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A year or so after The Cullens' run in with the Volturi, Alice has a vision that will bring the terrible Italian vampires back to their doorstep, only this time, there are 3 new commers. The Cullens must fight for their right to survive yet again, and battle against a new danger that appears as a beautiful face.

Just about everything in this story happened in a week long dream I had a few weeks ago. I just never got around to writing it out until now.

7. Acceptance

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1166   Review this Chapter

Edward hadn't gone very far. I was only a couple miles north of the house when I found him seated on a boulder. He turned his attention away from the canopy above him to smile briefly at me. I paced quickly over to him and wrapped my arms around his middle.

"Please don't be sad." I tried to sound reassuring, not quite sure if he needed it or not.

He patted my head and chuckled. "I'm alright, Bella, really. I just need some time to think. All these years I thought all of my family died out that night the influenza hit and that I was alone." His gaze wandered back up to the trees. Long rays of sunlight escaped through the thick branches, causing Edward and me to sparkle where the light touched our skin.

I hoisted myself up next to him and he wrapped his arm around my shoulder.

"I don't think that really makes up for her behavior."

Edward laughed. "She must be related to me with that temper! My father, as I remember, was not one to throw temper tantrums. My mother was somewhat of a monster herself when she was angry." A faint smile touched his lips. I liked hearing about Edward's human life, or what he could remember of it, but it always seemed to cause him pain so I never brought it up. Now was probably the best time to broach the subject.

"What do you remember of Stephanie?"

He paused. "It's all very fuzzy... she was my best friend, as I recall. She was very tomboyish, but still knew how to carry herself as a lady and be proper. It was nice to be able to talk to someone." He shrugged. "Maybe things would have been different if I had known she was my sister. Maybe we would have acted like real siblings and fought with each other a lot. I do remember getting the wedding invite. My father said we were not allowed to go." He looked down at me. "Like I said, it's fuzzy."

We were silent for a while, enjoying each other's company and the nice day.

"I wonder why Stephanie and Connor are so powerful. It seems hardly fair to have that level of power. The Volturi must be terrified of them or else they would have gone to them already."

"I'm sure the Volturi would have, but like I said before, they're not easy to find."

"Then how come we found them so easily?"

Edward's brow furrowed a bit. "I'm not sure... maybe Stephanie read our minds and was curious?" He still looked deep in thought.

I raised myself up slightly and kissed his forehead. "Let's head back; I'm sure they're wondering about us."

We hopped down from the rock lightly and walked back to the house at a human pace hand in hand.

When we got back to the house, everyone was seated in various locations around the large room. I noticed Stephanie sitting on the floor with Nessie laughing and clapping in her lap. Connor lounged in front of them and I saw him use his transformation gift for the first time. I watched in awe as Connor shifted from a vampire to a golden retriever puppy to a tin can of cookies and back into a vampire. Nessie cheered loudly for him and screamed, "Again! Again! Be a kitty now!" I looked around for Emmanuel and saw him admiring Alice's impressive computer collection with Alice standing proudly next to him explaining each one.

"Momma! Watch what Uncle Connor can do!" Nessie chimed, pulling my attention back to the little show.

Where Connor had been was now a small orange house cat. He padded up to Nessie and nuzzled her leg, purring. She was ecstatic.

I laughed. "Very cool, Nessie." I went and sat on the couch, Edward stayed standing, looking at Stephanie.

Stephanie looked up and placed Nessie next to her on the floor, kissing her forehead. She rose from the floor slowly to face Edward and her expression was that of deep regret.

"I want to apologize for my behavior. You must understand where I was coming from... I haven't seen you in years..." She smiled brilliantly.

"I understand completely. I can vaguely remember you."

"We have a lot of catching up to do." She closed the gap between them and shocked me by embracing him in a gentle hug. Edward froze for a moment, and then wrapped his arms around her in a brotherly way.

Stephanie took a step back and smiled. "I'm not entirely sure if you really are my brother... it may take some time for me to fully believe it's you, but for now, we can try to get to know each other again. Do you remember the old handshake I taught you?" She held out her hand to Edward, waiting.

Edward looked down at her hand and grasped it. They did a series of different signs and movements with their hands for a moment until Stephanie laughed loudly.

"You're making it very difficult for me to not trust that you are my dear little Edward." Her eyes shone brightly despite how dark they were from thirst. She seemed to have noticed her thirst then, because she stroked her throat and looked at Connor, now back to his normal self, with a pleading look.

"We should probably hunt, as you found us in the process of hunting." Connor stood as he spoke, taking long strides towards Stephanie.

"We really should." Stephanie agreed happily. "Emmanuel, are you thirsty?"

Emmanuel ran over to stand next to his mother, a smile playing across his lips. "Thought you'd never ask." We all laughed.

"Edward, Nessie, and I should go with you; we're in need of a meal." I stood and danced in a very Alice fashion over to Edward and the others. Nessie squealed and ran to us, jumping into my arms and putting her hand to my cheek. I saw images of mountain lions for a moment and then she lifted her hand. "Yes, Nessie, if we can find any you can have one."

"Alright then! Carlisle, we're going hunting." Edward said as if Carlisle was standing in front of him instead of somewhere on the upper levels. I heard Carlisle's quiet "Okay" as clear as if he were whispering it in my ear. Being a vampire never ceased to amaze me.

Edward opened the door and we all strode out onto the porch. Walking slowly towards us about a mile away from the porch steps were Jacob, Quil, Embry, Seth, and Leah all in wolf forms. We all froze and looked at Stephanie, and Connor. Both their nostrils were flared and their faces were fierce with anger. Seeming to act as one, they both sprang at the same time towards the wolves.