Chapter 1: Avonlee

The naïveté of childhood does not disappear with age.

As we grow, we learn, but we don't always understand.

What is important is that we don't always believe we have to.

Life doesn't always depend on you.

The busy lunchroom of Avonlee senior high school teems with life, students chattering loudly, teachers watching with dark scowls on their faces. Even so, it's hard for the students of this school to stop looking at us. Each of their eyes focuses on us with a certain sense of curiosity, enchanted by our very presence.

Not that I blame them.

It's been ten years since I was turned, three since my daughter Renesmée stopped aging. She sits next to me, smiling widely. Her light brown hair curls gently down her back, nearly reaching her thighs. Her light brown eyes glimmer with a certain golden light, and she holds a half-eaten red apple in her right hand. She looks into the eyes of her boyfriend, and my best friend, Jacob Black. His dark eyes are completely focused on her, mesmerized with her undeniable beauty. His copper skin seems to shine in the dim light from outside. His smile stretches from ear to ear every moment he looks at her.

My husband, Edward, leans on my shoulder, looking over at our daughter with interest. No doubt, he's reading her thoughts. His reddish brown hair and golden eyes captivate me, and I stare into them with a quickened heartbeat and a sense of light-headedness.

Across from us, Rosalie and Emmet talk quietly. Rosalie stays as far away from Jacob as she can, disgusted by the wet dog smell he wears constantly, a trait carried by werewolves. Emmett smiles as he whispers, then gently kisses her on her forehead. They seem like the perfect couple, the brawny dark haired boy and the blond, supermodel girl, both of them with glinting golden eyes.

Edward turns to look at the couple who enters, a thin, pixie like girl with short, dark hair, and a taller, medium-built boy with light brown, almost blond hair. Jasper and Alice.

Alice beams when she sees me, and takes me in her arms for a hug.

"Bella," she breathes, squeezing me closer.

"Hi, Alice," I respond, returning the hug. "You've been keeping tabs?"

She smiles, and lols at me, knowingly. "Everything's going just fine in Forks."

"Thanks," I sigh. After moving here I realized that leaving my father and my town behind would be especially hard, since the place no longer had anyone to protect it. But it seemed like the Volturi got our message and realized we had moved.

Avonlee is just a small town on the northern coast of the Pacific, just barely within the province of British Columbia. The Yukon is closer to us than Vancouver. Here it's always raining or cloudy. The tall tree cover and vast forests make for great hunting grounds, and this tiny little town, which really is more of a hamlet, is way out of public eye.

Carlisle works in the small morge and hospital, much like he did back in Forks, and Esme holds down the fort back home, which is really more of a small community. There are five little houses on the property, one larger one for Esmee and Carlisle, a slightly smaller one for Edward, Renesmée and I, two other medium sized houses for Alice and Jasper, and Rosalie and Emmett, and finally, a small house for Jacob, which sits further away from the other houses. He doesn't really like the smell of vampire.

The bell rings, loudly, and the students rise, taking their empty cafeteria trays to the deposits by the counters. Edward graciously takes mine, and dumps it. I carry his binder, and wait for him to return. Alice stands next to me, a mindful expression on her face.

"Bella," she says, "don't go to your next class."

"Why? What's wrong?"

"They're doing genetics in Bio, someone will think something's up."

I nod. "Thanks for the heads-up."

Edward returns, and looks at Alice, nodding. "Where do you wanna go," he asks, taking my hand. It feels so much warmer than it did before I turned, and his skin feels soft, smooth.

"Let's just go home. Last block is Gym."

He smiles, and waves over at Jacob and Renesmée as they make their way to their next class, Chemistry.

We make our way out of the crowded cafeteria, and head to the small parking lot to go. Waiting for us is the shiny silver Audi Edward bought for us last year. He moves to unlock the car, when suddenly, he freezes, stopping dead in his tracks.

"What's wrong?"

He stands there, unmoving, staring across the lot into the thick tree line. I look where he's looking, and pick out two red glinting eyes. Another one of us.

I stretch out my shield like an elastic band, enclosing Edward inside it. He snaps back to reality, and looks at me with fear in his eyes.

I take a few steps forward, and Edward stays close by my side.

"Who's there?"

The eyes disappear, and the vampire is gone.

"What was that," Edward breathes.

"I don't know," I say, taking his hand. "Let's just get out of here."

Back at the house, we sit together, in front of the fireplace. He holds a laptop on his knees, and furiously types, finishing up a final project for English class. I finished a week ago, the day we got the assignment, so I read my copy of Murakami's the Elephant Vanishes. The fire crackles happily, and the room radiates in its heat. Our cold skin never warms, but it's nice to act human sometimes.

Renesmée and Jacob arrive home around 4, and they immediately go off to her room to "hang out." Jacob promised me he wouldn't do anything to her until she was at least 20, so I'm not concerned, just a little uncomfortable. After all, Jacob had once been after my heart. Jacob gives me one last look before they retreat to her room, giving me a gentle wave.

"Let's get out of here," Edward suggests.

"Yeah," I say, glad to be out of the house.

I follow him, as he speeds off through the thick brush. As we run, he flashes his special crooked smile, the one I always liked. His beautiful golden eyes glint in the green light, and his face seems to sparkle in the dapples of sunlight that stream through the leaves.

We run for several miles, laughing, rushing, and breathing the cold air, before I get a whiff of something delicious.

"Do you smell that," I ask.

"Yeah," he says, smirking. "Your favorite."

I grin. "You up for a snack?"


Suddenly, my senses heighten, and I hear the slightest sound, see the tiniest movement, and smell the succulent smell of Lynx.

I take off again, the trees whipping past me, and follow the smell that I love so much. Edward sort of laughs as he follows me, not hunting, but willing to help.

Suddenly, I stop, hit by a wall of stench that strikes me in the face like a truck.

"Whoa," Edward laughs, "what is that?"

I look around the small clearing we stopped in, looking for signs.

"It smells like Jacob here, but worse," I say, combing through the massive green patch for signs.

"Oh, oh no," Edward gasps, taking a step back.

"What," I ask, whipping my head around.

Suddenly, Edward is in front of me, his hand shielding my eyes.

"You don't need to see this," he says.

I shove his hand to the side, and push past him, predicting that he's grab my wrist and moving it out of the way before he has a chance to think or react.

"What is it," I ask, looking where he was looking.

Suddenly, my throat drops into my stomach, and I'm hit by a wave of realization.

Maybe it would have been better never to have seen this.

"I'm so sorry," Edward sighs.

"Oh my god," I shake, reaching out toward the figure I see before me.

"I know," Edward says, wrapping me in his arms.

On the mossy ground, between flowers and beautiful greenery, the figure of a young woman lies.

Her eyes lay open, her irises and pupils clouded over, and her copper skin drained of all color.

On her bare shoulder, she bears a familiar tattoo, a circular tribal design, worn by only one group of people.

The Quileutae Werewolves.