A/N: Here it is, the much anticipted sneak peek of the sequel to Fact/Ficiton! Some important things to know: It's in Carly's POV, and this is where her adventure begins. It starts exactly where Fact/Fiction ended. I guess that'sall you need to know for now, but I have yet to write most of this story (I have an outline- that's it!), so if you have any ideas, advice, or just good lines you want to toss out there, be sure to let me know! I'm really excited about this story, and I hope you are too!
Oh, and just one more THANKS to EVERYONE who's read my story. If you made it this far, you are one of the most amazing people on the planet and I can't thank you enough! I love you guys! Peace out!
Sneak Peek of the Sequel to This Is Fact, Not Fiction
Talk about paranoid. Those freaks who sit in their houses all day, mumbling about the creepy people who are out to get them? Yeah, they know nothing. I'm one of the fortunate few who have actually been introduced to the world where you always have to watch your back.
Yeah, I'm talking about the friggin' vampires. Of all the mythological creatures, they had to be real. And my best friend had to date one of them, thus dragging me into the cheesy horror flick that I now call my life. Great, just great.
Yeah, I suppose you could say I brought it on myself. I did sort of convince her to date him in the first place… but in my defense, how was I to know that he was actually one of the elite, immortal, bloodsucking undead? He just looked like a normal guy to me. Okay that's a lie, there was nothing normal about Sean McNally; everything about him screamed FABULOUS!
God damn my freaking hormones. It was totally my fault that Tessa got involved with him. I forced my own best friend to date a deadly, obsessive, teenage vampire, and only barely got her out of the fix with the help of more vampires. VAMPIRES! Why did my life have to crash into some sick fantasy that involved VAMPIRES?
But all that was behind us now. Tessa met Jacob Black, amazing Quileute Indian chief / gorgeous werewolf, and somehow magically fell in love with him (something I still don't quite understand), forcing her to break up with the vampire, who, after a crazy hunt down of my best friend and an extended cat-and-mouse chase, actually found his own soul mate, and my best friend finally got her "happily ever after," if you believe those things exist, which I suppose they could, seeing as vampires and werewolves are real, why not, right?
Right. So, here we are in happily-ever-after-land, and everyone's happy. Then WHY do I still get the heebie-jeebies whenever I leave my apartment?
I'll tell you why: Because everywhere I go, I still see them. Every pale face is the face of a vampire. Every cold hand I bump against is the hand of a killer. I've turned into a paranoid maniac!
It doesn't help that my vampire cohort, Lisa, keeps showing up to say hi. Honestly, I thought she had her own friends now? Our days of conspiring teamwork are way over. I just wish that I could forget any of it happened. I just want to go back to being normal.
Do things go back to normal? No, of course not. I have Lisa, Jacob, and of course, Tessa, to remind me, it all happened. Goodbye normal, solid, believable world, hello vampires, werewolves, and nightmares, oh my!
I haven't had a peaceful night's sleep since the day I found out the McNallys were all vampires, and the whole waking-up-screaming-in-the-middle-of-the-night thing isn't doing so well for my popularity, especially at college, and especially with my boyfriend, Mike.
To be honest, I don't give Mike the amount of credit he really deserves. After all, it's been months that I've been keeping this huge secret from him, and he still wants to be with me. If our places were switched, I probably would have accused of an affair ages ago. I can't believe that this is what my life has come to; I never leave my apartment unless I have to, I'm keeping secrets from my boyfriend whom I am madly in love with, and my completely unromantic-best friend is closer to getting married than me. Can you say jealous?
It's just not fair! She got into this whole supernatural mess, dragged me with her, and yet she gets to be happy and lovey-dovey until death-do-us-part before me, and I'm stuck with creepy nightmares that resemble badly made horror-flicks from the 1950's!
But, oh wait, I forgot. It was all my fault, remember? Right. That's why my life sucks.
It was Tessa's surprise birthday party, and I was making myself comfortable at her house, per usual, while her family bounced around in anticipation of her and Jacob's arrival. I knew for a fact that she had no idea about the party; I made the tactful cell-phone call from my "dorm" to throw her off our trail myself. I hadn't seen my favorite girl since the weekend she made it home from the Cullen Estate, an adventure I was more than happy to have been excluded from, but I found her a changed girl from the one I had known before.
