Chapter 1 – Returning Home

This may not have been the seventh circle of hell, but it had to be a part of hell somehow, someway. It was Saturday night, two days before classes started, and I was at a frat party with my brothers celebrating a new school year. It was difficult enough being a vampire that had chosen to live amongst humans. Going to college and sitting through classes were hard enough to keep the thirst at bay; but at a party like this, with all these warm human bodies pressed against each other in such a small space, sweating . . . it definitely made me thirstier.

Add to that, that I cannot keep the thoughts of all the party revelers out of my head, and I definitely had entered some level of hell. All the thoughts around me were centered on drunkenness and lust. I was the only vampire I knew that could read minds. It was a blessing and a curse. It was a blessing that I knew what was going on and could protect my family and myself if people started getting suspicious about us, or if there was someone having thoughts that we should know about. It was a curse because I could never turn it off and I always felt like I was invading people's privacy by knowing what they were thinking. Though to be truthful, it was rare there was a thought from someone original enough to catch my interest, enough to care. Still, all the voices in my head buzzing around on top of all the things people were saying made me hate being in large groups.

This was why I came late to the party, even though I knew Emmett and Jasper were going to give me grief because of it. I walked though the Beta house looking for them. I could hear Emmett downstairs shouting at somebody doing a beer bong. I went down and saw Mike Newton, on his knees, completely wasted and Emmett standing over him laughing. I chuckled and walked over.

"It's about time, bro. Where've you been?" Emmett asked, giving me a look that said he wanted to kick my butt. He then glanced at Mike who was wobbling as he tried to stand up. See the fun you missed? You should have seen it earlier when he fell over Jessica Stanley and landed with his face in her chest. I don't know who screamed more!! It was great bro.

Emmett played the whole scene in his head and I had to admit it was pretty priceless to watch. I chuckled.

I was scared for a minute that those fake breasts of hers would pop; then we'd really have had a situation on our hands, Jasper, coming up behind me, thought.

I couldn't take it anymore. I laughed out loud at the thought. It truly would have been too funny and entirely possible the way Jessica was always sticking her chest out.

Suddenly, I caught the tenor of Mike's thoughts and backed up, making sure Jasper came with me as Mike hurled everywhere.

Emmett just laughed Priceless! Jasper twitched and couldn't decide if he was disgusted or entertained by Mike.

Honestly, Mike wasn't all bad - basically a typical horny, drunken, frat boy, same as all the rest. I knew this because Emmett made it his goal to join every fraternity at some point in his life. Because he was my brother, he dragged me into all of them as well. So far, we had pledged and joined fifteen different fraternities in the last eighty years.

What in the hell? Great, Mike again, I am so not cleaning up this time. Oh, Edward's back. "Hey Edward. When'd you get back? Ready for classes again?" Ben asked.

Ben was the President of our chapter. He was a good guy and didn't annoy me overly much, which was saying a lot. "Yeah, I returned a week ago. Jasper registered me for all my classes and Alice purchased all my books; so I guess I'm ready." I gave him a smile, showing no teeth, not wanting to creep him out.

"That's great, Cullen, see you around. I'm gonna go find someone to clean up this mess and get Newton to bed." Why can't this guy make it through one party without throwing up somewhere? Ben left, shaking his head.

As Ben turned, I smelled something on him. It was a scent I had never smelled before, but it burned and made me impossibly thirstier. My brow furrowed as I tried to figure out what I caught the faintest whiff of. Before I could decide, Ben was lost in the crowd and I saw Alice and Rosalie coming over.

Alice jumped into Jasper's arms. Rose grabbed Emmett and kissed him while laughing about him starting out early with his goal to get Mike to puke every time he could. It took so little to entertain Emmett; for some reason, Mike acting like an idiot brought him great joy. To be fair, I couldn't fault him for it. Honestly, Mike was just one of those people where it was so easy to make look like an idiot, and he gave you numerous occasions to do so.

Hey, Edward, this is a party; go have fun. I know you can do it!! Alice was practically shouting in my head. I gave her a smile and walked away, trying to find something to hold my attention for more then two seconds.

Sighing, I thought back over the last few months. I had been away from my family helping the Volturi. The Volturi were the royalty of the vampire world. They maintained peace and kept our existence a secret. Decades ago, they had gotten spooked by the size and talent of our coven. It was rare to see vampires in a coven that were more then a single set of mates. To find a coven of seven vampires was unheard of. Add to that the gifts that our coven possessed. The Volturi were mindful and uneasy about us.

Carlisle, our father, ever wanting to keep peace, had talked with the Volturi and explained that we wanted nothing to do with taking over or of even getting involved with anything that they were doing. To make sure the Volturi knew we were not trying to take over, Carlisle had offered for them to call us if needed. So periodically, there would be a call from Italy asking for one, or more of us, to go help with something. Usually it was just a ploy for them to check up on us and make sure that we were not plotting.

This time, though, they did need my help. There had been a war going on in Africa and my ability to read minds definitely helped speed things along.

Sighing yet again, I couldn't help but notice that no matter where I was, I was always the odd man. When I was with the Volturi, I was looked at as some kind of freak. Vampires would seek human blood and live off of it. Our family chose differently. We would feed off of animals. This caused all kinds of confusion, humor and ridicule from the members of the Volturi. I quickly got sick of listening to their thoughts.

Now that I was back home, I was, again, the odd man out. Here I was, not the freak among the monsters, but the single man in a family of loving couples. I didn't begrudge my brothers and sisters each other, but it also got tiring being the only one that was not part of a pair.

We were currently living in Seattle and going to University of Washington. It was nice because the weather here was usually overcast and we could blend in. While myth talked about vampires bursting into flame if we stepped into the sun, that doesn't happen. However, we did not blend in when in the sun either; so it behooved us to live in areas where the sun was not abundant.

