Disclaimer: Don't own Twilight but all new characters are mine! Also any places mentioned are the imagination of well, me (except states, of course).
Leah took a tentative step back, inhaling sharply. That's when she got a gulpful of an all too familiar scent. A scent she'd grown to love ever since its owner was a tiny, seemingly human baby...
She immediately rushed further inside her apartment and sure enough her senses did not lead her wrong. Her niece, Seraphina was curled up on the sofa, apparently sleeping soundly. Leah laid the hot palm of her hand over her chest letting out a sigh of relief. Damn but she was really on edge these days if Seraphina could give her such a fright as that.
Leah glanced down at the girl fondly, debating whether to wake her or let her sleep. The sight of her beloved niece always never ceased to amaze her. Seraphina looked like seventeen years old appearing to be only two years younger than that of her father, Seth and the same chronological age as her mother, the vampire Jane. Yet it'd only been eight years since she and her twin brother, Jeremy's miraculous births. Miraculous in the sense that it was a fact that female vampires were incapable of conceiving a child, let alone two.
Leah thought she'd seen everything possibly paranormal since becoming a wolf but Seraphina and Jeremiah's development and their seemingly dramatic age difference astounded both the wolves and all vampires who knew them. Seraphina certainly wasn't a typical eight year old having developed after reaching the age of two, rather rapidly both physically and mentally. Her twin brother however was a seemingly normal eight year old. To see them together you would think they were an older sister and younger brother but never twins.
After her rapid growing, when Leah first heard a teenage Seraphina call her baby brother Seth 'dad' it had seemed so incongruous that Leah had burst into a fit of laughter. Which Jane hadn't really appreciated. There was no love lost between Leah and her...sister in law. But Leah genuinely adored her niece and nephew. And Seth would always be her baby brother no matter that he had certainly matured a lot. Never mind that he hadn't aged a day since he'd imprinted on the vampire.
Shrugging off her heavy coat, Leah turned to toss her coat on what she called her lazy lounge, a beach chair directly facing the huge TV, her one indulgence when her phone rang again. Reaching into her deep coat pocket, Leah pulled it out but before she could glance at it, it slipped between her fingers. The phone would have crashed to the floor but a dainty, pale hand reached out with unerring swiftness and snagged it midair. Seraphina was standing just beside Leah, her movement had been so fast that it seemed as if she'd just appeared out of thin air.
"You know I hate it when you do that." Leah grumbled yet she smiled good naturedly at Seraphina who grinned back.
"You know that won't stop me from doing it." Seraphina quipped. When she smiled like that, it was like seeing a female version of Seth. She had the Clearwater thick, dark hair but the pale, slightly luminous skin of her vampire mother. "Besides speed can be convenient." She waved the still ringing phone in her hand. Her smile disappeared as swiftly as it had come.
"It's dad." Seraphina whispered resignedly and Leah knew that she'd run away again. Sighing, Leah wordlessly held out her hand for her phone. For someone who was extolling the virtues of speed a few seconds ago, Seraphina dropped the phone very slowly into Leah's waiting hand.
"Do you have to answer?" Seraphina pouted.
"Sera, Leah said, using the nickname she'd called her ever since she was a baby, "your father's only worried about you."
"Yeah, well they worry too much! I can take care of myself."
That refrain sounded all too familiar. It wasn't so long ago that Seth had said that to her when he was a new, young wolf. The phone stopped ringing and a hopeful expression dawned on Seraphina's face.
"He'll call back. Or I will call him back." Leah said abruptly and Seraphina's shoulders slumped slightly.
"Y'know, when I gave you an extra key to my apartment, I trusted you would have visited only with your parents' permission." Leah lectured, trying to sound firm but knowing it was a lost cause.
"I'm sorry, Lee. I would have told them, it's just that they wouldn't have let me leave."
Leah wasn't fooled by Seraphina's wide, sad eyes. She might have a soft spot for her but she knew her niece well.
"Your parents must have had good reason for not wanting you to leave the house. What did you do?"
"I drove Jeremiah to school," She scowled. Seraphina had admitted to Leah before that she envied her twin sometimes because he got to experience certain things that she hadn't been allowed to.
