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Afterglow

Summary:
The in canon tale of the daughter Rose never thought she could have. When my mother found me, fate seemed to link us together. Not only was I the daughter she never dreamed she'd have, I was unusually unappetizing for a human. However, being raised by vampires does not come without conflict. This is my tale about growing up Cullen and finding love in the most unexpected place. The world's largest coven is about to get a whole lot larger!


Notes:
Sorrowfully, I do not own the Twilight saga or any of its characters. They belong to the glorious Stephenie Meyer. But Emmalie is MINE, as is the plot. :)


14. Compromises

Rating 4/5   Word Count 2643   Review this Chapter

After the hum of her engine had droned away, Ness rushed to the closet and put on her little skin-tight denim jacket. She had that joyous look on her angelic face.

“I’m going down to La Push. Jake and I will be back before dinner. Call me if Nana gives you any updates,” she insisted, giving my cheek a tepid kiss, then running out before I could object. Shrugging, I turned to Leah who sat on the couch her ebony hair sticking up every which way. Leah just shook her head, struggling not to scoff at Ness’s lovesick tendencies. I sighed and offered her a late breakfast.

Leisurely, I went about toasting some whole grain English muffins and whipping up some omelets from egg substitute. The whole time my mind was racing, disturbed by the events. I had never been without a least one of my family members at home. I felt kind of strange, naked almost. Leah allowed me my silence, staring apprehensively out the window at the forest’s edge as she gulped down her food. Overcome with seclusion, I picked up my little phone and tried my Popeye’s phone, my Mia’s phone, even Alice’s. No one answered.

Disheartened, I phoned Aunt Bella who answered, but sound very preoccupied. In the background, there was a continuous stream of painful screams that nearly muted all other audible noise. It was the screaming of someone in real agony, the kind of cry that makes you close your eyes and cringe inside.

“Em, honey, is everything OK,” she asked pointedly. The feminine hysterics were coming to a screeching crescendo.

“Uhhh, Yes I...” but she cut me off in a crisp voice.

“Em, hun, we really have our hands full can I call you back,” she asked pleasantly, despite her current predicament.

“Ummm…sure,” I conceded sheepishly. While I had never met Kate, my heart hurt for her. She had lost so much, her mother, her sister, now a lover as well. It didn’t seem fair.

I tossed my phone on the couch and growled both in frustration of Kate’s misery and annoyance of being unable to reach anyone.

Leah did not seem to notice my distress, for she was intensely texting someone. I could only assume that she was informing her brother of the strange happenings going down “in the bloodsucker’s lair”. Seth had not spoken to me in weeks; he was trying to teach me his own lesson by giving me the cold shoulder. He thought my parents had failed in disciplining me so he assumed the role himself. It was that notion itself, which made me care less if we spoke again or not.

Heaving a sigh, I decided I would go upstairs and freshen up; a change of clothes and a hot shower.

“Le, I’m going to hop in the shower. You can order a pizza or something if you’re still hungry; I’ll pay. The TV is yours,” I said tossing her the remote and turning to go up the stairs. She immediately ceased her manic texting phase, abandoned her phone on the granite counter and plopped down on our plush Italian leathered sofa.

I was a partially up the stairs, when the room reverberated with high pitch electronic beep. Startled, I jumped, then calmed, as my mind deciphered it for what it was: the intercom. It was sort of strange to have visitors. Charlie and Sue, Seth and Leah, remained to be our only regular guests. Sometimes Billy stopped by to see Jake who seemed to live here most the time, but that was it.

Silently, I went to the Fourier and looked at the monitor. One the screen there was a shiny black Lexus, the rain beading on its waxy coat and rolling off in glossy streams. The darken window rolled down to reveal Eleazar’s pale face.

Blinking, I looked again, almost taken back by his presence here; after all my mother and aunts were at his place comforting his daughter. Shouldn’t that be where he was as well?

“Hello,” he called in his raspy voice, a voice that was undeniably his.

“Hi, Eleazar, Papa Car is out. In fact…everyone’s out,” I informed him speaking through the speaker in a clear voice. We had installed the system years ago when the electric gate was added. I had only used it on occasion; it was another one of those useless indulgent purchases that somehow eased the anxiety of certain angst-ridden family members.

“I know, I came on his behalf and on theirs,” he amended, yelling to be heard over the beating rain. What? Why would he do that? Questions filtered through my head, but I opened the gate none the less.

