Quil’s wilful sister is hiding in Seattle. What does she do when she hears screams in the night, finds bloodless corpses in alleys, and faces something from a nightmare? Who does she turn to when she becomes a walking nightmare herself? And why can’t she stop thinking about her childhood best friend?
1. Chapter 1: The Other Ateara
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“Hey, Hailey! Over here!” called Zoë Collins from her spot next to Dylan Viner near the fountain. Sixteen year old Hailey Ateara smiled and walked slowly over to the group. There were at least ten teenagers piled on the steps of the fountain outside the main building. Zoë, Dylan and Hailey sat with them, but separate somehow. They didn’t quite fit in. Crazy band geeks that they were.
“Hi, guys, how was math?” she asked calmly. Her chemistry period had seemed to take forever. She wrinkled her nose as she took out her two giant salad sandwiches; one of the other girls was wearing way too much perfume for her sensitive nose.
“Ugh,” said Dylan. “Don’t go there.”
Zoë shrugged. “Who cares about math? Not when you just got asked out by the guy with the cutest, most wonderful, most spectacular, most divine, most perfect ass in the history of St. Michael’s High School.”
“Who?” asked Hailey casually, trying to hide the smug smirk that was trying to envelope her face. She tucked her thick fringe of crow black hair behind her ear. But it still managed to fall across her face. She took a large mouthful of her sandwich. And another...
“Jeremy Rosbon! He is oh-my-god so effin’ sexy. You haven’t given him an answer yet, Hail! A guy like him doesn’t stay on the market more than a few hours!” babbled Zoë frantically. “And how can you eat two them and still be a size ten?”
Hailey laughed at Zoë’s exclamation and then shook her head. “Nuh uh. Jeremy’s a pathetic loser, except for his perfect, steroid-pumped physique and not to mention he has with doorbells for brains and a serious lack of good communication skills. I will not go out with him. And as for my weight, I run a lot.” She had no idea how much I actually ran.
“But he’s so hot!” she argued, as if it negated all the rest. And in Jeremy Rosbon’s case, it probably did.
Dylan rolled his eyes, as he normally did, at Zoë’s reasoning. “Look. I agree with Hailey; the guy’s a pedigree jerk. He always calls me a faggot. I can’t say I like him.” Dylan scowled.
Hailey glowered. “He said that again? See this is what I mean,” she pointed out. “He’s not even nice.” She thought Dylan was incredibly plucky, not only for putting up with her and Zoë everyday, but for ignoring it when practically the whole sophomore year believed him to be gay.
They spent the rest of lunch arguing over him – Hailey and Dylan vs. Zoë – until the bell went for the last two periods.
“What do you have?” Z asked her.
“Me and Dylan both have music.”
“Yeah!” he said enthusiastically. “We’re practising for Presentation Night! Me, Tommy Gerginvlask, Jemima Carter and Paul Thompson are performing a Paramore song. Oh, and Hailey, of course. She’s singing.”
Hailey grinned. “I’m so nervous. I’ve never sung in front of so many people before. And I’m not playing my guitar, so it’s even worse.”
“Why would that make it worse?” asked Zoë as she walked with them on the way to her English class.
“’Cause it means I actually gotta perform.”
“I don’t get it,” she shook her head slowly, her cute blonde curls bouncing around her face.
“She sort of hides behind her guitar when she sings,” explained Dylan slowly, as if he were explaining the necessity of eating to a child. “With out it, she feels... exposed.” He seemed pleased with the word he had reached.
Hailey smiled. “Exactly. My Fender. My baby. My love,” she put on a mixture of and Italian, German and French accent as she said this. Zoë seemed to think it uproariously hilarious.
They parted outside the English block and Hailey and Dylan jogged to make it to Music 1 on time.
* * *
The guys had already set up by the time they got there. The drum kit was out and the amplifiers were set up. Mrs Foster, the aged music teacher, was wandering between the three groups, making sure everyone was focused on their performance. She constantly shouted things like “you’ve only got until next week!” and, “Presentation Night is almost here!” It was very off-putting.
Tiny Jemima Carter was fiddling with the strings on her bass. Hailey sat with her and patiently held the other end of the long instrument while Dylan plugged his guitar into the amp. Paul Thompson was seated at the drums and Tommy Gerginvlask was standing awkwardly off to the side, tapping his foot as if it were going to make them move faster.
Jem stood up, slinging the instrument strap over her shoulder. “Okay, let’s go.”
Hailey went to stand in between Dylan and Tommy at the microphone. She could already feel her face heating up. The song they were performing was Paramore’s Let the Flames Begin. It was a good song, but Hailey was worried that she was just going to stand still.
Practising for the rest of the afternoon seemed to clear her head a little; she had her mind on her music the whole walk back to Uncle David’s apartment.
“Hailey?” she heard him call from his permanent position in front of his computer. David Jackson was a stock broker, and rarely left his office. The sparse hours he was home were spent huddled in a corner with his expensive laptop. The apartment itself was nice, richly decorated and tidy. Hailey dumped her books on the coffee table before heading straight for the refrigerator.
“Don’t worry about dinner, Maria’s bringing take-out.”
She closed the door of the near-empty refrigerator. Maria was the maid. She had five kids, and could only come when her husband wasn’t working, which was at night. Hailey liked the bustling Italian woman around the house. She was very friendly and every room she entered seem to brighten on impact
Hailey wandered down the hall to her adoptive mother’s brother’s study. She leaned against the door frame.
