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This World

Summary:
After seven months of healing, Bella starts to notice some changes. She is taller than before, warmer, and stronger. She figures it's a fever and brushes it off. But when a strange visit from Renee reveals interesting family scandals, Bella undergoes a monstrous change. Then, a vengeance crazed vampire comes to town with one intent-kill Isabella Swan. When Bella is changed even further, what will happen? After things settle, she lives quite happily for forty more years, until her past comes back to haunt her. When old love is revived and new love arises, who will Bella choose?


Notes:
Hi, this is my first story. I expect it to be quite long, but I'm unsure. I do guarantee twists! As it said on my profile, none of the charactes nor settings belong to me. Sadly. :( Anyway, enjoy!!!


1. Chapter 1. Sick

Rating 4.2/5   Word Count 6299   Review this Chapter

Sick

It had been about seven months. Seven whole months. Yet I couldn't really say of agony any more. It was getting better. Jake and the pack were like my family, and were always there for me. Sam was almost like the father figure, being the makeshift alpha. He and Emily were as inseparable as ever, and we had all become closer. Sam called me his Little Sister, and poked fun at my blush all of the time. It got really annoying, but I dealt with it, for I loved him like a brother also. He was so wonderful to me.

Emily was like a best friend, aunt, and sister all wrapped in one convenient package. I could come to her if I had any problems-which I often did-and she would be there for me. She would take me shopping, yet not force me into anything. I often found that I enjoyed our ‘lady's time' together. She was a great listener, and problem solver. I usually found her interfering with the boy's more outrageous pranks against me. And, past the scars, she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.

Jared enjoyed rough-housing with me, and was a huge fan of the noogie. He was a wonderful big brother, and had a secret soft-side that few knew about. I found that he knew me like the back of his hand, much like Jacob. But, he was the wild one of the group, plotting the oddest pranks against all of us. I loved him much as I would the brother I never wanted. I often told him just that to rile him up.

Quil and Embry were the jokers, not to mention the youngest. They were often arguing and fighting over me, each vying for my affections. Yet they loved each other to death, being distant relatives. I found it flattering though, the attempts they made for me. I blushed quite a bit at Embry's suggestive innuendos. That-of course-egged them on.

Jake was quite well. He was still in love with me, but had recently accepted that we were not meant to be more than friends. It seemed to bother him every once in a while, but we were easing back into the swing of things. He and I could often hang around each other without becoming uncomfortable in the slightest. He had recently stolen a kiss, and I had allowed him. I owed him that much, with how many things he had done for me-knowingly or not, he fixed my heart. But after I continued to refuse, I think my point wormed its way into his skull.

Paul...was Paul. He was the distant one of the bunch. I mean, don't get me wrong, he laughed and joked with the rest of us, but you could sense a wedge there. It was hard to explain, but I knew it had something to do with his short temper. I knew he was quite nice, after I passed his test and gained total acceptance into the family. I loved him too, though I didn't know him all that well.

With my time occupied at La Push, I barely noticed anymore that school was flying by. I had applied to random colleges, and got accepted into every one. I had always been advanced, but with my recent peak due to certain...events, I had even gotten enough scholarships to work my way through Yale. Charlie and the pack were very proud, and a feast was prepared. Though the wolves ate most of it, I was still very grateful for the nice gesture.

The end was a few weeks away, and finals were coming quite soon. I found that I was pretty excited, yet scared. I remembered that as a little kid, the thought of being on my own to start a family and have my own rules sounded wonderful. I could always recall wishing for my birthday to come sooner, wanting to finally be a grown-up. But with that day not too far, I was dreading it. The freedom appealed to me greatly, but the responsibility was a constant weight upon my shoulders. It seemed as if I was a baby bird, about to fly for my first time. The excitement of finally being able to leave the nest, get my own food, and fly alongside my parents was thrilling, but the fear of falling was always lurking behind me.

Yet I looked at the bright side. I would be my own person. Drive my own car. Make my own food and money. I would officially be an adult, given the freedom to plant myself and grow wherever I pleased. It was quite a wonderful day-dream, imagining where my future would take me, the far-away places I would explore. The mysteries I would solve. The things I would discover. I was truly happy about that. Or, as truly happy as I could get.

