When Love Was New Contest
Title of entry: My Electric Touch
Your pen name: Tellytubby101
If you would like to see all the stories that are a part of this contest visit: When Love Was New C2 Community:
My Electric Touch.
A/N: *Cue dramatic opening music*. Hi there everybody! If you aren't familiar with me, my name here is Tellytubby101. *Waves like a crazy person*. (Side note: I think I am a little crazy ... but who isn't? BORING people, that's who!)
This story was prompted by the competition, but Kate/Garrett is sorely undervalued, so hopefully this canon one shot brings forth a new light to their love. By the way, it is all Kate POV!
Totally canon, except the time line is a little iffy – it was hard to discern when what happened in Breaking Dawn, 'cause it was from Bella's POV and she was distracted. So I made my own time line. Starts off after the battle, but there are many flashbacks.
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or its affiliates, but I don't mind. I'm happy to play around with the characters.
The droplets of water fell from the windowsill, vague reminders of the snow that once blanketed the area. With ease, I noted the light being split into the spectrum as it passed through the tear-shaped droplet of water, just before it let itself go and fall with a near soundless splash onto the wooden frame of the window. The sun was melting all the snow away, but it couldn't erase what had happened on that snowy wasteland all that time ago.
Only a week since my sister had died. I could have sworn it had been longer than that.
Looking outside, but not really seeing the world beyond the window, I waited and let my mind drift into the thoughts I had been battling to keep at bay. The tyranny of thoughts overwhelming, overbearing, the weight of it all crushing down on my immortal body, destroying my spirit and leaving me dazed beyond reason.
Confusing, it was all so confusing. My mind was struggling in a battle, conflicted and tired, unsure of the unknown. The inner battle was chewing away at my insides, not letting up for a moment, gnawing into my every thought, no matter how much I fought against it all. Never in my existence had my world seemed so upside down. And that thought on its own, terrified me.
As though all my human functions had been reborn again, I felt my stomach twist with a churning movement that I had nearly forgotten with the passing of time. My lungs felt constricted, as though I could not get enough air to breathe with, which was a strange feeling, but quickly the strange feeling became a sickening burn, hurting my head, making it hard to think. There was an odd tingling in my palms, an itchy feeling almost, and I knew that if I were human, I would be sweating as though it were the middle of summer.
The electric power that resided deep within me, sparked to life, building up, making my fragile nerves stand on end as I felt my body tingle and vibrate with the suppressed energy that flowed through my limbs as a poor substitute for blood. Every few minutes, my stomach would feel as though it had either jumped into my throat or sink to my knees, and I wondered whether the electricity in me was making this feeling so strong. But I knew deep down within me that the cause wasn't from within. It was from the man my heart now belonged to.
The day my sister died, I found love. Was there something wrong with me? How sick was that? When I should be mourning the loss of Irina, sister of mine from beyond the age of technology, further back than I care to remember, I was in fact struggling with my infatuation with the nomadic vampire, the charmer who seemed to break through my barriers, the infuriatingly cheeky vampire named Garrett.
It was not to say I had forgotten Irina; I had not forgotten her in the slightest. She wandered my mind and I would never be able to forget her, even if I wanted to, as my immortal mind flawlessly acting flawlessly to retain information, which I considered a debatable benefit of being a vampire. Some aspects of my life I wanted to forget, some things are better left in the dark corners of the mind, to be lost throughout time. But alas, I cannot remove the painful images that were sealed into my mind, trapped in my head like treasures in a vault. In fact, my mind staggered with the weight of both battles; my mind screams in agony over my sister's untimely death – murder, actually – and it stumbles in confusion over the puzzle that is Garrett.
The day we met was a whirlwind of emotions, amazingly strong, so many feelings without name or real explanation. A mist of feelings surrounded me that day, but I never really addressed them. It was all too hard, too confusing. But the feelings welling up inside of me that day were easily outshone by what I could felt now. Like every other part of my immortal life, I could remember that day with such clarity; I swear that I could have been reliving the experience.
Tanya and I were in the living room, talking aimlessly about a variety of topics, never really settling on one subject of choice, too absent-minded to really concentrate on the other person. We needed to hunt, our eyes easily seen as a charcoal black, but I knew that the need for blood was not the reason our minds were so far gone from us. Without words I knew that Tanya's thoughts matched mine; we were worrying over the unknown whereabouts of our sister.
Poor, hurt, misguided Irina, her pain clouding her judgment. In her quest for some level of revenge over Laurent's death, she had spied on the wolves that homed near our cousins, staying out of reach in the mountains. But when she finally saw a scandal that would give her revenge, she hurriedly ran to the Volturi with information. But it was false testimonies on the hybrid child of Bella and Edward. Why she did not choose to come to us first, baffled me. Perhaps if we were better sisters, keeping a closer eye on our heartbroken kin, we might had possibly prevented the entire incident from occurring at all.
Irina betraying the Cullen family was like a knife in the gut, the experience causing my stomach to twist and turn uncomfortably, guilt trickling down my throat like it was acid. The guilt was not really mine to feel for I was not technically at fault in any way; but the tie of sisterhood to Irina made me feel as though I should have been able to stop the entire mess from happening. My role as her sister was to guide and support her. However, I had completely failed in my task, and I quietly feared that she would bring us all to our death.
From a habit still programmed in me from my human years, the anxiety made me tug the ends of my pale blonde hair, occasionally twisting the strands between my fingers, before releasing them and starting again. The tugging sensation was oddly comforting normally, but today it didn't seem to help the nerves building at the thought of Irina at the mercy of the Volturi.
How she could work with them when they had killed our mother—no, I would not let my mind travel down that path. She—our mother—had deserved her punishment for creating an immortal child, and I could not burden my mind any longer with thoughts of that woman. But I would give anything to have her arms wrapped around me once more, providing a comfort that I knew was lost to me forever.
