Secrets Have A Way
Embry Call imagine requested by anon! “Hello, lovely! I would like to request an Embry imagine. Maybe something where he and the reader (female) are best friends and he’s imprinted on her but doesn’t know how to tell her. So they’re both desperately in love with each other but too shy to do anything. And then they are hanging out one night and embry finally confesses and they kiss. Embry doesn’t get enough love, he’s adorable.” Agreed. Hope you like it!
He was warm. He always had been… he was just the type to illuminate and comfort with his personality. It was in his stride, it was in his smile, it was in the way the sunlight clung to his cheekbones when he turned his face to the horizon. His hair shone like obsidian under the moonlight, but even darkness couldn’t stand against someone as vibrant as Embry Call. There was no competition. The boy was made of sun rays. Even his touch was heated, more so than anyone else’s. He was a stove top, but always denied the possibility of a fever. Slapped the thermometer out of your hands and everything. That had always been his way. He’d rather puke in a school bathroom than bother his mom, especially considering she was handling everything from family to finances on her own. He was selfless, and he was warm. He wasn’t the type to keep distant unless he was dead-set on dealing with something without anyone acknowledging his suffering, and this was as distant as he’d ever been, especially to you.
Embry hadn’t called in a week. The last you saw of him, he was staring at you like you’d willingly set your hair on fire, all wide eyes and a drop-jaw. He seemed torn between staring intently into your eyes (you had thought, at first, that it was one of his intentional creep tactics, but he wasn’t smirking or pulling any extraordinary faces) and staring holes into the ground. Hell, he was burning holes into the toes of his sneakers. He was having difficulty speaking, stammering and choking on his words, his cheeks blazing brighter than you’d seen, his charisma failing him. You two went way back, and your history meant that noticing abnormalities was extremely significant. If you hadn’t known any better, you’d say he was having a hot flash, or that something was making him unnaturally uncomfortable. It was only just the two of you. You were hardly ever forced into discomfort around Embry. He was all bear-hugs and dragging you by the hand around La Push. It wasn’t like him to drop off the map. At the same time, it wasn’t like him to shear-off his hair, either, but a lot about Embry had changed in the past week. To say you weren’t a fan was an understatement, but you couldn’t help but wonder if you brought it on yourself.
You were a time-bomb when it came to your best friend. It was only a matter of time, realistically, before he finally caught-on. You’d been trying to be subtle (if by stomp-out-your-emotions-and-pretend-there-was-nothing-more-than-friendship was what the kids were calling “subtle” these days), but you were no actor; if Embry had noticed your… well, more than friendly inclinations, or perhaps even caught your breath go shallow when he hugged you… maybe you scared him away. You knew he wasn’t interested, and although you tried your damnedest to keep your affections flying strictly under his radar… well… secrets have a way of coming to light, not matter how hard you tried to keep them in the shadows. Your best guess? You were popping blips all over his screen, and he was distancing himself from the embarrassment of having to explain why you’d never be more than friends. The easy let-down was always the most awkward, in your experience. Mike Newton was obnoxiously difficult to sedate, but you’d managed just fine. You cringed internally, burying your face in your hands to hide the scarlet glow across your cheeks at the very thought of being Embry’s Mike Newton. You could die on the spot.
The phone caught you off-guard (and mid-groan), shocking you out of stagnation. You scrambled to answer, too startled to check the caller ID, assuming it was one of your parents calling with news of a traffic back-up prohibiting timely travel. You cleared your throat as you punched the answer key, feigning nonchalance in an attempt to guise how frightened the telephone’s ringing had made you. Your crackling greeting was met by a familiar lilt, your heart pounding in your chest at the very sound.