Preparations were quite taxing, so I spent quite a bit of time up in La Push, hanging around with the pack. They insisted recently, the near-by string of murders seemingly suspicious of a vampire. Or, group of new-born vampires to be exact. That scared me, for knowing what I did of new vampires, they were volatile, aggressive, and twice as strong as older vampires. I definitely didn't like that information, for the pack would be killed off if they migrated closer, not to mention the citizens of Forks and La Push.

As of late, with new threats too close for comfort, I spent a lot of my time with Emily, worrying over the pack's welfare while cooking their outrageously large meals. We talked about numerous things, coming to a silent agreement to not mention recent events, but to try and distract each other. I saw in her eyes the internal fretting going about in her mind for them, especially Sam. I'm sure she saw the same from me.

This day was particularly on edge, for a few pack members, including Jake and Sam, were going to see how many new-borns were running amuck in Seattle, and if they were a large threat. It was silent between the two of us as we held each other in a comforting embrace. No words needed to be spoken, we knew that this was all that kept us from sobbing until our eyes were dry.

I finally became bold enough to ask the question that had been bouncing through my head-uninvited, I might add.

"Em?" This was my recent nick-name to her, and it was strangely comforting that I had once called one of my ‘would be' brothers by the same name. Though I-of course-never told her that.

She hummed a question, and I felt the rumble in her chest against my shoulder as we continued to hug.

"What if..." I gulped loudly, afraid to voice my concerns, "what if they don't come back?"

I heard her quick intake of breath, and she trembled as she suppressed her sobs. Though she collected herself quickly, and in shaky low tones, said, "As an imprint or a friend in on the secret, you have to prepare yourself for such things. Though your heart rebels, you must always remember that if they were to...perish in battle, they would do so for a good and noble cause. They would do so for their families and friends, for you and I. Sometimes I wonder if the strain is more on the people who sit at home-emotionally of course. I mean, they at least know we are safe, but we are left to flounder around in doubt until we see them come home-unscathed. But I will not lie nor sugar-coat things, as you are a strong woman, and can handle the truth...It is a possibility, and can happen. We just need to have faith. All will turn out right in the end. Fate owes us that much."

Her speech was real and to the point, and in truth, should have escalated my fears. But it seemed to put me more at ease, for she sounded so sure that everything would work out in the end, I found it hard to not believe her.

I straightened, and my tears of sorrow mingled with those of joy and adoration. What did I do to deserve such a wonderful and loving family? One that would never leave me?

"Thank you." I whispered hoarsely. My throat hurt from crying, and I felt like water might do me some good. I cleared my throat, and winced. It felt like I swallowed sandpaper.

"You don't know how much that means to me." I continued to whisper.

She smiled slightly, and I pushed myself up and danced to the kitchen. I still marveled at this, being that not only a year or so ago I would have completely rejected the idea. Yet now my grace seemed to be improving, as well as my speed.

I hefted the twenty-four pack of closed water bottles into one arm while grabbing boxes of sugary sweets. We definitely needed comfort, and Hohos, Cinnabons, popcorn and other goodies would help. I closed the fully stocked fridge with my toe, and danced back into the living room.

Emily took one look at the pile in my hands and smiled gratefully. She scanned the contents more in depth and gasped. She bolted upright and squinted at the packages in my hands, looking like she couldn't believe what she was seeing. She looked back at me with worried eyes, and raked them over my body once like a practiced doctor.

My worry and self-consciousness increased and I began to get anxious. "I just thought we might need some sugar...ya know...a little picker-upper..." I mumbled as I shifted uneasily. I cast my eyes downward, trying to avoid her probing gaze.

We stood awkwardly for twenty more minutes-or at least I did, and she continued to examine me. I felt her eyes drilling holes into my soul, and I squirmed internally. I didn't understand what the sudden fuss over treats was for, and I wondered what made her act like this. This was not the Emily I knew. That woman was accepting and easy-going, but today she was intense and calculating. I felt as if I was some sort of science experiment she was waiting for to explode.

"Bella..." She began softly. Her voice was kind and gentle, and I snuck a peek at her face. She was much more relaxed, not so on edge, yet there was still worry hidden in her eyes. I lifted my head slightly, a signal that I was listening and wished for her to continue.

