His teeth were deep in her throat, his eyes were desperate, urgent. She lay there covered in blood. We ran before he could do it. How would I have known? My vision had shown me murder. But in reality, I had denied Edward his happiness. Now I had to find a way to correct my mistake.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of Stephenie Meyer.
1. Chapter 1
Rating 2.5/5 Word Count 2408 Review this Chapter
The Cullen house had never witnessed so much chaos. Rosalie was screeching an un-interruptible speech at the top of her voice, Esme was struggling with her imperious yet affectionate tone, and Carlisle was trying to reason with both of them, none of their words decipherable. Emmett was bouncing a basket ball – heavens knows why – and Jasper was hunting. Of course Jasper was out, or this situation would have been toned down a few decibels. Edward sat in his piano, head between hands, feeling the weight of the guilt of a crime he didn’t commit.
And my head hurt.
I sat on the sofa staring at the drawings of a dark haired girl, with a warm, innocent face. Esme had crumpled the more explicit drawing to spare Edward. I was struggling, fighting to see something that would prove me wrong, something that showed me a way around this.
It was no use. A few minutes after I described to Carlisle what I had seen, he had silently decided. And now all I could see was the clear water lakes near Calgary. We were moving to Canada.
I still couldn’t see Rosalie and Emmett – foreign landscapes shot through my mind as I tried to concentrate on them. Rose still hadn’t decided.
“So what, if we can’t avoid Edward killing this girl, why don’t we anticipate it?” Emmet interjected, speaking naively and matter-of-factly, as if all that was important was to keep the peace.
“Don’t be outrageous, Emmett!” said Esme.
“She’s the Chief of Police’s daughter. And it can be avoided Emmet, and it is not by staying here.” Carlisle pleaded.
Rosalie did not react well to that, and the shouting continued around me.
As useful as my gift was, sometimes I wish it wasn’t so pivotal, so consequential. I hated having to uplift us for something that is so subjective! They seem to forget that our future is ours to choose; every minor decision changes everything. I closed my eyes and began rubbing my temples. But then if we take our chances… if we stay, are we committing this girl, this poor, unsuspecting girl, to her death? After all the effort, the truce with the Quileute’s… after all Carlisle has been through. After seeing this coming, I wouldn’t be able to live with the guilt. Nor would Edward. I shuddered.
A soothing melody began emerging from the piano. Edward was playing Esme’s favourite. The shouting began to diffuse, and for a moment I thought Jasper had come back. I was wrong. I opened my eyes and my family turned to face the grand piano as the sad melody the filled the room. Edward was reminding everyone that he was still the main character in this story, the villain of a horror still to unfold.
I’m so sorry Edward. He looked sideways at me, feeling the sincerity and weight of my thoughts. He gave me a half-smile, and kept on playing.
Esme walked over to him, placing her hands on his shoulders.
The room fell silent, Edward’s fingers abruptly stopped.
“We have to leave.” He croaked.
At that moment, Jasper came through the window, sensing immediately the atmosphere in the room. He came to stand by my side; I hated seeing the worry and agony in his eyes... I stood up and squeezed his hand.
It was decided. Rosalie silently gave in. Edward’s statement was disconcerting, full of sorrow and shame. It sounded almost like a confession of a crime already committed. And that had settled our departure. I walked Jasper out of the room to explain what had happened – and to start packing.
Forks – two years later.
“Give up, Mike, I’m not going camping!”
“Come on, Bella, it’s the third time we’ve been and you find an excuse every time!” Mike pleaded with his wet Labrador face.
He stabbed his fries with such force, I’m sure it whimpered in pain. We were all having our typical Thursday night meal at the diner. But since we graduated it seemed we were having ‘Thursday meals’ on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays as well.
“Seriously, its Charlie’s birthday, I’m going to have to go fishing with him, so that fills my quota for adventure related activities for another year!” I exclaimed and took a sip from my coke.
“I can’t believe your dad convinced you to go fishing.” Angela laughed.
