September 13, 1987. It was a completely unexceptional day- no holidays or national observances to mark it from any other day. The weather itself was pleasantly mild, just out of the summer heat and yet not far enough along for the cold autumn winds to come. A completely ordinary day.
And yet, today had turned out to be rather eventful.
We were in Alaska, visiting the Denali clan. It had been nearly four decades since we'd last seen them, and, since we were moving to another area anyway- Emmet had had another "accident"- we'd decided to drop in.
Nothing had appeared to change much. The Denalis really were impressive in their adaptation to our shared way of life, especially considering that they had chosen it free of any other influence than their own conscience. And, of course, also remarkable was the reason why they no longer wanted to hunt humans- in the typical way of our kind, at least. They had a different way of hunting men now.
But, as I had discovered on this last trip, they were not entirely content with human men alone. One in particular had shown quite an interest in this deviation.
I sighed a little as I stared up at the clear night sky. Tanya. She had presented quite an uncomfortable situation that I had not been expecting in the least, even with the advantage of reading thoughts. Perhaps, she had worked hard to control her thoughts around me, to take me by surprise.
"Edward," she had called lightly, stepping into the wide library I had been looking through. The Denalis were created nearly a thousand years before- they had quite the treasure trove of books. A good portion were in Russian, being their native language, but that was no obstacle for me as I had mastered it thirty years ago.
She walked up beside me. "How have you been enjoying your stay here so far?" she asked in a lilting voice, her accent coming out just the tiniest bit.
I raised my head from the fourteenth century manuscript I had been perusing. Her thoughts showed nothing but casual interest. I smiled politely at her. "It's as beautiful as ever. I'm glad we stopped by again."
Hmm, she thought, and her expression became a tad more eager. I wondered why this was interesting to her; it had seemed a very casual, generic reply to me.
She walked closer to me, glancing offhandedly at the stacks of tomes near us. Her hand reached up to touch the tops of some, reading some of their titles. "I'm so glad you like it. Although I always have my sisters with me, I have to admit, it can be a little lonely." She sighed a little deprecatingly and then turned her head to look at me with a curious smile. "But I'm sure you know how that feels." Don't you?
I could sense that there was something behind her questioning, but her thoughts had not provided me with a clear idea of what that was. She seemed very eager about this subject, but perhaps it was just as she said and she really had been lonely. That also was rather surprising.
I raised my eyebrows a little and smiled knowingly. "From what I've heard, you've found a particular cure against loneliness though, haven't you?"
I knew she would not be offended by this comment or, of course, I would have never made it. As I had expected, she grinned as if I had bestowed her with a great compliment. In a way, it could be considered as such- it took a strength I couldn't possibly imagine to be that close to a human and still leave them alive.
She shrugged, unrepentant. "That is as much of a cure for me as it is for my partners." And they've never complained. She remembered some recent conquests with gleeful content, her full lips stretching into a cat-like smile of triumph. "Perhaps you'd like to try it for yourself, Edward."
I laughed, despite myself. The idea of me with a human at all, not to even fathom being in that way, was completely absurd. I considered myself to be rather strong against the temptation for human blood, but definitely not that strong. Of course, I had never been tempted at all in the way Tanya meant by anyone, vampire or human, for the past eighty years. I doubted I would ever be in danger of such a temptation.
"I'll leave that particular quandary to you and your sisters, Tanya," I replied wryly, looking down at my book again. "I don't find humans exceedingly interesting. I care about them- but not that much. I'm not sure how you have the patience for them."
Understandable, she acknowledged. "But I never said you had to try with a human." Her fingertips trailed over my forearm slowly as she looked into my eyes with a teasing and yet serious gleam in her golden eyes. I could give you some practice. I'm a very good teacher.
Immediately, before I could even hope to block them out, her mind gave me an idea of what such lessons would consist of. She seemed to think that there would be many of them, as the setting and scenery changed often. They also involved various attire; she seemed to have an affection for nursing outfits for herself.
I closed the book in my hand and turned to place it back in its space on the shelf. This was an excuse to hide the embarrassed shock in my expression. It was only now that I noticed what she had dressed herself in today. A light, silk summer dress, cut to wrap around her figure and highlight the right places. It was a soft pink color, giving an exquisite effect to her marble skin and bringing out the red in her strawberry blonde curls. It did not cover much of her either, her long flawless legs flowing endlessly from the short hemline.
I noticed these things, but felt none of their intended effect. It was a little amusing really. I was used to humans being attracted to me, at first, before their instincts warned them of the real danger behind the beauty. But I had not noticed this in others of my kind, whenever they happened to stop by in whatever area we were staying in. There may have been a passing attraction, but when they learned of why we had banded together, just what being a part of our coven meant, the attraction immediately dissipated, and only a bizarre curiosity remained. This was always a relief to me. I had never been bothered by their fading interest. I had never found anyone else of interest myself.
Nor did I now. I liked the Denali clan, and Tanya was no exception. I did not want to hurt her feelings, but it would be rather difficult as I'd had no experience with this before.
I shaped my mouth into a genial smile. "Thank you, Tanya, but I have other educational pursuits right now," I told her in as courteous a tone as I could.