When I left Tessa at Dartmouth in August, she was still a scared, timid girl, stuck in a limbo of indecision. But when she came back… What a difference. Not only did she radiate happiness and good health, but the life was back in her, color returned to her pale cheeks, like she had thawed from some frozen state of being. And I thanked Jacob for that. I had never seen anyone who made her that happy, but the attachment went beyond mere chemistry. He was perfect for her. He reacted to her every movement apparently unconsciously, giving her the exact right amount of space. There were no strange silences between them; they always had something to say to one another, and if not, their eyes did all the talking. She was different, but in a good way.
I was yanked out of my reverie by Mrs. Calder's obsessive preparations for her daughter's arrival. Actually, the woman was probably more nervous about the boyfriend that would be coming with her. I didn't blame her at all; I had been scared silly when I first saw the massive hunk of man that was wrapped so innocently around the tiny shape of my best friend. Apparently Tessa has some kind of complex for mythological creatures. First vampires, now werewolves…
At least the latter didn't claim blood as their first form of sustenance. I could deal with that.
"Should I cut the cake before she gets here? I mean, it would save the time later, and we'd be sure to have equal sized pieces. But then, maybe some people want larger pieces? Or maybe we won't eat the whole thing and freeze the rest for later, in which case I shouldn't cut it. And we want Tessa to see the decorations on it, don't we? But it's just sitting there right now, and I don't just want to leave it-"
Tessa's brother, John, rolled his eyes and he motioned to his friend Eric to follow him upstairs. They weren't the most patient of our group.
"Mrs. Calder," I interrupted the woman's flustered monologue. "You aren't really going to try to deprive Tessa of cutting her own birthday cake, are you? Just calm down, we'll have plenty of time after she gets here! Why don't you sit down?"
"Oh no, I couldn't sit down…" she said distractedly while ringing her hands and staring out the front window, eyes scouting for any vehicle that looked like it had even the slightest inclination to pull into the driveway. "I don't know why I'm so nervous, it just seems like every time I have Tessa anywhere near me, she's going to disappear within seconds. You heard what happened the last time she came home, didn't you?"
"Yes, Tessa told me all about it. But really, could you blame her for the blunder? She's possibly one of the most forgetful people I know."
Mrs. Calder was of course referring to the time when Tessa and Jake had used the house to hide out during the days when Sean McNally was on the hunt for Tessa's mortality. They had gone speeding off almost as soon as they had arrived, barely getting the time to socialize with Tessa's family, and leaving with the poor excuse that Tessa had orchestra rehearsal at her college and had entirely forgotten about it. Which, all things considered, wasn't entirely unbelievable. Just inconvenient.
"I suppose she is a little forgetful…" Mrs. Calder mused while pacing around the kitchen. "Well, she gets that from my side of the family. I probably shouldn't be so accusing. You know, I really can't stay still. I'm going to take Hugo out for a walk."
"Brilliant idea, Mrs. Calder, I'm sure she'll show up while you're gone."
"Of course! Like waiting for food at a restaurant; as soon as you leave, the food arrives!"
"I suppose you're right," she sighed, the nerves no better for wear, leading a happy Hugo out the back door.
"Wow, what is the big deal around here?" my boyfriend, Mike, asked while scooting closer to me on the Calder's couch. Now that Tessa's mom was out of the room, he was a little more at ease. "They're acting like the president is coming, or something."
"Worse," I laughed. "Tess is bringing her boyfriend."
"You mean that Sean guy?" he asked, putting his arm around me casually.
"No, they broke up a few weeks ago. Tess met someone knew, and he's… a little intimidating." I didn't know why I hadn't filled Mike in on the details in Tessa's life, other than that I didn't particularly want to reflect on them myself.
"Intimidating how?" Mike asked. "Like, tattoos and dread locks? Or is he the motorcycle-riding, beer-chugging kind of guy?" He laughed at his own little joke, but I couldn't managed to laugh with him.
"It's kind of hard to explain. You'll see him when he gets here."
Mike shrugged a silent "okay," and turned his focus out the window towards the driveway where all our eyes had been fixed all morning. Almost as if on cue, the black Volkswagen Rabbit slowed and turned into the Calder's driveway.
"She's here!" I squealed, jumping off the couch and running to the window where I crouched down just out of sight. I watched Tessa and Jacob get out of the car, Jacob hurrying over to her side to close her door and wrap his arm around her waist, a motion so smooth it looked natural. Mrs. Calder and Tess's big, fluffy dog Hugo were walking in the front lawn and Hugo ran over to Tess and Jacob, leaping with joy as he shamefully threw himself at Jacob's feet, tail wagging furiously.
"Hey, Hugo never acts like that when I come over," I heard Mike mutter behind me. I turned to see him standing right behind me, peering over my head trying to see Tessa's "intimidating" boyfriend clearly.