“Well, I would never have said yes, but Jacob will be there, so it won’t be half as bad.”
As much as I was dreading the bugs, the nature, the extreme boredom, I was quite looking forward to seeing Jacob. He was having his finals and, to everyone’s surprise, he had his head in his books for the last few months. But Billy had promised a night around the fire, and that meant ancient tales and legends from his tribe. I never missed a single one of those nights.
“When’s Jacob going to ask you out? This is getting boring already.” Jessica said. Holidays were boring for Jessica, not enough gossip.
“Ew, Jess, he’s like my little brother”
I felt myself blushing, and turned back to my burger. Angela gave me a knowing look.
“Well, your lil bro is one hell of a mechanic.” Ben complimented. Jacob had recently fixed Ben’s car, saving him from a spending a lot of money and a possible grounding from his parents.
They went on to discuss whose car would be taking them tomorrow and I turned to my own thoughts. There was another reason I hadn’t seen Jacob as much. I tried to suppress the cringe-worthy memory that came back to me of the night Jacob had attempted to ask me out, and the disgusted way I had reacted. I swallowed and hoped the blushing would go with it. The last thing I needed was someone to think I was blushing for the wrong reason. But I was hopeful this weekend things would have gone back to normal, back to being brother and sister.
Next morning (if it could even be called morning), I insisted Charlie and I took the Chevy, even if it there was no chances of anyone being awake at stupid o’clock, I felt too self-conscious riding the cruiser. Still half asleep, I stared absent-mindedly out the window as Charlie drove the fifteen miles down to La Push.
I was nervous about seeing Jacob. The reason I had decided to extend my stay in Forks was largely due to our friendship. Yeah, I loved the guys from school. They had taken me in when I thought I was a lost cause. And Angela was probably the closest thing I had to a best-friend. Not counting Jacob, of course. But that is the whole point; he is more than a friend, he’s my brother! Our relationship was always so easy, so comfortable because of this strange familiar pull I felt towards him. He made me feel safe, yet we spend most of our time making fun of each other.
Then he had to go and do it. He had to be there, with the roses and the candles… eugh, I winced just thinking about it. I felt embarrassed by him straight away. I mean, in my heart of hearts I knew it was a teenage infatuation (it had to be a teenage infatuation, because anyone with a little more experience would know not to give me roses…). I was the older girl from Forks; always coming to La Push to see him. I wouldn’t be surprised if that whole idea came from Embry.
The sun was rising in a distance over First Beach, slowly tinting the sky with orange and pink. We pulled into the Black’s front gate, Billy and Jacob were waiting by the entrance. I got out of the car and opened the door so Jacob could skilfully help his dad onto the passenger seat. I tried to catch his eyes, but he wouldn’t look at me. Even as he placed the wheelchair at the back he avoided my stare. My stomach fell; I was so sure everything was going to be ok that I hadn’t planned for the opposite! I swallowed, I was not ready for a day of fishing, bugs, nature, boredom and a pms’ed Jacob!
I got in the back seat; Jacob opened the door and got in. I was glaring at him now. Then he looked up to meet my eyes and flashed me a huge, wolfish smile.
The day went on with no major happenings, me and Jacob explored the local area as he filled me in with the rez gossip. Apparently Quil had started seeing this girl from Mora, just outside the reservation, but apparently the girl’s parents had something against the Quileute’s causing a little bit of a stir. And Sam was getting married! Weird, Sam was only 21. Apparently Leah had conveniently decided to move to Seattle the same week he made the announcement. Poor Leah, even though our struggled to go past cordial, I would not want to be in her shoes.
We ate grilled fish for dinner with potatoes, hearing Charlie and Billy remember stories from when they were younger and the things they got up to. The day hadn’t been nearly as bad as I thought, I had only sustained two injuries (scrapes on my legs and a relatively shallow cut on my left arm from a vicious branch) and me and Jacob seemed to have overcome any awkwardness we might have inflicted on ourselves.