"We have been standing for a half-hour, and my legs are bothering me. Yet I am load free. You, on the other hand, seem comfortable standing here even longer while balancing pounds of nourishment on your arms. Sweetie...that is not natural. Is there something you would like to tell me?"

I started, and then glanced at the clock, furrowing my brow. She was right, it had been a while, and I completely forgot about my heavy load of sugary comfort foods. That was very odd, for my arms felt fine, as I had been holding a feather for no more than a second. This was interesting, but I stored it away for later, as her question bothered me. What could I possibly have to tell her that I didn't already?

I mean, who else would I spill my guts to beside the compassionate and non-judgmental woman who knew about the supernatural world just as much as I did? I had told her everything-the moments Edward and I had spent together, how I felt when he left me, what happened when I figured out Jake's secret...What did she think she didn't know?

I shook my head to clear such thoughts, realizing that she needed an answer. Yet I still wasn't sure what that was, or what she was even talking about. I looked down at her, and then jumped in confusion and surprise.

Since when had I been taller than Emily?

Well, I could remember being shorter than her...but then we were about the same size...now she was a good two inches smaller than me. What was happening?

All of this was increasing my frustration, and my confusion. What was it about her question that suddenly had me noticing how different I had become? What was up with me? And why did it feel cramped in here? Was it me or was it colder? Why was Jake's super-hot temperature not so hot to me anymore?

Questions rang through my mind, and I suddenly felt nauseas. The world was spinning, and I felt sick. I wobbled, even on my own questionably graceful feet.

Emily reached out to grab me, her voice rising in panic. "Bella? Bella?! Sweetie...what's wrong honey?"

She pressed her cold hand to my forehead and cheeks, gasping.

"Bella! Oh honey! You're burning up! Sweetie, I'm gonna take you home, okay?"

I felt that if I opened my mouth to speak I would surely get sick all over her, so I nodded. I had been just fine recently, and I wasn't sure what exactly was going on. In the back of my mind there was a little voice screaming at me that what was happening was all wrong, that it knew what I was.

I knew what I was too.

Sick. Yes, I had a bug or something, and that demanding little voice didn't help with my developing headache. What was wrong with me? Why was this so sudden? Wouldn't I have had some forewarning I was about to get so violently sick? What was going on with the world?

Emily led me out to her little blue car, but I was vaguely aware of my feet moving. My oddly graceful feet! What the hell?! I wasn't even thinking about walking, nor looking down, or anything, yet I was able to stride confidently with no rifts in my rhythm. Something was horribly wrong. Somehow, my body just knew it, and my mind recognized it too. There was something incredibly wrong with me, and I had no idea what it was.

I was vaguely aware that Emily was talking, and I turned to look at her. Though I was suddenly feeling terrible, that gave me no right to be rude. When I was able to see her in the complete darkness of the car, she was talking in hushed tones on a cell phone.

The blood rushing past my ears didn't help, but I did catch a few scattered words, and connected that she was making an important phone-call about me to...Sam. I don't know why, but that made the annoying little voice inside my head scream louder, seemingly desperate. I pushed it away again and listened when I could hear past the...two heartbeats!

This was not good.

I brushed it off as something for later, storing it in a cell in the farthest recesses of my mind along with the voice. I strained to hear, but some words did get through, between each separate pulse.

"Sam...Bella...burning...really sick...at least twenty pounds...one hand! Yes...I noticed too...really worried...do you think...? Maybe...should...tell Jake...?...just sick? I don't think so...yeah...okay...sleep...if you...hurry...okay...twenty minutes...probably ten miles...I'm not sure...okay...got it...alright...Love...Bye."

I wasn't sure exactly what they were talking about, besides me and Jake, and my frustration and anger rose.

My head began to throb with pain, and a migraine would be welcomed to what I was feeling. I clutched at my ears and hair, trying in vain to silence the horrible alarms running through my mind. In the background I heard Emily's frantic shouting, but I could not respond. I groaned at the searing flames in my head, the ones that made their way down my spine. There was a screech, and I heard Emily's door pop open, followed by mine.

