Falling asleep on the bus, a man finds himself stranded in Forks for the weekend. Poor guy.
4. Chapter 4
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Edward lifted his chin defiantly. "Enough for the likes of you!"
"Whatever," I mumbled. The girl vampire (for some reason, I couldn’t call her "female"—it sounded too crass) was still holding her head and muttering. I nodded towards her. "Is she all right?"
Edward left Bella, and went quickly to the other girl’s side. His look of tenderness shocked me, and it was my turn to gape wide-eyed. A vampire showing genuine affection for another? Something strange was definitely going on here. Bella must have noticed my look. "They’re a family—well, an adoptive family. They’ve been together for decades."
"All of them?" I asked, somewhat incredulously. Bella nodded. I watched in wonder as Edward spoke softly to the girl, rubbing her shoulder. She responded, and they hugged. Then they turned around, and the girl vampire rubbed her eyes like she’d been—crying? Vampire’s don’t cry—they can’t cry! This was too much. I sank onto the couch and groaned. "Will someone please tell me what’s going on around here?"
Edward moved back to Bella, still protective, still watching me closely. "Carlisle will explain. Come on. Alice will drive you." He took Bella’s arm gently, and they went outside.
I glanced up. The girl vampire—Alice—still stood in the doorway, watching me, expectantly and somewhat sadly. A slightly amused smile played across her face, although her eyes still held that melancholy look. "Will you come?" She asked. I looked away. "Please?" she added softly. I looked at her again. She had an almost pleading look in her eyes. My heart melted. What was coming over me? She was a vampire! Why should I feel sorry for her? Not only that, but-—God help me—I wanted to help her...if I could.
"OK, I’ll come." Yeah—right into a nest of vampires! I stood and picked up my bag, then narrowed my eyes at her. "This had better not be a trick!" Her cute eyes grew wider, and she held up her hands. "I swear it’s not! Carlisle just wants to talk with you! That’s all, I promise!"
I shrugged. "All right, lead the way." She turned and walked out the door. I followed. Edward and Bella were nowhere to be seen. Half way down the front walk, I stopped as I noticed the car we were headed for. A yellow Porsche! I whistled. "Nice car!" I exclaimed as I continued toward it.
She flashed a bright smile. "Isn’t it awesome? Edward got it for me!" Edward again. For some reason, he really bugged me. I just couldn’t quite figure out why. I mumbled and oath. Alice looked at me from the driver’s door. "What was that?" she asked casually. I knew she heard me—vampires have great hearing, far beyond the range of humans. "Nothing."
We got in, and I reveled in the sweet sound of the engine, as she started it up and revved it a few times. Then she pulled away from the curb, and all my internal organs jumped into my mouth. Alice drove like a maniac! My hands automatically grabbed whatever they could find and held on for dear life. Soon, she turned onto a more countryish road, and I relaxed...a little. She still drove at an incredible rate of speed.
I needed Sinatra. No, that’s not a new designer drug or something. Sinatra—Frank Sinatra. "The Voice". When I need to relax, I listen to Frank Sinatra music. And boy, did I need to relax! I dug a CD out of my bag. "May I?" I asked her. She looked at the CD, and nodded.
"Keep your eyes on the road, please," I said through gritted teeth. She laughed. It sounded like music. "Nervous?" She asked.
"Frankly—yes!" She laughed again, and slowed ever so slightly. I put the CD in. When the music started, I leaned back and closed my eyes. It was still dark anyway, so there wasn’t much to see.
"Strangers in the night/Exchanging glances/Wondering in the night/what were the chances/we’d be sharing love..." My eyes flew open, and I glanced at Alice. She glanced at me, and smiled that smile of hers.
"Heh-heh," I chuckled nervously, and skipped to the next song.
"Lovely/never ever change/keep that breathless charm/won’t you please arrange it/Cause I love you/Just the way you look tonight." I mashed the advance button again, and Alice kept smiling.
"Please remember that I still want you..." No, not that one either!
"Wait till you’re locked in my embrace/Wait till our lips have met..." NEXT!
"And then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like I love you." Well, Frank isn’t helping me relax tonight, I thought, as I quickly ejected the CD. Alice giggled like a schoolgirl. Good thing it was dark, because my face felt really hot. What was wrong with me?
Soon we turned down a narrow lane bordered on both sides by thick woods. A house came into view. It was very large, and very brightly lit. As we neared it, I saw two figures on the front porch. Both were tall, and one was massive. I don’t mean fat—I mean massive! If he’d been a human, it would have been ...well, massively frightening, no pun intended. But his being a vampire made it worse. I mean, it didn’t bother me. I’d seen far worse in my time. But the effect was still intimidating.
The other one...how do I describe him? He looked like he belonged in the movies or something. And he would put Pitt and Clooney to shame as far as looks go. Watch out, ladies!
Alice pulled up in front, and we got out. She frowned at the two on the porch, but didn’t say anything. Massive Man folded his arms across his chest. "Carlisle is waiting," he growled. Alice danced into the house. That’s the only way I can describe how she moved. The two males frowned at me. I rolled my eyes as I walked between them, and the fell into step right behind me.