Slipping on a pair of my favorite ballet flats, I went out to our wet front porch, Leah hissing violently in my ear the whole way.

“What in hell are you doing? You just let anyone in while you’re home alone?” she barked bitterly, her harpy-like attitude showing its ugly head.

“Leah, don’t be stupid. I’m not home alone. And Eleazar, well he’s like family.” Leah huffed angrily, obviously finding that argument invalid. “You know Kate’s coven, he’s their leader,” I told her as I waved to the car, splashing through muddy puddles in fast approach.

I didn’t know for sure what news he was bringing, but I was sure glad to be in the company of someone I knew. I continued to smile, but my spirit was somewhat thwarted when he emerged from the car alone; Carmen had not accompanied him on this trip I realized. In the blink of an eye, before I could wallow in any disappointment, he had joined Leah and I on the porch. We both hung back from the porches edge taking refuge from the almost wintry rain that was now pelting at a more invasive angle.

“Emmalie dear, time is short. We need to evacuate the house,” he rashly explained grabbing my forearm. I resisted his icy grasp and pulled back toward Leah, who stood guardedly in the door way her eyes narrowed and critical.

“Why,” I gasped in terror.

“Your uncles and father, even your grandfather have been put under arrest. The Volturi are coming. They even ransacked your grandfather’s office to find him,” he explained pulling me urgently to the car. I felt faint and my gut contorted painfully, as the icy drops doused my already goose-bumped flesh. Leah growled, jutting from her safe place out into the icy rain.

“Where’s Nessie?” His voice was harsh, but I was still speechless, trapped in a distant nightmare. Leah came to my side, her sneer making Eleazar take a step back.

I could tell she was on the brink of shifting, when a handsome man got out of the car, pulling her attention away. His features were undeniably vampire, too beautiful to be anything else.

“Nessie’s at La Push,” I confided softly, chocking out the words while swallowing back bile. “Nana,” I cried, realizing she could be in danger.

“She’s just fine. Carmen is with her and they’re heading to my house. We’ll meet her there,” he said his voice so convincing. I looked back to Leah, who while not intimidated by one, stepped back a safe distance from two bloodsucking strangers. Moisture pricked at the rims of my eyes and hopelessness set-in.

“Come child. We’ll get Nessie on the way there. There no time to spare! Come,” he beckoned sweetly shuffling me in the car. But before he could shut the door the handsome man spoke.

“That one must come too,” he demanded pointing unswervingly to Leah. He spoke in such a way one could tell people rarely said no to him. Leah looked disgusted at the very suggestion, almost sickened. She was not planning on letting them take me, yet alone her. But Eleazar’s engaging voice spoke before she could refuse.

“Yes, you too are in great danger. Let us take you to your land, there we’ll pick up Reneseme,” he called motioning for her to come. Leah just shook her head; her feet firmly grounded her eyes pleading silently with me.

“Leah, please I could not bear to live with myself if I left you here to face them alone. Come for my sake,” I called frightened. She reluctantly came, getting in the car, her fiery blue eyes staring them down the whole time. She did not look at all happy about her being in a car with them, shifting in her seat unnervingly.

“I’ll drive,” stated the handsome stranger. He was tall my father’s height and build, probably even his “age”. His skin was faded olive with a chalky pallor and his hair thick almost an iridescent charcoal black. It hung in gentle waves that almost reached his broad shoulders. Eleazar must have noticed my eyes fixed on him because he spoke up as we sped out of the drive.

“This is Garrett,” he said motioning to the man. I looked at him again. I had heard Bella’s story repeatedly and could have sworn that the Garrett, whom I never met, was blonde and French. This man looked neither. “He escaped,” Eleazar added when he noticed my unrelenting eyes carefully scanning this man who had just climbed into the driver’s seat.

Ruber burned beneath us as we sped off at a high sped.

When we reached the end of the drive,instead of waiting for the gate to open, Garrett busted through as if he was playing Grand Theft Auto. I was thrown in my leather seat, only Leah’s hard arm kept me from face-planting into the window shield.

“Are You CRAZY?” I screamed as he swerved onto the wet graveled road. Over my shoulder, my home disappeared behind the wall of protective pines. Nana sure wasn’t going to be happy about the gate. Then again Nana may never come back here, I reasoned with myself.

“Put on your restraint harness human and be silent,” he demanded in a tone that edged on evil dictator. Instead reprimanding Garrett on his ruthless tenor, Eleazar faced front: silent and without an explanation.

