Mackenzie, a not-so-ordinary girl, is uprooted from the only home she has ever known and forced to move to the small town of Forks, Washington. Miserable at first, she eventually sees that the town is much more interesting than she'd expected when she befriends a peculiar boy named Jacob Black. She soon finds they have much more in common that initially thought and within hardly a few months, her once-normal life becomes a complicated mess fraught with confusing emotions, mythical creatures and a great danger that threatens everything she holds dear.
3. Chapter 3
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November rolled around and the first Saturday of the month I woke to find it snowing. I walked over to my window and looked out, smiling. Our house was situated right near the forest; it started where our backyard left off. Everything was dusted in the fluffy white crystals and I had the sudden urge to run outside, like I used to when I was little, and make a snow angel.
Looking directly below my window, I saw that Hannah was about to do just that. She was bundled up in her winter jacket, hat and a matching set of gloves. As if sensing me watching her she looked up and waved, a huge grin on her face. I watched as she fell backwards into the soft snow and began flapping her limbs wildly and I chuckled to myself. I would have gone out to join her if I didn’t already have plans to hang out at the La Push reserve.
“What’re you staring at?”
Wesley’s voice interrupted my train of thought and I shrugged.
“No, really?” He gasped, sarcasm dripping from each word. I didn’t react and next thing I knew, he was standing beside me, also staring out the window.
I was about to tell him to get out of my room when I saw something out the corner of my eye. I swung my eyes away from him to look back into the woods and caught a glimpse of something, but I didn’t know what; a brown blur within the white-coated trees. Then it was gone.
“Did you see that?” I mumbled, frowning.
“See what?” Wesley asked.
“In the woods. It was like a… big, brown… thing.” I muttered lamely, eyes still focusing on where I’d seen this “thing”.
Wesley looked at me with a raised brow. “Uh, no, I didn’t. Maybe it was a bear.”
“So close to our backyard? That doesn’t make much sense.” I answered, returning my gaze to Hannah.
After a moment, Wesley shrugged and turned to leave. “I’m gonna go hang out with Hannah. Just in case there is a bear. Don’t want her to get mauled.”
I cringed and made a face at the thought of my unsuspecting sister being attacked by a large, vicious bear. Between my mom, Wesley and I, that bear would never again see the light of day. When I saw Wesley join Hannah outside, I finally, if not hesitantly, left the window and made my way to the bathroom, still thinking about what I had seen.
I had the feeling it wasn’t a bear. It was probably my imagination but I could’ve sworn I’d seen a tail. A wolf, perhaps? No, I reasoned. It was too big to be a wolf.
I stepped into the shower and tried to dislodge the strange sight from my mind, instead wondering what kind of things I would be doing down in La Push. The weather wouldn’t allow a game of basketball, so I’d more than likely be inside, playing video games with the guys.
After I was showered and dressed, I jumped the stairs and slid into the kitchen where my mother was flipping pancakes on the stove. It smelled delicious and my stomach growled viciously.
“Hungry?” My mom turned to me with an amused smile on her face.
“Of course,” I answered simply, returning the smile.
I sat down at the table and consumed five pancakes in the same amount of minutes, chasing them down with a huge glass of milk. I suddenly thought of Amber and how she would always look at me in disbelief when I ate, saying things like “Where do you put it all?” She’d once told me my appetite was the equivalent of ten full-grown men. I grinned at the memory, but it faltered when I felt a pang in my heart. I really missed her.
I was saved from my depressing thoughts as the sound of an angry engine entered my ears. The sound reached our driveway and then stopped. My mom looked up from her paper, eyeing the door curiously. I did the same.
“Expecting anyone?” She asked.
“I don’t think so…” I muttered, already getting up to open the door.
I was surprised by what I saw. Parked in our driveway was an old, compact car and inside it was Jacob. He got out of the small vehicle and leaned casually against the door.
“Thought maybe you could use a ride,” He mumbled, but I could hear him clearly.
I held up a finger, telling him to give me a second, and closed the door again. I turned to my mom who was looking up at me expectantly.
“I’m going down to La Push for a few hours,” I told her, sliding into my shoes.
She simply nodded and then returned to her paper.
I skipped down the front steps of my house to find that Jacob had been ambushed by my two siblings. Hannah was gazing curiously at the car, lightly running her fingers over the worn paint while Wesley was engaging Jacob in a conversation about it.
“You really built this thing?” He asked, obviously impressed.
I was shocked. My brother was rarely impressed.
“Pretty much,” Jacob replied unenthusiastically.