I blinked at the light as I walked in. There was quite a crowd. Besides Alice and my two buddies, Edward and Bella were there. A blonde, ever so slightly older looking male vampire stood near the center of the room. Flanking him were two other females. One was blonde and beautiful. The other had darker hair and was slightly matronly...but still beautiful. And with the exception of Bella and Alice, she was the only one who seemed even remotely friendly. Although the blonde male, whom I assumed to be Carlisle, was more wary than unfriendly. But the others sure were!
"Welcome. My name is Carlisle," said the blonde male, walking forward slowly, hand extended. I think he was trying to size me up. I sensed the two behind me tense somewhat, ready to grab me if I tried anything. None of them knew what to make of me, I could tell. They knew I had telepathy, and could move as fast as they could, but that was it.
"Thank you." I said, shaking his hand.
"Please have a seat." Carlisle motioned to the couch. Alice was sitting there, and smiled brightly, patting the cushion next to her. In alarm, I looked frantically for another place to sit. Anywhere! But all the other seats were taken. I sighed and sat on the couch. My escorts moved around behind me.
"Look, Mr. Carlisle," I began, but he held up his hand and smiled. "Please, just Carlisle."
"Well, sir," I said, jabbing my thumb behind me, "the Praetorian Guard here isn’t necessary."
Carlisle looked genuinely apologetic as he replied. "I agree with you. But my sons fell uncomfortable having a stranger with unknown...abilities in our house." He hesitated. "Perhaps if you could tell us a little bit about yourself, and help us understand what you are doing here, the tension could abate. You see, we are already in a state of higher anxiety right now anyway. We are expecting a visit from the Volturi at any time."
I scowled. There was that name again. Oh, how I utterly hated the Volturi! Several of us had petitioned the Committee numerous times to have the Volturi eliminated, or at least shaken out of their arrogant superiority. But each request was denied.
Carlisle noticed the look on my face, and seemed to get a little happier. The two females sitting by him exchanged glances with eachother.
"What do they have to do with you all?" I asked.
"They don’t like us. They feel that both the size of our family and the lifestyle we’ve adopted are a threat to order amongst vampires. And..." His voice trailed off, and they all looked at eachother a few moments. Finally Edward nodded. But to my surprise, it was Bella who spoke.
"They want to kill me," she said quietly. "They don’t want humans to know they exist, so they said several months ago that I either had to be turned or die. Now, Alice had a vision that they were coming." I glanced at Alice. So, she had visions. She smiled at me. Bella continued, leaning forward in her chair, fear plain on her face. "The Cullens—the vampires here—they can’t keep me safe. And I don’t want them hurt." She stopped and looked at me pleadingly. For pete’s sake, what did she expect me to do?
"Well, why don’t they just turn you then?" I asked casually. Edward moved, like he was going to pounce on me or something. But Bella put her hand on his arm. He visibly relaxed at her touch, but still glared at me. Bella sighed before answering. "That’s a long story," she said.
"Look," I said awkwardly. "I think you all must have me confused with someone else. I didn’t come here on purpose. I missed my stop and just got stuck here, because the stupid bus station is closed weekends. So I don’t know how I can help you. This is just a really bizarre coincidence!"
Alice and Bella looked crestfallen. Edward’s glare deepened, and he muttered, "I told you he’d be no help!" Carlisle leaned forward. "Edward tells me that you have some abilities similar to ours. And you appear to have heard of the Volturi. Yet we can tell that you’re not a vampire, as we are. Also—and please do not be alarmed—we can hear your heart beating, and smell your blood. But it doesn’t smell completely human. So we’re not sure what to make of you." He stopped. All their eyes were on me. I knew they were waiting for some sort of explanation. I rubbed my face, then started to stand.
A heavy hand clamped onto my shoulder, trying to hold me down. I turned, eyes narrowed, and said, "Back off, Muscle Boy! I’m not going anywhere!"
"Emmett," Carlisle said softly. The hand was reluctantly withdrawn. I stood and walked to the window. Dawn was just starting to fill the sky. I lowered my head and sighed. Then I turned to face the expectant group.
"What I’m about to tell you does not leave this room! Is that agreed?" I waited until they all nodded in agreement, some emphatically, some reluctantly. I turned back to look out the window. "Have any of you ever heard the term ‘Damphir’ or ‘Dhampire’ before?"
"Yes, I have in fact!" It was Carlisle, and he seemed excited. "But I thought they were just myths!"
I laughed at that. "You’re a vampire, and you still thought we were myths?" I said, turning to him.
Carlisle chuckled a little sheepishly. "I guess it was silly of me." He looked at his family and explained. "According to the legends I’ve read, Damphir’s are the product of human/vampire mating."
The blonde female looked confused. "But Carlisle, you said that vampires couldn’t reproduce the way we did as humans."
He nodded. "That’s why I never put much faith in those particular legends," he explained. Then he looked at me. "Is it true?" he asked, a slight tone of wonder in his voice. Are you really a Damphir?"