Night had fallen; a great moonless velvet sky enveloped us. I was sitting outside the tent, warming my hands on the blazing fire, concentrating on the erroneous crackling sounds when I heard my dad’s deep snores. I turned to look at him and he was passed out in his folding chair – beer still in hand. Billy chuckled and reached over to take the can before he lost his grip. Jacob came to sit languidly next to me.
“Dad, you promised Bella, and if you don’t start telling your stories soon she’ll spend the entire day tomorrow complaining to me!” Jacob joked. I pushed him in annoyance, but turned to look at Billy expectantly.
“The scary one.” Jacob winked at me.
Billy looked back at Charlie, making sure he was fast asleep. Charlie did not like superstition. After a few silent minutes, he began, his voice imperious, even if it was barely louder than a whisper.
“We have always been a peaceful tribe. Our ferocity in battle was always defensive – we were happy where we were and felt no need to fight for land. However, we did” he paused “we do, have one enemy, one which we would not hesitate to launch our most brutal attack upon. Do you know who I speak of, Bella?”
I was caught by surprise; Billy normally didn’t go for an interactive audience.
“The cold ones… vampires, right?” I ventured.
“The cold ones.” He repeated. “This animosity has existed for centuries. And it is only the presence of the cold ones that instigates within us the spirit of the great wolf.” He said this and shot a knowing look at Jacob, who seemed as intrigued but obviously not as ignorant as me. Billy went on “During my grandfather’s time a pack, or as refer themselves as, a coven, of vampires came to our lands. Their presence was unmistakable. The tribe could feel it, smell them. However, they claimed to be different from others of their kind and promised they did not feed on human blood. Claimed they stuck strictly to an animal only diet.”
He paused. His face looked tired, old. But there was a shadow of worry weighing his eyes down.
“A truce was made: as long as they kept to the borders of our land, they could stay. The family eventually left, and that was the last time we had a full generation of werewolves in the tribe.”
Jacob shifted beside me. I had a feeling the best of the legend was still to come and felt a small anxiety in my stomach.
“Not too many years before you arrived in Forks, Bella, and the wolves in our young ones’ spirit had began to stir, as if they could smell something in the air. The cold ones returned, this time accompanied by two more, and our treaty was reinforced.”
“They went to your school, you know?” Jacob interjected.
“What?!” I asked incredulous.
“Don’t think Dracula, black capes and bats. They not only are more civil than you could possibly imagine, the cold ones are the world’s deadliest predators… they’re cynical. Everything about them invites you in.” Billy warned. “They attract humans like a yellow tulip attracts a bee.”
I was still shocked or confused, I wasn’t sure. “So you’re telling me vampires attended Forks High?”
Billy and Jacob didn’t seem to want to answer, as if this bit of the story wasn’t exactly part of the legend.
Billy sighed. It was Jacob who spoke.
“Did anyone ever mention the Cullens to you?”
Suddenly, several things began to make sense, or began to become a lot more complex. But what I had always taken to be local town gossip unexpectedly had an edge to it. Two completely unconnected worlds brought you the same answer, though in different ways. I had always heard of the Cullens, of the good doctor and his wife with their adopted children, who were all in some sort of romantic involvement, of their extraordinary, out-of-this world beauty, of their disdain to any social connection with the rest of Forks society. I was lost in thought… it was obviously all myth, scary stories around the fire and all that jazz. It was just so conveniently recent and real. Two worlds, two different conceptions: in one world, the Cullens were freaks. In another, vampires.
Maybe it was the hypnotising fire, maybe it was Billy’s hoarse whispered narrative, maybe it was that I was surrounded by nature and its grandeur made me feel insignificant. But at that moment I felt lost between reality and superstition – and I couldn’t tell which was more real.
“Why did they leave?” I asked, curiosity taking over me.
“They tried to defy fate. The truce was to be broken – they avoided the crime by leaving before it could be committed.”
And for some reason, I was genuinely scared.