AUTHOR'S NOTE: The sequel to More Like Her. The rest of the story from Piper's perspective. The first chapter is a little rough, I apologize for that now. But things will pick up just as soon as I get used to being in her head. I hope you guys enjoy and please, pleasereview. It keeps me writing and I love reading everything y'all have to say, both about this new story and about the previous one.
Stephenie Meyer's holding all the cards, I'm just peeking over her shoulder.
What had I been thinking?
When I made that decision, the decision to leave the Cullens in search of my past, it had honestly seemed like a good idea at the time. After all, how could you remember your life unless you retraced your steps?
My steps traced all the way from Hanover, New Hampshire to Valdosta, Georgia. That was where I'd been born and raised, but it wasn't where I ultimately found the one thing I'd always been missing. The one thing that had always been denied to me, just because of who I was and the family I'd been born into.
It's strange when you think about a person having three names in their lifetime, but only surviving seventeen years. Seventeen years of torture and violence. I could only now remember my family through dimly-lit memories, memories that had been seen through human eyes. I was no longer human. For all intents and purposes, my life ended when I raced from my hometown to escape the worst kind of hell.
In the span of thirteen months, I went from being Piper Cheyanne Reaves, to Piper Cheyanne North, and finally Piper Cheyanne Cullen. Out of these three names, the only one that made me feel more than just some shell of a person was Piper Cullen. It was also the surname of the person that traded my human life for something different.
Before meeting Dr. Carlisle Cullen, I'd never thought that vampires existed. Of course, I'd read the books. I knew enough about the mythology that the darkness of it intrigued me. But looking back now, I realized that there had been a lot of dark elements to my life. How else was a little girl going to distract herself while her mommy begged for her daddy to show mercy? It was through this world, a world I didn't even believe in that I was able to maintain some semblence of my sanity.
Dr. Carlisle Cullen transformed me into a vampire to save my life. A life that, once I'd become a vampire, I couldn't remember. All because of the man that had given me the last name North.
This was the same man I now stalked. He was the only reason I'd decided to leave Hanover and return to the one place I'd sworn I would never step foot into again.
But yet, here I was, hidden in shadows while I watched Jason North leave the tiny apartment that had once belonged to us. Me, him, and our infant daughter.
Rage surged through me in blinding rush as the faint memories in Virgina washed over me. It was strange how easily I could recall some things now. Now that I was back in the home of my nightmares, the blank spots were finally starting to fill themselves in. I could feel everything now, so much stronger than I'd ever been able to endure in my human life. I still had this hidden fear that I wouldn't be able to remember everything that had happened to me. After all, these were the events that led me to who I was now. Or rather, what I now was. I was now a force worse than death. But I'd hoped, in vain, that coming back to Valdosta would unlock some of the mental doors that had been closed off to me when I lost consciousness just six months ago.
Jason climbed into the shabby car he'd rebuilt when we were fifteen and drove off. I'd never thought that I could be so disgusted with another human being. Even though my life had been less than stellar, I had always prided myself on coming out of it as unscathed as I had. But now, I was realizing just how very wrong I'd been about my self-image. I couldn't help but look at this person now and be unable to overlook all of the pain and agony he'd put me through. How had I been so blind to his faults? How could I have looked at him like...like I now looked at Edward.
Just his name alone sent a slice of pain through my entire body. I was momentarily frozen by it. It went a lot deeper than I'd thought it would and against my better judgment, I began to flash back on the last few minutes I'd spent with him. In the bedroom the Cullens have given to me when I joined their family.
My first memory as a vampire had included Edward Cullen. He'd actually been in the room when I woke up, staring at me with this unreadable expression on his face. Of course, he'd known what I would awaken to, all of the limitations and temptations set out before me. But as I stared at him for those first, fateful few minutes; I'd seen none of that in his eyes. It was almost as if...as if the only thing he felt for me right then was pity.
That was the first time I realized just how deeply Edward loathed the monster that lurked behind his beautiful golden eyes. His face was forever embossed in the perfect memory granted to me as a vampire. Just closing my eyes brought it all back. The most vivid memory in my arsenal; the image of Edward that very first day.
Refusing to let myself dwell on that anymore, I pushed the onset of pain to the side and slid out of the shadows I'd hidden in to watch Jason. I needed to make absolutely sure that he was gone, I didn't want the temptation of him being so close to me. Not when the only thing I could clearly think of doing to him was delivering him to death's door. He'd done the same for me, the monster behind my own eyes justified that it was perfectly reasonable for me to return the favor. My stomach clenched uncomfortably when a sudden list of all the people I wanted to hurt sprang to mind.
Maybe I wasn't as over my past as I liked to think I was.
I finally made it back to my hotel room and suddenly began to wish I still had the ability to sleep. The door clicked shut quietly behind me as I toed off my sneakers then sighed and dropped onto the edge of the neatly made bed. It had surprised me a little when I was first told I would never again fall asleep, but the way I saw it? There was nothing else for me to dream about. I'd long ago lost the urge to dream of a world that was better than the one I was stuck in. Hoping for something like that did no good and usually ended me in more hot water than I'd been in at the time.
Still, right then I would have given anything to be able to lay down and slip into another world. The loneliness that had clung to me from the moment I climbed into the car given to me by the Cullens, felt even tighter around me now that I had nothing to do but think.
I got to my feet anyway and sighed lowly as I peered through the cheap blinds covering the wide window. Right in front of the door sat the pristine automoblie that was mine and mine only. I'd owned a car in my human life, yeah. But it had been a beat-up Nissan that Jason had rebuilt. Barely. I smiled softly and remembered vaguely all the time and energy I spent negotiating with a piece of junk. When the negotiating didn't work, then I would end up threatening it. At the time, it'd been very theraputic to get it all out. All the things I'd wanted to say to Jason were unleashed on a defenseless car.
