Unblinking Eyes

Chapter Twenty-Six

Seth's POV

Saturday 19th August 2006

4:25pm

Another grey day hung above me like a formidable omen. Leaves dripped rainwater which dissolved in my short hair as I passed, making me shiver slightly. People were out and about- huddling under umbrellas or just letting the rain soak you like I did. I passed some of the fishermen as they brought in their new stock to the small warehouse. The air had a brittle quality- and it wasn't just the stench of fish. It was thick with the fog that had descended over night. It hung about around the small islands off First Beach, the horizon a smog. Bad fishing weather. Now everyone had to deal with the mongers checking over their fish.

Emily's house was like a tiny refuge. Shaking off the rain from my hair, I hung up my coat as I came inside. It was warm, like it always was, and the smell of baking ran through the house. Chatter, too.

"Hey! Sethy boy!" Jared laughed as I came into the kitchen. He hooked an arm around my neck. "Dude, we hardly see you any more out of patrol!"

"Yeah bro, what's up with that?" Paul asked from the breakfast table as he ate a huge blueberry muffin. Jared let me go as we both sat down with a thump. Plucking up one of the muffins, I let out a sigh as I tore bits of it off.

"I don't know. I can't tear myself from Evelyn easily now." I mumbled, glancing to Emily as she washes some dishes, listening to her iPod as she did so.

"Ah." Jared said, biting into a muffin, his face thoughtful. "You know, its different for you two." He said as he chewed. Crumbs fell onto the table and his clothes as he ate and spoke at the same time. "With me and Kim, we hit it off. Straight away. You know, love at first sight." He beams, his eyes glittering as he thought about her. Paul made a sound of disgust and Jared hit him on the shoulder, laughing a little. He looked to me with a childish grin. "You knew her before all of this. When we were just human. It makes it kinda special... and unique."

Paul chuckled as he downed his muffin, grabbing a can of coke and snapping it open. "I don't know half as much as Jared does about imprinting, but it is magic. Like, we're magic. Supernatural. Not all two relationships are alike..."

I knew they were trying to help me figure out my feelings, but it wasn't as easy as that. Paul winked at me and chugged his coke in ten seconds flat. I smiled a little, eating my muffin unnaturally slow as I leant back in my chair, the front two legs off the ground.

Emily pushed my head down as she passed and I frowned, sitting properly. Sam then came in with Collin and Brady. Brady grinned at me and snatched a muffin before hitting my shoulder playfully.

We walked on the beach. Collin scraped a long piece of driftwood along the grey sand and Brady walked beside me. I knew the air would be cold to a human but it wasn't to us. The cold air did make Collin's hair fluff up a bit though and that made us chuckle.

The world on the beach was a much different place. Especially this part of which wasn't seen much by tourists. It was opposed by cliffs and tall pine trees skewered the sky. I could see the tread marks of bare feet from the morning run Sam went on, too far up the beach to be washed away by the water. It was almost as if I could see the ghosts of our ancestors on this beach- hiding in the trees and in the caves, paddling along the dark water in their canoes. And with the ghosts of the ancestors came the ghost of my father. When I tried to remember him, all I could see was a mirage of images- none of which represented who he was.

"Why do you think I imprinted on Evelyn?" The question passed my lips before I could stop it. They both looked to me, Collin walking back up to us, still letting the driftwood slide across the sand beside him.

"What do you mean?" Brady asked. I sighed, gazing to the forest on the horizon. The branches moved a little in the breeze, the tops of the trees waving unsteadily.

"I mean... why didn't I imprint on someone in the tribe?"

"Maybe it's the next step." Collin said. We both looked to him to see what on earth he was going on about. "You know, evolution? Sixth grade science?"

"How do you remember that, of all people?" Brady laughed.

"Hey, I do have a brain, you know." He seemed a little offended but shook it off, smiling as he crossed his arms. "We adapt to changes and make them work for us- bend them to our advantage. So what if the next step in shape shifting... and to make us stronger... is to integrate into other paths?"

"Er..." I started, trying to get my head around that.

"What I mean is that what if... your kids are the next chiefs?"

My eyes widened. "Collin, I'm not thinking about that. At least, not yet."

"But she is your imprint." Brady bumped his arm against mine. We stopped near the forest, turning to look over the swelling ocean. "It's not like you're going to end up with someone else."

