"I just don't understand what the problem is!" Alice pouted and stomped her foot like a child.
I hid my smirk behind my physics textbook, "The problem is that I don't want dancing lessons!" I retorted.
"This is your senior prom!" Alice snapped.
"Exactly! It's my senior prom! I don't need dancing lessons, I can slow dance just fine! Thank you very much." I refused to meet Alice's eyes as I made notes from my textbook. I knew if I did that I would break out into laughter and give away my game.
"Slow dance." Alice sneered, "You need to be able to do more than just slow dance! Think of the pictures! Of the videos! This is important!" Alice stomped across her room to where I was lounging across her bed and ripped my textbook from my hands. "Rosalie! Help me out here!" Alice turned to plead to Rosalie who was lounging sideways across a plush wing-back chair, legs crossed at the ankle and dangling across one of the arm rests, daintily painting a long fingernail dark red.
Rosalie's eyes flickered up and looked between Alice and me before she turned back to inspect her perfectly painted nails. She blew on her nails gently before offering an indifferent shrug. "Bella's got a point."
"Impossible!" Alice raged, "The pair of you! Impossible!" She stormed out of her and Jasper's bedroom, my physic's textbook still clenched in her hand.
"Hey! I need that!" I shouted as I jumped off the bed. I grabbed my book-bag and as I went to run out after her Rosalie sent a conspiratorial wink in my direction. I smiled mischievously back and hurried out after the smaller vampire.
I raced down the stairs, fully intent upon getting my textbook back even if I had to tackle Alice to the ground to do so. I came barrelling down the last set of stairs, hand on the baluster so I could use it to swing around and keep my momentum, and I ran straight into Edward. His hard chest was like a wall and I stumbled lightly at the unexpected blockade, immediately Edward's arms circled around my waist to keep me steady.
"Whoa there," Edward chuckled, "And where are you off to in such a hurry, my dear?" He cooed as he leaned back slightly to peer down at my face.
"Your sister has taken my textbook hostage." I accused and poked at his chest. I stepped away from him and with my hands on my hips I could see that he was staring at me with a unique mixture of amusement and love.
Edward smirked at me, "I was just on my way upstairs to fetch you, it's time for you to head home."
"I need my textbook!" I cried out, flailing my arms hopelessly. I had a physics exam in the coming week, a 'practice for final's week' my teacher had called it. I was sure that it was just an excuse to torture us with a multitude of exams. I was pretty sure that I knew the content, and that the exam would pose no problems for me, but I still wanted to study. For once I felt interested and engaged with a subject, but most of all I felt challenged by it, and I wanted to do well.
"I will get you your textbook and get it to you in time for school tomorrow. Surely you can do without for one night?" Edward raised a single eyebrow.
I frowned, "I suppose so." I grumbled.
Edward led me outside and into his car, and soon we were on the main road heading back into town.
"When are you going to tell Alice that you already know how to dance?" Edward teased.
I smiled warmly of the memory of us waltzing in our meadow over the summer, dancing to the sounds of the forest around us, our own special song. "When it stops being funny." I quipped back.
Edward laughed and shook his head, "Such a trouble maker." He accused me gently. Edward looked at me from the corner of his eye, a searching look on his face. "Go easy on Alice," He implored. "I know she can be a bit much sometimes, but she means well. This is your first senior prom, she just wants it to be special."
I smiled warmly and felt my insides turn to goo at Edward's love for his sister. "I've already agreed to go shopping in Seattle this weekend." I said in a placating tone, "She wants to make an entire thing of it, she's booked us a hotel room and everything."
"Sounds like a terrible ordeal." Edward smirked.
I rolled my eyes and playfully smacked him on the shoulder, "I'm actually kinda excited for it." I shrugged, "Alice can go overboard sometimes, but Rosalie will be there to help me rein her in." I pondered Edward's words for a moment before remarking. "Hold on a minute. What do you mean this is my first senior prom?" I asked warily.
Edward shrugged nonchalantly, "We move a lot, you will have more than one senior prom, but the first one does hold some significance."
I snorted, "You expect me to repeat high school?"
Edward eyed me cautiously, "The younger we start out, the longer we can stay in one place."
I shifted in the passenger seat so I could look at Edward properly, "Edward, I don't know about that." I thought about how bored and stifled I have felt during high school the first time around, when I was at least learning new things, I couldn't imagine the suffocating boredom I would feel if I were forced to endure it a second time. "I'm going to stop physically ageing in a few years, and I had planned to follow Charlie's example."
I watched as Edward tensed, his jaw clenched and then relaxed. "And what example is that?" He asked crisply.
"Well… Charlie can easily pass from early 20's to late 30's, he just changes his hair and stuff." I shrugged, "I figured I would do the same, plus I have makeup to help me."
"You're horrible at makeup," Edward remarked, and I was relieved to hear that his cold and wary tone from before had become light and playful again.