"You idiot, get down!" I said sharply, pulling the hem of his polo shirt so that he was crouching behind me. "God, you're so nosey! You'll see them soon enough, this is supposed to be a surprise, remember?"
"Says the girl who's face is glued to the window," he chuckled sweetly, kissing my cheek. Hmm, I would love to pull his mouth on top of my lips and keep it there for a while, but at that moment I was on a mission, I could not be distracted…
The sound of the back door opening startled both of us and we tore apart, ducking behind the couch where Tess would see us when she walked into the room. Mrs. Calder was nervously spewing random bits of information to try and distract Tessa, but this was normal behavior for her, so Tess wasn't suspicious.
"…And John's been doing very well at school this year, he made it on the honor roll for first term, and his science teacher nominated him for student of the month!" She said brightly, placing Tessa's bag on the kitchen table. Hugo followed her, his nails clicking on the kitchen's brick floor. The shuffle of bodies told me that Tessa and Jacob were both standing just on the other side of the couch. My heart was racing from the excitement.
"That's great," Tessa said. "Where is John? I haven't talked to the little bugger in ages."
"SURPRISE!" Mike and I jumped up from behind the couch just as John and Eric leaped down the stairs, forcing a very surprised Tessa to scream and fall backward, where Jacob fortunately caught her. John and Eric were laughing so hard you could hear another word said in the room.
"Oh! We so got you, we got you good!" Eric squealed while jumping up and down. I raced forward and grabbed my best friend in a hug around the shoulders.
"Oh my God, I've missed you so much!" I cried out, laughing along with everyone else.
"You scared the heck out of me!" Tessa screamed, though her face was breaking into the smile I knew and loved. She turned against Jacob, taking out the rest of her anger.
"You were in on this weren't you? I can't believe you!" She smacked him playfully and his grin was wide enough to knock the walls down. He just chuckled and kissed her on top of the head.
This kiss did the trick; She was calm, all smiles. "I should have known," she laughed. "He did say something that made me suspect…"
"All part of my clever plot," Jacob laughed. "I am the master at surprises."
"Well, it was a great help having you in on our little plan," Mrs. Calder agreed. "Happy Birthday, Baby Girl," She said affectionately, squeezing Tessa's arm. "My goodness, I can't believe you're nineteen. So grown up! I remember the day you were born, it was sunny, and warm, and I was walking all over the hospital because you were so stubborn-"
"I've heard the story, Mom," Tessa said quickly to end the monologue before it got underway. "Alright, if this is a party, where's my cake?"
Tessa's mom lead her around the kitchen while I was faced with the uncomfortable job of introducing my boyfriend to Jacob Black.
"Mike, this is Jacob," I said, waving my hand in front of the large Native American. Jacob smiled and extended a hand of greeting.
"It's nice to meet you, Tessa's told me a lot about you," he said in his deep husky voice. I was still a little awed every time I saw Jacob, and now was no exception. Mike was looking at him apprehensively, clearly comprehending the intimidating quality the Quileute werewolf possessed. If anything, he was sizing him up, like competition.
"Can't say I've heard much about you," Mike said a little less warmly than Jake's greeting had been. "But then, I haven't seen Tess in a while. Spending too much time with my girlfriend, I suppose," he said meaningfully, putting a forceful arm around my waist, like he was claiming his territory. He was acting very odd.
Jacob seemed to understand better than I did because he politely excused himself and joined Tessa who was catching up with her parents while she and Mrs. Calder cut the beautiful birthday cake we had ordered for her.
As soon as Jacob was gone I pulled Mike's arm off me and faced him. "What was that about?" I said, a little more sharply than I intended.
Mike looked startled for a second then mumbled, "Nothing…"
We celebrated, we ate cake, and we enjoyed ourselves for the majority of the afternoon. Tessa and Jacob were nearly inseparable, Mrs. Calder was happy as ever, John and Eric had ditched the party as soon as the cake was gone, and Mr. Calder was grilling Jacob with questions about power tools. And Mike was slightly more removed than usual. I couldn't figure out why he was acting so strangely.
After dinner, everyone went outside to join in on a game of Frisbee, the favorite sport of all the Calders. Everything seemed to be going fine until Tessa got so warmed up that she tossed off her sweatshirt, revealing a large purple bruise on her arm.
The air in my lungs froze as I saw that bruise. Bruises weren't anything new for Tess. She was very familiar with them, in fact, thanks to a certain vampire…
"My goodness, Tessa!" Mrs. Calder exclaimed. "How'd you get that bruise?"