Evelyn's POV

"Should I ask Seth to come?" I questioned my grandpa as I dried my hair with a towel. He was sitting on the edge of his bed, my grandma sorting through some of her clothes. His bright blue eyes looked to me and he smiled.

"Well, sure. He's basically part of the family anyway... I suppose we can add one more seat."

I beamed. "Cool!" I ran down the stairs to the phone, dialling his home number by heart and waiting for someone to pick up.

His mom did. "Hello?"

"Sue? It's Evelyn."

"Oh, Seth's out at the moment-"

"Well... could you ask him if he wants to go to Seattle tonight? We're meeting my brother for a meal out..."

"Oh!" I could hear her jump up and run up the stairs. "Of course he will come, I'll make sure of it. I'll set out something for him to wear... do you want me to bring him over?"

I laughed a little. "No, I'm sure we can come on by and pick him up."

"Alright then." She giggled. "That's perfect actually, I was going to have Billy and Charlie over anyway."

"Oh." I smiled to myself. "Well, I will see you later, Sue."

"Sure thing, Evelyn. Thank you."

I hung up and thundered up the stairs, breathless by the time I came into my grandparents room. "Seth's coming. I said we can pick him up?"

"Of course." Grandma smiled at me as she picked out a dress to wear.

I squeaked out of excitement and went to my room, shutting the door behind me and facing myself in the mirror. My cheeks were slightly pink from running and my hair was a damp, curly mess. Breathing out, I pulled it up into a ponytail and decided that I would actually try to wear some make up.

I didn't have a lot, mind you, but it was the necessities. Stuff my grandma and aunt had given me over the years. The pink flush on my cheeks died down but I knew it would return with full vengeance by the time Seth was here. So, in order to scrub it away, I applied some foundation.

By the end of my little fiasco, I was dressed and ready. I bit my lip as I looked in the mirror. My hair tumbled down around me looking frothy but delicate... if you looked at it in the right light. I wore a simple lilac dress too- something I had brought for myself a while back. It had a slightly lower neckline than usual so I wore my butterfly necklace, red bracelet included. I pulled on a dark knitted cardigan and some leggings so I wouldn't get too cold.

"Here," my grandma came forward with a shoe box once we were all downstairs. I didn't have many shoes- just my sneakers, PE plimsolls and black leather flats. I was sitting on the second step on the stairs, my toes wiggling with anxiety. Why was I so anxious? This was normal. Going out... family occasions.

Maybe it was just the fact that Seth was considered family now.

She opened the lid and brought out some dark purple Mary Jane's. My eyes widened and I looked to her in wonderment. She smiled a little.

"They were your mothers. You know she spent a lot of time here since her own family life wasn't that great... and so I kept some of her stuff for Abby. But your aunt never wore these. Her feet were too big. I don't know why I haven't brought them out before..." She sighed. "But, here you go. Try them on."

I grinned, taking them carefully, imagining my mother wearing these and pressing down the buckle as I did. They were a little worn in so they were comfy around my feet. For some reason, my nerves seemed to lift a little. I was wearing my mom's treasured shoes. It was like she was walking with me.

"Oh, beautiful!" My grandpa chuckled as he came forward. He was wearing a dark blue suit jacket, a white button up and his nice jeans. Grandma lifted me up and smiled, her eyes crinkling.

"Oh yes, you shall go to the ball!"

"Grandma..." I blushed, ducking away as they both laughed. Grandpa grabbed the car keys and helped my grandma put her coat on. She looked very pretty- she was wearing a flower print dress in maroon red and nice red shoes too. Grandpa swiftly kissed her on the cheek before opening the front door.

It was still light outside but man was it cold. I huddled my arms around myself as I walked down the steps, running to the car and getting in, breathing out the shivers. Grandpa turned the heating on and before long we were driving to the reservation, singing Beatles tunes as we went.

I didn't even have to get out of the car to alert Seth we were here. He came bundling down the steps, a huge grin on his face as he got into the car. His warmth cascaded onto me and I shivered slightly as he put his seatbelt on.

"Woo! Road trip!" He exclaimed as we began to drive again. Grandpa had turned the music down a little but my grandma still bopped her head to it. I laughed and he looked to me with big brown eyes. I could almost see my reflection in them. "Looking amazing as ever, Miss Hund."