"Then I went skinnydipping with a bunch of pals." She muttered so quickly that Leah almost didn't follow what she said.
Before Leah could respond, the phone started ringing again and Seraphina rolled her startling azure eyes, flashing to the sofa and sitting down with a thump.
"Hey, bro." Leah said cautiously, immediately recognizing Seth's number.
"Yes she's here."
He sighed audibly. Leah could almost feel his relief through the phone. "Don't worry Seth, I'll take care of her."
"This is the third time in a month that she's run away, Leah. Seth said, his voice low. "Everyone's worried because she's not listening to any of us. She thinks we're denying her a normal life but she needs to learn to control her gift and speed before she can...blend in."
Cradling the phone against her ear, Leah glanced over her shoulder at Seraphina. Her feet were tucked under her as she flipped the pages of a book with blurring swiftness. Beside her there were at least a dozen more books spilling out of an open knapsack. She appeared to be oblivious to Leah and Seth's conversation but Leah knew she could hear someone speaking from another room if she was inclined to.
"Don't you think you're just being a bit too rigid? Maybe you guys need to have a bit more confidence in her, Seth. I mean she hasn't really revealed her...nature to anyone so far, right?"
Seth sighed deeply and Leah wondered what Seraphina had really been up to.
"There was an article in the Bridge Weekly newspaper, a small item in the back pages but still shocking nonetheless. It's called the Beard Creek haunting," Leah recalled Seraphina telling her about the out of the way waterfall a few miles from Seth and Jane's New Hampshire home that she frequented.
"It's about a ...girl seen disappearing and reappearing. And diving off the top of the waterfall with...inhuman speed." Seth said, his voice low with agitation, "Seraphina loves Beard Creek, Leah. It's her favourite place to go to since she matured within the last three years, she's even taken people there. It's not that difficult to see why we'd be concerned about her. There's even a photo in the article. Besides, she's been using her supernatural speed in front of her so called friends. Seraphina is our daughter but she's becoming very...volatile...she needs to be monitored closely."
"Despite her gifts and...nature she's a teenage girl, Seth. You have to give her room to breathe a bit...she needs her space."
"We only want to protect her."
"She has a special love for you, Leah. Can you, I don't know, talk to her?"
"Of course I'll talk to her."
"Oh and um, you can expect a visit from Jane soon."
"From the second she learned that Seraphina went to you, she immediately left for the airport."
Leah glanced at Seraphina again who was still absorbed in her book.
"Couldn't you convince her that that's completely unnecessary?"
"Leah, that's her baby girl. When it comes to Seraphina or Jeremiah, there's no reasoning with Jane."
"There's no reasoning with her for anything." Leah grumbled.
"Alright, Mr. super ears, you weren't supposed to hear that."
"Can you not mention to Seraphina that her mother would be coming after her?"
Leah sighed, "Ok. Do you want to talk to her?"
"Don't bother!" Seraphina said sharply and loudly from her perch on the sofa.
"It's ok, Leah. Tell her we love her."
Leah put her phone down and turned to face Seraphina.
"That wasn't very nice, Sera."
"It wasn't nice when they decided that I should be cooped up in the house."
"Well, maybe if you started acting as seriously as you want to be taken, they wouldn't feel the need to ground you."
"I may be eight years old but I'm not an eight year old, Lee!"
Leah solemnly regarded the sullen teenager for a few moments before walking over to the couch and sitting beside her.
"We know that but running away won't help. And you need to stop revealing what you can do to your friends. It's not only yourself you're putting in danger but your entire family. Do you really want to go back to the Cullens again?"
Seraphina glanced at Leah strangely, "I wouldn't mind. At least they're not purring over Jeremy all the time."
Leah bit her lip. She really needed to remember that Seraphina did not share her aversion to the vampire clan. She was sure that when the Cullens decided to act as a sort of monitor for wayward vampires years ago after the demise of the Volturi, they would never have expected to be 'monitoring' Seth and Jane's 'beautiful little girl' so often.
"Do you think your parents spend more time with Jeremy?" Leah asked.
