Seattle, Washington, 11:45pm
It was fairly late that night when Hermione and Cho arrived in the hostel room they were sharing. Two beds stood perfectly parallel to one another on each side of the room. Rain was being dumped in buckets from the black clouds that hovered over the city of Seattle, Washington, and both girls were relieved to finally be settling down, despite the fact they both felt wide awake from jetlag and sleep on the plane.
The atmosphere was dark and thick with night and rain, only to be illuminated briefly by lightning before thunder rumbled loudly over the sky. The city's lights could scarcely be seen from the window. Even the famous "Space Needle" could only be spotted when one had to narrow his or her eyes through the wet blackness. It was said that the area's "rainy season" didn't officially begin until early October, or when autumn settled in; but there were summer showers, nonetheless-and this was absolutely soaking!
Hermione thought it best to try to force themselves to bed so that they could rise early, get a fulfilling breakfast provided downstairs, and travel to Forks the following morning afterwards. They would need to look at a detailed map and cast a specific "population display" spell of the area so they would be able to appearate properly and with no notice from the local Muggles around. It was thankfully a small town, so chances of a Muggle seeing them appear were extremely slime.
"Hermione?" Cho's voice suddenly broke through the darkness after an endless moment of silence in their beds.
"I just wanted to thank you, yaknow.."
"…For giving me another chance," Cho began uncomfortably, "I know I wasn't too kind before…and I had a lot of time to do some thinking…I hope you forgive me."
Hermione was quiet for a long time before she spoke.
"Cho, it's alright," she said, "I know you were hurting…and quite frankly, I can also understand why you didn't want to see any of your friends as someone who'd betray you."
"Guess I had to learn the hard way, huh?" Cho asked, still feeling guilty for her gullibility.
"Well," Hermione signed, "we all live and learn…as long as we learn, that's what's important." She turned her inclined head towards the other girl's direction before speaking again…
Cho could only smile and try to choke back a little before whispering a soft "thank you" into the darkness. It was not long before both were fast asleep….
…Unsure of what was to come the following morning.
They had no idea….
"So Bella and I have to be there at the In & Out BeansTalk at exactly 10:00 am?" Edward asked Alice after she had extensively explained what was to take place within the next nine hours or so.
"Roughly within that time period, Edward," Alice emphasized, "I can't guarantee you that you'll meet these two girl's exactly the way my vision was shown. But supposedly the Oriental girl sees you first-she recognizes you in a similar way that the boy in my previous vision did, but it was a lot more emotional for her-a romantic relationship with the deceased, I'm guessing. The other girl, however, not only recognizes you as looking like someone else, but is very aware of what we are-or at least knows you're not human."
"Ok," Bella retorted, "but should we be worried about that 'stick' the other girl has? You said she held it at us like it suppose to be some sort of weapon."
Alice exhaled, not really sure how to explain her theory in the right words.
"I'm not really sure what they are-they are human…but…," she paused.
Edward and Bella looked at her intensely.
"But, they're…different somehow," Alice said, "As if they possess abilities that most humans don't have-that we don't have-I'm not sure how else to put it."
"Could we…," Carlisle hesitated, "be talking about magical abilities maybe?"
"Magical?" Bella and all the rest of the family eyed Carlisle.
"It's is highly possible," Alice answered, "that we could be dealing with witches here, and that stick she has is some kind of a conjuring wand."
There was a deafening silence before Bella spoke up.
"Witches?" she questioned, raising her eyebrows, "they exist too?"
Edward couldn't help grinning. Alice shrugged, "If we do…and werewolves and shifters, why not?"
"So I take it none of you guys ever met any before?" She turned to Carlisle, the oldest one in the bunch.
"I don't recall ever having met face-to-face with a witch, wizard, or any kind of sorcerer for that matter-but if I remember correctly, Aro mentioned some secretive civilization known as "the People of the Craft", and how it's very rare to run into such folk-given that they can hid their existence quite well from us, unless they want to be seen-which-with creatures like us-it's very unlikely it occurs often, if at all. So…no…I have not."
