After a day or two I started to get used to being surrounded by vampires and shape shifters. I had also successfully divided those present into two groups; those that were a permanent part of the family, and those who were only loosely connected, and were currently visiting.
Seth Clearwater and his sister Leah were visiting. They were related to Jacob Black through this shape shifting business. Jacob and Nessie were together, and permanent members of the family. Edward and Bella were Nessie's parents; Bella had actually given birth to the half-vampire. Carlisle was Edward's father in that he had turned him, as he had turned Esme, and Rosalie, and Emmett.
Carlisle and Esme were, so to speak, Edward's parents, and Nessie's grandparents. And Emmett and Rosalie and Jasper and Alice were all considered Carlisle and Esme's children as well, in a complicated sort of way, especially when you considered that Rosalie and Emmett were married, as were Alice and Jasper.
And then there was the whole imprinting thing. Jacob, it seemed, had imprinted on Nessie. Something about them being soul mates or something.
And apparently, Seth had imprinted on me, and, according to Alice, we were going to end up getting married. Lovely. I was destined, according to a vampire, a psychic vampire, to marry a shape shifter. Which brought me to another thing about these guys.
Alice could see the future. Edward could read minds. Jasper could feel and control other people's emotions. Bella was some kind of shield or something, and Nessie could somehow touch you and make you see things. And, of course, Jacob and Leah and Seth could all turn into wolves.
But that's beside the point. According to Alice I'm not only going to be sticking around, but I'm also going to be marrying someone who can turn into a wolf.
At least he wasn't being obnoxious about it. He tried not to follow me around too much, but was constantly nearby, as if to reassure me that the vampires weren't going to get me.
Sam seemed to be having the time of her life, though I noticed the family was doing all they could to keep her clear of Jasper. It was odd how easily she fit in, and how comfortable she was in the presence of all these vampires.
Seth laughed when I pointed that out. "They aren't so bad, once you get used to them. Smell funny, though." He said, making a face.
Jasper stayed clear of me, and of Sam. I hadn't actually seen him since he and Alice had gone hunting. I wondered if I had done something to upset him; I couldn't figure out why he would just ignore me like this.
Edward sighed and stopped to explain. I had forgotten, yet again, about his talent for reading minds. "He's not upset. He just doesn't want to risk it."
"Risk what?" I asked.
"Risk losing control around you or Sam. We still aren't sure how he's handling it after all this time."
"Oh." I said. "I see."
That had been the morning after we spent the night there. Do you know how hard it is to get to sleep when you're trying to sleep in a house full of vampires? The fact that they don't sleep aside, you don't really feel like it's the best idea to close your eyes and drift off, even if you are sleeping in a bed because Alice was off with Jasper 'hunting' and wouldn't need it. And them trying to be quiet so as not to disturb us wasn't any help either. The only thing worse than trying to sleep in a house full of vampires is trying to sleep in a house full of vampires when you have no idea where any of them are.
I eventually drifted off to sleep, though, and slept pretty soundly.
The sun was shining brightly when I woke up, and I nearly panicked all over again. Sam was gone. She had gone straight to sleep last night; she seemed to feel perfectly safe around the Cullens. But now she was nowhere to be seen.
I was up and out of the room in seconds. Where was my daughter?
"Sam?" I called. "Sam?" I heard a shriek from outside, and my heart about stopped beating. I ran through the house and out the front door. I looked around the yard for the source of the scream.
Emmett, the huge vampire, was chasing my child around the yard. I stood frozen as he moved, almost more quickly than I could follow, to block her as she tried to run. Then he pounced on her, and swept her up off her feet. She shrieked as he tossed her over his shoulder.
I started as I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was Seth.
"Don't worry, Emmett's just playing around." He reassured me. I stared at him. A vampire? Playing? With my human daughter? He chuckled, and turned to watch them. "Hey, Emmett! You're scaring the human!"
Emmett didn't bother to look up from what he was doing. "I am not! She's perfectly fine. Having the time of her life!"
"Not that one!" Seth shouted back. "The other one! You know, the Mom!"
He looked over then, and set Sam down. She ran to join me, grinning from ear to ear, and he followed behind a bit more slowly. "Sorry." He said, looking sheepish. "Didn't mean to frighten you. Just, she was bored, and wanted to play..." He trailed off, and shrugged.
I wasn't sure what to say. He honestly hadn't meant any harm. "It's okay, I was just..."
Emmett laughed. "Worried when you woke up in a house full of vampires and your daughter was nowhere to be found."
I managed a nervous chuckle. "Yeah."
"No worries." He said easily. "I'm gonna go find Jasper."
"Jasper?" I asked Seth.
Seth shrugged. "Jasper wanted to know when you were up, I think."
"Why?" I asked. Seth just shrugged again.
"You know, you don't really have to worry about her here. Much." He said. "I mean, yeah, they're vampires. Yeah, they drink blood. But these guys have been doing this whole vegetarian thing longer than you've been alive. Longer than I've been alive, even. Like Carlisle, he's been doing this for around four hundred years. I don't think he even notices the smell of blood anymore. Even Nessie and Bella are really good at controlling themselves. The only real worry is how Jasper's gonna handle everything now."