"Yes, but Alice has a lot of time to teach me." I joked.
Edward chuckled lightly, "She'd like that." Edward pulled into my driveway and turned off the engine, he turned to face me, his expression serious once again. "Either way, Bella, we had planned to leave after graduation."
I nodded, "Same. Charlie has already given notice at the station."
Edward's eyebrows shot up in surprise, "I didn't know that."
I smiled and shrugged, "I think he was going to announce it tomorrow night at the pack meeting."
Edward's eyes lit up at the reminder of our weekly dinner, "That reminds me, Esme wanted me to ask you what you wanted for dinner."
"Lamb." I responded immediately.
Edward smirked, "That was fast."
I rolled my eyes, "I have been craving roast lamb with all the fixings for days, its just such a pain to cook, but since Esme is offering…" I hedged.
Edward reached across and caressed my cheek lightly, "Of course, she would be happy to." He leaned over the centre console and pressed a soft kiss to my lips. "You better head inside. I'll see you in the morning." His thumb caressed my bottom lip, "I love you."
"I love you too." I smiled, turning my head slightly to press a soft kiss to the palm of his hand.
When I walked into the Cullen house on Friday evening, the scent of rosemary and roasted lamb filled my senses. I couldn't help but groan at the tantalising smell. Next to me, Charlie made a similar noise of appreciation. "Damn, Esme sure can cook." Charlie hummed.
Edward appeared at the top of the staircase and smiled down at me, I smiled back as he made his way down to me. Once he reached me I threw my arms around his neck and pulled him down for a bruising kiss, I could feel his smile against my lips. We pulled apart but stayed in each other's arms, I stared into his eyes, completely love drunk.
"Honestly," I heard Charlie grumble from behind me, "You only saw each other a few hours ago."
I turned to smirk at my dad from over my shoulder, "If I had my way we would never be separated at all."
Charlie narrowed his eyes at me before stalking past us, heading down the hall towards the dining room muttering something like 'not under my roof.' under his breath.
Edward took my hand and led me down the hallway, his fingers intertwined with mine. We came into the dining room to see almost everyone else was already seated, Carlisle at one head of the long table and Charlie at the other. I quickly took my seat at Charlie's side, and Edward sat next to me with Alice on his other side, and Jasper sat at the end near Carlisle. Emmett was across from me, with Rosalie next to him, and there was an empty chair waiting to be filled by Esme.
I was just about to ask where Esme was when she came through the archway that separated the kitchen from the dining room, she had a roasting pan in one hand, and a tray of sides and condiments in the other. The roasting pan was still steaming, in the centre was a large leg of lamb, roasted to perfection and surrounded by an assortment of golden vegetables. My mouth was literally watering at the sight. Esme smiled warmly at both me and Charlie as she glided across the room to place the food in front of us.
"Looks amazing, Esme." Charlie said gruffly,
"Yeah, thanks Esme!" I chirped happily, not taking my eyes off the feast she had made us.
"You are both very welcome." Esme replied as she took her seat next to Carlisle.
"So, how has everyone's week been?" Charlie asked as he started to carve large chunks of meat from the roast. I wasted no time and followed his example eagerly, happily heaping piles of roast lamb and vegetables onto my plate. I also helped myself to a generous scoop of mint jelly. My attentions were entirely focused on my meal, the formalities of our weekly meetings were always the same. Boring.
"Quiet." Jasper replied, "Nothing out of the ordinary has come up during patrols." He continued,
"We have been keeping an eye on the situation in Seattle, however." Carlisle interjected.
I paused my plundering of the meal in front of me and looked between Carlisle and Charlie, "There's a situation in Seattle? What kind of situation?" I asked suspiciously.
"There has been a recent uptick in missing persons. I'm not convinced it's of any concern just yet, no bodies have turned up and it's likely the work of your run-of-the-mill human serial killer. Nothing to worry about." Charlie replied casually with a half-shrug, barely pausing between bites of food and reaching out to the slowly diminishing leg of lamb to carve himself more meat.
"Oh yeah," I drawled sarcastically, "Just a serial killer, nothing to worry about." I mocked.
Emmett snickered, "Scared of a human, Bells?" He teased.
"Shut up." I sniped back playfully.
"So it's okay for us to go to Seattle tomorrow?" Alice spoke up, "We are going to try on prom dresses."
Charlie considered Alice's request for a moment, "If it's a human, like I suspect, then there's no danger. If its something more…" He looked down the table and met Carlisle's eyes for a moment. Something silent and transient passed between them, their wordless communication a mystery to all of us, save Edward, who could at least read Carlisle's mind to garner some context. It was almost unsettling the connection the two of them held, and I watched as Carlisle slowly nodded once with a small shrug of one shoulder. "We trust you will take the necessary precautions if you sense any threats in the area." Charlie finished, and then quickly turned back to his food as if nothing had happened.