Happiness is but a temporary illusion, befuddling our minds, giving a false sense of security, I thought with a huff. Nothing lasts – I knew that from personal experience. I watched the world change so rapidly over the centuries, watching the unimportant trysts of humans and the world they so carelessly molded for their enjoyment. The face of the world could not stand a day without change and the emotions of any sentient creature was just as ever changing, stability a far off dream, our emotions far too volatile for true peace.
Love also seemed, to me, to be a concept far beyond my reach, an idea that cannot be grasped by my hands. I was much too solitary for a life of mate ship. How could one willingly give over control of their own emotions to another? To consciously allow their happiness be dictated by the actions of another? I would not let myself succumb to such a weakness ever again. My mother held my love and burned me beyond recognition with her death. The only ones I let hold my heart in this day and age were my sisters, whom I thought I could trust with it, yet one of them, Irina, was over in Italy, twisting my chest, burning me as I filled with panic over her safety.
No, love was something I doubted I could willingly give and accept anymore.
Many human and immortal males have claimed love for me as they had laid eyes on my exceptional form. Over the years, I had suffered through many a courtship as male after male had attempted to woo me. My indifference was not as bad as Edward's was before he met Bella – I had more socialistic tendencies than he, but I was still mildly reclusive compared to my rather flamboyant sister, Tanya, who loved the eyes of men following her every move.
The sound of more guests pulled me out of my thoughts, and I looked in at the newcomers with a mild interest. From my line of sight, there was only one I could pinpoint, and it was a tall, rangy, male vampire with eager ruby eyes. His long sandy hair was tied back in a ponytail with a leather thong. Expression bright, his posture radiating enthusiasm, I was surprised to feel my lips tug upwards in a smile at his presence.
From what I could see, he was incredibly well off in the looks department, but then again, you'd be hard pressed to find a vampire that wasn't. But with a straight nose, prominent jaw line and slightly hollowed out cheekbones, I could tell that this specimen of a man was especially easy on the eyes. There was a shadow of bruising under his eyes, a clear indicator that he had just feasted, not to mention the bright red glean of his eyes grabbed the attention of any who cared to look.
A few stray hairs that came undone from his ponytail framed his face haphazardly, making him look rugged, in a way that resembled the hikers whom so often passed us by in the woods. Dirt lightly caked his well-worn jeans, his clothes thick, but showing immense signs of wear and tear. His shoes were stained so much, it was difficult to discern their original colour. Definite nomad, I thought as I eyed him some more.
The crimson irises did not bring forth judgment in me on his behalf; there were many a vampire that was good enough, even if they did drink from humans. My lifestyle was not easy, nor did I turn my nose up at those who did not or could not choose my path. Everyone was an individual and I showed him, or her, the same respect that I would expect in turn; I did not want to be judged for my personal life choices.
As if he could feel my gaze, he looked up and instead of looking away or appearing surprised, he grinned cockily and met my gaze with a challenging one of his own. Raising an eyebrow, I smirked at him in response. Not wanting to appear petulant, I held my sudden, strange impulse to poke my tongue out at this newcomer.
If I had blinked, I would have missed the brief movement the vampire exerted to get to me. In the space of a second, faster than was comprehensible to the naked human eye, the man was a foot away from me, polite enough to respect my personal space.
The grin had not left his face, but had lost most of its cocky undertones. Now it seemed more genuine and for some unknown reason on my part, it caused a warm fluttering in my chest, in the region close to my dead heart. I pinned this down to my instincts reactively sparking my electric current of defense in the face of this stranger, a vampire that was basically an intruder to my instincts.
Sticking one hand in his pocket and the other out as one half of a handshake, the man introduced himself in a deep voice, smooth and soft like every other vampire I'd ever heard, but somehow it was different. More beautiful, more seductive than what I would have considered as normal. But then again, there weren't many things that I saw that could be considered "normal" in the eyes of the majority.
"Hello there. My name is Garrett. What's a beautiful specimen such as yourself doing all by your lonesome?" His complement was cheesy and clichéd, but it brought a sweet smile to my lips. I also realized belatedly that Tanya had left me, probably a while back, and I was indeed standing in the middle of a room alone, most likely appearing quite the recluse to Garrett.
Politely, I shook his hand and started to tell him who I was. "Strangers call me Katherine, but you can call me Kate. Pleasure to meet you." His ruby red eyes gleamed with a certain sparkle, but before I could look into that anymore, he ducked his head a little.
The smooth player lithely pulled my hand up from where it was still connected in a motionless handshake and gently kissed the back of it before saying in a low voice, "Believe me, the pleasure is all mine."
Garrett was quite the flirt, dropping flattering comment after comment throughout our conversation. We talked for a while, but only touching easy topics. He must have heard through word-of-mouth that my sister was the one who told on the Cullen family, as he tactfully diverted the conversation from coven and family to things like books and movies. Garrett proved in his book choices to be an old age romantic at heart and I showed that I absolutely loved crime thriller novels. For a while he teased that he couldn't read books like that without getting hungry.
We had spoken for what must had been hours upon hours, talking of nothing of immense consequence, the both of us merely getting to know each other, but time flew right by without pause. Time was harder to measure when one never changed or grew tired. When I was in Garrett's cheerful company, it stood still — not due to boredom on my part, but because it was all so relaxing, as though we had not a worry in the world. Not once did I get tired—metaphorically—of his company, his lively companionship refreshing.
Quickly, we were engulfed into a personal bubble, a blanket tightening around us, pulling both Garrett and me into a private world where only we were allowed.
Still, I had tried to keep him at arm's length, unwilling to let anyone in easily, especially this charming stranger who was wooing me with a little too much ease. It puzzled me slightly that this socialistic male never settled down in a coven, but when I asked about it, he shrugged and said something about not finding the right person for himself yet.
That was something I found difficult to believe too – he was quite the package; Garrett was easy on the eyes and had a wit as sharp as a blade, his dry humor cracking me up constantly during our conversation.
