"For the last time, you… are… not… dreaming, Clara!" Emmett growled at his newest sister, rolling his eyes. It has now been almost a month since Sunny awoke from her transformation (none of which I was allowed to witness, I might add) and this was easily the fifteenth time I heard Emmett make this complaint. He obviously didn't noticed her sly smirk before she turned to Edward and I and winked. She was enjoying torturing her biggest brother a bit too much.
The corners of Edward's mouth turned up slightly at Clara's antics before his attention turned to Emmett. A glare settled on his face. Emmett was eyeing Sunny and then the almost thawed river behind him with a mischievous glint in his eye that had me worried. It was clear that Emmett had come up with his own ideas about how to wake Clara from her professed slumber.
"It's best not to rile the bear, Sunny." Edward managed to keep his tone light as his eyes locked with Emmett. He held his brother's attention and firmly shook his head. Emmett huffed loudly but shrugged. He knew better than to get on Edward's bad side.
Clara just laughed at Edward's comment. She was pretending to have missed the exchange between her siblings. "Yeah, right…the bear." She leapt at Emmett, giggling as he caught her against his chest with a grunt. "The big, bad bear." She gave him a peck on the cheek, giggling as she wrapped her arms around his neck.
I could see Emmett melting from Sunny's affections as his arms wrapped tight around her. His usual grin settled onto his face again as he spun Clara around in his arms. "You can be such a pain, you know that, kid?"
She laughed at his teasing, holding her arms out wide as they spun together in circles. It was so reassuring to see Clara be the child that she was. Everyone had been so worried, initially, after her transformation had first occurred. It had taken six days for the venom to completely make its way through her body. That is a much longer period than any other transformation that I had ever heard of. Carlisle speculated that this was because of the chemotherapy treatment that Clara had undergone until almost the very end of her human existence. He thought that the poisons that had coursed through her system before the venom, had affected her change, causing the venom to slow. This theory made sense to me but, of course, we would never know for sure if it was true or not.
This same theory would probably also explain why, after her transformation, she wasn't any stronger or faster than any of her other siblings. That's not to say she was any slower or weaker. She was more energetic, more agile, and more graceful than any human child had ever been. She just didn't have the super speed or overwhelming strength that newborn vamps usually possess, not that she cares.
Sunny had been sick for the last three years of her human life. The fact that she can now crush iron into dust, jump over a river that is twenty feet wide in one leap, can run without losing her breath, and can see in the dark just as well as in a brightly lit room made her the happiest child in the world.
Sunny's eyes had never been red after she was changed either. They had been black, like they would be if she were hungry and needed to feed. Usually newborn vampires go through at least a year where they are more dangerous, bloodthirsty, and unpredictable than mature vampires. Naturally, everyone had been worried about Sunny's reaction on her first hunt, especially since spring was approaching. Soon hunting season would be here and humans would be littering the woods with guns that would only protect them from the animals, not from the other predators that would be prowling the forest.
Sunny wasn't attracted to human blood. She said it smelled sour. She preferred elk, deer, or coyotes. She did try to go after a cougar once. She nearly gave all three of her big brothers a heart attack. She is so small and so vulnerable looking that watching her attack an animal of that size was too much for them. Just because she was now almost indestructible, didn't mean any of them had become any less protective.
Clara had been very close to her mother, and it was obvious that she had a wonderful upbringing, but she had been an only child until becoming a member of the Cullen family. She now had three older brothers, three older sisters, (I was a very proud member of that list), and a father, which she had also never had before.
Clara is extremely attached to Emmett, Edward, and Jasper. However, when she isn't jumping on Emmett, teasing Edward to the point of near insanity, or trying to coax Jasper into teaching her fighting techniques, she is with Alice and Rosalie, playing dress up or curled up with Carlisle (when he's home, of course).
As Sunny had said on her last night as a human, being perched in Emmett's massive arms is one of her favorite spots. I would be willing to bet money though, that being curled up against Carlisle's side with his arm around her is her most favorite place to be. The look of contentment on her face as they are both sitting together reading or watching a movie or just talking is a look I haven't seen on Sunny's face at any other time. She's definitely "daddy's little girl."
Esme is very happy to see her husband and her new daughter's bond as well, though she has a very close relationship with Clara herself. Sunny still needs parents very much, especially a mother, in many ways. She will be a thirteen-year old girl for the rest of eternity, after all. She won't go through the same physical changes as other girls, but emotionally she's still half child, half pre-adult. Esme will happily have her hands full for the rest of her existence.
She'll have plenty of help, of course. I catch Rosalie eyeing Sunny with motherly affection all the time. She especially looks at her that way at times like this, when Emmett and Clara are horsing around as they are. Right now, Rosalie is sitting a few feet from Edward and I on the grass, watching Emmett toss Clara around like a baseball, throwing her high into the air and catching her in his arms. Since Rose had wanted a child so desperately before her transformation and couldn't have one after, she was just as happy now as Esme, for much of the same reasons. Of course, Esme being who she was, she was completely willing to share.
There were times that I would even catch Edward reacting to her in a more fatherly way than a brotherly one. Although Clara's skin was now as cold and hard as stone and she was faster and stronger than any human was, she still had vulnerabilities. For one thing, she still had to sleep. Carlisle was certain that this also was a side affect from the chemo and the cancer and how weak and frail she had been before her change. Still, Edward saw her vulnerabilities for what they were and he was constantly watching her or mentally checking on her. He's as protective and paranoid with her as he is with me. As much as I love him and as safe as he makes me feel, it is nice to have some of his concern and protective instincts go in another direction sometimes.
Edward's attention was now locked on Clara as she wandered away from Emmett to approach the half frozen river. "Clara," was all he said before she turned her attention to him with a scowl. They stared intensely at each other for a long moment before Sunny abruptly turned her attention to Rose and wandered away from the river.
I caught the smirk on Edward's face when he returned his attention to me. Obviously, I was missing something. "What?" I inquired.
He shrugged, his eyes flickering briefly to Clara as she sat in front of Rosalie to have her hair braided. "She can feel when I'm reading her mind. She doesn't like it."
I frowned in confusion. "Is that normal? Does everyone feel it when you're in their head or is that a vampire thing?" No one had ever mentioned that feeling before.
Edward chuckled at my question and pulled me against his side. "No, that is a Sunny thing."
I gasped and playfully smacked his arm. "You never told me she had an ability!"
He chuckled and then a sighed. There was a sudden sadness in his eyes that I didn't understand. "Clara actually has a remarkable ability really. Not only can she sense abilities, in humans and vampires alike, she sees the full and complete past histories of everyone she touches."
"Full and complete…" My voice trailed off as my brain tried to process this. "You mean, Sunny has seen your whole life, even your human life?"
He nodded and was quiet for a moment. He seemed to be concentrating very intently on something before he spoke again. "Most of us have so few memories of who we once were. Clara, with her ability, has been able to give something back that I had thought was lost…something we all thought was gone forever. Seeing my life through her visions, it's almost like remembering it all again for myself. Through Clara, I'm whole again." Edward seemed to reflect on this for a moment longer then his expression lightened. "There is one more piece to her gift." I waited for him to continue. "Clara has a sense of the true intentions from those she touches. It's as if she can sense good and evil. She can feel it."
My mind instantly recalled my first encounter with Aro, Caius, and Marcus. If Clara had touched Aro's hand, what would she have seen? What would she have felt, good or evil? I shuddered at the thought of this precious girl ever being in the position to find out.