“Nice…” My brother murmured, eyeing the car thoughtfully.
“Ready to go?” I asked when I reached them.
Jacob nodded. Reluctantly, my brother and sister said good-bye and returned to the backyard. I watched them go before I turned to Jacob again.
“Sorry about that,” I said.
“No problem,” He replied, opening the driver door again, about to climb back in.
I furrowed my brow when I realized he wasn’t wearing a jacket. “Uh, aren’t you cold?” I asked, slightly confused.
He shook his head, smirking. “No. Are you?”
I looked down, realizing that, like him, I was in only a t-shirt. “Uh, no…” I stuttered. “I’m… from Canada, I’m used to colder weather than this.” I lied pathetically, hoping he would buy it. I ran a temperature around 108 degrees naturally.
“Uh huh.” It didn’t sound like he believed me but he let it go, thankfully. After a moment, he cocked an eyebrow. “Are you going to get in, or are we just going to hang out here all day?”
My cheeks flushed slightly and I quickly opening the door, sliding into the passenger seat. The inside was small, but cozy. For me, at least. Jacob looked insanely huge sitting cramped behind the wheel. I fought back the urge to giggle and preoccupied myself by admiring the old radio set in the dashboard.
“Does that work?” I asked, gesturing to it.
At the same time we both reached out to it and our hands touched. Quickly pulling mine back, I was shocked to discover that he really wasn’t cold. He was as warm as I was and it baffled me. Knowing that couldn’t possibly be healthy for a human to be that hot, I asked him if he was feeling alright.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Why?” He asked, starting up the car, the engine roaring to life noisily.
“You’re really warm,” I answered, raising my voice so he could hear me over the racket the car was making.
I heard him chuckle and I was further confused when he said, “You don’t need to yell, I’m not deaf.”
We were both silent the rest of the way and I tried to ignore the strange thoughts running through my head; thoughts that made absolutely no sense. He drove very fast, I noted, vaguely wondering if he had a death wish, and we were in La Push in no time. He parked the car on the side of his house and we both climbed out, making our way to the front door.
“I’m always warm,” He eventually said, answering my earlier question. “Hot-blooded, if you will.”
He smiled down at me, a smile that made my heart rate speed up a bit, and I tried to return it, though I was still very confused. Quil and Embry were already inside, sitting on the couch and playing a video game that involved swords and a lot of blood.
“Hey, Mac,” They said in unison as I joined them on the couch.
I looked around the room, eyeing the piles of empty plates and pizza boxes that littered the small coffee table in front of us.
“Wow, you guys eat more than I do,” I said, sounding surprised.
Quil and Embry laughed.
“We’re growing boys,” Embry explained.
It was my turn to laugh. “The last thing you guys need is to grow any more.”
We played video games for a few hours until around 1 o’clock when all of our stomachs began to growl, sounding like a strange orchestra of angry animals.
“I’m hungry,” Quil stated unnecessarily.
“Me too. What kind of food do you have around here, Jake?” Embry asked, looking up at his friend expectantly.
Jacob merely shrugged. “I don’t know. Go look.”
Both Quil and Embry grimaced at the thought of having to get up, so I volunteered.
“Do you have stuff for grilled cheese?” I asked, already standing up and stretching my stiff muscles. Jacob nodded and I asked how many sandwiches they wanted.
“Five each should about do it,” Quil answered.
I froze in mid-stretch. “You’re kidding, right?”
All three of them just stared back at me with equally blank expressions.
“Okay, you’re [i]not[/i] kidding…” I mumbled, walking off to the kitchen.
The obnoxious sound of the video game resumed as I dug through the fridge. Finding a brick of cheese and a tub of butter, I placed them on the counter and turned to see Jacob entering the room.
“Figured I should help you,” He told me, pulling a loaf of bread out from a cupboard above the sink.
“Thanks,” I answered. “I’ll make them and you can cook them.”
Minutes passed in silence and I concentrated on slicing the cheese evenly and centering them perfectly onto each piece of bread. I could feel Jacob watching me and it made me strangely nervous. I wanted to say something, but I had no idea what. The boy standing to my left raised so many questions in me, but they weren’t questions I could ask. They weren’t even questions I myself fully understood. I glanced over at him and our eyes met. Looking deep within them, I could see he had questions for me as well. That was never good. Had I not been acting human enough? Did he see something other people didn’t?