That man made me laugh so easily, without even batting an eyelid! He could read me so well; in a day of knowing me, talking with me, I swore as though he knew what made me tick. My coven were close to me, but somehow I had bonded with the stranger quicker than most. It was unsettling, but not in a bad way. Refreshing was a better word to describe the feeling.
For a while we talked about the benefits of having a stable coven and home against the benefits of a nomadic lifestyle. He told me wonderful stories of how he traveled the world and met new vampires. It had been many decades since I had led a nomadic life, traveling from place to place like birds migrated from country to country, not a care in the world for setting down roots, only needing to enjoy life to its fullest. A pang of longing went up my spine as I stared into Garrett's eyes, a tantalizing red, with flecks of black splashed through the iris. But I attributed the feeling to my sudden want to get back out on the open road again.
The signs were there, I had just ignored them. After all, isn't it said that ignorance is bliss?
Two days after our first encounter, Garrett had sought me out again, asking questions on my way of life, how I drank from animals instead of humans. Garrett made for some riveting conversation, listening to my reasoning intently, instead of butting in like most vampires did, moaning about the taste or the smell. Afterwards, he asked gentle, prodding questions, really digging into why I did what I did.
"How long have you lived like a 'vegetarian'?" Garrett asked me, his eyes trained on my face.
Shrugging in reply, I said, "Oh, a couple of centuries, give or take a few decades." Music flowed around us, and I paused for a moment to hear the gentle tones of a piano play some soft lullaby music I was unfamiliar with. It was very sweet and soothing, but a little too much so for my taste.
Scratching his chin in a needless human gesture, Garrett probed some more, "Doesn't animal blood make you weaker than human blood?"
"Oh no, that's a common misconception," I explained patiently. "You are still as strong as you ever are, but many like to use that excuse to continue hunting down humans. Personally, I think that the entire thing makes you stronger, not weaker. You gain not only strength of mind from the restraint you learn, but also perspective on life. It makes everything less savage, less primal and real bonds can form past the blood lust."
"Hmm," hummed Garrett, seemingly deep in thought at my explanation. Looking up into my eyes, he grinned suddenly and said, "I like the golden eye thing you have going on there, I might have to try hunting animals for a change."
Rolling my eyes, I doubted he would; many casually threw out a comment that they wouldn't mind to try hunting my way, but I've learned over time that they never actually did it. The few that did couldn't usually stomach the strange blood, especially after being used to the sweet elixir of human blood for so long. Even the members of my coven took time to adjust to the new taste.
Jasper Whitlock surprised me in that category; he had survived for decades upon decades on the nectar of humans, but when little Alice tugged his sleeve to the Cullen house to become a "vegetarian", he tried harder to accomplish the task – more so than any other vampire I'd ever witnessed. I knew the story well; it was love that changed his ways.
Ahh, to submit yourself so willingly for love … I could not yet see the lure in it. The joy must be overwhelming to release yourself to another so freely without expectation of the other. My love for family was different to the primal love of a mate, and from listening to explanations of the feelings, I was unsure whether I wanted to experience it or not.
"How about you show me round the block, and we go grab some drinks, right now?" Garrett's voice broke through my thoughts and I was sure that my eyes were wide in surprise at the absurd suggestion. Absurd in the notion he was asking me to drink from humans. Absurd that his question sounded almost as if he was asking me out on a date. Nonsense, I thought, quickly disregarding my second thought.
"I don't drink from humans anymore," I said stiffly, a little peeved that he would even suggest it, especially after my passionate rant on the whole subject.
Laughing, he said, "No, no, you misunderstood. I want you to teach me how to drink from animals." My jaw literally dropped at his statement. Then suspicion reigned over the surprise and my eyes narrowed just the slightest, a nearly unnoticeable movement – unless you had the eyes of a vampire.
If this man drank animals, he would be perfect, a voice in my mind cheered happily before I could stop it. Utilizing all my mental strength, I had squashed the voice into submission, silencing the wistful thoughts.
"Why would you want to do that?" I managed to ask in a neutral tone, my voice strong and not betraying my emotions. Actually, I myself was confused to what the feelings swirling within my body were. There was definitely elation, a strange happiness, but I knew it wasn't just because there was a chance I could convert someone, Garrett, to my lifestyle, to stop him drinking from humans.
Was I feeling happiness because of Garrett? At the idea that I could spend, perhaps, more time in his company? Was that why I was feeling like this?
"Why wouldn't I want a chance to test myself?" he quipped back quickly, and he flashed a bright grin that I cannot help but return. Struggling to stay nonchalant, I shrugged indifferently, but I cannot seem to get rid of the smile on my face.
Shaking my head in acquiescence, I pull the cuff of his long shirtsleeves gently, tugging him outside. If he so wished, he could have stopped or pulled ahead, but he willingly let me pull him along, peacefully following me as I moved him towards the forests that enclosed the Cullen's land. When we finally got out of the house, the fresh air filled my lungs, bringing along with it the scent of trees, moist dirt, and most importantly, deer.
"Smell that?" I asked Garrett, turning around to see him sniff delicately at the air, his nose wrinkled a little in disgust. "You sure you want to do this?" I questioned him again, now unsure whether he was really up to it.
Garrett turned to me with a frown, but I saw the spark in his eyes that indicated joy. Placing a hand over his heart, he said sadly, "Are you already trying to remove yourself from my presence? Am I that despicable?"
Laughing, while shaking my head in denial to his joking accusations, I took his hand in mine, an action I did instinctively, and pulled him with more fervent speed now, to the forest and the bounty of animals it provided. While we ran, my attention was focused strongly on the hand that enclosed mine, the strange, foreign warmth surrounding my fingers. But also my mind was strangely excited at the contact–usually I was indifferent to the advances of another vampire–but somehow, this touch was different. A small part of my mind, a quiet voice, noted with suppressed glee that Garrett made no move to release his hand, nor did he show discomfort in the action.