Two hands that were substantially larger than mine and not nearly as cold as Emily's gently wrapped around me, and I felt at peace.

For a moment.

My headache returned, and a series of cracks resounded through my back. It was torture, and I squeezed my watering eyes shut further. I heard a muffled "Shit..." and soon found water and pills flowing down my throat.

The headache slowly dulled over time, until I fell into a numbness that allowed me a night of restless sleep.

I awoke the next morning sore and dizzy, and I tried in vain to remember why. I sat up quickly, but my head protested with a horrible screeching in my ears. I dimly wondered if this was what a hangover would feel like, but brushed it off.

A horrible roll of nausea made me reflexively clutch my abdomen. I groaned and doubled over, hoping the new position would allow me relief. Nope. I squeezed my eyes shut tighter, being that I never really opened them, and bit my lip.

I stayed that way for what felt like an eternity, and waited for the stabbing pain in my mind to go away. Eventually, it did begin to fade, and I was able to open my eyes and straighten.

The gloomy light poured through my window, which was now locked-and bolted. I knew certain...people could easily break such things as if they were paper, but I was hoping that if they ever did come across it-which I severely doubted, but who knew?-they would respect my decision to keep them out. I swiveled my gaze to the right, and what I saw made my blood run cold.

A shadowed figure sat in my old chair, rocking silently.

"Bella...?" The gruff voice made me sigh in relief. It was definitely not velvety. For a moment all sanity went out the window and I began to think my past came back to haunt me, but I was both lucky and unlucky that it was not after all.

"Bella, you up?" Jake asked as he stilled the chair. He leaned forward, and I was able to get a good look at his face. It was darker in the gray-ish light, and shadowed with worry. His deep eyes raked over my body, but I knew it was only to check my condition.

"Sam called last night, and told me that we needed to have a talk when you woke up, and said that he was really worried about you. Bells...I'm worried too. You are much taller now, and stronger. Plus, you feel warmer. We think you're just sick, but what sickness makes you stronger and faster? It's all so confusing, and I think Sam left something crucial out that he won't tell me. Bells, what's wrong, because I'm worried sick."

Relief flooded my being once I was sure it was him, and I knew that he was safe from last night. Obviously Sam was too, so I'm guessing that Embry was also, being the other wolf that left for Seattle. But that reminded me of last night and all that transpired. What started off as an innocent question became words of wisdom before developing into a massive head ache. What was wrong?

I shook my head to clear it of the arising questions, and squinted at Jacob. I studied him for a moment, hoping in vain to find all of my answers written in bright pink letters on his forehead. Nothing. I quirked a brow briefly before shaking my head with a sigh. He probably knew more than I did, and he just said that he knew very little. Not good.

I dragged my right foot across the bed and let it fall to the ground with a heavy thump. I shivered at the feel at the cold wood, and wondered why I didn't get a nice soft, fuzzy, warm rug to wake up to. I mimicked the movement with my left foot, and heaved myself up with a sigh.

"I honestly have no idea Jake. Em asked me this question yesterday and it...I dunno, kinda sent me into a tailspin. It was so weird, I just suddenly felt dizzy and nauseas and...was sore...my back cracked..." I trailed off, studying the floor with a scowl while trying to find a hidden answer.

I hefted my arms up into a T-like formation before letting them fall to my sides with a slap that resounded around the uncomfortably silent room. "Like I said Jake, I dunno. But please...no more interrogations, I feel like crap enough already. Let's just go downstairs, I'm hungry enough to eat a hog."

He grinned at me, but it still didn't reach his eyes, as they were too clouded with worry. "Well, you just might get your wish. The pack was worried, so we bunked downstairs-y'know since Charlie stayed back with Dad. Emily's gonna cook Sausage this morning, and if you get down there early enough, you might just get a chance at that hog."

I smiled while rolling my eyes. I looked down to assess my situation, and saw that I was in pajamas. Wait...I didn't...

"Jake!" I looked up with a ferocious blush and half whispered-half yelled, "did you-"

He laughed with a blush of his own while reaching up to scratch the back of his neck nervously. "Uh...no, Bells, Emily did that."