I flushed, knowing he could probably see it despite my use of make up. He grinned, wrapping an arm comfortably around me. He was wearing what he had worn to the wedding, but with different pants. They were dark brown jeans this time, probably borrowed from one of the pack.

The drive was long but endlessly funny. Seth kept cracking jokes with my grandpa and I doubled up in laughter every time.

"You're crying Eve!" Seth chuckled.

I wiped my eyes carefully and breathed in deeply. He smiled, slouching beside me. My grandpa turned to my grandma and started talking. We were on the highway now, the sky dark, lights flying past us. I grew awfully aware of Seth's arm around me, tugging a little on the ends of my hair. My heart began to gallop and I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to stop it going so fast.

"Hey, are you okay?" Seth whispered suddenly and my eyes flew open, looking to him in the dark. His face was close and my cheeks flamed. So much for the foundation. "Your heart's beating really fast."

"Mmm hmm." I mumbled. Damn it. He must know all the time that my heart only did that when he was around. He gave me a soft smile then and I nearly stopped breathing altogether. Did he know why my heart beat that fast? My fingers began to shake and I had to look away from him and out the window.

Stop thinking like this, I told myself brashly. He's your best friend. He'd never feel the same way.

Oh how I wished Gina was around sometimes. There was no one I could talk this through with.

Thankfully he didn't seem to dwell on it and soon enough we were parking in a large lot in Seattle. Stepping outside I gazed about in wonder, my eyes travelling over the bright lights. I smiled a little, glancing to Seth as he grinned, taking my hand and following my grandparents.

We were going to a stylish restaurant both Carmen and Logan loved. It wasn't the one he worked at- that was near the university. This one was cute, with little ivy vines outside, decorated with fairy lights and candles. It was warm inside since they had a proper pizza oven and all the tables were covered in rich blue cloth, a big white candle on top in a jar. The atmosphere was buzzing and welcoming. We were taken to a table under a large light where Logan and Carmen were.

Logan hugged me first. It was a tight hug and he still smelt of cinnamon and bread. The thought made me smile a bit as he let go to give Seth a bro hug.

"Glad you came, man!" He laughed. I saw he had more stubble now as I sat down. He was wearing a deep blue button up that went well with his fair hair. I supposed Carmen had chosen it for him.

Seth chuckled, sitting next to me. Carmen waved at me and I waved a little back.

"Nice to see you again." Seth said to her. She beamed brightly.

"And you, too. But you're not covered in flour this time." She giggled. Seth chuckled, casually resting his arm behind me on the chair. Swinging my legs underneath me, I leaned forward to look at the menu. Everyone began to chat, my grandfather sitting at the head of the table beside me. Violin music was playing quietly in the background and I hummed gently along with it.

I decided to get a Hawaiian pizza and it came with all gooey cheese, shaped in an irregular circle which showed it was home made. Seth, of course, had ordered their largest- a Texas barbecue. Only Seth and I had pizzas. It wasn't like this was a pizzeria- I'm sure Logan wouldn't want to delve into that again.

The meal was pleasant. They shared some red wine between them while we had cola. When it came to dessert, only me and Seth had some- ice cream- while they had coffee.

He gobbled all his down in two minutes and afterwards he kept leaning over me, begging for some of mine. I pushed his face away.

"No, greedy-guts." I smiled softly, looking to him. He blinked his large eyes, doing a puppy-dog look at me. Flushing, I looked back to my ice cream.

"Please, Eve?" He whispered in my ear. He was unbearably close now. My heart began to hammer again and my cheeks slowly turned red.

Then, suddenly, my brother stood, clinking his empty wine glass with a fork. All chatter stopped and we looked to him. I let out a small sigh of relief. Logan smiled, his eyes flickering to us.

"Well, there is a reason me and Carmen invited you here. To where we had our first date." He gently placed his hand on her shoulder and she smiled, blushing subtly. "Um, well, we were going to tell you last week but you hadn't met Carmen and so we decided to leave it."

I arched an eyebrow, looking between them both. Logan bit his lip, glancing at Carmen quickly before facing us again.

Then, Carmen stood. "I'm pregnant." She said softly, a hand on her lower stomach. "And... er... we're getting married."

My heart dropped. My mouth opened and I barely dared to breathe in case I screamed. Seth's arm wound around my waist and I looked down, my face red, my heart humming.

"Wow! That's fantastic!" My grandma jumped up, hugging them. "How far are you along?"