At least I could say I had one thing in my life that was unreliable but at least it never yelled back.
Now, in place of that beat-up Nissan, I had a gorgeous, vintage 1968 Charger painted solid black. I'd always wanted a car like the one I was currently staring at. Dreaming about this car had actually been a direct result from my upbringing, from sitting with my father in better moments and talking about the cars we would own if we were ever lucky enough to obtain them. I'd mentioned this in passing to, of all people, Edward. Just two weeks after mentioning it, the car showed up in the garage, parked perfectly between Edward's Mustang and Rosalie's glossy red BMW convertible. At first I'd just assumed that it was someone else's car. One of the other members of my new family had gone out and found this car, having no idea that they now owned the car of my dreams. But when the keys were slid into my hand, I was flabbergasted. How could people who barely knew me give me such an amazing gift?
But it was mine. The first thing in the world I ever owned and I didn't have to share it with a single person if that was what I chose to do. It was a little strange how a simple automobile could make me feel like that. But every time I looked at the car, before leaving Hanover, was that I had the ability to escape now. I could climb into this car and just drive. No one would come looking for me, no one would be hounding me for information on when I was coming back and if I was making my intended trip alone. There were no strings attached to this car, I was free to use it however I wanted.
Abruptly, staring at the shiny finish reminded me of every single thing I left behind. And for what? That was a question that now seemed to have no answer. Why did I leave? If I got right down to it, no longer lying to myself or putting up false pretenses, the answer was staring me right in the face.
I was simply just not strong enough to face everything that was being built up around me. When you've spent a lifetime in a world of misery and unhappiness, finally finding the exact opposites of that? All you could really do was just sit there and wait for the bottom to fall out.
So instead, I just decided to rip the bottom right out. Before anyone could send my world crashing in around me, I decided to inflict the damage on myself.
I stepped away from the window, blinds snapping back into place behind me, and looked around the bare room. There was only a queen sized bed, two beside tables and a small tables-and-chair set up crammed into the small space. This could hardly constitute as home, not after the splendor I'd seen through the eyes of a Cullen. But strangely, as I walked further into the room and bodily threw myself onto the bed, this felt right to me.
This was what I deserved. This was what I was used to.
As soon as I got comfortable and finally silenced the noise in my head, a new disruption occured. Of course, the tiny silver cell phone I'd agreed to take when I left Hanover. It'd been ringing for quite a while now, which strangely pissed me off to no end. That familiar ringtone kept breaking the silence and instead of answering, I only contemplated throwing it against the wall.
I could hear the shatter it would make as it splintered into tiny pieces and rained across the trampled carpetting. I didn't have to lift my eyes and look up to see the mental images my violent thought created. It would feel so good to just sit up and with a simple flick of the wrist, demolish the tiny, silver device.
But then that would leave me without a direct line to the life I'd left behind. The world I wanted, more than anything, to return to. I wasn't even sure I had it in me to keep going like this, spending eternity without anyone by my side.
Nevermind the tolerance I needed to be out in public and around humans. It would take centuries, if not longer, for me to feel completely comfortable among my former kind. But every time I stepped out of the room and walked back into the world, I felt nothing. No anger, no unquenchable thirst. Nothing. I was happily numb, even though that melodic pulse triggered the violent burst of flames forever coating my throat. Compared to the other things I had to deal with, managing my thirst came in a distant fifth.
But sometimes, I wondered. How freeing would it be to just let go? After years and years of keeping it all together, playing the perfect little girl no matter what was going on, just letting go almost felt intoxicating to me. It was something I couldn't get over now, no matter how much I tried to divert my attention to something else. There was just no getting around the idea of embracing what I'd become. Other members of the family I'd been born into had done so, with few exceptions.
I still didn't know the entire back history of my family, only because I'd been too afraid to ask. In the human world, there lines you just did not cross and that had to pertain to this world as well. It must've. How else could I explain being kept in the dark about so many things?
This wasn't the first time I lay on a flat surface with more questions than answers. The insanity of it all was starting to make me want to snap. Why did life always have to be this way? Why couldn't things just be simple and neat? That was all I'd ever really wanted anyway. Whenever I dared to let myself think of the future, or how I could change my present situation, all I wanted was simplicity. I wanted people around me that actually cared, I wanted them to see me as more than someone they could use and hurt.
But, of course, that never happened. I'd hoped it would with the Cullens but that was my own doing. In that senario, I'd become the bad guy. I was the one that ripped everything out by the roots. I hadn't given myself time to just sit and enjoy everything. I'd been too scared and wary.
Finally, the incessant ringing got to be too much. I didn't hesitate as I sent the phone flying through the air. But when it bounced off the wall and broke apart, I didn't feel the hint of satisfaction I'd assumed I would. I no longer had to be careful now. There wasn't anyone to watch out for me and make sure I didn't disrupt the balance set up by the vampire world. But still, the desire to do that, to be perfect was still deeply embedded in me.
I couldn't disappoint anyone if my life depended on it.
I flung myself off the bed with barely any effort at all. It was just three seconds later that I found myself snatching up fresh clothes and stepping under the hot spray of water. There was no longer a need for me to bathe, but sometimes it was just...soothing. A humanstic gesture to remind a vampire of what they once were. How silly that I still clung to those when I'd left everything else behind. If I'd thought striking out on my own would be freeing, I'd been devestatingly wrong.
All I felt now, standing alone in a shower stall with tearless sobs tearing my insides apart, was alone. I'd never felt this when I was still alive.