Okay... such a long time since I last updated, and I'm sorry to all though who are actually reading this. I spend hardly any time on this during the holidays, and I repent now by giving you a pretty damn large chapter (by my standards, anyway). Mostly it's so long because there's so much moving around... Sorry if people don't like it, but I need to set it all up for the next chapter.
Head's up- Jake and Nessie aren't in this chapter, but they will appear (hopefully) in the next one. Sorry to all the Jake&Nessie lovers/ flamers. (It's a very thin line in my opinion)
Feedback is always nice... Help me by telling me whether I suck or not :P
"So, you're sure that she's a werewolf?"
"No," I admitted, shaking my head furiously. "Truth be told, I have no idea what she is. She could be a werewolf, or a very, very strange vampire. She could only be a human who smells funny, for all I know!"
I had finally returned from Alice's drawn-out shopping trip sometime early in the morning, after hours upon hours of browsing stores, trying on shoes and clothing, and carrying mountainous piles of shopping bags to and from the car. If there was anything in the world that could possibly tire a vampire, it was Alice's shopping trips. Jasper was usually her preferred victim, but she wasn't too choosy about who went with her.
I wasn't able to tell Alice anything while upon the trip- being as she was in one of her overenthusiastic frenzies. Never mind the highly potential threat of an underage teenage werewolf when Alice notices an article of clothing that Renesmee would look "simply adorable' in.
I was finally able to tell Edward upon our return, everything about the strange Danielle May. We our voices low- lack of privacy was always an occupational hazard when living in a household of vampires.
"Let's recap," he said after I'd finally recalled both English lessons and my cross-country run for him. "She smells funny. Why didn't you notice it before?"
I shrugged my shoulders helplessly. "I think it was because she had this- this thing with her blood. Before today it smelt faint, diluted, I suppose you could call it. I didn't notice it directly like I would've Jacob's scent- it's like she's just got a funny tinge to it most of the time."
"Are you sure she's not a vampire?" Edward asked cautiously, his brow furrowing.
I shook my head- I'd already thought that one through. "She's got a very deep tan, dark brown eyes, and her heart still beats- at a very fast rate, I might add."
He nodded, satisfied. "What else? You said that she runs well."
"Well? She covered over two hundred yards at a sprint just to catch up to me, and then finished the whole course without breaking a sweat." I shook my head, half-stunned that I didn't notice it at the time. Things seemed to become so obvious once in hindsight. "She's also hyper all the time- she couldn't sit still to save her life.
"But she isn't Quileute."
"Nor Native American at all, as far as I can tell. She told me herself that she came from New York. She could be a long-lost descendant though, I suppose, but I don't think the odds..."
"Maybe we can ask Jacob if he knows of any lost branches of his family tree," Edward said. "Or ask Alice if she can predict your future- see if your Gym lesson is a complete blank to her."
"Not now, though," I said. From out the window we could see Alice moving at an inhuman speed, going way overboard by setting up flowers, lights and decorations for tomorrow's visit. Jasper was trying to help her the best he could- by staying well out of her way.
"No," Edward agreed. "Certainly not now."
The day dawned, the sky still overcast but the temperature rising, mocking the bad weather we had only a few days ago. If this were yesterday or the day before, I'd be fervently hoping for the sky to clear, for the bright sun to shine- therefore guaranteeing me a day free of the boredom and monotony of high school.
It was ironic- most students wished for snow days. I wished for sunny days.
However, glancing up at the clearing clouds today put me in a bad mood. Of course, this week of all weeks would the sun come out to shine, denying me the opportunity to find out what exactly was wrong with the funny-smelling human. After half a night discussing her potential threat with Edward in low, conspirative whispers, it seemed as if the problem had almost doubled in size.
It was very illogical of me. I had only noticed that she had smelt strange at the time.
The Gym teacher, Mr. Oswald, had forfeited the idea of cross country after receiving medical certificates from over half the class, the other half bringing certified notes from parents, detailing lost gym gear and the like. Grumbling and muttering to himself, he ordered the class out onto the back oval. We were officially doing hockey.
However, Danielle May was officially absent.
I took up my place on the far sideline, half-watching at a distance as the more athletic humans whacked their opponents on the shins and hit the small ball as hard and as far as they could. Truth be told, I had never played hockey my two lives at all. My human days I spent avoiding all imaginable kinds and sports and Emmett has long since known that vampires and hockey sticks just don't mix. Trust me.
I felt slightly let down and deflated by the unexplained presence of the human, having overanalysing the girl for hours on end with Edward. Standing out alone in the fresh morning wind, all my thoughts and petty suspicions seemed to be almost trivial and ridiculous. Surely there would be a perfectly logical explanation for all of this- that is, of course, a logical explanation without the supernatural themes.