"We're not talking about practicing Wiccans here, right?" Bella wasn't sure it was the quite the same, though she really didn't know much about Wicca except for some tidbits here and there or a few high school girls she knew back in Phoenix who were into the television series "Charmed"…if her dulling human memory served her correctly.
"No," Carlisle chuckled, "they're clearly different."
"So these are people who actually possess magical powers-like making objects float and 'teleport'? Stuff like that?"
"I suppose so," Carlisle shrugged, unsure of how to best answer a question he really did not know, despite his nearly 400 years of being on this Earth. Carlisle, of course, couldn't deny the possibility of their existence-obviously, if wizards had the ability of manipulating matter by mere words or shear will, they probably had the ability to permanently hid from a vampire rather easily.
"What time should we leave tomorrow then?" Bella inquired…
Hermione and Cho appearate together on a mountainside just half a mile outside of the town's "city limits" sign post. Hermione thought was a little silly to be calling a hamlet like Forks a "city", but Americans had a peculiar way of doing things when it came to municipal applicability; they had a peculiar way of doing a lot of things, but maybe that was because they were just different. It would be quite a ways to walk, but exercise was good.
"Should we stop to see if there is a place we can get some coffee or tea before we find their local library?" Cho asked after a while, eying a small coffee shop occupying both stories of a two-story building that read "In & Out BeansTalk Coffee Shop". They were walking along the sidewalks next to rather run-down business buildings, also aligned by numerous metal flagpoles every few paces. There were very few people, be tourists or inhabitants, walking about, so not a whole lot of activity going on. The mountainous landscape in the background was pretty, but the town itself was rather quite boring. The sky was of course overcast and devoid of any sunlight-just like Britain much of the time. Due to land's geography and latitude the summer air was cool, yet still comfortable.
"Sure," Hermione responded, "but I think we'll have better luck in an actual book store, since you'll need a special membership card for libraries-just in case we actually do find out something about Were Lycos we can have the book for proof for Mr. Diggory."
"It could always be an option," Cho shrugged, thinking how ridiculous it was that one had to be a special member card to extract books from the library, but perhaps it only made sense for people without magic to be able to track a book down to use such odd methods.
"True, we could go there if nothing else," Hermione agreed, "at least we might get a better 'lay of the land' so to speak. But getting a spot of tea before sounds good," Hermione continued, looking at the shop they were approaching, "I wonder how their coffee tastes here. Oh wait, look," Hermione suddenly spoke up excitedly, "it's a bookshop as well!" She pointed to the sign posted on the building:
In & Out BeansTalk
Coffee Bar and Books
on 'both levels'
Bella and Edward sat at a secluded booth downstairs in the corner, looking for anyone who would resemble their two young visitors. Both of them purchased a cup of coffee for appearances sake, but even Bella couldn't deny the unpleasantness of the odd aroma wafting through the shop . Perhaps, back when she was still human, she may have liked the smell, but now, it was a smell she didn't think she would ever miss. Though the smell of aged paper coming from the shelved books upstairs brought an unusual sense of comfort.
"There they are", Edward spoke in a very calm, low voice, trying not to sound too hushed. There were no more than ten people in the whole place by the sound of their heartbeats, but he didn't want to even risk any curious attention from wondering human ears. Bella turned to see two young women, no older than their late teens walking in and approach the counter.
They looked pretty ordinary to her.
Abby, a local community college student, the only one on shift that morning asked them if they knew what they wanted. Bella turned back in order to not look too conspicuous. Edward's silent words to her as she looked at his eyes spoke clearly: "move slowly; we don't want to alarm them." She then tilted her head to listen to any words exchanged at the counter. Edward continued to silently observe the scene as he leaned forward coolly, his fingers resting on the lid of his coffee cup…
"Um," the girl with the thick, light brown up in a pony tail began to speak, "I'm still deciding", her dark brown eyes shifted to the chalk board menu up above as she stood back with her arms folded.
Abby the barista, with her emo-cropped, auburn-dyed hair and black ear gage, smiled; her pierced lips curving slightly at the sound of the customer's exotic accent. The Asian girl spoke up, the soft trill in her vernacular came as a slight surprise to both Edward and Bella. "Do you sell any tea?"