I breathed a sigh of relief and breathed a bashful laugh of my own. "Right..." I mumbled.

"Well, I'm gonna go down stairs and letcha get changed. See ya there." And with that, he was up and gone. I stayed still in my bed a moment, expecting the thump of his feet on the stairs but there was none. I just heard the slight whoosh of air as his feet ghosted silently over my creaky old stairs. Right, werewolf.

I padded silently over to my dresser, pulling open the scarce drawers. Though it was gloomy and rainy, It felt comfortable to me, so I settled on a white tank-top with a star on it and my old worn-out jean mini-shorts. I tied my hair out of my face with a rubber-band and slipped my-beat up boots on, ready to start my crappy day.

I shuffled to the bathroom and took a few Aspirin, hoping to relieve the sore spots on my body, forgetting about my pounding head. I decided to take a shower to let it do its job, so I stripped of my new clothes and folded them alongside my toiletries on the counter. I started the water and got in.

At first it was frigid, colder than I ever remember it being. Right, temperatures are off to me now. It slowly got warmer until it was about right. I sat for a few minutes, allowing the water to cascade down my bare back while I pondered my situation.

Now that I thought about it, I had been a bit short tempered lately...in fact, for a few months. I remembered scattered comments that the pack made about it. I had brushed it off at the time, but could it now be used as relevant information?

Probably not, I mean, after weeping away all of my sorrow, I am justified to be angry about recent...circumstances, right? But, it wasn't just that. It was anything. Like when Jake got hit on by that slut in Port Angeles, I was practically quaking with anger. But, I was just defending him. When you see someone as a brother and then a whore who would just break his kind heart tries to seduce him, you get angry, right?

In fact, I had recently been over-protective of the pack. I distinctly remembered snapping on Mike or Jessica when they asked why I was always with them. And Angela, when that player from school tried to hit on her. I had as of late been feeling like I needed to protect everyone I know and love. Strange.

And then, my grace and speed had improved exponentially, and that was very odd. I mean, I used to be fearful of wide open areas that were perfectly flat in flat shoes. Now I bet I could dance on stairs with stilettos. Not right.

Okay and the speed thing. I could have sworn I was pretty average in that aspect, if you discounted the slips and trips. Yet now I enjoyed whooping butt in Gym. And even scarier-I could! I was suddenly being fought over when picking teams, and got multiple high-fives whenever I scored, which I often did.

Along with speed, my strength was much better. I made an example of that the day before when I was carrying loads of food and drinks and standing comfortably for half an hour. That was definitely off when my arms used to be the equivalent of jell-o.

And then my temperature was high, or at least that was what everyone said. And that could mean I had a fever, which would explain why I was sore and my head hurt, but what about everything else? Sickness usually makes you weaker, and as Jake had so rightfully pointed out, I was just increasing in my strength.

And the height thing frightened me a lot. I mean, don't get me wrong, It isn't an odd thing to have late growth spurts or anything, but A growth spurt of at least six to eight inches? At my age? I don't think so.

I wasn't sure what all of these things meant, and grouped together they seemed familiar. I could have sworn something like this happened before. Maybe not to me, but to someone. I think...

I strained my mind, searching for the answer that would solve all of my problems and quell my worries, but it eluded me. The throbbing in my head got worse with the effort and after a few more minutes I gave up with a sigh. I shook my head to clear it and continued washing.

After I got done with my shower, I changed back into my clothes and trudged down the stairs-pills in hand. I wasn't sure of anything anymore, and questions flooded my mind at every waking second. It seemed that every time I found an answer, I got three more questions in its place.

When I made it all the way to the bottom, I saw that Embry, Quil, and Paul had all had brought some kind of Game system over and were playing with vigor. I don't even think they knew I was there until I spoke. "Whatcha playing?"

My voice was rough from sleep, and they all jumped. I saw bright red lights dance over their faces and music blared. "Game over" came from the T.V. in a monotone voice. The boys swore loudly and glared at me.

"Well, now that you, made us all lose and the world ended because we weren't there to stop the violent zombie mayhem...we won't tell you." Quil said with a playful glare.

I scowled right back and tried to make my voice as commanding as possible. "Tell me. Now."

