"Love, you know, is a funny thing; But the funniest thing about it - is you can never tell if its love - until you start to doubt it." -- unknown.
"Bella," Edward murmured. I looked at him and followed his gaze; I couldn't bear the sight.
"Oh, no," I said. Why this? Why now? When was the happy ending coming? Or had I missed it? I looked at Edward again, and he was completely solemn. I hoped that wasn't the expression he wore at the Bella Swan funeral way back when, because this was torture.
We had been through so much! Why did the Volturi always have to mess things up? It was getting ridiculous. No, that wasn't an appropriate word. I looked at the sight again, feeling my unbeating heart crushed.
"Edward," I said. His eyes slowly turned to me. "He's not...dead...is he?"
He shook his head. "But he will be."
"We can't save him?" I was frozen with fear. This can't be happening, this can't be happening!
"Not so long as he's human," Edward answered.
I looked back again. There was Jared, bleeding and dying, with Stephanie sobbing tearlessly over him. She didn't want to make this decision; how could she? Someone had made that choice for her, and she hadn't appreciated have no choice. She didn't want to turn Jared. But it was the only way to save him. Would she take away his choice so she could save his life? I could see very clearly in her eyes what she wanted, and I could see it, even as the hope slowly faded from him, Jared's eyes showed that he was going with whatever Stephanie decided. And she had made her decision.
Chapter 1: A Good Start
It had been ten years since I came back to Forks. It was very strange how life passed quickly when you had no time limit. Stranger still, was that nothing seemed to change. I was still Stephanie, and I still reacted to things exactly as I had years before. Except, obviously, I was living in a houseful of vampires—myself included in that particular grouping.
But things were going to change now, and Bella and I were nervous as hell. How were we expected to pull this off? We were a couple of newbies in this vampire business. Bella and I had changed schools before, changed cities, but we had to hide who we were now. This time, the move was going to be our new lives.
I wasn't so sure leaving Forks would be all that simple. I wasn't in charge of all the transferring and moving stuff, but I still had to do the actually move thing. Bella was worried about the same thing. How will I fit in? And we didn't mean making friends, obviously we had our family, and that was good enough for the both of us. But how were we going to handle this? Should we just act natural? Or would we copy what the Cullen-Hale way of doing things. Staring off in any odd direction, get some food, throw it out later, and never talk to anyone? That seemed strange to me. I mean, really, throwing food out is a waste of precious human resources. (Oh, and staring in odd directions and never talking to anyone is weird too, just not as weird.)
But, besides the weirdness, that was not my biggest problem. My biggest problem could be summarized in one word: Jared. (Word, name...same thing.) He wasn't about to let me leave and, frankly, I didn't want to leave him.
Oh, and speaking of weirdness, I could get used to the not-aging thing for me, (because I was a vampire,) but seeing Jared not age was funny. I could almost laugh that he had to run around in his wolf form to keep young, and all I had to do was endure three days of pain and the ruining of my mortal life. Why couldn't I have had it that easy? Sure, I would be a lot more hairy than I would like, but I could set up a normal life in one location. Oh, and I wouldn't have to meet Jared's parents and his friends off the reservation. (I wasn't aloud there because...I think I've said it enough.)
Speaking of meeting parents, Leah was crazy. Oh she had warmed up to me, but it took a few times of her yelling at me and a few times of her glaring at me to get passed the 'you're a leech' stage. Jacob was the awkward one to be around. At least with Leah I could glare back—or just smile, that bugged her more. Jacob I didn't know how to approach.
First of all, he had been in love with Bella Swan. Other than the fact I looked a little bit like her, happened to be her half-sister, and had kissed Edward on more than one occasion, Bella was now Bella Cullen. So, I didn't doubt that he was slightly bitter to have lost, or at least found it very hard to think that his son had lived the exact same life he had, only Jared had—more or less—won. I wanted to know what he was thinking, but not once did I use my special memory-reading power to figure it out. I tried to respect people's privacy.
Second, Jacob was probably expecting me to break Jared's heart at one point or another. If it wasn't enough that Jared and I fought constantly over stupid little things, the fact that I was planning on leaving in one week would be enough to prove that point.