"I guess. I guess they have tried to spend time with me as well. But I won't let them...I'm not jealous of Jeremy, I love him he's my twin but he does get really annoying sometimes."
"That's what 'little' brothers do." Leah smiled gently. "But you need to stop rebelling against your parents wishes...you have practically all the time in the world to be the adult you crave to be Sera. But first you have to learn how. They only want the best for you. Trust them."
"Why can't they trust me?"
"Have you given them any reason to?"
"They may be my parents but they don't know everything. They're only a little older than I am! I want to live a normal life...I want to spend time with other teenagers, just forget that I'm some half vampire freak."
Oddly what she just said resounded deeply with Leah. Didn't she want to live a normal life as well? Free from any paranormal activity, just being a normal person? It was why she'd moved so far from home in the first place.
"I really understand what you're saying. And you're not a freak, you're a very special young lady. But if you want to be normal, why have you been revealing your speed to your human friends?"
Seraphina shrugged, "Sometimes I forget. More times than not, I want to, um, maybe show off a bit?"
"That's not very responsible, Sera."
"I know. I promise I'll not do it again."
"Tell your parents that. Show them that you can be trusted to be on your own and before you know it, you'll have all the space you can ever want." Leah stressed, smiling at Seraphina. She smiled back widely, nodding her head.
"Can I stay with you for a while. I love being in New York!"
"I know you do. Unfortunately, that's not up to me. If I told you something, will you promise not to run off somewhere else?"
"Mother's on her way here, isn't she?"
Leah pursed her lips. "Yes she is. Sera, you need to stop running away..."
"She's always following me...ugh!" Seraphina growled. Yet unlike the deep growls a wolf might emit, even in human form, her growl was light and almost musical. It was a dainty growl. She was certainly her mother's daughter.
Leah never thought she'd see the day when she would defend Jane yet she found herself saying, "She's only concerned about you..."
"Yeah, yeah. Can we go out before she gets here? I wonder if I could get into the Metro?" Seraphina said excitedly naming one of the top nightclubs in New York.
"Ease up, kiddo. No going out. No Metro. And besides, I have work in the morning."
"Since when did you become such an old maid, Lee?"
True, she'd started aging again since she stoppped phasing but Leah thought being twenty nine was hardly an old maid.
"Oh no, you didn't!" Leah threw a pillow at Seraphina's face who not surprisingly, easily ducked out of the way. "Anyway, this old maid has a dinner date. Can I trust you to stay your butt planked here while I head out for an hour?"
"Of course you can." Seraphina looked at Leah with wide, innocent blue eyes, a slight frown on her smooth forehead making her appear for all the world, hurt at Leah's query.
"I mean it, Sera. Or else I'll take back my key and change the locks!" Leah said sternly.
" As if that would stop me." Seraphina said brightly.
"Alright. I'll be here." Seraphina sighed. Then darted off the sofa in less of a quarter of the second it took Leah to rise from her seat.
"So, onto the important stuff. Who's your hot date? Where's he taking you? And what're you going to wear?!"
Leah grinned at her bubbly niece and wondered which one of her questions to answer first.
"Now, don't get angry, honey. I just couldn't resist so forgive me, please?"
"What's there to forgive?" Leah asked as they walked hand in hand through the mahogany doors of the restaurant. Was it wrong of her that she was more interested in the scrumptious aromas wafting through the eatery than in Thomas' intended surprise? Normally she loved going out with Thomas, they had some great times together...she'd never felt more comfortable with anyone, not even her former wolf pack mates.
The major part of her attraction to Thomas was that he was as possessive as a cat might be of a dog. He possessed not one controlling bone in his body. He acquiesed so much to her to the point where Leah felt as if he was too good for her sometimes.
He was the only person she'd ever met who would stay up with her at ungodly hours to help her figure out the finer technicalities of her market research assignments. He'd been such a good friend to her before they became a couple. And though Leah always reminded herself she didn't need anyone, she had come to depend on Thomas' unerringly sedate presence.
He calmed her. And she loved him for it.
She thought their relationship was perfect as it was.
"Oh, it's nothing bad, trust me. But, I know you hate surprises." Thomas said, ducking his head a bit bashfully.
