A New Aquaintance
My first attempt at Fan Fiction and fiction writing in general. This was my entry for the Spetember Back-to-School challenge on Twilight Novel Novice. The story centers on Bella and the Cullens first day back at school after Breaking Dawn. Told from Bellas POV, the family is attending college at Dartmouth and face the challenges you would expect, and one you may not have. This story earned third place in the contest!
Rating 4.5/5 Word Count 1262 Review this Chapter
On the short drive back to the house, I absently fingered the photographs in my lap with one hand while my other hand was clasped in Edwards over the center console.
Edward was shaking his head.
“I just can’t imagine what he was thinking, taking those photographs,” he said.
Edward had explained to me how the Cullens had always been extraordinarily careful about evidence they left of themselves anywhere - especially photographs - that could tie them to a certain place or time. Being immortal had its drawbacks when it needed to remain a secret. One ill-placed newspaper photo could make it impossible to return to a certain town or region for over a human lifetime. One “descendant” that looked too much like an “ancestor” was one thing, but an entire family that appeared to be a clone of a family that lived fifty or a hundred years ago was a little too much to ask even the most gullible of people to believe.
“Well, in his defense, when that photo was taken, he probably wasn’t thinking too hard about hiding from humans,” I said, already trying to smooth over an argument I sensed was brewing.
I got a non-committal grunt as response.
The Volvo smoothly cleared the driveway gates and pulled into the waiting garage bay. Collecting my bag from the backseat, I followed Edward into the house.
“Family meeting,” he called, his voice rising no louder than if he were only talking to me; no matter, I knew everyone heard just fine. As the family gathered from all corners of the house, I heard the approach of two beating hearts and threw my arms up just in time to catch my baby.
“Mommy! I missed you! What took you so long” Renesme asked, with all the unreasonable impatience of a human six-year-old, though in reality she was only a little over a year old. And far more mature than most human six-year-olds.
“Baby, I was only gone a few hours,” I said, hugging her close. “But I missed you, too. Didn’t Jacob keep you too busy to miss me anyway?” I asked.
“I cooked him something special – but he said it was gross and that he could do much better, but he ate it anyway,” she said in a breathless run-on sentence, finishing with a mock glare at her culinary guinea-pig.
The guinea-pig shrugged, and said “She made me eat it – she knows I can’t say no. Literally. Can’t say no. No matter how bad it is.”
Renesme stuck out her little pink tongue at him.
“Now that family hour is over, maybe we could find out what happened with the professor?” Rosalie asked, showing uncharacteristic impatience with Renesme and her antics.
“Oh! Here,” I said, handing over the folder with the pictures. “He had these – he’s a research professor with a specialty in south Texas and Mexico.” I slanted a glance in Jaspers direction as I felt the level of anxiety in the room rise slightly.
Carlisle had the photos spread out on the table in the middle of the room while everyone looked on.
“Well, can’t say it’s not a good likeness,” Carlisle said, tilting his head to examine one of the photos. “Care to explain, Jasper?”
The anxiety level in the room was really increasing now, and my perfect vampire vision, trained on Jasper, was detecting….was that a squirm? It was!
“Uh, well, Maria had this thing about it being the beginning of our…dynasty. In her mind, it was going to be ‘join us or die’ for the entire human race. She had dreams of empire,” Jasper said softly. “And we came very close to succeeding there for a while. We had never heard of the Volturi; we thought ourselves invincible.”
We all knew Jasper’s story – I was the most recent to learn it, so it was fresh in my mind. Jasper had spent many years fighting in vampire clan wars in the south and Mexico after being turned by Maria while serving as an officer in the army in the Civil War. Eventually he left, having grown tired of the endless fighting - against humans, against other covens, and even against members of his own coven who wanted to move up in the hierarchy. The vampire armies were made largely of newborns, volatile all on their own, without adding ongoing battles and wars into the mix. The crescent-shaped scars all over his face, neck, and body attested to his many battles. I hadn’t been able to see them as a human, but they were clearly visible to my now better-than-perfect vision. I remembered how shocked and almost…frightened….I had been to see them when I first awoke as a new vampire.
“Why didn’t you ever tell us about this, son?” Carlisle asked.
“I didn’t think it was important – I figured those photos were destroyed long ago. There were a lot of….fires back then,” Jasper said, referencing the only way to be sure a vampire was really dead – tear the body apart and burn the pieces.
“Plus, once I decided to leave, I didn’t think it was a good idea to linger. Maria wasn’t the most reasonable vampire even in the best of moods, and my leaving wasn’t going to make her very happy. I just knew I had to leave!” Jasper finished, looking to Alice desperately, seeking help. She smiled gently at him and reached to take his hand in hers.
“It’s alright Jazzy, no one is blaming you,” Alice said softly. Then, looking around at her gathered family, her eyes taking on a steely glint, “Are they?!”
“Of course not,” Carlisle said. “We’re just trying to figure out what to do about this now.”
“I don’t know if we need to do anything,” Edward said. “The professor didn’t seem to be all that eager to shout our secret from the rooftops. I think we can handle him, through persuasion or intimidation, if need be. With Bella and I in his class, we can keep an eye on him and I can watch his thought for a change in his intentions.”
“Typical Edward,” Rosalie blew under her breath, rolling her eyes.
“We don’t always have to use force, you know, Rose. Finesse goes a lot further in most cases.” Edward said. “Especially when we want to stay in one area for an extended amount of time. Remember when you wanted to do away with Bella after she guessed our secret? Don’t you think now that that would have been a mistake?”
“Oh, alright. We’ll stick with your ‘peace and love’ plan for now. But I call getting to do the ‘doing away with’ if he becomes a problem,” Rosalie said. “I’m feeling a need to take out my aggression on something.”
“Come on, hon. I’ll take you hunting,” Emmett urged. “You know that always calms you down.” He grabbed her hand and drew her from the room, winking at the rest of us behind her back. Sometimes, I thought Emmett was a lot smarter than we all gave him credit for. He knew exactly how to diffuse a situation, especially if that situation involved Rosalie and her temper.
“That about sums it up then?” I asked. “We’re just going to wait and see.”
“Sounds like the best plan to me,” Carlisle said.
Edward and I, and the now-sleeping Renesme, headed up the stairs. Nothing else would get done until tomorrow and I was looking forward to some alone time with my husband.