early morning was kind of crazy. "I don't want her getting in trouble." I said, suddenly realising she could get in trouble. I looked to him with wide eyes.

"Nah, she won't." He told me. "You needed to know." He glanced to Seth.

I deflated in my seat, my heart beating fast as my mind raced. What was wrong with me? An overload of feelings hurtled towards me like a bullet train. This past week had been bliss- there were now no boundaries between Seth and I. He told me everything he knew about being a shape shifter. We sat together on the floor of my room and talked for hours on how our magical childhood kingdom had become real.

"How is she?" Jacob questioned beside me, his voice delving lower.

"Bella?"

"Yeah." His eyes flickered nervously.

"Well... she was very nice, really. She's fine from what I know." I said, crossing my legs and leaning back in my seat. Jacob let out a sigh and nodded a little.

Seth came bouncing over with a plate full of food. "Hey, do you want a hamburger?" He asked me. Jacob got up.

"See you later, Evelyn."

"Bye." I waved as he joined the others. Seth sat close next to me.

"Oh, you got my favourite." I beamed. He winked.

"Yup. Sweetcorn relish, tomatoes, lettuce." He handed it to me.

"Thanks." I mumbled as I began to eat. Seth gazed at me cautiously, his eyes wavering.

"What's wrong?" He asked quietly.

"I'm fine." I tried to assure him. He didn't look convinced but decided to not take it any further.

"We're going down to the beach after this. Okay?"

"Okay." I smiled, chewing my food as he grinned, sitting back and devouring his meal.

We moved to sit on the grass, Seth offering me to sit on his too-big brown jumper. Kim sat on a small blanket next to me as we talked about school. She was kind, a few years older than me and quiet. What she had said earlier confused me still but I chose to ignore that and be sociable. I suddenly realised I missed Gina, knowing I was losing her in a way.

After dessert we all trekked down to the beach, Kim in Jared's arms and laughing, Emily holding Sam's hand as they talked between themselves. I watched them curiously, fleetingly, wondering what something like that felt like.

"Come on," Seth gripped my arm. I looked to him as we got onto the sand.

"What?"

"You slow coach. Piggy back ride!" He exclaimed and suddenly he was pulling me up onto his back. I squealed, my arms wrapping around his neck tightly as he laughed. Sue smiled at me as Seth began to run.

"Jesus! Slow down!"

"Jesus slows down for no one!" Seth laughed, spinning me around. I pulled myself closer to him, squeezing my eyes tightly shut, my legs wrapping around him. I shrieked and he giggled like a little boy.

Finally, he came to a stop right before the waves. I tried to get off him but he gripped my legs, glancing around to me.

"Want to go for a swim?"

My eyes widened. "NO!"

He grinned, chucking his shoes off.

"No Seth! No, please-" I began to burst into laughter. "No, no- NO!"

He dipped his feet into the water and I tried desperately to get off him. But he was so strong.

I whipped my head around. "Help!"

Kim smiled and waved and I scowled, watching as they began piling a bonfire.

"Oh they won't come Evie." Seth chuckled.

"Please Seth, this is my best dress-"

Seth let out a laugh. "Does that matter to me?"

I bit my lip, tightening my arms around his neck. "I could strangle you right now."

He laughed. He was nearly up to his knees. "Go on then."

"Seth Clearwater!" I shouted as his shorts began to get damp.

"Its real nice and warm-"

"Seth, please." I whispered. He nearly stopped instantly, looking around to me with afraid eyes and quickly laying me down on my feet.

"I- I'm sorry Eve, I was only playing."

"I'm fine." I told him, though my legs were slightly juddering.

"You're cold." He mumbled, his eyes saddening. He pulled his jumper off and before I could say anything, he pushed it over my head and helped me get my arms through. It swamped me and I thought I looked ridiculous. Ridiculous but warm. I snuggled deeper in the hood and he smiled. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be." I smiled at him and took his warm hand, leading him along the beach. He twined his fingers with mine and sighed.

"I feel like a jerk."

"Seth, seriously, shut up." I said, grinning at him. He smiled sadly and kicked the ground in his bare feet. We walked in silence for a while longer, his warmth gently making it's way through me. Finding ourselves back at the bonfire, which was slowly coming to life, I sat next to him on the cool sand, remembering his birthday and when we had done this before. His father had sat on my other side, Billy Black and Chief Swan laughing with him as they drank beer.

I tried to remember my life before- when it hadn't been filled with the supernatural. My best friend was a were wolf. Could it get any better than that? I saw it as amazingly wicked and cool. Kim saw it that way, too. I felt more comfortable knowing I wasn't the only one completely in awe with it.

I must have fallen asleep at some point because I was awoken by Seth gently shaking my shoulder. I blinked heavily, feeling all lousy.

"Hey sleepyhead," Seth smiled warmly at me. "Come on, you've got to go home now."

I sighed, feeling all warm. Seth rolled his eyes at me and suddenly he had me gathered in his arms, carrying me gently. I jumped, looking around to see Jared kiss Kim, the embers of the bonfire making their way into the moonlight, looking like tiny, dancing fairies.

Scowling, I looked back to Seth. He had a bemused expression on his face.

"Something wrong madam?"

"Pfft." I shook my head. He just grinned.

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