Soon, I knew we would have to break, but for that moment, I relaxed and let the peaceful joy flood my system. In that split second, a tiny moment shorter than the gap between human heartbeats, my mind realized something was wrong and I suddenly needed to make some space between Garrett and I. Too close, my mind screamed. Not close enough, my heart whispered. My heart, my once vital organ, never really had much say in my immortal life, so for it to suddenly pip up was unsettling, and though I would never admit it, it scared me a little.
Finally, we reached a clearing, and I spun around, deftly releasing Garrett's hand and I started to coach him on hunting, ignoring the pulsing of the crackling electricity that was building within me. I still felt the shadow of his touch on my hand, but I ignored it. I turned a blind eye to the way his eyes seemed to glow when he looked at me.
Self defense mechanism. Even in the early days, I was instinctively trying to protect myself. I was trying to shield myself from the weakness that was love.
Watching the drips of the melted snow, I pushed back down the feeling of warmth that came along with the mention of Garrett. But it was too late; I knew that I was smitten with Garrett. I cursed the sting of Cupid's arrow and cursed at how it somehow landed directly in my heart, amazingly passing through every barrier I'd ever erected. Yet, I could find strength or the will within myself to tear that arrow out, to push Garrett away.
Though I was not a lonely creature, I generally found more comfort in the independence of solidarity than in the ties of companionship. Trust thyself only and another shall not betray thee. To know that you only have yourself to look out for, yourself to blame, it makes everything appear in black and white, eliminating the different shades of gray. There was too much confusion with giving away parts of my soul, too many strings attached. But I knew that I was bound to Garrett, tied to him with my heartstrings, entangled in an intricate web of twisting, turning knots that seemed to keep me grounded. Yet, I strangely felt comfort in that bind.
Love meant pain. Years ago, I loved several people with free abandon, but when the Volturi came, when they punished my mother, I lost the appeal of an open heart, my anger and pain sparking me to rise defenses, ensuring that this would never happen again.
When a friend leaves you, the pain is not overwhelming. It was survivable. But to lose a loved one – the agony was indescribable. The ache, the torturous pain was all I could truly think of. My body was practically flawless, but I wasn't sure whether my mind and heart could take another battering of losing another loved one, someone who was imprinted on my heart, forever seared into my soul, a person who cared for me, understood me, and loved me in return. My mother, my sister ... that was the affection and care of family. But the pain must double when it is the love of a mate.
Raw and bleeding were the only ways to describe how I felt when Sasha, my mother, was killed. It was all so fast; in one minute, a person could appear to be a permanent part of your life, a concrete pillar to lean against, and in the next moment, all of that could be ripped away from under your feet, letting you fall, fall fast into the darkness.
The idea of support was tempting, alluring, but also it scared me. Dependence was weakness in my mind.
Love was a gamble; it was as if you were falling, falling hard from the sky, and your loved one was your parachute, and you needed to believe they wouldn't let you crash. But if they did, the feeling was sickening and hollow, painful and gut wrenching. Yet, if you let them carry your weight, the feeling of flying, the experience of love, was like nothing else.
I saw how Edward was in the year he tried to leave Bella. He was nearly crippled at the pain of it all. And his loved one was still alive. Love was a weakness. But a voice in my heart whispered, "You can see the happiness between mates. Garrett could bring you that utter contentment if you let him." But I couldn't let myself be so vulnerable. I was vulnerable with Garrett, and it felt freeing, but so terribly draining.
Love was handing someone the controls to a bomb that could utterly destroy and cripple you, but you had to trust them to not push the button. My problem was that I could not find the trust to hand over the trigger.
Hunting with Garrett was an interesting, intriguing, and enlightening experience, to say the least. My eyes were continually drawn from my kills to watch the graceful, feline-like leaps of Garrett as he attempted to grab his feed with his skilled hands. From the corner of my eye, I continued draining my buck as I watched him struggle with his own, making a mess as he fumbled with the kill.
It took time before one really got into this feeding method, so I thought no less of him for being a messy eater. Style and method took time to develop and I knew that even time wasn't enough for some. The few times I had hunted with Emmett, well, I had felt as though he got more blood on his clothes than in his belly.
This was Garrett's second trip to hunt animals. I was surprised when he asked me to hunt just a week and a half after his first try. Everything about Garrett was surprising, but it was an admirable trait to be persistent, I guess. He told me that he loved adventures and challenges, and he considered sticking to this diet to be one of the hardest challenges he's faced in a while, so he took it up with a fierce determination.
His perseverance was endearing to me, but his subtle touches more so. Oh, I definitely noticed the way he would casually brush up against me, finding reasons or openings to gently brush his hands up and down my arm, and on the odd occasion, he would tuck some stray hairs behind my ear.
Garrett's touch set me on fire unlike anything else could.
With every touch, with every word he spoke, I practically felt my walls fall apart, even as I struggled to keep them up. It didn't take long for him to understand my quirks, my habits, and he used all that knowledge to help open me up, crumbling down my brick wall, digging away at the foundation, and I feared that without my protection, I would soon be laid bare for the world to see.
I really enjoyed his company during hunts, which was generally lighthearted and jovial. For some reason, he's taken a liking to gently teasing me, and it led to a battle of wits a few days back, in which we threw back comments like we were playing tennis. Our banter was always interesting, and the past couple of weeks I've spent talking to him, getting to know him, always surprised when we seemed to act in sync, somehow acting as one. It was as if we had known one another forever, and we could laugh out loud about anything.
Today however, in the seclusion and the shady branches of the trees around us, it seemed as though tonight was the night for secrets and whispered voices. Owls hooted as we whizzed past their homes and the squeaks of terrified animals seemed to filter through the air in a strange kind of background melody.
Finished with my kill, I wandered to a clearing that Garrett was sitting in, his legs propped out in front of him, ankles crossed, his entire body braced by his arms, which were thrown back behind him. Without a word, I sat down beside him, matching his pose, and we silently looked to the stars, our attention being grabbed momentarily by the utter beauty of outer space.