I had won Leah over though. She hated that I was a vampire, but she loved that I could scarf down her burnt food without complaining. (I had to vomit it all up later—very uncomfortable—but, bottom line, she didn't hate me anymore. That was more important.) Jared and Jacob would stare at me a little wide-eyed and curious. I would smile politely, saying that it tasted all right. Jared would then put a damper on things, saying that I really didn't have a good idea of what tasted good since I hadn't had human taste buds in ten years. I would scowl; he would laugh.
Our usual spot to meet was anywhere. I only met with Leah and Jacob four times in ten years. Once was Leah yelling and Jacob being scarily calm and quiet. The second time was scowls, glares and a few shouts from Leah with a few words from Jacob. The third time was when Leah decided to pack a lunch for the three of them offered me some, as an attempt to thwart me and further prove that I overall suck. (Ha. Isn't that a pun?) I swallowed the food and she didn't yell at me at all during our fourth meeting. She didn't even glare. In fact, the only one she glared at was Jacob. She attempted to smile at me. Jacob said a few more words to me, mostly small-talk, but I appreciated it anyway.
After every one of those meetings, Jared would say "That wasn't so bad," as if that made everything better. I would smile, despite my mind being a thousand miles away, trying to decipher Leah and Jacob. Nothing I said made them fully trust me. There was nothing I could do.
Now, if I told them that Alice was certain that I was going to change Jared into a vampire one day, they would flip. Actually, Jared might freak out a little too. He had seen me change, and he had listened to us scream in pain—the word 'reluctant' would be an understatement to how he would feel about it.
But tonight was a night of change. Tonight would be the twilight, and soon would be the dawn. I was going to end all that I had set up here; I was going to begin again very soon. But first, before every new beginning, there must be an ending.
I was grumpy the entire night. Rosalie tried to pry the reason for my grumpiness out of me, but even my vampire best friend couldn't calm me. I promised to explain it to her later. She heaved a sigh and left, obviously put out by my unwillingness. She even sent Emmett to cheer me up. It was hard not to smile with him around. I did succeed in not smiling though. I thanked him kindly for trying to cheer me, but I was refusing to be happy. He thought I was strange for wanting to be miserable. I shrugged and swiftly left the room, before he could say something that would make me laugh.
Jasper used his power on me. He went a little too strongly and I randomly broke out in laughter, and was heaving on the floor. He found that very amusing, of course. Emmett stumbled in to find my laughing like a mad woman on the floor. Soon, everybody was getting a kick out me. I realized after my laughing fit was over that Jasper had stopped influencing me halfway through, proving that I was mental.
With all my laughter out of me, I had to face Jared. I had to break the news to him. The morning light was coming in fast. I was going to hurt him, I knew it, but it had to be done. I wasn't going to take Edward's approach—I was going to be honest, tell Jared I would always love him, not do whatever I could to get away. I wasn't going to change Jared though—not now, at the very least. It would hurt Jacob and Leah to much, which would, in turn, hurt Jared.
Yay for breaking hearts while the dawn breaks.
After entertaining goofballs like Jasper, Emmett, and Alice, I puttered off to focus on how I was going to break the news to Jared. I was so focused on how I was going to speak my mind—in a nice, non-hurtful way—that I nearly walked straight into Edward. Thank God he had super-speed too.
"What's your hurry?" he asked.
"Oh, sorry," I answered dully. "Thinking seems to have a way of occupying my brain, which would have normally been operating my motor functions." He chuckled at that, but I didn't swoon. After ten years of pretending not to love someone, it's almost as if you really don't—almost. But that was fine, I just repeated 'I love him like a brother' over and over in my head.
"Where's Bella?" I asked. Talking about Bella or someone else—anything else besides him or me or us—was the only way I could keep myself from feeling awkward around him.
"Bella is with Esme," he answered—seeming totally not awkward or out of place, like how I felt whenever I was alone with him.
"Oh, right, the miniature hunting party," I recalled. "Usually she goes with you or Alice. I didn't even think that she would be out hunting when her two favourites were still here." Bella sometimes went with me, but Rosalie and Emmett stole me away more often than the others.
