(This story is post Breaking Dawn, so DO NOT read unless you've already read that, or unless you don't care about spoilers. I do not own these characters or anything having to do with them. They all belong to Stephenie Meyer.)

The Heart that Howls

Time is irrelevant. For me, it makes absolutely no sense. Humans measure time in pieces, and pieces in those pieces, as a way to deal with their ever impending mortality. I think it must make them feel in control of something that they have absolutely no control of. Sometimes I envy them that. If only it were that simple. If only I had some level of comparison.

I once asked my mother how she deals with it now. She was a human just recently, that is if 8 human years is even considered recent. She said that things are the same, but have become somewhat slower in the space of our own little world. I know she fears that my grandparents, my human grandparents, will be gone before she can blink. We visit them as often as we can. I love them so much. I don't want to ever lose them. But again, they are mortal and it is inevitable.

The wolves have a different approach to this subject. It seems they have a sort of control over their growth. I will have to ask Jake about it one day. He will tell me anything I wish to kn-

A knock on my door. My father always knocks. He knows what I'll probably say before I have to say anything, but he is so old world and polite sometimes. "Come in." I set my pen on the leather bound journal and look up as he slipped into my room. He looked pretty much perfect, as did all the Cullens, except for me. I was a "special" case. Next to their exquisite perfection, the human side of me was definitely apparent. Ah, well.

"You have your mother's eyes. They weren't totally lost after the transformation." My father voice was velvety soft. He heard my thoughts and attempted to soothe my spirit. His hand rested on my head and he sat on the bed next to where I lay on my stomach. I closed my book and stretched. I adjusted myself in a seated position and sat, facing him. Him. The vampire who was my father, who looked exactly my own age. Who would always look my age. Carlisle believed I had finally ceased my growth. There had been absolutely no change over the past year. Strange, but then again, we were a strange sort.

"I know, I know. Chocolate. Jake says the same thing." I rolled those rich brown eyes that turned men's heads and smiled for his benefit. "So…what do you want?" I took his hand from my hair and handed it back to him. He and I were very close as far as fathers and daughters went. It'd always been that way for us, and I'd just been lucky he was so good to me. Having a father who can read your every thought would be a virtual nightmare if he were anything else.

He appeared very casual, but his liquid gold eyes didn't match his demeanor. They were serious. I feigned ignorance to this fact and went along with his ruse. "We are catching rumors of vampires- strangers-possibly a newer clan. I just want you to stay close for the next few days until we can figure it out." He watched me carefully, seeing my facial expression change as I was sure he heard my mental complaint.

"Dad!"

"I'm not negotiating this."

I growled at him, but his face and eyes were stone as he stared back. He was much better at staring me down and we both knew it. "Dad…EDWARD…nothing will happen to me if I go see the wolves!" I protested a bit loudly. I knew for sure that the rest of my family could hear what was going on in my room perfectly well. It was the way my life went. Everyone knew my business. My father could even see into my most private thoughts. He was the only one of my family I'd allow there, but that was moot since I really had no choice.

He paused and closed his eyes as if listening to something only he could hear. He frowned. "Bella…"

My mother opened the bedroom door and walked in, staring down at both of us. She looked like an amber eyed angel, of which I was a pale comparison. She and my father were having a mental argument. She could shoot him her opinions and he couldn't shoot back without my hearing. He growled. It didn't look like the duo of Bella and Nessie was going to win against the will of Edward Cullen this time. We were usually so good at getting our way with him. It had to be a pretty serious situation for him to be so severe.

"I know the wolves are perfectly capable of protecting you." He said with confidence.

"Jacob would never let anything happen to you." My mother added, defended her friend to my father. It was something she'd only recently been able to ease back on. My father and Jake had been able to form a sort of friendship over the past eight years. They claimed to do it for my mother and myself, but I knew they liked each other more then they let on.

My father sighed. "I have no doubt of that."

"You trusted him to keep me safe back in Forks." My mom argued but seemed a little less sure of herself than before. I began to get the impression that she was putting up the fight purely for show. I sighed and looked at my father.

"I'm not going to win this." It was a statement. Jacob was my imprinted guardian. No bond was greater amongst the shape changers. I had planned to spend the weekend with his pack. The pack were my best friends, and though I was half vampire, I was completely accepted among them. Not being permitted to go was a crushing disappointment.

"I absolutely trust Jacob and know you would always come first with him. He is bound to protect you. This, yes, is true. However, you are MY daughter that I must keep safe. You will stay in this house. End of discussion." My parents seemed absolute in their stand. I was certain the rest of my family would support their decision. I sighed.

"Fine. We'll just disappoint Jacob yet again." I looked deliberately at the creature that was my mother. I felt sorry the second I'd said it. She chose my father and without that choice, I wouldn't exist. Without that choice, Jacob wouldn't be my bonded guardian. That boy was my friend now. My best friend and I wasn't about to let him be hurt the way she had hurt him all those years ago. Before I was even a possibility. I turned away from the two making my choices for me and stared at the wall. "I would appreciate it if you would close the door on your way out." My voice was low, but nothing that their impressively enhanced hearing couldn't pick up.

I could sense them watching me for a few moments before hearing the click of the door latch.