As my eyes followed the tail of a burning comet, Garrett finally spoke up. "Are you nervous about this upcoming battle?"
I shook my head and said, "I'm a perfectly competent warrior, so I do not worry for myself, but yes, I am worried for my family."
"Are you worried about Irina?" his voice was quiet, and I could pick up his definite American accent, so smooth compared to my words, hampered minutely by my accent acquired from my time in Russia.
Sighing, I turned to him and tried to explain, "Of course I'm worried, she's my sister. But it's more than that. She betrayed what we considered to be family! Knowingly, and in good conscious, she made her way to endanger the Cullens. And to the Volturi no less." I spat out the name of our self-proclaimed "royalty" with a slight hiss to my tone.
"Yeah, those old bastards in Italy are definitely schemers. Have you met Aro? That old bloke freaks me out," he agreed, his eyes – now a dark orange colour – meeting mine with an intense gaze.
Drawing my knees up to my chest, I mumbled, "Yes, I've met Aro before. He was the one who graciously let us live." My tone became more sarcastic towards the end of the sentence, and I finished with an ungraceful snort. "How my sister could even think about going to that man..."
"What?" asked Garrett, his voice saturated with surprise. I turned away from Garrett and started drawing meaningless scribbles in the dirt. There were several moments of pause before I answered, and even my reply was unsatisfactory.
"It was nothing, don't worry about it."
He pulled my chin around, forcing me to face him. His eyes were sympathetic, but I wanted no one's pity. I pulled my face free of his grasp, but I could feel his eyes were still staring at me, burning a hole in my face.
"Let's get going, shall we?" My plea sounded flat and strained, even to my own ears. I hastily stood up; my movements graceful even in my slightly flustered state.
"Kate, what is it?" Garrett asked me, already up on his feet, his hand tugging on mine, trying to get me to open up. His voice was beseeching and soothing, "You can tell me."
Shaking my head, I choked out, "No, I can't." As I made a move to leave, I heard Garrett speak once again.
"Is this about your mother?" My quiet gasp at his statement seemed so loud in comparison to the silence of the forest. The silence that followed seemed louder though, or maybe that was the intense ringing in my ears?
Spinning around reflexively, I asked in a halting voice, "How – how did you – how did you know that?"
"I asked around," he told me, his voice clear, but his volume no higher than a ragged whisper. But I heard him. Of course I heard him, how could I not?
His eyes widened in shock as I ran to him and started to pummel him in the chest with my hands, screeching at him, "You have NO right, no right whatsoever to dig in my past! Who do you think you are?"
Easily, his hands wrapped around my wrists and halted my barrage of half-hearted attacks. All the fight in me left my body in an instant. I was just so tired now. My body slumped, and as impossible as it sounded, I felt absolutely drained of energy in that moment. Belatedly, I realized that I was sobbing dry, tear less weeping noises. Garrett was opening up old wounds, deep, jagged tears in my soul that never really healed, cuts caused by the passing of my mother, of Sasha.
"My mother, my mother, she was an angel, and they killed her," I gasped through the dry sobs that racketed through my frame, causing me to quiver, to shake from a mixture of pain and fury, emotions that sliced deeper than words could ever truly describe. "How can someone kill an angel?" I asked desperately, not really expecting an answer, but just trying to voice my agony and confusion.
Garrett was good to me in that breakdown. He simply held me, his comforting touch on the sides of my waist, his face full of empathy, letting me cry into his shirt, letting me get it all out, not badgering me with questions. It was like he understood. There was a certain kinship between us in that moment. I didn't understand it, nor did I try to, but it felt nice. I had not let myself think of my mother in so long, it was as though all this emotional turmoil had built up and had finally crashed through the dam, breaking the banks. I couldn't talk about this with my sisters much anymore. They tried to bury the pain as much as I did, but there's only so long you can ignore something.
Soon, I was fully engulfed in Garrett. His essence, his presence, his smell, all surrounded me, driving me toward a state of calm that I never knew existed. There was peace with him.
After some time, I pushed him away from me, stumbling a little, all the while wanting to desperately escape from this, from everything, but he caught my arm, forcing me once again, to look at him. The orange of his eyes reminded me of a dying sunset, burning with a suppressed fire, overflowing with compassion.
"Talk to me," he whispered, his other hand moving to stroke my cheek. I leaned in at his touch and sighed deeply, closing my eyes for the briefest moment, somehow feeling relieved, if only for the smallest amount of time.
When I opened my eyes, I gazed up from beneath my lashes and I had to stifle a gasp. It was night already; time had passed so quickly! But what caught my breath was Garrett bathed in the dappled moonlight, looking at me with concern. The way the moonlight hit his hair, made his blond locks shine almost as though it was silver. A faint glow emitted from his skin, caused by reflected UV rays from the gorgeous full moon. It was at that moment I realized how beautiful he was. I had acknowledged he was good looking, but I never really saw the beauty that was standing before me now.
"Everything. She sacrificed everything for an immortal child," I rasped out, my voice feeling as weak as my body did in that moment. Another wave of vulnerability hit me as I confessed this secret, somehow fearing rejection from him. It was an irrational feeling I could not shake, and it caused my instincts to go into hyper drive, this absurd feeling of being threatened.
"Your mother?" questioned Garrett. Nodding, silence enveloped us once more, but it was neither strained nor uncomfortable. A certain fog of peace seemed to surround us, and the quiet was comfortable. We listened in an odd contentment to the birdsong that cut through the night air, filling it with a natural beauty.
When we parted that day, all the feeling of bliss quickly turning into confusion. That level of comfort with someone I had met a mere few weeks earlier was disorientating. It was as if the gravity of the world had shifted, or was it just my center of gravity out of balance? Also, I realized later, that as much as I felt weak, vulnerable and threatened, I did not have the want to slam a few thousand volts of electricity into his body. It was as though I knew he would not hurt me. And that level of comfort was a weakness.