Immediately they all sat ramrod straight and, in unison, blurted "Zombie Slayers Three."

I furrowed my brow at their strange behavior, and laughed while shaking my head when they clapped their hands over their mouths and glanced at each other fearfully.

"Okay, strange...but thanks!" I said cheerfully before skipping into the kitchen happily. The smell of sausage, eggs, butter, and toast assaulted my senses and I hummed with delight. As if to accentuate my point, my stomach chose that moment to rumble loudly. I blushed a light pink and Sam-

Who was towering over Emily from behind- laughed at me. "Good ol' Bella." He mumbled while shaking his head. I walked up to him and smacked him pretty hard, knowing I couldn't hurt them if I tried. How wrong I was. When my hand collided with his elbow, I felt a dull throbbing, but he yelped and rubbed the spot I hit him in. He turned around and I saw in his eyes that he was not faking and was actually in pain.

"Oh my God! Sam! Oh shoot! I am so sorry; I didn't mean to hurt you! I just usually end up making you laugh no matter how hard I hit you. Oh I'm sorry! It doesn't hurt too much does it? Oh man! I am so so so-"

"Bella!" He cut off my apologetic rambling. "I'm fine now. I just didn't expect how hard you would hit me. I'm sorry honey; I don't mean to make you feel bad. You're just...stronger..." He trailed off while thoughtfully studying my tiled floor.

"This is not good." He mumbled.

"I know. I don't know what's going on." I said while furrowing my brow. He looked up at me with the most dumbstruck face.

"You heard that?" He asked incredulously.

I looked up in confusion. "Was I not supposed to?"

He just continued to study me for a moment before shaking his head and walking into the living room. I briefly wondered what that was all about, but all thought quickly fled from my mind as the smell of a good breakfast came to me again.

I peered around Emily and didn't even bother with a greeting. "Whatcha making?" She laughed as her hands worked furiously with what looked like dough. I liked cooking but I was nothing compared to Emily. She could make the best meals from nothing. She does it all from scratch!

"Well, I have about fifty pounds of eggs over there, then another fifty pounds of sausage. I'm making blueberry croissants now, and I have some oranges that need to be squeezed."

"Ooh...can I help? Maybe then we'll get done faster."

"Sure, sure, just grab the oranges, a knife, and the juicer and have fun."

"Cool." I shuffled silently over to the fridge and grabbed the bundles of oranges. I went and asked Emily to move-politely, of course-and she stepped away. Her eyes widened slightly at how many things I was carrying, but she hid her surprise well. I blindly raked my hand through the drawer, searching for a knife. Bad idea.

"Ow!" I gently put the oranges down and examined my hand. There was a pretty deep cut running from the tip of my pinkie finger down my palm. It was a good five inches long, and blood was dripping onto the floor. I leaned over the drawer to find the culprit, and my giant cleaver was stained with a thin crimson film.

"Stupid sharp edges." I muttered angrily. I grabbed the utensil and put it into the sink. I quickly ran water over it and then slipped back up the stairs. I got blood spots on the carpet, but it was lessening. I knew Charlie wouldn't say anything, what with my past injuries. When I reached the bathroom I ran cool water over the cut and got peroxide. I grabbed a cotton-ball from the linen closet, and dabbed it on with the little fluffy bundle. After that I grabbed a clean wash-cloth and wrapped it around the cut.

I then rethought that and figured that it would take about an hour to scab, so I threw the cloth in the hamper and grabbed our gauze. Again, Charlie was prepared for me and my chronic injuries, so I had enough gauze on hand to mummify someone with.

I went downstairs to try and put some ice in a bag to cool it down. Emily looked at me worriedly and examined my hand. "Are you okay sweetie?"

I glanced around the freezer door at her and said "Oh, yeah. Nothing to worry about. It'll just take a while to heal, that's all."

I looked back at the freezer's contents and was about to grab the ice-tray when I saw the ice-packs. They looked just like the ones in the nurse's office, and were cold and ready for me to use. It was times like these when I knew how much Charlie cared about me. My eyes swam with tears of love for him. It was always the little things that made me realize just how wonderful he was and how lucky I was to have the perfect father. I made a mental note to hug and thank him later and fished out one of the packs.

