For one third of a second, the room was silent. I used this time to sum up the house. It was large and airy, just the way I liked it. The south-facing wall was made up of glass, which would have been beautiful under any other circumstances. But here, the view was nothing more than depressing. Who would want to live in a place where it rained so much? To be fair, Ireland receives its fair share of precipitation, but those sunny days make it all worth it. No matter how sunny it is here in Spoons, or whatever they call this town, it's always so dreary.

I don't mean to sound as if I do not like being here. It has been quite… interesting. The Cullen coven has been nothing less than hospitable. I do quite like the big one, Emmett. He has taken a liking to me, I believe. Esme is sweet as well, but one of them is simply amazing! They call her Bella, and I hear she is but weeks old! Already she has mastered her self-control, something that I hadn't mastered until 1922. If only it had come that easy to me… then maybe Siobhan wouldn't obsess over me like a mother does over an infant.

I was watching this strange creature curiously when Carlisle resumed his monologue.

"Naturally, all of you are here willingly. However, the Volturi, along with their guard, pose a threat to my family, so I will ask anyone whose loyalty is not completely with us to leave. We will not hold ill will. You may leave as friends." There was no silence this time.

"I have made our allegiance clear, Carlisle," Siobhan declared hastily, "And God knows that I do not want a fight. But if it comes down to that, I will not permit some of the… others... in my coven to fight." Most eyes flickered to me, and fury welled up inside of me.

"I'm not your child, Siobhan!" I shrieked. How dare she refer to me as if I am under her command. "I may be trapped in the body of a fourteen-year-old, but I am nearing my centennial now. I fought off the Irish famine- I can most certainly fight off the Volturi!" Some of the others laughed, and it did sound quite amusing in context, but I was completely serious.

Siobhan's soft yellow eyes bore into mine sadly, as if she was realizing the loss of a child. My expression softened a bit, mostly out of guilt. Eventually, I couldn't take the sadness in my substitute mother's eyes. I turned around in a hurry, desperate for the support of the other vampires. Before an argument could break out, somebody spoke.

"Ah, but dear Siobhan," Carlisle began, a twinkle in his topaz eyes, "If only you had more faith in your abilities. If you simply will for a peaceful confrontation, then alas your allegiance will be concrete!" Some others laughed at this, but I did not think that this was unlikely. After all, odd things happened when Siobhan wanted them to.

The corners of Siobhan's mouth twitched, and I myself laughed. I laughed at what an odd situation we were in, despite the terror that was slowly approaching. The Egyptians were smiling, and the Romanians didn't look entirely bored for once. It would be quite a pleasant reunion under any other circumstances.

"Focus, leeches," a voice called from the back of the room, "We have a battle to prepare for." Every face turned towards the strange man against the wall. He was not a vampire, of that I was sure. But he appeared much too relaxed to be human… And he did not smell delicious, like the other humans that I encountered so often. In fact, he smelled simply revolting. I could hear his heartbeat, the only one in the room, but it did not allure me. And then I heard Liam whisper into my ear, "Wolf." I blinked. This did not mean anything to me. I had heard that the Cullens had some aversion to some pack of animals here, but it was not in a vampire's nature to instinctively hate wolves.

"Now, Jacob," Bella whispered lovingly, "There won't be a battle." I scoffed. Surely a newborn like her was just itching to experiment with her new strength. Jake glanced at Bella, his expression thick with frustration.

"There very well might be," he retorted, "And if it comes down to that, then we have a lot at stake." His eyes flew to the far corner of the room, where the little girl was sitting. It was the first time since my arrival this morning that I had actually studied her. She did have a heartbeat, I realized, only it was much softer than the strange wolf-boy's thunderous, pounding heart. Barely recognizable in comparison.

Renesme Carlie Cullen was the reason we were even here. She was growing, every day. She was getting longer, mere days after she had been born. If we could prove to the Volturi her steady growth, then we could all leave peacefully, with clear consciences. I myself had known that the Cullens were not decieving us. Like many of the Cullen vampires, I also had a special gift. I knew when I was being lied to. Siobhan often joked that it was because of my pride.

And then, in a flash of black and white, Edward Cullen flew into the middle of the room. His eyes were wide and his skin somehow looked sallower.

"They have arrived."