“Hey, Y/n? It’s… it’s Embry.” As if you couldn’t tell. You know the boy for seven years and still he announces himself like goddamn Oprah Winfrey, running around, making sure no one’s forgotten her yet. It shouldn’t be attractive, this innocence, but it was. Your silence was well-received; Embry didn’t disturb the quiet, waiting patiently for your reply. You, on the other hand, were preparing for a nuclear winter… of the heart, at least. He coughed, filling space with absent sound, before jutting in. “Look, uh, I know it’s been a while since I… I know I haven’t called or anything in a few days, but…” his voice trailed away, air hissing through his teeth as he fought for his words. God, that was so unlike him. He was gearing-up for the let-down of the century. There was no other explanation. He was about to rip your still-beating heart from your chest and he’d be damned if he wasn’t going to try to do it nicely. Sure he was no surgeon, but he could fake a few low-grade stitches and send you off with a lollipop. You sighed, biting down on your lower lip, your body rigid with bleak anticipation. His voice continued, made mechanical by the means of communication. Regardless, he still sounded like sunshine felt. “You know, basically… okay, uh,” he exhaled, the wind from his lungs whewing against the receiver. “Do you want to come down to La Push tonight? The p-” his voice choked-off, but you hardly noticed. He wasn’t aiming to shoot, he was asking you over. Relief didn’t even begin to cover the feeling of elation flooding your body. “Jake and Quil and I were gonna hang by the beach, I thought I should… you know, ask you too.” His voice carried the upward lilt of a smile when he spoke of including you in his otherwise impenetrable trio. You grinned, chewing your lip now not due to anxious concern, but to refrain from squeaking into the receiver.
“Yeah, I can be down there in ten minutes. I mean, unless you were thinking of a different time-” As you scrambled to cover your eagerness, Embry’s voice folded over your own, equally pitchy, equally hurried.
“No, ten minutes is cool- I mean, unless you had other plans-” You sat up straighter, your unoccupied hand falling to your lap.
“I don’t have other plans.” God, you could paint ‘desperate’ on your forehead backwards and blindfolded, couldn’t you? You inhaled slowly, wishing you could breathe-in your words and begin anew. Embry didn’t seem to mind. His voice was bouncing with glee when he replied.
“Sure, I’ll see you in a few. We’re just gonna hang down at… at First Beach, so if you wanna just… meet us there, that’d be cool.” His voice wavered slightly by the end of his speech, but his salutation was worse. He hung-up too quickly, cutting you off. Maybe he was thinking of letting you down, but in person. He was noble enough to consider that option, but after hearing his level of discomfort… you didn’t know what to expect from the night. Regardless, you snagged your raincoat from its hook in your closet and made a beeline for the door, grabbing your keys on your way out, hoping your excitement wouldn’t push your foot down on the gas pedal with a little more… determination.
When you arrived at La Push, you found yourself migrating towards Embry’s home before you corrected your course. You’d spent too many summers in the backseat of your parent’s car, en route to Mrs. Call’s for dinner and a play date with Embry. It was a muscle memory, but you’d made arrangements to meet elsewhere; you’d have to duck-in and say hello to his mom later on in the day. You glanced downward at the dashboard’s digital clock, your eyes bugging at the time displayed. It was much later than you’d originally thought. You’d probably need to tip your parents off at sometime to make sure they knew you were alive. It was evening by the time you’d rolled-up to First Beach, parking your secondhand clunker on the sun-bleached asphalt of the communal parking lot, your view of the ocean hidden by massive bluffs and ambitious chunks of ghostly driftwood. You hoped from the driver’s seat, your feet carrying you with what was possibly too much momentum towards the beach, your eyes straining against the mobile outline of waves striking sand as you searched for the trio’s silhouette. You ventured further onto the sand, your sneakers sinking into the ground with every step, throwing you off-balance. One stumble sent you plummeting towards the earth, and you would’ve connected, too, if it wasn’t for the warm hand that caught your elbow, lifting you to stability. You needn’t turn to know who had saved you; you knew that warmth anywhere, even if it was blazing a few degrees hotter than you were accustomed to. You turned, with his help, to face him. He smiled, brown eyes lifted, this time around, from his sneakers to burn holes into your eyes. He hadn’t let go of your arm.
“Hey,” he whispered, his lips poised in a vacant line, a far cry from his usual smile. You brushed straying strands of hair from your face, returning his greeting.
“Long time no see,” you remarked, watching his face duck to the sand. You glanced to his right, expecting to see Jacob and Quil, but he was alone. “What, no entourage?” you questioned, your weak jab at humour falling flatly in the air as if Embry was suddenly immune to your usual jibes. Joke repellent. That was a new trait. Embry’s eyes squinted as he returned his gaze to meet yours, his mouth perched in that oh-so-uncomfortable way, skewed just slightly to the side, lips pursed. Oh, God.