What I couldn't get over was how extraordinarily thirsty Bella always was. Even stranger was that she seemed to thirst for animal blood. There was only one time that I remembered that she had really craved human blood. She had let herself go without hunting for a while, and her eyes were black. She had half-lunged at a rather sweet smelling petite-sized girl who was taking a jog with a rather sour smelling friend along the road. I think they had been hitch-hiking, since they had backpacks and travel clothes. But Bella didn't attack, thanks to Edward, who was always on the ready, prepared to protect Bella from guilt and invisible enemies.
Speaking of invisible enemies...I had to go take care of one.
"Well, I have to be leaving," I said abruptly.
He cocked a brow. "Jared?"
I beamed at him. "How did you guess?"
He tapped his forehead and grinned. "I'm a mind-reader."
I feigned shock, putting my hand to my cheek and dropping my jaw. "No kidding? A real mind-reader. Golly."
My hand dropped to my neck, and I felt my jaw pull back up as my lips curled into a smile. Edward smiled too. We both lightly laughed. It felt good to not feel so strange around him. It was very rare to have these moments. The out-of-place feeling was gone when there was someone else with us, but, alone, together, there was that echo of what I had once wanted, and what he had once thought on.
"See you later, Edward," I said, removing the hand from my neck to wave my fingers at him. I took my sweet time to pass him, finding no need to super-speed away.
"Steph," he said suddenly, causing me to freeze, and slowly turn around. For a second I thought I imagined the longing tone to his voice, but then I realized I hadn't imagined it—I had misinterpreted.
He looked at me, making no move toward me. I stayed very still, not allowing myself to think anything. (Occasionally, I forgot that Edward couldn't read my mind.) I waited; he deliberated.
"Don't take this the wrong way, but you don't have to come with us," he said. "If you want to stay here, then you should. You can join us any time, a hundred years from now if that's what you want."
I made a small 'o' shape with my mouth. The fact that he warned me not to take it the wrong way automatically informed me that he had put a lot of thought into whether or not he meant it in that way. Would he prefer if I stayed in Forks? If he did...too bad. I had stayed up all night thinking about it—not that I really had a choice about the whole 'staying up all night' thing.
I smiled at him, probably looking awkwardly seductive when I was going for kind and appreciative. "Thanks, Edward." I paused, trying yo re-organize my face to look less 'please hit on me' and more 'you are so nice'. "I'm coming with you guys."
There was a very small fraction of a pause between 'you' and 'guys' because I had intended on just saying 'with you,' but that sounded awkward in my head. I wanted him to clearly see that I wanted to go solely because the Cullens were my family. And he just happened to be included in that.
He smiled softly at me, and then we both parted, going off in our seperate ways, as we always did. Our conversations rarely lasted longer than a couple minutes.
I, again, took my sweet time walking. I didn't want to get to the waiting point too early. No weirder sight would there be than an extremely pale girl standing in the middle of the road. Okay, I would stand to the side of the road, but who hasn't seen a horror movie where the creepy mythological creature stands in the middle of the road, while the hero or heroine drives up, stops the car, and then BAM! the creature attacks...or plays charades? I didn't watch a lot of horror movies. I tended to forget what mythological creatures are supposed to do.
I got to the point, the invisible line that the treaty said vampires like myself couldn't cross. The sun was up; I waited. I'm not sure how long I waited there, but it was quite a bit longer than I had anticipated. With each minute, I wondered more about where he could be. A half hour passed from our usual meeting time, and I was feeling put-out. By an hour later, I was slightly aggrivated. An hour and a half later I was frustrated and resigned myself to killing Jared when he arrived. By the time the end of the second hour was over, I was beyond angry. I had big news, I was going to have to hurt him, and he was late!
On second thought, I was going to feel excellent about hurting him. Mhm. Yes, and he would deserve it. He was two hours late. Who sleeps in two hours late for something that happens at the same time everyday? (Oh. School. I had definitely done that a few times.) And why did he have to pick today? Because now I had to guilt-trip him and then tell him I was leaving. But, hey, maybe we could call it even? He was late and I was breaking my promise? He would agree that breaking the promise of not staying with him forever and him being late were equal, right?
No. That sounded stupid even to me. (Why was life so complicated for me?)
I heard a car coming up the road, and I recognized the sound of the engine. I grinned until he came up the hill, and then I saw him face, not really remorseful. I glared then. I crossed my arms tightly over my chest and debated silently over whether or not tapping my foot with impatience would be too much. I decided to fume mutely instead.