Suddenly, I gasped, feeling a sharp pain in my hand. I looked down to find I had missed the cheese entirely and sliced my index finger. The cut was fairly deep and blood began to drip from it. Jacob was at my side instantly, reaching for my hand. I pulled away from him, not wanting him to see the cut. Appearing human was not an easy thing to do when you healed at an impossible speed.
“Do you have a Band-Aid?” I asked, trying to distract him. By the time he could get me one, the wound would be almost completely healed.
His eyes narrowed almost suspiciously at me, making me slightly uncomfortable, but he said nothing, simply nodding and then he left the room. When he was out of sight, I ran my finger under some water to remove the left-over blood and as I had predicted the cut was barely visible anymore.
“Can I see it?” Jacob asked when he returned, handing me the Band-Aid.
“Uh, no,” I replied, turning away from him to put on the bandage.
“Because it’s gross,” I lied, trying in vain to keep the annoyance from my voice.
“Blood doesn’t bother me,” He answered.
I faced him again when my finger was safely covered and smiled. “It’s fine, see?” I said, showing him my wrapped “wound”.
He gave me a strange look I didn’t understand and then shrugged, returning to the stove. I sighed, my shoulders drooping, and I returned to slicing the brick of cheese, being extra careful this time around.
That night I couldn’t sleep. I lay awake staring up at my ceiling, thinking strange and confusing thoughts. Jacob truly was the most baffling person I’d ever come across. I wished I could read his mind. I wanted nothing more than to know just what was going on in there. He seemed wary of me, like he knew something no one else did. Could he?
No, he couldn’t, I assured myself. Perhaps I was blowing it completely out of proportion, assuming he was suspicious of me because I was unsure of him; He, Quil and Embry. They were great guys, but there was something definitely unusual about them. I just didn’t know what.
I sighed and rolled over to look at my alarm clock. It was past two in the morning. Sitting up, I ran a hand through my shoulder-length hair, deciding I would go for a run. I walked over to my window, quietly sliding it open. The jump from my bedroom to the ground was high, but I made it easily, landing barefoot in the soft snow. The woods were dark and still, I noted, and it smelled thickly of dead leaves. Everything was going to sleep for the winter season, plants and animals alike.
When I was far enough in, I quickly stripped out of my pajamas, tossing them over a branch and phased. Even in my lion form, the forest was still very quiet, the only sound coming from the occasional gust of wind that gently shook the branches of surrounding trees. I roamed for an hour or two, exploring places I’d yet to explore, finding nothing particularly interesting.
I was about to turn back and head home when it hit me. A strong, sickeningly sweet scent wafted by me and I staggered. I’d never smelt anything like it before. Curious, I followed the scent. It became stronger as I followed it through the trees, over boulders and logs and found my way into a small, circular clearing. Crouching down by a bush, I looked around for the source of the disturbing smell.
Sitting perched on a rock in the center of the clearing was a man. He was absolutely still under the moonlight and if I’d been in my human form, I might have missed him completely. He couldn’t have been more than twenty with short, blonde hair and unnaturally pale skin. Focusing in more closely, I realized his eyes were not brown as I’d initially thought, but red. Crimson. My own eyes widened. What [i]was[/i] he?
With a quickness that was definitely not human, the man turned his head to the other side of the clearing, apparently listening for something. I perked up my own ears just in time to hear a faint rustling. The sound became closer and louder within moments and suddenly, two very large, furry creatures appeared from the bushes. Wolves -- I stared, unbelieving -- wolves the size of horses. They were huge, majestic things with glowing eyes and razor-sharp teeth.
The pale, red-eyed man flew from my vision, a blur as he ran in the opposite direction of the wolves, disappearing into the trees. I watched as the wolves charged after him at an equally absurd speed. I knew I should run the other way but my curiosity overpowered me -- as it often does -- and I followed, quickly and silently, keeping to the bushes. The chase lasted only a few minutes and then stopped. I slowed my pace when the sound of running was replaced by a strange tearing noise. I crept up slowly and carefully, making sure to leave an adequate distance, and peaked around a tree that was blocking my view from whatever was happening.
If I could have gasped, I would have. I was not at all prepared for what I saw. The pale man was hissing and flailing on the ground, both his legs torn off and thrown aside. The wolves were clawing and biting at him as he fought, and I heard the sickening sound as his arms were ripped from his body.
I wasn’t sure what shocked me more, the fact that he was still alive as he was being dismembered or the fact that the limbs were moving and inching their way back to their owner. The larger of the two wolves sunk its teeth into the man’s neck and severed his head. I realized there was no blood.
Unable to watch any more, I fled, pushing myself to run faster than I ever had before.