"We also need to discuss where we will be moving after the children graduate." Carlisle announced.
Charlie nodded his agreement, humming around a mouthful of food. "I've given notice at the station and am settling all my accounts in the area. As for location, do you have anything against Virginia?"
"Virginia?" Carlisle echoed.
"Yes, I believe it's time I claimed my great-grandfather's estate near Roanoke." Charlie replied teasingly,
Carlisle chuckled, "I'm sure we will be able to find a house nearby," He paused and looked over the others sitting at the table, "If there are no objections?"
There was a ripple of noise as everyone murmured their agreements to the plan.
Conversation turned to lighter subjects as Charlie and I finished our meals. Esme excitedly chattered about designing a new home for them, and Carlisle lovingly reminded her that she didn't have time to build an entirely new home, and perhaps she would be content with simply renovating an existing house? Jasper offered to make sure everyone's new papers would be ready in time for the move once summer arrived, and suggested that Emmett and Alice pose as blood relations this time. Rosalie objected to Esme's idea of buying a heritage listed house, firmly demanding that wherever they move must either have a large garage or enough space to build one, she was not going to back down on the point even when the pair bickered over it. Much to the rest of the table's amusement.
Charlie and I happily ate all that Esme had cooked for us, and I held no shame in the fact that it only took two of us to completely demolish an entire leg of lamb. Charlie and I had been training relentlessly, and it took a lot out of me. I still hadn't mastered partial transformations yet, unable to willingly halt or pull back once the transition started, all I had managed so far was an excruciatingly slow transformation that made me feel like death incarnate.
We had just finished off the entirety of the meal, and all that was left was the still warm bone from the roast lamb. Charlie shed a single human fingernail, politely wrapping it up in a paper napkin, and reached for the cooked bone. Charlie's hand now had a single dark and curved claw on his pointer finger, and he used it to slice down the centre of the bone, exposing the gooey marrow within. Charlie handed me my half and I grinned my thanks, happily digging in, using my knife and my blunt human teeth to dislodge the rich goo. I hadn't noticed that the table had fallen silent until I heard Jasper's quiet snickering.
I glanced up at him, "What?" I snapped, grease and animal fat all but dripping from my chin.
Jasper laughed again with a shake of his head, "Nothing it's just… dogs with a bone." He tittered again as he gestured towards Charlie and me.
"The marrow is the best part!" Charlie and I defended ourselves indignantly, only to be met with the booming laughter of a room full of vampires.
"This seems… a little excessive, Alice." I mumbled as I looked around at the extravagant hotel room. It was more than a room, but rather an entire suite. The first room we entered was a living room type situation, plush couches and armchairs around a modern fireplace with a large flat screen TV on the wall above. There was a small kitchenette and what looked like a mini-bar, along with a small table and chairs near the wall of windows, windows that displayed the amazing view of Puget Sound, black waters glistened lightly with the reflection of the city's lights. There was a large set of solid oak doors that must have led to a master bedroom on one side of the room, and a hallway leading to what I could only guess was a bathroom and maybe additional bedrooms. It was the definition of 'too much'.
Three hours in the car, then a day of trying on over-priced dresses (and yet buying nothing) hadn't dampened Alice's mood, but apparently, me not liking the hotel suite she had booked for us was just too much for her to bear. "You don't like it?" Alice asked anxiously, her brows furrowed worryingly. "This hotel had the best reviews, and this is their very best suite."
I grimaced, I didn't want to upset Alice. "Alice, out of the three of us, I'm the only one who sleeps. We don't need an entire suite." I tried to rationalise.
"Sleep? No, but bathe?" Rosalie perked up, her head appearing around the corner that led to the bathroom, "I get first go in the Jacuzzi tub." She declared with a haughty smirk before strutting back into the main room.
I sighed in defeat, "I'm just not gonna ask how much it cost." I muttered.
"That's probably wise." Alice nodded.
"Well… I'm going to go out and find myself some dinner." I declared,
"We could order room service!" Alice chirped excitedly,
"We wouldn't be ordering anything. You don't eat." I corrected, rolling my eyes. "Besides, I have a feeling that this place only serves fancy swanky stuff and I am in the mood for a burger capable of giving me a heart attack."
Rosalie snorted, and somehow made the noise sound elegant. "Good luck with that." She said as she started flipping through the channels on the TV.
I had to journey a few miles in order to find a suitable restaurant, the area that our hotel was in was much too high brow for the sort of meal I was craving. I needed to find that hole in the wall sorta place, where the smell of the grease trap wafted out into the street and the burgers tasted perfect because they were cooked on a grill that was never cleaned properly, because that would ruin the flavour, goddammit. Luckily, it didn't take me too long to find the perfect place, and soon I was on my way back to the hotel with a paper bag filled with delicious food. The brown bag was already starting to spot and turn transparent with the leaking grease.