Staring out through the glass, looking far off at a tree dripping with melted snow, I saw a bird ruffling its feathers, trying to get dry, I remembered how I tried to avoid Garrett, but his grin was like a beacon to me, and I could not stay away. We never did speak again about what had happened in the woods, but I could tell something had shifted between us. Beneath the easy banter, something had changed. But I had no clue whether the change was for the better or not.
Soon enough though, he did find out about my ability to shock others into submission, to fully knock them out with the touch of my hand. He chose to interrupt a training session I was having with Bella.
"They say you can put a vampire flat on his back," Garrett was coming closer to me, obviously intrigued at this information. There was also an adorable, cheeky glint to his eye, mischievous energy just flowing from him.
Grinning coyly, I agreed, "Yes. Curious?" I taunted him a little, sticking out my palm and wiggling my fingers, teasing him like he had been teasing me. But I would be a little surprised if he wasn't curious. This man was always trying to find answers; he sought them out, not through books, but through experience.
We never really did talk about abilities. It was sort of an unspoken rule that you don't go around asking about abilities, unless you wanted to sound rude. And there was never a real opening in our conversations to say, "Oh, by the way, Garrett, I have enough electrical power in me to keep a town working for a very long time." As time went by, I still did not feel the need to tell him. I was not ashamed of my gift, but I did not brag about it, telling every person I met about my power.
Giving off an air of polite indifference, Garrett shrugged his shoulders a little too casually, and then said lightly, "That's something I've never seen. Seems like it might be a bit of an exaggeration..."
"Maybe," I replied quickly. Verbally challenging his masculinity was a sure bet to get a reaction out of him, so I arranged an unassuming look on my face, lulling him into a false sense of security. "Maybe it only works on the weak or young. I'm not sure," I lie through my teeth; visions of various vampires lying flat on their back as I zapped the hell out of them run through my mind in rapid flashes of memories.
There was no way Garrett would be standing if he touched me now. My skin was alight and crackling with the pure energy. I could feel it growing from the warmth of my palms, flowing up my arms and tingling the skin it touched. Building up the flow, stopping it from dying away, it strengthened to a point where it would be able to a send out dose of pure electricity, more powerful than any tazer imaginable.
"You look strong though," I purposefully look him up and down before continuing, ignoring his cocky grin, and continued, "Perhaps you can withstand my gift." I bear my hand out in a clear invitation, and I have to bite the inside of my cheek to stop myself from smiling and breaking the façade.
His confidence as he stretches out his index finger to meet my palm is nearly admirable, but as his cockiness, more often than not, leads him to trouble, I'd prefer to be without it. The second our hands make contact, his orange eyes gleam and widen, before he gasps, and instinctively closes them.
Garrett's knees quickly gave way, buckling under his weight, causing him to kneel over backwards. Before he hits the ground he is out of it, unconscious just from my very touch. His head hits a piece of granite with a loud cracking noise and somehow that snaps me to my senses.
What have I done? Garrett is surely going to detest me now! Why did I have to show off? I don't want to lose him ... but why is keeping him so important? I cut my internal ramblings off short, confused by my irrational panic of losing him. Yes, he was a friend, but they come and go in my life so often, why was Garrett exceptionally special?
My entire being was flooded with an unexplainable relief as I watch his eyes flutter open, looking as though he was just awakening from a nap, slightly confused, but no worse for wear. As he took in his surroundings, quickly remembering what had just occurred, he grinned widely at me, lifting his lips in my grin, the one with the mischievous undertones and the innocent glint in his eyes.
The possessive in my mental thoughts cut me short – his smile was not specifically mine. But as I analyzed it, I felt like it was mine. That smile never graced his features unless his eyes were on mine, I was sure of it! At that moment, a flood of insecurity shot through me like ice in my veins. What if there was someone else who owned that smile?
When his grin changed into a wondering smile, I could not help but smirk at his dazed response. A seemingly breathless, "Wow" left him as he reviewed what happened.
Raising an eyebrow, I asked with a skeptical tone, "Did you enjoy that?" His happiness was a little too much so, and it was a little scary when judged with the reactions of previous vampires. They took it with anger or surprise, but not with the grace, joy and acceptance that were all being emitted from Garrett.
With a laugh, he replied, "I'm not crazy, but that was sure something!" His shook his head disbelievingly as he slowly got to his knees.
"That's what I hear," I quipped back sarcastically, rolling my eyes at his unbridled enthusiasm. But there was a strange burgeoning joy rolling inside of me – he wasn't running away screaming at me for my powers. In fact, he seemed to relish in my abnormality, and found the good in my rather shocking powers. Dusting himself off, he gingerly returned to his normal height, now towering over my frame once more.
Tightening his ponytail, he looked me dead in the eye as others were distracted, before ducking down and began whispering in my ear, my body super aware of his proximity, "You sure know how to bring a guy to his knees. But you don't need an electric current to do that to me, sweetheart."
Thankfully, he left to join the larger pack of vampires before he noticed my tiny shudder at his words. It wasn't a shudder of disgust, but of ... longing? It felt innocent enough, but dangerous somehow. There was no way I could be feeling something other than friendship for Garrett, could there?
For a while we passed the realm of acquaintances and quickly changed into one of good friendship. However, it was all too soon before I found that my feelings were beyond friendship, and a lot longer for me to finally acknowledge the feeling as love. It wasn't a bolt-of-lightning type realization, but more of a slow building, inevitable conclusion.
It was fitting then, that I did not experience love-at-fist-sight. I probably wouldn't have been able to deal with such a thing. Slowly building up my feelings definitely was the safer route, the right choice for my subconscious to make, and the entire thing would have worked, if only I did not find love on the day my sister died. It made the entire ordeal so much more conflicting than before.
Shifting slightly in my seat, an unnecessary movement, but instinctual nonetheless, I turned my gaze to the heavens, looking at the skies sporadically covered by the white clouds that blotted out the sun. Was my future written in the stars? Was my destiny already laid bare on a mat of fate and future, free for all the deities in the sky to see? Or were the strings of my life tugged and cut by some unknown source, playing around with my life for their benefit, enthralled by the utter control they have over my heart and soul? This loss of control was unsettling. It was disturbing. But it was freeing in so many ways.