It was frigid and stiff like it had been in there a while and I briefly wondered how I had missed those before. I pulled it out and wrapped it up in the gauze while closing the freezer door with my shoulder. I went back to the bundles of oranges and lugged them over to the table with my good hand.

I heaved them onto the table with a plop and then went back for a knife and the juicer. I reached into the same drawer-carefully-and grabbed a pretty sharp knife. I then rummaged through a few cupboards until I found what I needed.

It took us about another hour, but Emily and I thoroughly enjoyed peeling and juicing the oranges. Every once in a while she would get up to change trays of croissants, but our conversation never died. Half the time I wasn't even sure what exactly we were talking about, it just felt good to prattle on about nothing in particular.

After we were all done, I figured my cut would have at least stopped bleeding. I walked over to the sink and unwrapped my hand warily. Blood still kinda grossed me out, and feinting on Emily wouldn't be such a good idea. I gently set the ice pack in the sink and continued. After my hand was free of the binding I ran it under the cool water. I turned off the faucet and shook my hand dry. At last, I pulled it up to my face for inspection and gasped.

All that was left was a little pink scar.

We all feasted around my small breakfast table. We were laughing and talking and having a wonderful time. That is, until we began to discuss the boys' trip to Seattle. Things turned serious as we listened to their reports.

"We picked up so many scents, there had to be fifty of them. Not to mention three older ones, but those trails are dead now. Probably thirty females; and twenty, maybe twenty-five males. It's a very serious situation. There are old legends in our tribe about armies, but that was one I thought was false. I guess everything is real. Just wait till witches start popping up. Then we'll be in trouble. We're pretty sparse on pack members as it is. But there is Seth Clearwater, and that other kid...what was his name? Billy or something..." Sam then trailed off.

"Bobby." Jake supplied.

"Right, Bobby. Well, anyway, they are migrating toward Forks, and we'll definitely get slaughtered if we don't get new members. And there might be another..." Sam trailed off while rolling a sausage around his plate with his fork. I saw him sneak glances up at me every few seconds. Weird.

Suddenly Jake's eyes widened, and he was about to say something, when the phone rang. I jumped up and set my fork down. "I got it." I mumbled before dashing over to the phone. "Hello?" I asked as I glanced back at the pack. They were speaking in low tones, all of them leaning over the table. I shook my head at how silly they looked, the six huge Quileute men above my itty-bitty table.

"Bella?" My eyes widened at the voice. I couldn't believe it! She was calling me?!

"Mom?!" The surprise didn't escape my voice. She hadn't called in forever, only e-mailing once a month while trying to close on a bigger house. What a surprise it was for a moving, baseball playing, couple that just settled in to their new house to find out they were pregnant.

"So...did you get the house?" I asked. I hoped they did, because it was a beautiful house, and in great shape. I remembered approving right away when she showed me the pictures she took. Of course the pictures and computer could distort it some, but I was sure it was a great pick.

"Yeah...Bella, before you go off to college and stuff...I wanna come up and visit. We already have plane tickets and a hotel reserved in advance. We should be there in a few days. Okay?"

I was rendered speechless. After all the money they had spent on the house and the moving, plus all the extra things for the baby. I told her to wait until she found out the gender and would be able to buy either girl or boy oriented furnishings, but she insisted that she wanted a surprise so she could go neutral. I knew not to push it, by the tone of her voice, this was something she was serious about.

"Bella?"

"Y-yeah that's fine Mom..." I was still pretty surprised, so it came out pretty choked, but she did hear me.

"Good. Oh, and sweetie?" Uh-oh. She only called me sweetie when she did something particularly outrageous and she expected me to get angry. Of course I never did-I always thought I was a pretty calm person-but with some of the...men-if they deserved to be called such-she had hung out with, she expected you to snap about everything and lash out at her.

"Yeah..." I wasn't angry as she thought I was, but wary. What exactly did she do this time?

"I have a few important things to tell you." She said quietly. It seemed as if she were a three year old awaiting a scolding. What was the big deal? So they were important, but at least she wasn't out risking her life with some crazy stunt. Or was she...?

"Okay Mom, I'll see you soon. Love you."

"Love you too sweetie."

Click.