So she was Scottish…
Unusual for one of Asian descent, but not unheard of…
Abby immediately pointed to the small box of teabags displayed on the counter off to the side in which the girl immediately made her way there to look for her desired flavor. Edward could hear her inner voice: I hope they have Oolong this time-the other large place in Seattle didn't seem to carry it…what was it called… "Star" something…"
Edward blinked. Surely even the people of Britain were familiar with a global franchise like Starbucks.
Bella gazed upon the look of puzzlement on his face, really wishing she could read his mind at least. Nothing she could hear seemed too unusual. The other girl was still silent as her friend managed to happily find her Oolong packet and made her purchase of a medium cup. As the barista announced the charge and filled a cup with hot water from the machine, Edward noticed that the young woman seemed to take a little longer digging up the money-Edward noticed a couple $100 dollar bills poke out from her billfold, which wasn't too smart for a tourist like her to be showing off-she even left the change zipper open, flipped it accidentally, and spilled at least five $1 gold coins, forcing her to bend over to pick them up as her friend helped her. "Oh! Cho…", her companion muttered.
So her name was Cho…
Cho from Scotland.
It was could have been that she was not too familiar with American currency, but he could have sworn he heard a strange phrase from her mind that sounded like her were grumbling: "never understood muggle money"
Americans were called a lot things, but "muggle" was certainly a new one.
"What is it?", Bella whispered. Edward shook his head slowly almost like he was at a loss of words for the first time in his long existence. "The black-haired one just has some very bizarre thoughts", was all he could manage to say.
After the slightly embarrassing ordeal and a few girly chuckles, Abby asked if they got it alright. Cho responded with a soft "yeah" and handed her the money. The then turned to her English companion as said that she was going to head upstairs to view some of the books. Her friend said "All right" and stepped towards the counter as Cho disappeared up the narrow wooden staircase to the second level. Edward was too distracted by the scene and the train of thoughts of others' streaming into his head that lost focus with Cho.
"I'm going to follow her upstairs, and see what else I can find out," he said softly to his wife as he rose from the booth. Bella agreed to follow him up there after the other girl made her purchase-she might say something important while Edward concentrated on Cho's thoughts and actions upstairs.
As her husband left, abandoning his coffee cup, Bella waited at the booth a little longer. Thankfully, the bathrooms were upstairs, so Edward had an "excuse" to go up there without his companion in case anyone happened to notice-which they did not. The other girl was looking in her own wallet to see if she had enough cash for her desired beverage, only to glance up as Edward passed by. Edward did not realize how fortunate he was for her to only be able to see the back side of him when she noticed his brief presence. Although Bella could tell that the girl looked up again at the form of the young man going upstairs briefly-as if she did notice something unusual about it. Strangely enough, she seemed more "normal" of the two.
More…natural, is perhaps the best word.
She turned back up to the barista and announced she wanted the café latte with skim milk in a small size. Abby then decided to take the opportunity to inquire about the girl's national origin and what she was doing her in a little place like for Forks, starting up with the clichéd American saying "so you're not from around here, are you?…." she spoke with a friendly smile. "Oh, no," she girl said with a slight smile.
"Are you from…England?" Abby hesitated as if she couldn't trust herself to know for sure.
"Yes, I'm from Kidlington, which is north of Oxford."
"Oh really? Cool!" Abby spoke as she lifted the handle on the machine in which a deafening sound of liquid boiling and streaming rabidly under immense pressure filled the air. Their voices rose slightly, but Bella was able to hear them despite the uncomfortable reverberation of the espresso maker.
"Hey, um," the girl began changing the subject, "do you know how I might get to the Quileute Indian Reservation from here? The car we rented doesn't have a GPS"
"The Reservation?" Abby inquired, her voice normal know one the presser of the steam was shut off after a moment. The girl nodded. Bella's ears perked.
What on Earth were a couple of young tourists from the UK going to the reservation for? Did Jacob know anything about this? Should he know? Bella thought it best to inform him, and maybe Sam and both packs, especially now that she could no longer go there herself.
"Oh…um," Abby spoke as she wiped her hands on her apron and placed them on the counter in front of her. It was clear that by the sound of her voice that she too wondered the same thing. Bella turned her head to the side to look as well as listen. "Let's see…probably most straight forward for you is to take North Forks Avenue, which turns into Highway 101."