"Ugh," Tessa moaned. "Don't remind me, it's so embarrassing!"
Jacob was laughing. "That's just Tessa being Tessa. She thought it would be a good idea to try to carry all her books and her French Horn down the stairs at once, without even turning the hall light on-"
"-And I tripped, fell, tossed all my stuff on the floor, and voila! Big purple bruise to remind me not to be an idiot next time," Tessa finished, showing off the masterpiece that covered her bicep. "Jake hasn't let me hear the end of it since! I'm officially not allowed to carry any of my own books because Casanova here has to be gallant all the time!"
"I'm just looking out for your best interest, love," Jacob said sweetly, leaning down to kiss her cheek.
Of course, there was no way any vampire could be hurting Tessa now. Watching Jacob holding her with so much care, I knew that he wouldn't let any danger near her. She would always have him to look out for her.
I watched the two tenderly, my eyes full of what must have been some form of longing. Sure, Tessa had a werewolf to protect her from the scary vampires, but who would protect me? I had no one on my side to keep me safe. I was utterly alone.
I noticed Mike watching me and realized I wasn't alone. I had Mike, but what use was he against vampires? I loved him more than anything, but he was in as great a danger as I was against the threat of the immortal creatures.
The sun was setting and it was becoming too dark to continue our game of Frisbee, so everyone headed inside where Mrs. Calder poured us all glasses of lemonade and Mr. Calder turned on a CD of classical piano music.
"So, Jacob," Tessa's dad said while he fixed his own slightly stronger drink, "Any plans for Christmas yet? Going to spend it with your family you think?"
"Actually, Dad," Tessa said suggestively, a knowing look passing between her and Jacob, "I was wondering if he could spend Christmas with us? You see, we have something kind of important coming up…"
My eyes grew wide as I anticipated what they were about to announce. Mrs. Calder looked as unaware as a fawn, and Mr. Calder's grip on his glass tightened.
Jacob cleared his throat and said with no hesitation, "We're going to get married."
I nearly fainted. Mrs. Calder screamed. John yelled a shocked, "No way!" and Mr. Calder took a very large sip from his drink.
Tessa beamed with excitement, while she continued explaining. "We wanted to tell you today. We're not going to have the wedding for a while, but I want Jacob to spend Christmas with us so we'll have more time to plan and to tell the rest of the family.
"Well," Mrs. Calder said, once she got over the initial surprise, "That's lovely! We're so happy to welcome you to the family!"
Mr. Calder's comment of "Isn't it a little soon?" was ignored.
Tessa launched into discussing plans with her mother while I zoned out for the most part, until she said my name, bringing me back to reality.
"You're going to be my maid of honor, you have to be! I want Lisa and Alice to be my bridesmaids. Oh, I can't wait for you to meet Alice, the two of you will get along so well!"
There was no end to it, was there? Vampires were a permanent part of my life now. I smiled, and congratulated Tessa, and excused myself, claiming that Mike and I had to get home.
As I silently drove back to my apartment, my mind continued mulling over the information the day had provided me.
My best friend was getting married; it was official. Not that I was one of those hopeless romantics who dreamed of their boyfriend getting down on one knee their entire lives, but it still stung a little that my best friend would be tying the knot before me, after dating her now fiancé for only a little more than a month. Mike and I had been dating for two years and that didn't make us any more ready to get married. Tessa's situation, however, put things into perspective a little more.
"Umm," Mike said hesitantly as we were speeding down the expressway, "Are you going to say something? You've been totally silent since we left."
"Sorry," I stammered, "I was just thinking…"
"Yeah, I know, it's a lot to take in." His eyes widened at the thought and he shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "How long has Tessa been seeing Jacob, anyway?"
"A little more than a month," I answered.
"Seriously? That's it? And they're already making that big of a decision? Shouldn't she wait a little while? Like a year or two?"
"Their relationship is a little different than most," I replied offhandedly. "They are very serious, I'm sure they know exactly what they're getting into." I was entirely confident that they would never have a reason to break up.
"What are you saying?" Mike asked, more offended than I expected. "That our relationship isn't as serious as theirs? That we aren't as in love as they are?"
"No! That's not what I'm saying at all! Where is this coming from?"
"Never mind," Mike muttered, turning to stare out the window. "Forget I said anything."
The rest of the drive home was quiet. The radio was the only one doing the talking. Mike wouldn't look at me, and when I reached out to hold his hand he pulled his back, leaving mine hanging above the gear shift.
I just couldn't understand where this coldness was coming from, but I knew that when we got home I would find out.
