A Mage's Twilight
Alma Stewart and Nara Paterson are no ordinary sixteen-year-old girls. They've got a secret, one they have to guard with their lives. They move from their home in Australia to Forks, to see what life in America is like. They attend the local high school in their junior year, the equivalent of their school year in Australia, and notice the Cullens aren't exactly...normal. Bella's still there, and - just a warning - Nara and Alma share a very close, serious romantic relationship. Hence the teen rating.
1. Moving to Forks
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Oh. My. Goddess.
We were going to America. I’d never been overseas before…it was a little surprising, exciting, and scary at the same time. But what Linda Hawker says, goes.
‘Alma,’ Nara thought, capturing my attention. I looked across to her in the other seat on the plane, and she took my hand with a small smile. ‘Relax.’ I took a deep breath and exhaled. We were going to land in about half an hour, and I was a little apprehensive about meeting the man we were going to be staying with. He was the chief of police in the small town of Forks, and we were going to be staying with him and his daughter, who was supposed to be landing about half an hour after us.
‘Sorry, Nara,’ I thought back, squeezing her hand. We were partners, and the bond we shared was deeper than friendship or love. It came with our training, our magic, our deepest and darkest secret. ‘You know I don’t do well with having to move,’ I reminded her, and she laced her fingers through mine beneath the arm rest.
‘I know, Allie, I know,’ she assured me, her bright blue eyes worried as she looked at me. ‘But this time you're not alone.’
When we landed in Port Angeles and had our luggage – two suitcases and two surfboards – we looked for the man who looked like the picture we had been given. Sure enough, Chief Charlie Swan was there, curly brown hair, police badge and all.
“Hey, Chief Swan. I’m Alma Stewart,” I said calmly, holding out a hand to shake when I set my suitcase down. “This is Nara Paterson,” I continued as Nara shook the man’s hand.
“Nice to meet you,” Chief Swan mumbled. “Please, call me Charlie.”
“Okay,” we agreed as we settled ourselves down next to him. “So when’s your daughter due to land?”
“In about ten minutes, so if she takes as long to get out as you two did, about half an hour,” Charlie mumbled absently. We nodded and Nara held onto my hand again, hidden by our backpacks. She was tired and jet-lagged, and I didn’t blame her. Nara was the one helping me to sleep the whole flight. She rested her head on my shoulder, and was asleep within seconds. That was something I admired in her; she could sleep almost anywhere, anytime. Smiling reassurance at Charlie when he looked back at us, a little concerned by Nara’s fatigue, I let her sleep as we waited for Isabella Swan to make her appearance.
Half an hour later, Charlie caught a brown-haired, pale-skinned, extremely pretty girl as she stumbled towards him. He caught and steadied her, and I knew instantly this was Isabella. She was clumsy, intuitive, and would make an absolutely amazing vampire should she ever be bitten. Not by me or Nara, obviously, but should a freak accident occur… I shook the melancholy thoughts out of my mind and stood, supporting my half-asleep Nara as she stumbled and blinked bleary eyes to smile at the girl.
“I’m Alma,” I said cheerfully. “This is Nara.”
“Bella,” she told us, and smiled sadly in greeting. She didn’t want to be here…
“Nice to meet you. Shall we go, before Nara falls asleep on us again?” I asked, and while Nara protested I lifted her over one shoulder – she was tiny, compared to me – and hoisted both our surfboards under the other arm.
“I'll grab those suitcases,” Charlie muttered, and led the way as Nara protested half-heartedly at my treatment of her.
On the way to Forks, Nara fell asleep again on my shoulder, her messy blonde beach-babe hair falling over her face. Bella looked at us in the rear-view mirror from her seat in the front, and a small smile darted across her features. I smiled back, glad neither of them could see Nara’s hand curled in mine. They would think we were weird…which was true…but they would also judge us. I didn’t want that, mainly for Nara’s sake.
“So what’s it like in Australia?” Bella asked, to break the silence. I smiled.
“Hot, most of the time. In winter it gets like this, though,” I said truthfully. “I've never seen snow, but I love the cold and winter.” Bella shuddered.
“I prefer the heat,” she muttered. I grinned.
“Probably because you know what the cold is like. I love the cold because it's so different to what I'm used to,” I explained.
“How hot does it get? In Fahrenheit?” Charlie asked.
“In summer, about…oh, what’s the conversion…? Um…”
“About 120, tops,” Nara mumbled. “The average is about 105, 110.” I ruffled her hair affectionately and her eyes closed again. “The minimum in winter is about 37,” she added, before her breathing changed and she fell asleep again.
“She falls asleep really easily, doesn’t she?” Charlie mused after a long silence. I smiled.
“Yes. I'm envious of her sometimes for that,” I confessed. “I prefer to sleep when I'm stressed, but I can never get to sleep. Nara just falls asleep at the drop of a hat.”
“I wish I could do that sometimes,” Bella mumbled. Charlie didn’t say anything, and for a long while we were all silent.
“Bella, will you be able to drive all of you to school tomorrow?” Charlie asked suddenly.
“Uh, Dad, I don’t have a car,” Bella pointed out. Charlie smiled.