Leah growled at them then pulled on the handle to the door, but the child locks kept her from busting free. Even with super werewolf strength the well-made door would not budge. Meanwhile, our driver was pushing 90 on these small country roads, swerving around the tight bends undaunted. His disregard had my hands trembling, and my trust faltering.

We headed southward and then the winding road bended to the east and we flew across the narrow bridge over the partially flooded Calawah River. La Push road was coming up on the right. And Garrett was now going double the Forks speed limit. Oh where was Charlie when you needed him.

“You turn up here,” I tried, directing him to La Push. He however did not seem to be slowing down.

“Right here,” I informed pointing, yet again.

But we never turned.

We just merged on to North 101. I realized then that something was very wrong. I sat quietly, salty tears trailing down my flushed cheeks. Leah just scoffed at me, rolling her eyes then taking control.

“Where are you taking us bloodsucker?” she screamed at the top of her lungs.

He just laughed a heartless laugh. I looked at Eleazar with tear filled eyes, questions of betrayal silently spilling forth. But he offered no answers, simply looking out the window, shamefaced. I knew then that the man driving was not Garrett.

“I don’t understand,” I whispered in shock. Eleazar turned around.

“Emmalie there are times in life when you have to make compromises. One day you may understand. I simply could not hear Kate cry like that for all eternity, so I bargained for his life and her happiness. You may learn to forgive me but I’ll never forgive myself. I truly am sorry my dear,” he pleaded with me.

I felt the blood rush out of my face, out of my fingers. I would have fainted were it not for the new found rage that was fueling me. He had traded my life for Garrett’s. It did not make since why would they want me? Leah? I noticed that the car stopped with a jolt and a boy on a bike was crossing the street, his father waited for him on the other side with an umbrella. They were so unaware, so oblivious. What was my family going to think when they came home and found me missing? Would Alice “see” this happing or would the presence of Leah blind her completely? A wave of loss came over me, a loss of my family, my home, and my friends. I was beyond helpless. Iced fingers tapped impatiently on the wheel adding to my rising anxiety. Leah however was not giving up without a fight. She pounded her hand on the glass, causing it to crack under sheer force.

Immediately, “Garrett’s” handsome face turned around and snickered.

“Let’s not be naughty ware. You do not want to anger me,” he promised with a heinous snarl. But her hand beat the window again. Red eyes looked at us in query; he was overly annoyed and confused by her struggle. It was as if he could see how helpless we really were.

Visually I pictured my cell phone there on the desk-Leah’s there counter. Neither of us could even call for help. I could only hope she was going to be able to mentally communicate with her pack at some point.

For a moment I was sure Leah was going to shift, but she did not. Not before the vampire turned swiftly in his seat and injected her with a drug of some kind. She slumped down lifeless in her seat. My chin began to tremble, but Elezar spoke quickly to comfort me.

“She’s just asleep Emmalie. She is unharmed,” he promised locking eyes with me assuredly. I nodded and tried to still my fluttering heart with forced breaths.

“Eleazar, just tell me one thing. Is my family safe? My Popeye, my Uncles they aren’t under arrest are they?” I just need some comfort, a small piece of sanity to take with me to my grave.

“Yes, your family is fine; it was all a ruse Emmalie. They are all safe. You may trust me on that,” he pledged seeing my desperation. It was strange that relief came from that small assurance but it did.

“And why me? What do they want with me?”

“Emmalie, Carlise and I both dwelled with the Volturi for a time. In that time, I was in Aro’s debt. To pay off my dues I used my talent to pick out those that would be of use to him. I sorted though thousands of humans. I’ve not sought humans in that way since………….. You’re the only thing I’ve stumbled upon since that has…..well… intrigued me.”

“Aro’s a collector of many things, human-one of them talents,” added the ungodly-handsome-but-evil-one.

“But I have no talents. I’m mediocre in just about everything. And hopeless in others,” I protested hoping they would change their mind. “I’m a lousy pianist. My penmanship is sloppy. Math takes me longer than most people. I make decent grades, nothing to brag about. My parents tell me I’m incurably insubordinate and at times careless. I can be really selfish and hard to live with…..I can dance but I always modify the choreography- other than that I’m pretty much a screw-up. Not to mention my short life expectancy. Why me?”

The handsome face scowled over his shoulder again in thought.

“Enough of the question and answer time, it is time for the human livestock to rest,” he announced coldly. In a moments time a needle injected into my right arm, and I joined Leah slumped over and unmoving a ragdoll in someone else’s games.