She smiled, shaking her head a little. She stepped closer again, and her tone deepened slightly. "There are only so many books in the world, Edward. And they'll always be there. You should vary your interests some more," she purred.
Well, time for the truth. "Really, Tanya, I don't think I have any interest in that." I smiled apologetically at her.
She stepped closer, her hands gliding up my arms to cup around my neck. "I don't think you're giving it enough of a chance," she whispered eagerly. I could get you interested. The unwanted images flooded once again.
Gently, but forcefully, I took her hands away from my neck. "Really, thanks for the offer, but- I'll be fine." I took a wide step away from her.
She frowned in surprised frustration. She was not used to being refused, if it had happened at all before. Why was I declining her now? Maybe I should have worn the blue dress…she thought absently.
I shook my head, trying to suppress my smile. "Really, it's not you, Tanya. You're still just as seductive as ever, which you very well know. No man could resist you. The fault is mine." I smiled a little ruefully and shrugged. "I don't think anyone will ever be able to touch this dead heart of mine. But, I've always been this way, and I most likely always will be."
She allowed herself to pout for a few seconds, still miffed that anyone existed who could refuse her. But there was no heartbreak for her either. This was simply an idea that had occurred to her once we'd come. She sighed a little dramatically, letting me know of her disappointment, but smiled quickly.
"Well, whenever you change your mind…" she said wistfully. You can't be alone forever, Edward.
I nodded lightly. "I'll let you know."
She walked out, her thoughts slightly unhappy. Once again, I felt bad for letting her feelings be hurt even slightly. It didn't feel gentlemanly.
But of course it would have been far less gentlemanly to have given her any kind of hope, as I truly did have no interest whatsoever in her offer. I went back to my reading.
Now as I sat in the depths of the forest, hundreds of miles away from the house, staring up at the stars in the dark blue sky, I felt a little melancholy.
I truly had no interest in Tanya, yet it dawned on me then that I probably should. Of course, she was exquisitely beautiful; just as any other vampire was beautiful. But I recognized this beauty just as someone might appreciate a masterpiece painting, or admire a gorgeous landscape. It was distant. It did not match up with any of the descriptions of love I had read in so many books. Or lust for that matter.
Though well I knew that romance was far from Tanya's mind when she had made her offer. Surely, she would not be opposed to it entirely, but it would only be an addition to the main goal.
Still, it would only be common sense to consider more on the Denali clan. Where else were there others of our kind who lived the lifestyle we did? And Tanya's words echoed in my head a little. You can't be alone forever, Edward.
My brow furrowed a little as I thought about it. I truly had not been bothered much by the fact that I was alone, because, in my estimation, I was not alone. I had my family and it seemed hard to imagine that I would ever feel for someone more than the love I had for them.
Yet, I had watched with some curiosity the love between the three perfectly matched couples that I had lived with for over half a century. It was rather impossible to miss. The looks, the touches, the words, those seemed to correlate with what the poets and writers through the centuries had spoken of love. Yet I could hardly fathom myself behaving that way.
Esme often worried that Carlisle had changed me too young. As vampires, the minute we transformed, our personality and everything about us became permanent, cemented into us. And as a seventeen year old in 1918, I'd been much too caught up with the Great War to give much thought to the other sex. So her theory made sense, really. Perhaps I was never meant to find someone.
Again, this did not usually bother me. Having access to the thoughts of every other person in the world, I quickly grew tired of people, vampire or human, as they offered few surprises. Things got a little boring when you could anticipate everything about someone.
So why was it bothering me so much tonight? Perhaps because I had had a chance with someone, no matter how superficial it might be, and I still hadn't the slightest ounce of desire to consider it?
I studied the black night a little broodingly, the questions continuing to pester me.
Would I always be alone?
Just then, before my eyes, a meteor shot across the dark sky. Dazzling in its beauty, the explosion of light sparkled with flecks of blue, red, and gold. It lit up the sky and outshone every bright star it passed. Magnificent.
I gazed at it long after the trails of its departure had dissipated once again into ink black, almost a little blinded, although that should not be possible. I supposed it was because this almost seemed like… a sign?
I scoffed at myself. It was silly to think such a normal astronomical event to have some kind of meaning. I was not the type to believe in signs, and being a soulless monster automatically exempted you from any hope that a heavenly being could care whether you were alone or not. In fact, he would probably prefer you to be by yourself.
But there was just something about it- the timing, the astonishing beauty of it.
No, this was entirely ridiculous. I shook my head ruefully at myself, and stood up to go back home. I was not in a particular rush, so I walked instead of ran.
As I walked, taking in the ancient pines and oaks as I passed, I had an inexplicable urge to go to a place we had lived long, long before- Forks, Washington. We hadn't returned for over half a century and, perhaps because of my current scenery, I wished to revisit it.
But it had only been fifty years since we'd left and likely there still lived some of the original wolves. It wasn't so much of a problem then, once we'd made the treaty, but now we had Jasper and Emmet, who were likely to make some mistakes.
Still, I could not shake this strange feeling that we should return soon. Well, we could at least wait a few more years. I picked up my pace into a light run, my mood brightened somehow.
There was no apparent reason for it, and yet, somehow, September 13th had been a rather significant day. Something had happened, though I wasn't entirely sure what. But something. Like there was at least the hope for a change on the horizon.