“I bought Billy Black’s old truck off him,” he informed her. “It runs great, and Jake…Billy’s son…will be able to fix it if anything goes wrong.” Bella looked surprised, but then grateful.
“Thanks, Dad,” she said, and I could hear the relief in her voice. I understood completely. Who wanted to be driven to school in a police car?
We pulled up at the house, and I instantly saw the red truck parked out the front. I liked it instantly.
“Wow, Dad, thanks,” Bella said fervently, her eyes alight. I could see her in the truck no problem.
“You're welcome, Bells,” he replied gruffly, and opened the door to climb out. He untied the two surfboards from the roof and managed to get them up to the porch without breaking anything, and as Bella carried her suitcase up I opened the door and slid out. I lifted Nara easily onto my shoulder, her backpack in my other hand, and carried her gently up to the porch as Charlie went and fetched our suitcases out of the boot of his car. Bella opened the door and led me inside, turning on the light in the lounge-room. I put Nara gently on the couch, and then went outside to help bring in the suitcases. Charlie let me take one reluctantly, and Bella led the way up to her – now our – bedroom.
It was tiny. Even more so with two mattresses squashed into the space. The wardrobe was plenty big enough for all our things, and all our suitcases would fit under Bella’s bed.
“Sorry it's so cramped,” Charlie apologised from the door. “I hope you'll not get too uncomfortable here,” he added. I smiled.
“No problem, Charlie. Nara and I almost always end up squashed together anyway. We've grown up together, and sometimes we had to share a bed because of an extra foster-child,” I lied. In fact, we had the choice of having our own beds; we just decided to sleep right next to each other. It was comfortable, and eased Nara’s nightmares.
“Oh, well then…” Charlie trailed off and ducked out. “I'll let you girls get settled…”
I woke Nara after Bella and I had unpacked everything and I had carried my partner upstairs to her makeshift bed.
‘Hey, sweetheart,’ I whispered as she woke. Nara stretched, her back arching, and yawned delicately.
‘Hey,’ she replied, not opening her eyes and instead wrapping her arms around my waist where I knelt beside her. Good thing Bella and Charlie were downstairs… I hugged her back.
‘Did you sleep well?’
‘Mmm,’ she mumbled, snuggling up to me. She was so sweet when she was half-asleep. ‘I'm still tired…’
‘You have to stay awake now, honey,’ I reminded her as I stroked her hair. ‘Or you'll fall asleep on me in class tomorrow.’
‘Aww,’ she whined, opening her eyes to pout up at me. I almost couldn’t resist the urge to stop her pout. ‘But I want to stay like this…’
‘Me too,’ I murmured, before bending and touching our lips together lightly. ‘But we have to make sure these people are alright with this sort of relationship before we let them know how close we really are,’ I added. Nara sighed and pouted again, but sat up and released my waist to stretch again.
“So what time is it?” she asked aloud. I looked at my watch and the adjusted time.
“Almost five p.m.,” I replied. “I think Bella and Charlie are cooking dinner.” Nara smiled thoughtfully, and wrapped her arms around my waist again to nuzzle her face against my neck.
‘So they're preoccupied…’ she mumbled, and I gave a sigh before wrapping my arms around her and closing my eyes. She fell back asleep in seconds, and I resignedly detached her arms from around my waist to tell the Swans that she wouldn’t be coming down to eat.
Nara woke up just after we finished eating and came downstairs, yawning a little. She was such a cutie, with her messy hair and big eyes. I was so protective of her…I'd have to be a little more careful around our new schoolmates. It wouldn’t do for me to accidentally reveal us in the middle of a class just because some hormone-filled teenaged-boy was eying Nara. She was mine, damn it!
“Hey, Nara, that jet-lag getting to you?” Charlie asked. She nodded and slumped into the chair I'd just vacated, covering her mouth as she yawned again.
“This is going to take some getting used to,” she muttered. I laughed quietly, settling into another chair as Charlie left the kitchen to go watch some game on television. Bella stayed in the kitchen with us as Nara ate.
“So what’s with the surfboards?” she asked. I grinned. She knew what a surfboard was, at least.
“We love it,” I informed her. “I did some research before we came, and apparently La Push is great for surfing around this time of year.” Bella rolled her eyes.
“You actually like cold beaches?” she asked. My grin widened.
“Yep. The colder it is, the bigger the waves,” I explained. Bella shivered. “You don’t like the cold much.”
“No…but I can manage for however long I'm here,” she muttered under her breath.
“So what's the story behind that?” Nara asked quietly, looking up from her now half-empty plate.
“My mother got remarried, and Phil – her husband – plays minor league baseball. He travels a lot, and Renée stayed with me. She was unhappy, so I decided to come here so she could travel with him.” Bella paused. “What about you?”
“We're both orphans,” I began. “We were fostered with a group of other children, and Linda is like our mother. She cares for us all, and she decided that maybe we should see another country. We got onto the internet to look for places that would suit us, and Forks seemed like a good idea. We managed to find someone to contact, talked to Charlie, and here we are,” I finished cheerfully. Bella grimaced, but then smiled sincerely.
“I'm glad you're here,” she said truthfully. “I'd hate to have to face the first day on my own.” I smiled as Nara stood and took her plate to wash it at the sink.
“We know how you feel.”
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