I watched Edward and his newborn saunter through the forest, invisible in the undergrowth. I crouched down lower, trying hard not to make a sound. I had stopped breathing a while ago: Edward and his little friend were only a couple of feet away, after all. After they had finally walked past my hiding place, I crept silently and invisibly from behind the shrubbery, following them at what I thought was a safe distance. Quicker than you could blink an eye, though, he span round and began to come towards me, lips pulled back over his fantastically white teeth. Suddenly, though, his expression softened, but his eyes were still wide.
"Helen?" He looked puzzled, trying hard to recall memories from a past life.
"You can see me?" I was confused too.
"Why wouldn't I be able to?" His golden eyes were quizzical, and the girl next to him was staring towards me, several feet from where I was actually stood, trying desperately to find the person speaking.
"I brought it with me," I said lamely, not being able to think up a better explanation, but he seemed to immediately understand. "Don't you remember how I always seemed to take you by surprise?"
He stepped forward, right in front of me in a second. "I thought I heard someone I recognized." He embraced me, and I was shocked by the hardness of his arms: all I had remembered from his caress was warmth and softness. I assumed it was safe now to reappear and show myself to the girl, even though clearly, Edward could already see me.
When I showed myself, I stared at her over his shoulder, and I watched her bright red eyes burn with envy.
"Edward…" she was by his side in an instant, "…who's this?" she asked in a seemingly nonchalant sing-song voice.
For what must have been the first time in, oh, a century, he looked uncomfortable, suddenly the weakest of the three of us.
"Bella," he said slowly and patronizingly, as if trying to calm a bratty child, "…this is Helen."
"Yes, but who is she?"
"I could ask the same thing," I snarled. I paused to think, and then said slyly: "I'm his fiancée."
Edward's eyes widened in realization and terror.
"And can I ask who you are?"
"I'm. His. Wife." She said scathingly, her scarlet eyes wilder than ever.
I barked a laugh. "I never knew you were a fan of polygamy, Edward."
"Honestly, Helen. I never remembered. I'm sorry."
"Let me refresh your memory, then." I reached into a pocket, pulling out a piece of dirty dog-eared newspaper. It was folded into a tiny square, and flattened. I carefully unravelled its yellow pages and showed Edward the headline:
WAR TO END ALL WARS' ARMISTICE SIGNED"
"We found it in your house when we were sorting through your stuff."
Edward's golden eyes seemed to remember. They seemed as though the memories had all come flooding back.
"So, how did this all happen? Why are you…like this?" Edward said, clearly referring to my hard, cold body and apparent immortality.
I sighed. "When I found out you had died, I was distraught, as you could imagine. I was plunged into depression, and, to make a long story short, tried to kill myself. I just wanted to wait for the freezing river to finish me off, but some blithering idiot tried to save me. But, I soon found out, he wasn't trying to save me at all, and he was in fact," I paused, gesturing towards my soulless body, "…turning me into this."
"Did…" he gulped, "did Carlisle change you?"
"No, I know it wasn't him. He would've told you, anyway."
"I wonder why he never told me there was another vampire in Chicago."
The girl called Bella had been listening with glaring intent to our whole conversation, not moving an inch from Edward's side.
"How did you find me?"
I shrugged. "Fate, I guess."
I stepped forward, grabbing his wrist and pulling him slightly away from the possessive grasp of the girl. I reached up to stroke his face, but he cringed slightly at my touch. I stood up on tiptoe to press my lips gently against his, but he pulled back, pushing me away.
"Ok, Helen. Too far," he said simply. "I have Bella now."
"You had me first." I paused, then said quietly, "You said forever."
"I was younger then."
I laughed scornfully. "Who are you trying to kid, Edward? You and I both know you haven't aged one bit."
"I've grown," he growled, baring his teeth again. I looked over his shoulder to see the newborn looking twice as livid as him, tensed as if ready to strike. Edward must have seen me looking at her or something, because he peered back at her, then sped to her side, putting his hands gently on her shoulders, trying, it seemed, to calm her.
"Hold on to your precious Bella, Edward," I snarled, watching the girl's furious red eyes glare at me with hatred. I laughed to myself, though, because I knew she would be no match for me, with my nimble feet, superior skill and power to fade into nothingness. She growled, trying to lunge towards me, and instinctively, I disappeared to dodge her attack, but she was still held fast by her husband.
"Look, love," he said in a silky voice – the voice I had missed so much over the years – "…you know there's nothing to worry about."
She seemed significantly calmer now. "But I thought you said I was the only one."
He gently grazed her neck with the tips of his fingers, then kissed her jaw. I didn't see anything else, because I turned away, silently walking away from the couple. I didn't see Edward turn around to face me.
"Helen, you don't have to go," he said hurriedly.
"No, no. I think I should leave." I sprinted away before he could think about following me.
After running for a few miles, I stopped, and slumped against a tree, my chest shaking with dry sobs.