Sometimes, when I was without his company, I would subconsciously seek Garrett out. As we grew closer, I noticed that some of the secret touches, the subtle glances, were initiated by me. My body and soul longed for him, but my mind held me back.
Unlike any other creature I had ever met, Garrett seemed to understand me like others did not. Eventually, I did tell him the entire story of my mother, but Garrett never pushed me for information, letting me slowly think aloud my thoughts to him. He did not fear my power, but saw the amazement in it. His very essence called to me, and there was only so long that I withheld myself from experiencing its joy. Perhaps I held out so long because I did not want to burden myself with another person on my heart, unsure of whether my long dead organ could handle the weight of caring for another soul, especially when holes, gaping, ragged holes had already been made with the passing of previous loved ones.
Irina would have wanted me to be happy. So would my mother. But they don't know how hard it is; knowing that giving into the feeling would mean weakness. Tanya, though she was my sister, still did not fully grasp the turmoil bubbling inside of me. I was alone, but ironically enough, the only person that could possibly understand my particular conundrum was Garrett. And I didn't know if I could talk to him yet.
I was not sure whether I could forgive him for what he did on the field. My rational, logical side knew that I should be thanking him, for saving not only me, but also everyone who was there that day, but my emotional, irrational side screamed that I could not. The torrent of noise in my mind was loud and confusing, but I was thankful that I had time to figure all this out.
That stunt he pulled on the field, pinning me to the ground, disenabling me from getting my just revenge, it was definitely a poignant – and enlightening – moment. It was then that I fully grasped my emotions, realizing them for what they were; it was love. When I hurt him, shocking him with my arms and body, mindless in my rage, a small part of me realized what I was doing, and became horrified that I was even harming him.
Eventually, I did stop, but there was still anger in me for the things that the Volturi did to my sister. If it were anyone else, I was sure that I would have thrown him or her off me, regardless of the damned consequences. However, it was Garrett. The gentle words he cooed in my ear, his vain attempts to calm me, to make me regain my senses, they worked when I was sure words of others would not.
The plume of smoke spiraling upwards, up to the sky, dissipating as the winds tore it apart, soon left no trace that that smoke and ash was once my sister. The white, the blindingly pure white that covered the field took on an angry tinge of red. Hate, anger, agony, all of which ripping through my soul and mind, caused me to bubble with electricity, crackling with an energy that I haven't felt in decades, the pain fueling the burn within me, making me more powerful than one could have thought.
Revenge. Justice. Pain. I wanted to deliver those things to the Volturi. To Marcus, to Aro, to the guards that ripped my sister to shreds with no word of warning. Inciting a fight was all I could think about. Cries of anguish burst through me without conscious thought and I tensed my muscles, seconds away from leaping on the first vampire I could get my hands on. No longer did I fear death in the face of this larger purposeful action.
My insides felt as though they were liquidated, sloshing around, leaving me with an uncomfortable churning feeling. The sides of my brain throbbed as if I were some intoxicated human, my ears matching the throbbing with a strange ringing noise I was sure no one else could hear. Every nerve in my body was tensed, feeling strung tighter than piano wire, aching for some outlet for the pain. Still weak from the last loss I had felt, my heart was crippled once more, no words really describing the empty hollow feeling I now had. Thus was the pain of once more losing a loved one. And that was why I found love to be a weakness.
Before I could leap, another vampire was trying to stop me, but I shocked them without a second thought. From my peripheral vision, I saw a huge mass running towards me, at the least minute I registered them as Emmett, but I shocked him before he could stop me. I felt no regret for my actions – these people did not just lose family, they wouldn't know what I was going through. The current was now unstoppable, flowing from my fingertips to my toes, covering every inch of skin, protecting me as I aimed for the Volturi.
A familiar scent assaulted my senses and before I could dodge it, Garrett had flung himself on me, successfully pinning me to the ground. Thrashing around, I tried to get away, relying on my shocking abilities to stun Garrett, but he refused to budge, holding down my wrists as I attempted to escape. I could feel his body spasm above me, his groans of pain making me realize that he was actually going through all the agony that my power brought, but he made no move to get away from me.
Why? It confused me momentarily, a fraction of a second my mind left the death of my sister and wondered why Garrett was doing this. But my sister's memory flew back in my face, and I stopped my over analysis of Garrett and his actions.
Blackness covered my sight and I hissed involuntarily as Zafrina's power covered a blanket of darkness over my eyes. My other senses remained intact, so I easily felt Garrett stop shaking and writhing on top of me. His noises of pain stopped and I nearly froze in surprise. The current was still going strong over my body; the electricity so potent I felt as if I could shoot bolts of lightning off my hands.
"If I let you up, will you knock me down again, Katie?" he whispered at me, his voice trembling slightly from the exertion.
Feeling breathless, I did not answer back with words, choosing rather to release some anger with a few snarls. The larger part of my mind was thinking about Irina, and mourning her, but there was a small part of me that noted the pet name he called me, also memorizing the feel of his body on top of mine... But I quickly snapped myself out of that train of thought.
Carlisle's reasoning pierced my brain, his smooth voice trying to speak reason. My body slumped, not because I really heard him, but because I knew the fight was over. I could not get to the other side without someone stopping me. The only voice I heard right now was the voice of Garrett, clear with his American accent, his breath tickling my ear, his words trying to coerce me into peace.
Oddly enough, I did find peace in his presence, with his words. And it was then that I realized that our bond was definitely above and beyond the realm of friendship – it was love. All this time, I was tingling with the feeling of love. My mind was muddled but this fact stood clear above all else. But the feeling was different. It felt empowering, not weakening.
