Super-dooper quick update! Woo-hoo! Proud of me? Yeah, I am, too.

Actually, don't be. I didn't write this chapter last night. It was one of the ones I wrote months ago. I'm just now posting it, so it's not exactly new.

But it's new to you! So we'll count it as new!

Okay, this will be the last super-dooper quick update for a while. I've got online drivers ed to finnish, band camp music to practice, and end-of-course exams coming up. But it's all over in about a month! Then summer and I'll (hopefully) have more time. My mom is trying to keep me away from this because "it takes up too much time," but I can't stay away. I've fallen in love with these characters and I want to finnish the story, dangit!

And I happen to love writing Garrett the best :]. Here's a chapter where he messes up ever-so-slightly. Makes Kate stop for a second and remember that he is a man-killer after all. But maybe he can patch it up . . .

Christmas came and went just as it always does for me—without notice. The trees and lights and gifts are just all human things that I have withdrawn myself from since . . . Well, since forever. When forever began to have a much bigger meaning for me.

I spent the next December days watching as Kate, Rosalie, and Emmett taught Bella the art of battle, showing her the technique any newborn wouldn't know without a teacher.

"You've got to be stronger, Bella," Emmett told her as he lifted himself off the ground, pulling Bella up by the arm. He pinned her to the ground in a matter of seconds.

"I don't think I've seen any Volturi as big as you, Emmett," Bella grunted, brushing off the dirt from her designer clothing.

"It's not only the Volturi that will be there—they usually bring others, too," Kate, being the voice of reason, told them.

"I just wish we knew how many . . ." Bella muttered.

Kate put her arm around Bella. "We miss Alice, too."

"Now," Emmett said, interrupting the touching scene, "let's get back to business." He slipped into a crouch, his mouth forming a menacing grin before a slight snarl rippled through his chest.

Rosalie sighed; Bella mimicked his stance.

They circled each other for a moment, then Emmett leaped for Bella, who dodged him quickly—but he came back behind her and took her down.

"Ugh," Bella grunted as she hit the ground.

"Be stronger, Bella. That's all I can say," Emmett informed her with a superior grin, obviously glad he could defeat a newborn.

"She can't get a whole lot stronger than she already is," Rosalie said.

"She could get quicker," I offered, stepping forward slightly. All heads snapped in my direction; they didn't know I was watching. "If you don't mind me saying."

"And how do you suppose we teach her that?" Kate asked, crossing her arms. She looked slightly aggravated at my advice, but I thought I saw her eyes dance when they met mine. But I imagined it.

"It's not exactly something you teach," I said when I gathered myself from her gaze, "mostly something you practice."

Bella looked intrigued. "How long? Do we have time?"

"I don't know—I never did it in a specific time frame. I guess we should get started." I made my way to the clearing they stood in.

"And if we don't have enough time?" Rosalie asked, annoyance in her voice. "It'll just be time wasted. Emmett, start again."

Emmett grinned and walked towards Bella, resuming attack position; Kate stopped him with a hand on his shoulder.

"I think he's got a point," Kate told Rosalie. She looked at me. "Speed would help all of us."

I smiled. "I'll need a guinea pig."

"Got it." Emmett smiled tauntingly and stepped forward. I smiled in return, accepting the challenge.

"I guess we'll know if it's speed or strength, nomad," he growled, crouching. I did the same.

"I guess we will."

A hummingbird couldn't have flapped a wing in the time it took Emmett to come after me. He was fast, but I knew I was faster. I stepped to the side, my hands casually folded behind my back. Emmett stopped himself before he ran into the trees behind me, and I could hear his footsteps as he came racing back. I ran in the same direction, keeping only a few paces ahead. Emmett sped up as he chased me, but I stayed just as fast. Then, I ran a tight circle that Emmett couldn't follow, and came out behind him. I pounced on his back and pushed him into a tree, causing it to fall over. Before Emmett could pick himself up, I ran after him, showing the weak spots he left open. But he rolled to the side and tripped me, sending me into a large boulder. It cracked into two at the impact.

"So who won this one, nomad?" Emmett chuckled.

I stood up and wiped the dirt from my face. "Not bad, Cullen."

"Are you guys done yet?" Rosalie complained from the clearing. I hadn't noticed how far we ran—we were almost out of sight. But it hadn't taken long, only a couple of seconds. Maybe the big guy is faster than I thought.

"Okay, so Bella needs to get stronger," Emmett informed them. "Obviously, speed hasn't won this round."

"But how do we get her even stronger?" Rosalie asked. "She's a newborn—there's not much better in strength."

"There's always one way," I said. I was surprised when the four vampires looked to me in surprise; I thought it was obvious. "Human blood," I shrugged.

Bella looked terrified; Rosalie glared at me; Emmett looked down to the ground and shook his head; Kate just looked disapprovingly at me.