When I parked at the apartment building, Mike got out and marched with purpose up the three flights of stairs to our apartment and I hurried to keep up. The whole event reminded me of the opening scene in my favorite movie, P.S. I Love You, and I knew there was more truth to it than just the motions. He was waiting till we were behind closed doors to let me know what was bothering him.
I walked into our small two room apartment, seeing that Mike was pacing between the nonexistent barrier of the living room and the kitchen, anger pulsing off him with every step.
"Okay!" I exclaimed, tossing my bag on the floor and throwing my arms up in the air. "I give up! What on earth has been bothering you today? Ever since this afternoon, you have been in one of the sourest moods I've ever seen! You barely talked to Tessa all day, when it was her party, and you haven't even said much to me! And then that stupid argument on the way home? What is going on?"
Mike stopped pacing and looked at me. "What's going on with me? What's going on with you? How can you blame me for acting weird? Your best friend announced that she's getting married to someone she's known for a month and you aren't the least bit worried? That doesn't strike you as odd at all? I know you, and you love Tessa like a sister, so call me crazy for being surprised that you aren't jumping up and down trying to stop her from making such a big mistake!"
"Hey!" I shouted back defensively. "What makes you think she's making a mistake? You don't know Jacob from Adam, you don't know anything about their relationship-"
"That's another thing," Mike continued. "You go off claiming that they have some kind of special relationship- What could be so different between them than what's between us?"
"Don't you go comparing our relationship to theirs-"
"Ha!" He yelled, pointing his finger at me. "So you do think that they are more serious than we are! You just admitted it!"
"No! I didn't say that!" I objected, becoming more furious by the second. "I'm not comparing us to them, that's stupid and infantile! I told you, it's different-"
"I don't see how!" Mike exclaimed. "Other than the fact that we're clearly more responsible than they are."
"What is so irresponsible about getting married? You keep bring it up, like it's the worst thing they could do-"
"It is!" He yelled, exasperated. "It's stupid! They're acting like complete idiots! Who gets married after knowing each other for a month?"
"People who are in love, obviously!" I said pointedly.
Mike took a step back, like I had hit him in the gut. "You're saying that I don't love you?" he asked quietly.
"No!" I said, shocked. "That's not what I'm saying at all-"
"Then you don't love me?" he continued, hurt forming on his brow as kept moving backward, putting more space between us.
"No!" I pleaded. "I do love you! I do-"
"Yeah right," he spat at me, his face gray with anger and pain. He headed toward our bedroom with a bag in hand, grabbing random things out of drawers and stuffing them in. "You know, I may not be the most observant person in the world, but I can pick up on social cues, and I saw the way you were staring at Jacob today."
I was stunned. "W-wha- what?" I stammered. "Are you suggesting that I have a thing for Jacob?"
"Yeah, I am," he said roughly, glaring at me harshly as he worked his way through the bathroom, grabbing more items that disappeared into his bag.
"As if!" I laughed. "I would never, never, do that to my best friend!"
"Well then how do you explain the way you were looking at them this afternoon? When we were all outside? They have a word for that look, and it's called ENVY."
I was almost speechless. "I- I… I was admiring them, like, together, as a couple! I don't like Jacob! Not at all! I love you-"
"Yeah, well, that only confirms my other suspicion. You want to get married. You're jealous of Tessa, you want a more serious relationship, and I'm sorry! I love you, but I'm not ready to get married, and if you want something more serious than this, than you'll have to find it elsewhere."
He was at the door of our apartment, bag in one hand, keys to his car in the other. My eyes opened for what felt like the first time as I realized what he was about to do.
"No… You're not- No!" I screamed as his hand reached for the door, my tongue tasting the first of the salty tears that had landed on my lips.
The door closed behind him and I fell to the floor, tears and screams issuing from me without my being aware of them. I waited for him to come back through the door so we could kiss and make up, just like in P.S. I Love You. He would come back in, and I would jump into his arms, and then he would do a sexy strip dance in boxers and suspenders…
He didn't come back. I waited another minute, counting seconds under my breath. Finally, I ripped the door open and ran up the last flight of stairs to the roof of our apartment. I ran as close to the edge as I dared, just catching a glimpse of the red taillights as Mike drove away.
My breath was coming in in gasps, and I wrap my arms around my middle, pulling on my sweater to cling to my arms in the cool night air. I screamed. I ran over and kicked a random unidentifiable object that was sitting on the roof. My cell-phone vibrated in my pocket. I picked it up and answered it. It was Lisa. I cried while she talked me down off the roof, already on her way to my apartment.
I was alone in a world full of vampires.