Our coven lived outside of Seattle in a densely wooded area. Carlisle was the patriarch of our coven. He personified all that was good in the world. He was my creator and mentor. Carlisle was changed into a vampire in the 1640's and has never drunk human blood. He currently worked as a Doctor at the Seattle Children's Hospital. His ability to work around human blood daily and not give into the temptation to drink, was amazing. I hope someday to be as strong as he was.

He was mated to Esme. Esme was the heart of our coven. She acted as a mother to us all and looked the part with her small stature and shoulder length light brown hair. Carlisle changed Esme in the 1920's, a few years after he changed me. He found her broken after she tried to kill herself. Following the death her days old baby boy, she threw herself off of a cliff. They had been together ever since.

Next, Carlisle changed Rosalie. Rosalie Hale. While we would never be best friends, she did have loyalty to her family. Rosalie was beautiful, even for a vampire; she had long blond hair and a curvy 5'9" body that she loved to show off in everything she wore. Vampires were known for their beauty; it was one of the many talents we had for drawing in our prey. Rosalie, though, was more beautiful than most vampires and she knew it and expecte to be cherished for it. Rose was very self-centered and vain; but after living with her for 80 years, I had learned to ignore her.

The one good thing that Rose has done was brought Emmett into our coven. Rose found him being mauled by a bear and brought him back to Carlisle to change him before he died. Emmett was a huge vampire. While we all had strength far greater than a human, Emmett had strength that far surpassed even normal vampires. He was boisterous, loud and the best brother that I could ask for. He was playful and listening to his thoughts never brought me guilt because there was nothing he thought he wouldn't say. In fact, I was completely positive he didn't have a brain-to-mouth filter.

In the 1950's, our clan expanded when Alice and Jasper showed up one day. Alice was a little pixie of a girl who had short cropped black hair. She is extremely hyper and the most interested in humans and getting to know them. She had a rare talent in that she could see the future and what it held based on the decisions people made. It could be very helpful, but also sketchy as people were always changing their mind. She had definitely kept us informed of changes that were coming or instances when we could be revealed.

Jasper was her mate. Jasper looked like a tall, dirty blond good-looking guy to humans, but to other vampires, he looked scary. He was from a time of great wars between vampires and had many scars that humans couldn't easily see, but vampires could and understood. They knew that he was a warrior and had been in many battles. He was the newest to the life of animal blood and struggles with it, as he drank human blood for more than 100 years. Jasper was also talented in that he could read people's emotions and influence them. It was a subtle gift but one that was incredibly useful in many situations.

That was my family. All mated. All together. Currently for the sake of discussion, we had told humans we come across that Rose and Jasper are twins living with their significant others. I was Emmett's best friend and lived with them too. We had never mentioned Carlisle or Esme since no one ever came to our house or even knew where we lived. Carlisle had never mentioned us at work either.

I wandered around the party for a little while, contemplating how I was different no matter where I was and trying to decide if I truly cared or not. As I wandered, I sporadically caught that elusive scent a few more times. I couldn't quit figure out what it was that I smelled, but it made me very thirsty. It must have been a human that was no longer here; though that seemed weird, as I had shown up late to the party, but definitely not that late. Certainly no one coming to the party would have left already.

I decided to leave the party and quench my thirst. I knew I was going to miss the lions that I was able to eat in Africa, but there had to be something close by that could help with the burning in my throat.

Emmett caught me walking out. Brother there is no way that you're leaving. You just got here, man. I sighed, turning to him and saw Rose wrapped in his arms.

Great to see that Edward is still pissy. You would think that after 90 years he would finally find a way to get the stick out of his ass. Rose always had such charming thoughts. I tried my best to ignore her.

"Emmett, I came seriously, I just don't feel like listening to the pedantic thoughts of drunken frat boys right now."

"Come on, find some sorority girl and go on the dance floor and grind for a while. Maybe if you ever got some action, you'd be a happier Edward. There are plenty of willing ladies around here to offer you a distraction!" Emmett said.

I sighed again. Emmett, who was in a very physical relationship with his mate, didn't get how I lived a sexually repressed life, his words, not mine. He just never got that hearing the thoughts of the average girl, and all the things that she wanted to do to me, did not get me in the mood to want to explore a relationship with any human girl; not to mention that humans were so fragile, I don't know that I could have sex with one without breaking her. That I wouldn't do.

"Emmett, I'm sure there are more then enough girls to grind against," I said, rolling my eyes, "but seriously, I haven't seen a one worth the effort to care."

"Hey, go get Stanley. If nothing else, watching her bounce around should cause some great entertainment for all the boys around here." He waggled his eyebrows as he spoke.

I chuckled, "Yeah, but if she bounced too much she might knock herself out and I would get stuck taking care of her. While I'm sure it would entertain all the guys around here, do you seriously think Jessica won't be giving all of them a show by the end of the night anyway?" Jessica was known for not getting through a party with her shirt on.

What makes it worse was that she had imagined herself in love with me. The fantasies in her mind were enough to make me stay as far from her vapid mind as I could. Every time she saw me, she played out detailed sexual fantasies in her mind. I run the other way before she could even say anything to me. Emmett, of course, knew this, yet kept trying to find ways to get Jessica and I in close proximity to each other; but since he was not able to block any thought that crossed his mind, I always knew what he was pulling and managed to escape.

"Listen, I'm just going to leave. I'm really thirsty for some reason tonight and I just want to hunt. I'll see you back at the house later and you can fill me in on everything exciting that happens then, ok?"

Emmett shrugged. Later man.

Thank you to Ronnie and Dani for Beta'ing for me. I own NOTHING from Twilight, it lal belongs to SM