"Oh." I said. I was reassured, a little.
"Anyway, I think Jasper wanted to talk to you, so if you want I can watch Sam while you guys chat." He offered.
"Sure." I said. I didn't really want her out of my sight, but then, I didn't really want her near Jasper.
Seth took off with Sam just as Emmett reappeared, Jasper a few steps behind him. Emmett settled against the porch railing, arms crossed against his chest, waiting. Jasper stood before me nervously.
Why was Emmett here? Emmett caught my confused glance in his direction and grinned. "I'm here because I'm the one Jasper's least likely to hate himself for biting." He explained, which only left me more confused.
Jasper growled at him. "That's not funny."
Emmett shrugged. "Fine. I'm here because Jasper wants to talk to you, but is worried about being able to control himself. So I can step in if anything happens. I'm doing this instead of anyone else because if he ends up biting me he won't feel as bad as he would if he ended up biting Carlisle or Edward or Alice." He frowned at his brother. "So why is it okay to bite me and not anyone else?" He demanded.
Jasper shrugged. "Because you're the one that annoys me the most." He retorted. "Now shut up." Emmett shrugged, and winked at me. They were just picking at each other, like siblings do.
Jasper turned his attention back to me. "I wanted to thank you." He said.
I looked down. I could feel myself blushing. Jasper shifted uneasily, and Emmett tensed, ready to intervene. I swallowed nervously. "Sorry." I said.
Jasper chuckled tersely. "It happens. But really, thank you. I would still be trapped in that hell-hole if it weren't for you. I have my family back, I have Alice back. I don't think I can properly explain how grateful I truly am."
I shrugged, embarrassed. "I was just glad to be able to help." I said.
Jasper nodded. Then he smiled. With a bow, he said, "I am forever in your debt, Miss Thomas." Then he darted off, across the yard, to join Alice, who stood talking to Edward and Carlisle.
Emmett grinned at me as I continued blushing. "We all are, really." He said. "In your debt." Then he rocketed off the porch and across the yard as well, where he tackled Edward.
It was weird, having everyone in the house walk around acting like I was a hero or had saved the world or something. They were constantly thanking me, or smiling at me. It was unsettling.
Sam seemed to like it here. And the vampires, oddly enough, seemed to dote on her. They watched out for her, played with her, and tried to spoil her. It was weird. Almost as weird as the fact that my daughter, who had never been very fond of people, seemed to have grown attached to a family of vampires.
What worried me, though, was that she wouldn't stay away from Jasper. He would usually try to move away from her, but she was pretty determined. Fortunately, she was usually intercepted by one of the others, who would distract her from her target, much to Jasper's relief.
Alice finally scooped her up, and set her on her lap. "Now." She said firmly. "We need to talk, Sam." My daughter looked up at her seriously, and Alice smiled reassuringly. "You aren't in any sort of trouble, darling. It's just this." She was silent for a moment, deciding how to say what she needed to say. "You know Jasper was in a hospital, right?" Sam nodded. "And he was there for five years. That's longer than you've been alive. Right?" Sam nodded again, waiting patiently. "Well, you know that Jasper's like us, don't you Sam? That he's not like you and your mom?" Another nod. "Well, it's kind of hard for him right now. He's worried he might accidently hurt you." Alice looked at Sam solemnly. "Now, I know that one day you two are going to be great friends, but right now you need to give him some time. Okay?"
Sam nodded on last time, and I nearly had a heart attack as she smiled and said, "Okay, Alice."
Alice wasn't surprised. "That's a good girl." Alice said brightly, and let my daughter slide out of her lap. "Now go play, and give Emmett a break. Rosalie's getting jealous."
Sam looked up at the vampire. "Can I go play with Carlisle?" She piped. Her voice was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard.
Alice nodded. "Yes, you may." She said brightly.
I stared as my daughter skipped cheerfully out of the room. Had my daughter just spoken? Had she really spoken? "Alice?" I asked.
Alice smiled and came to stand in front of me. "Yes." She said. "She's really speaking."
I nearly burst into tears. "How? They said-" Alice shook her head as my voice broke.
"They were wrong." She said briskly. "I talked to Edward, and he said there's nothing wrong with her. She just wasn't ready to start talking yet." Alice regarded me seriously. "Everything happens in its own time, you know." I nodded.
If nothing else, our stay with the vampires had done this, and I was grateful. My daughter was happy, and confident, and talking.
Eventually things settled down, and thoughts turned to something more serious.
Seth had explained who the Volturi were, and Jacob had added that they had recently gone after the Cullen Clan, and there had been a fight, and that the Cullens were, in essence, in hiding, or had been until now.
They needed to figure out what to do next.
Author's note: And here is where we end another story. Hope you enjoyed it, and thank you so much for all the reviews. They make me feel so appreciated.
Disclaimer: Twilight does not belong to me.