I was so consumed with the anticipation of my meal, that I didn't smell anything until it was too late. The wind shifted, and suddenly I was assaulted with the stench of bile and puss and rotting meat. Before I could react, I felt myself being pulled violently into an alley-way. I lost my grip on my dinner and the food spilled out over the ground as I flew through the air. I felt a strange pang of grief as I watched the fries scatter everywhere, and the perfectly cooked burger fall to pieces as it hit the oil stained concrete. My sudden flight ended abruptly as my body hit the side of the alley-way at full force. My neck snapped back at the sudden stop and my head slammed against the brick with an audible crack. Pain rocketed through my skull and I was momentarily blinded, white spots danced across my vision as I fell into a limp pile of limbs on the ground.
I could feel blood rushing out of the wound on the back of my head and falling down my neck. I reached behind me groggily to probe at it, I could feel a large fissure on the back of my skull. Sharp edges of bone poked at my fingertips and I could also feel something else, something soft. "That can't be good." I slurred as I tried to get my bearings, unable to move much or control my limbs with any finesse.
I heard a dark chuckle and I looked over to see a shadowy figure across from me. "Not for you, anyway." A deep voice agreed and I struggled to watch him as he stalked over to me. My vision was blurred and it was like I was seeing double as the vampire swaggered over. His stench was overwhelming, and entirely foreign, I haven't met this vampire before. "I'm not sure what the big deal is." He taunted, the vampire crouched down low, crimson eyes staring into mine. "Pretty…" He swiped a finger down my face, and then grabbed my shoulder in an iron grip, "Surprisingly sturdy." He mused, seeming almost impressed. The vampire asserted more pressure on my shoulder and I felt my collarbone start to splinter under the strain.
I needed to do something. I needed to move, to fight back, but the wound on my head made it hard to focus. My limbs weren't responding, my eyesight was both blurry and splattered with dark spots and it was making me feel nauseous. "I could have a little fun with you, before I have you for dinner." He jeered at me. With a flash of movement I felt a long, cold body over mine. I felt an icy finger tear at my jeans.
"No." I slurred, I tried to will my body to listen to me. The wound on my head was beginning to bleed less and less, and the more it healed the easier I found it to think. I growled angrily as blood filled my mouth, my teeth coming loose as my transformation began. I coughed and sputtered, spitting blood and teeth onto the ground. My attacker didn't seem to take much notice, what was a little more blood to a vampire? A cold chest pressed against my own. "No!" I roared, much more clearly than before, my arms were still slow to respond as I tried to push the vampire off of me.
"Stupid bitch." The vampire spat, wrestling my arms above my head. "Enough." He growled and bent down to bite into my throat.
I felt my jaw crack and shift, my nose and mouth elongated into a horrible half-wolf snout. The skin on my face cracked and split, but didn't quiet fall away under the strain. As the vampire lunged I managed to shift out of the way just enough that his teeth did not find their mark. I turned my face to the side and opened my terrifying jaws as wide as they could go before I clamped down hard around the vampire's neck. He howled in pain and I felt him scratch deep rivets down my arms, I didn't relent as I twisted and turned until the vampire's head fell free from his shoulders. Dark venom dripped down and coated my chest, and for a moment I couldn't move as I lay under the dead weight of the vampire's body.
I panted with exertion as I hauled myself free, and threw the body to the side. I slowly felt my snout recede back into my human face, my skin stitching back together with ease, my fangs becoming human teeth. I warily prodded the wound on the back of my head, and was relieved to feel that it was almost entirely healed.
I still felt out of sorts, unbalanced and unfocused. When I tried to walk, it was more of a stumble, an uneven sort of gait as if the connections in my brain hadn't fully finished rewiring themselves after such a savage attack. I wasn't sure what to do, but I knew I needed help. So with stumbling steps I made my way back to the hotel.
I pushed open the door to the hotel room, almost falling forwards as it opened against my weight. I managed to catch myself by stumbling forwards a few steps into the room.
Rosalie looked up in shock from her place on the sofa, her hair was wrapped up in a towel and her eyes were wide with shock as she took in my appearance. I couldn't blame her, I looked like hell, clothes ripped and covered in blood and venom. "What the fuck happened to you?" She demanded as she stood up. Rosalie looked me over with scrutinising eyes, checking for injury. In my periphery I noticed Alice come into the room, she quickly came to my side, putting an arm around my waist as my legs started to tremble violently. I leaned on Alice, relieved for the comforting touch.
I looked between them, my brain still not operating at 100%. "I think… I may have… murdered someone." I mumbled out, frowning through the haze still clouding my thoughts.
Silence. And then Rosalie muttered, "Fuck."
A/N: Bam! Hope you guys liked it. Looking forward to hearing what you all think.