Leah glanced at him, smiling fondly at his sudden reticence. He looked handsome tonight in his light brown winter jacket which was almost the exact colour of his hair. At 5'10, he was just a few inches shorter than Leah and for the year that Leah had known him, she'd never seen a hint if anger in his gentle brown eyes.
He led her to a semi private booth in the deeper recesses of the restaurant. When they rounded the enclosed compartment, Leah was surprised to see another couple already seated there. They stood up smiling as she approached with Thomas.
"Leah, I'd like you to meet my parents. This is my father, Thomas Charles Sr. and my mother, Stephanie Charles."
Leah glanced back quickly at Thomas then turned to his parents with a warm smile.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. and Mrs. Charles."
"The pleasure is ours and please call us Tom and Stephanie, Mrs. Charles said. "We've heard so much about you."
"Hope he left out that I'm a serial eater." Leah said easily.
Both Thomas Charles Senior and Junior laughed heartily.
"Well, you'd certainly fit in at our huge holiday dinners, Leah." Stephanie said, smiling at her husband and son.
Over a dinner of steak and ribs, Leah's nervousness over Thomas' intended surprise ebbed away quickly. Arranging this dinner with his parents was a sweet thing for him to do and Leah agreed she'd visit them in Manhattan after they insisted upon it.
As they left the steakhouse, she felt extremely relaxed and contented. Being around Thomas always made her feel that way.
" Why were you so nervous when you surprised me with meeting your parents?" Leah asked playfully as Thomas walked her up to her apartment.
"Nervous? I wasn't!" Thomas squeezed her hand gently. "Besides, that wasn't the surprise..."
Thomas placed his hands in her shoulders and Leah turned to him curiously. He looked at her, a question in his soft gaze. Even after months of seeing each other, he still had that manner of silently requesting her permission to touch her intimately. Leah knew she hadn't been the easiest person to get close to. Yet she still appreciated his gentlemanly hesitancy which in no small part stemmed from her fierce need to never appear vulnerable. Not even to her gentle boyfriend. His patience with her was what had endeared him to her in the first place.
Now, Leah nodded and Thomas brought her close to him, hugging her to his warmth. Though he'd never feel really warm to Leah, not when she still burned with a higher than average temperature. Thomas constantly teased her about her 'heat'.
"As much as I love them, meeting my parents wasn't the surprise, my hot supermodel." Thomas said softly then.
Leah blushed slightly, recalling their first date when strolling together to a coffeeshop, this guy had approached them, bluntly informing Leah that he was a model scout for one of 'the best model agencies' in New York.
Thomas always reminded her about that, teasing her that she could've been New York's hottest new supermodel.
She felt his cheek against hers and then he'd turned his head so that his lips found hers. Leah allowed him to kiss her softly for a few moments, right there on the sidewalk outside her apartment with the snow drifting down gently around them.
A sharp gasp involuntarily escaped her. Yet it wasn't from the effect of Thomas lips on hers. Leah abruptly ended their kiss, stepping back slightly. Her arms instinctively wrapped around her slender torso as if she were trying to hold herself upright.
She felt it again.
Longer this time. That jumping in the very marrow of her bones like an inner earthquake contained inside of her.
"Leah, are you ok?" As if from a distance she could hear Thomas' voice, muffled from the sudden rush of static flooding her head. It was a sensation that felt like if you were just about to faint, she remembered she'd fainted once as a child...
At that same moment she heard quite distinctly, a deep, low growl. Leah looked about wildly at the deserted, dark street, knowing that she hadn't made that sound.
It didn't sound human.
She knew she wasn't being paranoid, she'd heard it quite clearly even though whoever or whatever made that sound was not within hearing range of a normal person.
To Leah's growing horror, she felt those all too familiar tremors beginning to shake her entire body...
A.N. Really meant to update sooner but...life happened. Will try my best not to stay so long again...btw Seraphina and Jeremy are Seth and Jane's (yes, Jane Volturi) twins! Shocker, yes but they were introduced in my first fanfic story Healing Fire. This story is starting off low and slow but I intend to turn up the heat very soon!
Please leave me some reviews, thoughts etc. Love hearing from you!