Such were my thoughts as I watched one of the boys being half-carried off to the sick room- thankfully for me, just with a mild concussion. I dwelled upon theories in French, in between Alice rattling off plans for this afternoon, and as well as in break, all the while toying with my uneaten apple, receiving apprehensive looks from both Edward and Jasper- Alice was too far out of it too care.
So when the bell rang for the start of the third period and I began to follow Jasper to our next class, Edward swept me aside instead, wanting to talk with me.
"Are you okay?" he asked me, a concerned light in his golden eyes. "You've been acting rather jumpy and erratic all day. Is something wrong?"
I could hardly be surprised at his accusation. After all, Edward kept a close scrutiny over both me and my emotions. I wondered if Jasper had tipped him off.
"I'm fine," I answered slowly, wondering what was actually wrong with me. "It's just I keep coming up with theories about what the funny-smelling human is. It's half-driving me mad, I think."
He searched the human crowd with his piercing eyes. "Is she here today?"
"No." I bit my lip. "That's why I'm so worried. I keep thinking that she now suspects me- us, and our family."
"It'll be alright," he said calmly, evenly. "I'll be able to see what she's thinking- when she turns up, that is. When Alice manages to calm down, I'll ask her to keep an eye out as well. In the meantime, don't worry. Remember that Jake and Nessie are coming today- that'll cheer you up."
"Jake and Renesmee," I corrected.
"See? That's more like it." He smiled his crooked smile and kissed me gently on my forehead.
Feeling slightly better, I unwillingly said goodbye and made my way to class.
In Social Studies, Jasper kept on shooting me worried and puzzled looks, no doubt sensing my unpredictable emotion change after break. I would have to tell him about Danielle May soon, I supposed to myself, half-listening to the teacher rattle off a wheezy lecture on the Industrial Ages. Edward had been opposed to telling anyone in the family just yet about my suspicions- especially either Jasper or Rosalie. When I had asked, he only said that they were prone to be a little over reactive when it came to human involvement in their charade, looking at me meaningfully as he answered.
It made me wonder what on earth Jasper and Rose were once planning to do to me when I was human.
When the bell rang to change classes, Japer sidled up to me as I was still packing my bag. "Is something wrong?" he asked my curiously, cocking his head to one side and looking me up and down.
"I don't think so," I said, feigning innocence. I hoped that Jasper wouldn't be able to see right through me. "Why do you ask?"
My pretence worked; he frowned slightly, his eyes worried. "You just seem very… excitable today. Are you okay?"
"Well, we've got Emmett, Rose, Jake and Renesmee coming over in only a few hours," I replied, trying to keep my feelings under check. It would be so easy if I could just block Jasper out of my mind with my shield…
"I guess that would warrant some enthusiasm from you," he noted, half smiling again. "Shall we go to Calculus and attempt to calm Alice down?"
"We'll probably die trying."
As I predicted, Alice was waiting for us in Calculus, half exploding with overexcitement. "I've narrowed it down to three o'clock," she whispered excitedly to us, abandoning all pretences of listening to the teacher. "They'll be going straight to the house, but we'll be able to beat them there if we hurry."
"What your definition of 'hurry'?" Jasper asked apprehensively, no doubt imagining the uproar that an Audi going one hundred and twenty miles up the small country road would cause.
Alice flapped her hand. "Nothing too drastic, so don't worry. Influencing the teacher to let you out early would be good though, Jazz." Not waiting for an answer, she withdrew a to-do list from the depths of her huge textbook, and I raised my eyebrows at the number of pages threatening to escape the staples. She ticked off half a dozen boxes, her eyes quickly scanning down the list.
"You don't think getting a puppy for Renesmee would be too much?" she asked me. "I only got her a small birthday present."
I snorted. "A BMW's hardly small," I reminded her, shaking my head. "Besides, she's already got a very loyal dog to play with- and we wouldn't want to give Jacob any competition to deal with."
"Point," she said, nodding as she crossed off another box from the list. "What a gift for Rosalie then? Would just a smooth, reflective surface do?"
She continued in this vein until the bell rang, firing questions at us both and marking off the countless jobs on her list one-by-one. Her Calculus book wasn't opened all lesson, and I swear that the teacher was about to stop his lecture and give her a scolding- until of course, Jasper met his gaze and he went back to his diagrams on the whiteboard, covering up his hesitation with a slight cough.
Lunch came and went like clockwork, counting down the hours until three o'clock. Without Danielle May present to interrogate, I seriously considered ditching my afternoon lessons to go and help Alice with whatever I could- she'd already announced that she wouldn't be attending. Jasper even had a forged note signed by "Mr. C. Cullen" to authenticate her departure. He put it down to a physiatrist appointment.