“I, uh, I asked them not to come, actually,” he explained, his hand falling from your elbow, ghosting down your arm and pausing, surprisingly, at your wrist. Your pulse was deafening in your ears. You had to make an active effort to listen, fearing your own heartbeat would drown-out whatever Embry had to say. “I wanted to talk to you, and… it’s not really… it’s not something I want to say in front of them.” He lifted his eye, and his face suddenly changed, seeing your dismay. His hand grasped yours swiftly, eyes wide, brow raised in urgency. “No, no, it’s nothing bad. It’s just, I don’t know, it’s personal.” You could focus on little outside of his hand on yours. You could hardly remind yourself to remain professional. He, too, noticed the positioning of his hands, but instead of dropping them, he inhaled slowly and tightened his grip, affirming his intention to keep your hold. He ducked his head to the side, motioning for you to follow him along the expanse of the beach. “Take a walk with me.”
You began your steady trek along the coastline, your hands locked as a method of stabilization, but that didn’t stop your heart from punching at the inside of your ribs. Embry didn’t seem to struggle as you did against the sand. Balance was another new trait of his. Your fingers never interlaced. He kept it casual… or you did, you couldn’t be sure. He was silent for a handful of minutes, the two of you listening to the static crash of waves against the shore, of gulls crying overhead, of the wind through the reeds on the drier (for Forks) border of the beach. The sun had begun to set. Your mind wandered to your parents. You hoped they wouldn’t be phoning the police department. Luckily, they had a habit of assuming you were with Embry, but that habit had been broken by the week of no contact. You hoped he spit whatever it was that was choking him up out soon, or you’d be hearing a lecture from Chief Swan about flighty behavior. Embry paused, ducking under the shelter of eroded sand, roots cascading downward in a veil. He released your hand, tucking the both of his inside the pockets of his cut-off denim. He inhaled slowly, turning away from you. Your heart instantly dropped through the soles of your feet, digging into the sand like a razor clam.
“Something happened a week ago, Y/n,” he began, his voice nearly lost on the breeze. He spoke into the wind, hoping blindly that his words would reach your ears. “Do you remember… when I was sick? You kept saying that my fever wasn’t gone yet, or that it had gotten worse. I was staying with Jacob and Billy before, do you remember that? Because something happened.” You said that you did remember. Still, without turning, he continued to speak, his voice trembling. “Do you remember the last time we saw each other? How… strange I was acting?” Again, you assured him you had noticed. He chuckled under his breath, his hand reaching up to glide through his shorn hair, his face turning to reveal a dreamy look dancing about in his eyes. “Yeah, I had a feeling I wasn’t as subtle as I thought. What happened… was that,” he exhaled. “I… there’s something called imprinting, when someone like me,” he said the word very pointedly. “sees someone like you, and something… happens.” you shook your head in confusion, your brow pinched.
“Embry, you’ve lost me. What do you mean by something happen-” As you spoke, his eyes lifted to meet yours with a conviction you’d never witnessed in him.
“I’m in love with you.” You gawked, your heart skipping beats to revel in silence, replaying the words over and over on the canvas of your mind. “It’s something I can explain later, fully, but the most important detail is that it’s you. You’re it for me, Y/n. And I tried to avoid it, but I can’t… physically be away from you.” He stepped forward, as if to illustrate his point, taking your hand once again, pressing the backside of your palm to his heart. “I didn’t want to ruin anything, but I can’t… I can’t not be with you anymore. I tried to keep it a secret, but… I mean, you’re always saying that secrets have a way of coming out. If I’m jeopardizing anything, so be it. I tried. I’m in love with you. I’m so in love with you.” He was shaking his head, his eyes bursting with honesty, his heartbeat strong against your hand. He was warm. You grinned, ducking your head to deliver your words to his shoes, just as he had done a week before. You, too, were shaking your head.
“You aren’t jeopardizing anything, Em. I’ve been head-over-heels for you for a year, and you’re just now figuring it ou-” His hands shot to your cheeks, angling your face upwards to meet his, your lips melding together, a symphony of bells clashing in your ears. He moved his lips against yours, his fingertips tangling in your hair as your hands met around his back, pressing your palms against the warmth radiating through his shirt. When he parted, his eyes were harvesting sunlight, his hair ruffled by the easy breeze off of the ocean. He smiled. This close, he even smelled of sunshine. And he was warm. He was deliciously, joyously, delightfully warm.