"Twelve weeks." She said softly. "We really did want to tell you last week but-"

"Oh, don't worry about that." Said grandpa. "But my, a wedding? When are you having it?"

"Well, not for a while. We want to save some money first." Logan murmured, sitting down again.

Seth took my hand under the table and squeezed it. I glanced to him, knowing shock registered on my face. He smiled softly, looking at me calmly, his eyes telling me it was alright. I breathed out shakily and his smile broadened. He twined his fingers with mine and faced forward.

"Congratulations." He said kindly. I meekly gazed forward as well, my eyes guarded.

"Thank you." Logan replied, taking Carmen's hand on the table. I then saw the ring glitter on her finger in the muted light and my heart quivered. How had I not noticed it all night?

"When did you propose?" Asked my grandma, leaning forward in her chair excitedly.

"A few weeks ago." Logan smiled dreamily.

"We were just having another date night and he proposed in the park..." Carmen beamed, glowing from within. "It was wonderful because we were both so scared."

"The Hund curse." I murmured. Logan's eyes flickered to me and he scowled. Everyone else seemed to not hear me.

"We hope to have a winter wedding." Logan carried on. "It will be nice you know, at the Forks church... snow and stuff."

"It will be beautiful. Oh, we must meet your parents, Carmen." Grandma gushed.

"It'll only be my dad, I'm afraid." Her eyes suddenly became sad. "My parents divorced a long time ago. I haven't spoken to my mom in years."

"Oh... well, all the same, you should invite him over." Grandma smiled warily.

"Thank you." Carmen smiled. After a while we all got up and went, walking into the night. I wavered behind everyone else, the cold reaching my bones, making me shiver.

"Lynnie?" My brother suddenly turned, falling into a step beside me. I stiffened, curling my hands into fists inside my coat pockets.

"Yeah?" I tried to smile at him.

"You haven't said anything..." He mumbled. "And we haven't been talking on the phone. Evelyn, what's wrong?"

I bit my lip, sighing some and gazing to him with unguarded eyes.

"You can tell me." He said softly.

"But you'll think I'm childish." I said, blushing from embarrassment a little.

He laughed. "Oh Evelyn."

Frowning, I crossed my arms over myself. "I feel like I'm losing you. First you move away and then you meet Carmen... its like you're becoming a whole different person."

"It's called growing up Lyn." He smiled, wrapping his arm around my shoulders. "You'll understand one day. You'll find a... certain someone- someone who you'd do anything for. Give up anything, take on anything. For me, that's Carmen. I love her so much it hurts, Lynnie." He sighed. "I don't expect you to understand yet."

Unconsciously, my eyes flickered to Seth walking beside my grandfather and laughing. I flushed, looking back to my brother. He was grinning like an idiot.

"I knew it-"

"Shut up." I huffed.

"Aw, but this is great Lynnie." He beamed.

"Is it?" My heart stung at the thought and I stared down at my feet. "I don't think so."

"Why not?"

"Because he obviously doesn't feel the same way." I barely whispered. In that moment, everything hurt. My head thumped along with my heart and I felt ever so faint. The feeling was familiar. I was losing things again... Losing my grip.

We said goodbye to my brother and Carmen then. His eyes traced sadness but when Carmen hugged his waist he grinned. The sadness wore away and he walked off with her, whistling a tune under his breath. I watched him go as my grandfather unlocked the car. My stomach churned and I swallowed, turning to climb into the car, sitting down tiredly.

The ride back was quiet for the most part. I stared out the window, sitting on the side, my legs tucked up beneath me, my head resting in my hand. I hated feeling like this. It mirrored all those months ago when Seth couldn't be around me. My eyes closed, the car humming beneath me, the air warm. I soon fell into a comfortable, deep sleep. Thankfully there were no nightmares that took me. There was just the warmth.

I was awoken by hearing a door shut loudly. I blinked, realising the car was no longer moving. Looking around, I saw my grandma get out of the car, closing the door behind her. Blearily, I got out too, gazing around for Seth.

Oh. Of course. He wouldn't be here.

I meandered inside, feeling rough. I said my goodbyes to my grandparents and walked tiredly up the stairs, dressing into my pyjamas before collapsing on my bed. Sadness made me tired. I hiccuped a sob, sniffling into my pillow, closing my eyes.

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