David didn’t look up; he only pushed his spectacles further up the bridge of his abnormally large nose. “How was school?”
Hailey shrugged. “Not bad. Practising a lot. So, are you going to come next Wednesday? To the Presentation Night?” To her knowledge, her less-than-interested uncle had never even set eyes on her school. But she didn’t want to be the only student without her family there. She thought suddenly, longingly, of Quil and her adopted-mom, though that one she didn’t think of longingly. She’d been in Seattle for almost a year now. Her ‘mom’ had sent her here, had said she couldn’t deal with her anymore. Not that Hailey had done anything wrong.
“Uh... I don’t think so, Hails. Sorry, I’ve got a lot of work on this week,” he still hadn’t raised his bloodshot grey eyes from the keyboard.
“Okay, well I got some homework... I’ll call you when Maria gets here.”
He nodded and gestured for her to shut the door behind her. She picked her stuff up off the coffee table and carried it into her ginormous bedroom. As soon as she had put her bag and books down and flopped onto her bed, her phone began ringing. She groaned and got up to answer it, her mood brightening when she saw the Caller ID.
“Hi, Quil!” she said enthusiastically into the receiver.
“Hello, little wolf, what’s goin’ on?” his calm voice sounded in her ear. That was his name for her, ‘little wolf’.
“Nothing much. Practising, you know. How’s grandpa?”
She could almost hear him shrug. “Meh, packin’ it together. You know him, tough as a leather stick. How’s Captain Stoner treating you?”
“Hasn’t left his computer since I got here. But it’s okay, I don’t mind,” Hailey sat back on her bed. It was comforting to hear her brother’s voice again.
“God, I haven’t spoken to you in weeks! Months, even. Oh, and Jacob says ‘hi’. He’s in the other room, with Embry.”
“Tell him I said ‘hi’ back. So how’s La Push been with out me? Boring?”
“Hmm... I miss you, but I can’t say it’s boring. Me and Embry jumped off the cliff last week. Remember when you showed us that spot, lower down?” he asked. Hailey grinned.
“Where was Jacob? Did he jump, too? You three are practically inseparable.”
“Well, here’s the thing. He denies it, but... Jake got a girlfriend.”
Hailey laughed when she heard a muffled shout of “She’s not my girlfriend!”
“Who is she?” she asked curiously. She didn’t know of any girls in La Push that Jacob was interested in. But then again, she hated La Push and almost everyone in it. Almost. Quil and his friends excluded.
“Bella Swan. Lives in Forks.”
“Swan, that name’s familiar...”
“She’s Charlie’s kid.”
“Oh!” Instant recognition. “Is she nice?”
“Yeah. Jake seems to think so. He spends every waking second with her.”
“Well good luck to him. How’s your mom?”
There was a bit of static that obscured the beginning of his sentence, “... doing alright. She hates this place. If it wasn’t for me and grandpa, I reckon she’d up and go. I’m barely home. I’m always at school or at Embry or Jake’s place. Want me to tell her you said hello?”
“No!” she almost snarled. She did not want any displays of affection reaching her bitch of an adopted mother.
“Calm down, woman, I was joking!”
“Sorry. Look, I gotta hit the books. Just one thing, what are you doing on Wednesday night? It’s my school’s Presentation thingy and I’m performing.”
“That’s awesome. I think I can come, if I can get a ride. Maybe Embry... I’ll call you, okay?”
“Okay. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye!”
“See ya,” and he hung up.
Hailey sighed and tossed her phone onto the mattress beside her head. She glanced warily at the large pile of books and shook her head. She’d never be able to concentrate on them.
She thought about her mom. Or lack of one. Quil’s mother, Jillian Jackson, had come to La Push when she was eighteen. She’d had Quil a year later, after marrying John Ateara. Hailey didn’t know who her mother was. She knew her dad had had other girlfriends after he and Jillian had split. Jillian had never told her.
Hailey frowned. She had left La Push after being offered a scholarship to St. Michael’s High School in Seattle. She remembered begging Jillian and Grandpa to let her go. She remembered eavesdropping on them while they discussed it in the shed.
“No, what if she...?” Jillian had whispered.
“She won’t. Girls never do. And the bloodsuckers are gone, it shouldn’t still be happening. Let her go, Jill. She’ll only run away otherwise.” Old Quil had wheezed from his faded lawn chair.
If only they knew.
Hailey had heard all the stories. They were recited at every party or gathering - The Cold Ones and the Spirit Wolves. She couldn’t understand how people took it so seriously. She remembered how she broke her arm when she was fourteen, her adopted-loser refused to take her to the hospital because the bloodsucker worked there. Quil didn’t believe the stories; he took Jillian’s car and drove her up to Forks Hospital to get a cast put on. Dr. Cullen seemed nice enough to her. And super hot, for a guy old enough to be her father. His hands were bloody cold, though.
Sure. There was coven of creepy ‘vampires’ in Forks. Big deal. What did that have to do with her? She didn’t know any better than Quil did. Who cares, right?
The next week of school passed in a blur. The days leading up to St. Michael’s annual Presentation Night, Hailey spent practising frantically; hoping almost desperately that she wouldn’t make a fool of herself and that Quil would show up.