Jared braked and came to a stop in front of me. I continued to glare at him with he smiled apologetically at me. I was not getting in that car until he came out here and apologized with words—preferably in English, because I wasn't progressing any farther in my Quiluete or Italian yet. (And Alice was making me learn French, because she was convinced that we should move to France as some point. Why? I wasn't sure. I like French toast and French croissants and the Eiffel tower as much as the next girl, but I also like where I was.)
Jared rolled his eyes, grumbling quietly to himself, as if I couldn't hear him. He clearly said "Why does she have to overract so much?" and then he cursed a couple times as he opened the door and approached me.
"Two hours, Jared," I told him sternly. "And you think I'm overreacting?"
"Yes," he said simply.
I squealed a little under my breath. He was not making leaving any easier on me.
"Remember, some of us have to work for a living," he reminded me gently. "I got a call from Embry Call, who was out of town, but his wife needed the car fixed. He asked me to do it because Mrs. Call had a lot of stuff to do. She needed it done right away."
"You got a call from Call?" I said absent-mindedly. It was weird, I was already losing some of my anger. How did he do that? How could he drain my unhappiness as quickly as he could cause me unhappiness?
"I tried to do it for free, but she insisted that she would pay me," Jared continued. "So, I have a little more cash than I was expecting. I was thinking we could go to Port Angeles and see a movie. I know you don't really like movies a lot these days but..."
I shook my head. "Oh, no. Don't use me as an excuse not to go. I like movies. I just don't like movies that involve zombies, or fake looking werewolves or killer vampires." Jared laughed and rolled his eyes again. "I much prefer ponies and magical unicorns in movies," I added.
"Oh, good, because that describes the one I wanted to see perfectly."
"Really? I can't wait!" I cheered sarcastically.
"C'mon," he said, moving back toward his open car door. I joined him in the cab, accepting his lame excuse for an apology. He drove fast enough for a human, but it was always somewhat irritating that I couldn't just speed the car up a bit.
"But, in all seriousness, what are we going to see?" I asked.
"Well, I know how much you love the movie Blood and Chocolate, because you've made me watch it a few times"—she shot me an exasperated glance, reminding me of the many times I told him that he should be a cool werewolf like Vivian, despite her being a girl—"and they've made a remake."
"What!?" I gasped, all traces of anger gone. "That's so cool!"
He laughed shook his head, thinking my strange reaction unbelievable. Maybe he thought I was overreacting.
I sprang my arms around him and kissed his cheek. "You are the sweetest guy I have ever met! I can't believe you're taking us to see a movies you loath."
"I don't loath it," he corrected, trying to not lose control of the wheel because of my sudden lunge at him. "I just find it an odd interpretation of werewolves. And they almost seem to combine vamps and wolves together."
I shrugged. "I don't mind vamps and wolves being combined. It's the way it should be. We should have be friends, whether we drink blood or get furry when we're angry."
"I didn't mean that kind of combine," he said. "I was totally don't mind being friends with a few blood-suckers." He smiled wistfully at me.
"And I'm not a cat person, so dogs are alright," I laughed playfully.
"See? That's it right there. When someone says 'I'm a dog person' they don't mean half dog half human. Can you imagine saying 'I'm a werewolf vampire'?" he questioned contemplatively.
"That's because you weren't using proper grammar," I told him. "And, by the way, I am a werewolf kind of vampire. Do you think I'm weird?"
I yanked my arms off him and sunk back into the seat. "You are no fun at all."
"What do you want me to say? I'm a vampire kind of werewolf? Is that the grammatically correct way of saying it?" He was exasperated and confused. That was not the right way to start a day.
"Say you love me, and then shut up until we reach the theatre," I suggested with a shrug. "It may just work."
"I love you Stephanie," he assured me. "But you're a pain in the ass sometimes."
I gawked at him, half laughing as he smirked at me. He started laughing when he caught my expression. I lightly whacked his arm. And that was the perfect way to start a day.
This is a rather short beginning, but this is the sequel, and it will be much shorter. Hopefully what it lacks in size will be made up for in content. Please REVIEW and tell me what you think of this continuation.