"Ok," the girl nodded.
"When you get outside of town, you'll want to keep your eyes pealed and make a left turn to stay on 101-if you pass a restaurant called "Smoke House" on the left, then you've gone too far," Abby gestured her hands to the left, "the street you'll want to turn on is called La Push Road, which is also the name of the reservation. When you come to a fork in the road," Abby grinned widely as the girl smiled with her, understanding the joke, "take a right and stay on that road. That's called Quillayute Road, and that should take you all the way to La Push."
The girl's brown eyes shifted up as she put the directions to memory, then she looked at the Abby again, "Great! Thanks so much for your help!"
"Sure! Anytime," she said, mixing in the skim milk. Then she said, "Hey…just out of curiosity, are you doing some research there or something? Not to be nosy or anything."
The other girl looked ever so slightly uncomfortable, "No, it's fine. My friend and I are on a study abroad summer program in Seattle, and decided to see some sights. I'm also interested in learning about some of the Native American cultures in this area and thought I'd take the opportunity."
"Oh ok," Abby nodded her head with her eyebrows raised. She seemed to be satisfied with the answer as she finished preparing the latte and was pouring it into a cup. Still, Bella couldn't help that the there was some other reason the girls were here-well, she knew there was-but there was a missing aspect in the tone of her voice that seemed to give it away.
Suddenly, those deep brown eyes shot in Bella's direction.
She could sense she was being watched!
Thankfully, all she saw was the back of the head of a young woman with dark hair sitting at a corner booth. Her pale face could be barely seen from the side.
"You want whipped cream?" Abby asked before she handed the customer her latte. The girl's attention was immediately drawn back, though she seemed a little distracted "Uh, no."
"Ok, that'll be $2.16" The girl fished out money from her wallet and handed her exact change. She then gingerly took up her warm coffee and began to make her way towards the narrow staircase while balancing a sip. "Thanks again," she called to Abby and continued on her way.
Bella decided to wait a moment before following her up there. She wondered how Edward was doing. After what she thought was long enough-making sure to fidget a little just to keep a human facade, she got up, took both cups of coffee, threw them out and went upstairs, giving a slight friendly smile to Abby as she was wiping the countertop. Thankfully Abby wasn't the wasn't most suspicious and observant person in the world.
Bella suddenly heard a the distinct sound of fluid in a cup splashing onto wooden planks. She then heard quick steps maneuvering upstairs and the hushed voice of a distraught girl say "Hermione! I swear, I must be going mad!"
Bella quickened her pace up the steps, but could prepare little for the scene that unfolded when she reached the top of the stair.
It took Edward just a moment to realize that Cho was not among the stack of books upstairs. As he followed her personal scent along with the whiff of Oolong brew, he saw her open the door that led outside to the upper level deck.
Awfully boring hamlet for a loggers' settlement, he could hear her say to herself, but it certainly has a beautiful view. Edward contemplated whether he should follow her out there or not, and risk being seen this soon. He approached one of the windows to observe her. Cho's back was turned towards him as she leaned against the railing looking up at the mountains in the distance while casually sipping her tea. There were snapshots of scenery that were slightly similar: large green-lush mountains laced with dewy mist and cool air.
It had to be Scotland.
Then other thoughts began to surface through her mind as well…
Images of frightening people in dark robes and robotic-like steel masks that flew and danced through green fire waving their arms with weapons that resembled wands but wielded like sabers. Cries of aguish and terror could be heard around them. Suddenly the terrifying images stopped and he saw the girl shake her head as if she were trying to literally shake the images from her mind. She then focused on images that fascinated Edward. A bird's eye view of the Highlands, but instead of the typical landscape, there was a colorful set up almost like a jousting field from the Renaissance era. Except, the arena was set at least fifty feet from the ground. There were large hoops of three suspended on poles in the distance and people flying in flowing robes of red, green, gold, and blue…on…brooms?
Edward's eyebrows stitched together. What…on Earth?
Either this poor girl could not tell the difference from reality and her imagination, or this was real! With over a century of practice, Edward would like to think he could distinguish the difference between a person's imaginative thoughts and memories…
And these were memories!