"Not very smart in my opinion," said Edward as we walked to Biology. "Honestly, how many normal teenagers would have to see a shrink? He's sparked a whole chain of rumours up at the front office- I can hear some of them from here…"
I laughed. "He only wrote that because she said he'd lose against Emmett if they had a fight tonight," I said. "He thought she was being delusional."
"She wasn't," he said, smiling. "I bet against him as well."
After a lesson of debating with myself I made the decision to skip English, considering that I'd be all alone with my mounting anticipation of the upcoming visit. With no one to talk to, I'd probably be forced to use my pent up energy on that Shakespeare essay- an unnecessary tedium that could be avoided. After my talk with Edward last night, it took only two minutes to trawl through cyberspace and find my essay I'd written for my college degree at Dartmouth. I only needed to change some minor details to suit the criteria and the date on top; although I suppose it would turn out to be rather interesting if I handed up a paper dated in 2012.
Edward was still going to class with Jasper to play our charade; it would look suspicious if all of us dropped out of school one by one. I stayed with him until the teacher entered the class and began to mark the roll. Even humans were sometime susceptible to noticing people who shouldn't be there, so I slipped out quietly and made my way down the corridor, completely deserted despite it being only five minutes after the human stampede.
My English class was only a short walk away from Edward's Spanish lesson, so I figured I might as well keep up appearances and explain my disappearance to the teacher. I quickly forged Esme's signature on a spare piece of paper, inventing an imaginary dentist appointment that would excuse me for the rest of the day. Usually I'd ask Jasper to do this for me, as he was the obvious expert on forging handwriting and signatures in our family, but I supposed my note would pass scrutiny easily enough- not that the teacher would bother to look at it too closely. They never did.
A loud banging in the distance quickly snapped my head out of my musings. Deafeningly louder than the mutterings and murmurings of the classes, the crash echoed across the empty corridor from downstairs, creating such a racquet I was surprised that students weren't flooding out of the classrooms to see the cause of the noise. I would've sworn that the ground was slightly shaking.
I increased my speed into a human jog, my curiosity growing as I went down the steps two at a time. The noise was coming from right in front of my English room- I could hear swearing added to the din.
I rounded the corner, and slowly down, I was able to see the whole scene.
The seemingly-absent Danielle May was bent almost double over one of the school-commissioned lockers, clutching her right foot and hopping around on the other, swearing in a very impressive fashion. There was a large dent in the locker door, and books, pens, and textbooks scattered on the ground in every direction.
I took one look at this and laughed, causing Danielle's head to whip around, investigating the source of the noise. When her eyes met mine, she relaxed and let go of her injured foot, tentatively putting weight onto it. She walked over to me, slightly limping.
"You saw?" she said glumly, casting her eyes back over the dented locker.
"I heard." I confirmed. She hung her head in dejection, and I had to laugh again. "What happened? Are you alright?"
"I'll live," she said grimly. "My locker wouldn't open and I lost my temper with it. Unfortunately I forgot that it was made of metal."
"It seems you ended up doing the same amount of damage to your locker as you did your foot," I said, raising an eyebrow. A pretty impressive dent was carved into the metal of the locker, but it would hardly measure up to the damage that Jacob or Seth could've done, even in their human forms.
She shrugged. "I'll heal quickly. The locker won't." She began to gather up your belongings from the floor. "Unfortunately, it made me late for English."
"You're already late for school," I mock accused. "Where were you this morning? I thought you were absent."
She flapped a hand in my direction whilst picking up a textbook. "Gym? I skipped. It seemed like too much effort to do that cross-country run again. I even got a legitimate excuse from Mr. Oswald."
"That's pretty impressive." I remarked, thinking of all the girls with detentions in Gym for not participating. "However, you better get to English soon now, or you'll have to find some more legitimate excuses." I glanced at my watch, which now read ten past two. Renesmee would be here in only fifty minutes...
"Me?" she quizzed quickly. "What about 'us'? Don't you have English too?"
I looked up, suprised. Oops. She'd caught me out. My mouth opened to tell her an excuse, any excuse- that I was skipping, that I had a dentists' appointment, I was meeting up with a couple of old friends, or even that I was getting out to see my half-vampire daughter, who was born forty years ago and was now dating a werewolf.
That's what went through my mind at the time, but instead my treacherous mouth blurted out, "Of course- but we'll leave the excuse making up to you won't we?"
She tilted her head sideways and looked me straight in the eye. "Cool," she said grinning. "I'm good at excuses."