What Cho was thinking about seemed to resemble a unconventional spectator sport of some kind. Did witches have their own sports? They must have. Whatever sport Cho was remembering, it was a glorious part of her life. Suddenly, her thoughts shifted one of the flying "players" in vivid gold robes. But what was more shocking to Edward was that this young man was a mirror image of himself…
Edward focused harder. This was it!
Oh Cedric, her inner voice choked, you were always one of the best seekers known…
Cedric? Now that Edward had a name to go by, the first he thing the thought was how unfamiliar it was and had absolutely no idea how he was connected to this Cedric other than his uncanny looks-but he was human…he had grey eyes, not green…and obviously he not born anywhere near when Edward existed as a human-unless wizards are able to mess with the fragility of time and history…
Not to mention, but what they already knew, and by the sound of the Cho's grief, Cedric was also dead.
Her thoughts then wondered from a heroic sport hero on a flying broom to a young man in robes that seemed to resemble a tuxedo of some sort adorned with floating lights and sparkle in the background. His arm extended out as if taking the viewer's arm lovingly. His face, and especially smile, were handsomely warm. It was clear that Cho and Cedric were in love. But a horrible memory soon replaced the blissful one: there was Cedric lying on his back-people crowding around, and a small wailing young man with dark hair and glasses was being pried off his body. Cedric lay stiff, dirty, wearing torn gold and maroon outfit. But what was most frightening about the memory were his eyes…
His grey eyes were staring up…void…as his life were just literally snuffed out like a flame, leaving just a shell of a body. Edward felt cold from witnessing such an event-even through someone else. He suddenly felt terrible for Cho. She lost someone she loved very much in such a terrible and sudden manner. Yet here she was, still trying to live her life…a strength that even Edward could not possess. Her thoughts wondered to what looked like a funeral and burial; people dressed in black robes surrounded by tears and mourning.
Then his own thoughts wondered to the crying boy that was pulled off of Cedric.
So he must have been with him when he died, Edward thought of the mysterious bespectacled boy in Alice's vision.
He had called him Cedric…only to realized…
I'm not Cedric, Edward thought, and I'm most certainly not human…
So a small pieces of the puzzle fit, but there was still more. There had to be. What did this mean, and just how deep did his connection with Cedric go, if at all? Who was that young man that must have witnessed Cedric's death? Who was in Alice's vision, and who seemed to contribute much more to this puzzle.
Now it was not often that a vampire like Edward got distracted, but it was possible.
Edward was too busy contemplating upon his theories when he looked up and horrifyingly watched as young Cho from Scotland had turned herself around from her reverie and was looking straight at Edward…
Dun dun DUN!
Hope this leaves you excited as me! I just love cliffhangers-well…as long as they eventually continue and I eventually get to know what happens, that is…
This chapter has a slight off balance of time: divided from Bella's perspective when observing Hermione and Edwards's, when he is spying on Cho. I hope you have a pretty good idea of what happens right after Cho sees Edward.
Anyway (as my mother always corrects me: "anyway, not 'anyways'"), I have finally established yet another chapter in this exciting series.
Thanks to Google Maps, I got a fairly decent idea of how the po-dunk little town of Forks, Washington looks without the Twilight Excitement-it really does remind me of a lot of teeny boring towns-just with a Northwestern landscape. I managed to come up with a set of directions that Abby (random character I made up-seems to be 'typical chick' I see working as a barista in small coffee shops) gives Hermione. Though, as an artistic-minded person like myself would have, I do welcome constructive criticism with open arms; so if you are a Washington state of Forks native, and you disagree with my "concept" of directions from Forks to La Push, by all means say so!-but please don't be rude about it-that's all I ask.
Also, the In & Out BeansTalk is not an actual place as you might know-I clearly made it up. I was trying to come up with an intriguing setting for the character's to meet and was inspired by a few cool "hippie" coffee shops I saw in Boone, NC (yes, I am an North Carolina native-born and raised) and I do have some international traveling experience under my belt as well.
If anyone disagrees or wants to male some helpful suggestions, by all means, say so! And I'll see what I can change.
Thank you once again, my faithful and loyal readers!