As wind blew the snow, my sight was suddenly returned and I looked into the deep red eyes of Garrett, slightly regretful he had to hunt humans in his preparation for this day, seeing more than the irises, feeling as though I could look into his soul and he could see into mine. It was an odd, new, emboldening feeling.
Thus was the power of love.
For a shining moment, I felt true bliss at my epiphany, but then reality set in and it horrified me. This was neither the time nor place for declarations or realizations of love. How could I find and accept love on the day my sister died? It sounded terrible to my own ears and shallow. I wanted to get up, but Garrett made sure to keep me pinned down, his eyes shining with concern and something else.
He had the sparkle in his eye when he smiled at me, but he wasn't smiling now. If it wasn't a sparkle of amusement, then what was it? When I saw my reflection in his irises, I saw I had the sparkle too. And another thought hit me with the speed of a crashing car – was it a sparkle of love? Did he want me as I did him?
Closing my eyes, I willed these thoughts away. A fight was coming, and I wanted to have a clear head so I could sufficiently bring punishment to those who killed my sister.
The tense build up to the fight made me feel almost alive again, but the thing that nearly set my heart pumping again was the quasi-declaration of affection Garrett gave.
We were standing, his arms wrapped around my shaking frame, still trembling from the loss of Irina. The fight was coming, we knew it. Anticipation tightened like a knot in my stomach. Garrett was stroking my blonde hair, and I felt mildly comforted in that moment.
He leaned down and whispered in my ear, "If we live through this, I'll follow you anywhere, woman." It was not the most conventional thing to say, but Garrett was never a conformist, even in his human years.
Playfully, I muttered, "Now he tells me." I knew that the others surrounding us could probably hear every word, so I couldn't really say everything I wanted to say. But what did I want to say?
The sound of footsteps brought me forth from my thoughts and soon enough, the footsteps sounded within my room, but I didn't take my eyes from the window and the dripping water. Without turning, I knew it was Garrett. He wanted to know where we stood. After the confrontation with the Volturi, he pulled me to the side and asked what we were. He proclaimed his love and affection for me, and asked if I felt the same.
At that moment, I had no answer; there were too many things running through my mind. It was like I was trying to look at a portrait and name the person featured in it, but a child had run their fingers through the paint when it was still wet, befuddling the image, leaving the once clear message lost in the tangles of colour and textures.
I knew I loved him. But the question was really whether I could hand my heart over to him. It was still a jumbled mess.
But he waited for me to figure things out. As I sat quietly, mulling things over, I heard him move around the house, occasionally speaking to Tanya. When he said he would follow me anywhere, he really meant it.
Days had passed and I was unmoving, just sitting in front of the window, thinking. It was understandable to know that Garrett wanted to see where we were. Vampires and love were as interchanging as a Rubik cube, confusing to those who don't know the pattern, easily done wrong, numerous paths that end up with the same result, but the journey nonetheless was always a battlefield for the mind.
Over my alone time, I had reviewed everything, and I knew I loved Garrett. Fear of another weakness, another possible loss, held me back from exerting any action towards this feeling. But I did feel this way, and I did not want to spend an eternity wondering, "What if?" Though I could not say I only lived once, considering the fact I had lived numerous lifestyles, I felt as though it was time I seized the moment, and stopped over analyzing things.
My mourning period would never truly stop, but Irina, and my mother, too, would not want me to waste away in their memory. As much as I cared for them, and missed their presence, I had to acknowledge it was time to let go somewhat, and finally live my life.
I love Garrett. Plain and simple. The only barrier was me, who was confusing and twisting the issue, until it became complicated. But in the end, all that really mattered in the face of things was that I love Garrett. Testing the phrase in my mind, I played around with the words, and it just felt right to say it. So I did.
"Garrett?" I whispered, my voice clear but quiet. "I love you." A feeling of righteousness flooded my being and my shoulders relaxed with the minutest slump, as if the confession had released a weight, a burden that I wasn't even aware had been residing on my shoulders. After a second, I realized that Garrett's only reaction was a sharp gasp, and I suddenly was nervous, again fearing rejection, which would be a stab in my heart while I was in this vulnerable state.
But suddenly my fears all dissipated when stone hard arms wrapped around my frame and I felt a chin rest on my shoulder. From the peripheral of my vision, I could see that Garrett was smiling, a gentle upward tug of his lips, his expression seeming peaceful.
"I love you, too."
Those four words tickled my ear when his breath passed them, making me shiver, but warm with an unprecedented joy. Turning around, I returned the hug, tentatively, gently, and nervously. I had had lovers before, but they were more sexual partners than partners of the mind and soul. All of this was new. But I knew that Garrett had not loved anyone before, and it thrilled me that we could experience this together.
My face was tucked into his chest, and I breathed in deeply, finally finding peace. Mumbling, I felt as though I had to give an explanation for the wait Garrett had to endure before I came up with an answer, "I have never been in love before, love as in with a mate." I paused for a second before continuing, my sentence halting and slow as I tried to eloquently explain my emotions and thoughts.
"Love always meant weakness for me. It was like a chink in my armor to care for someone. So for a while, I was in denial. But when I finally acknowledged the emotion for what it was, it was just after ... my sister died," I choked up a little, unable to say her name aloud, but I persevered through my explanation, "And I felt sick for finding love when someone else I loved had died. It felt wrong for me. But finally, I decided I couldn't ignore it, and I just wanted to be happy, and I wanted to be happy with you."
At the end of my confession, I felt Garrett's soothing touch on my back and he murmured in my ear, his face mostly buried in my hair, "I understand – well, as much as one can. If it means being with you, I will show you how love is no weakness, how it can be strength. You can confide in me, talk to me; let me share your burdens. Love is a strength, Katie."
"Then you shall be the man keeping me afloat and alive in this crazy world, right?" I sighed into his chest with contentment filling my soul, squashing down the negative energy, filling me with something indescribable.
"Yes," he answered back immediately. "And your electric touch will continually start my heart, keeping me alive that much longer," he joked quietly, his tone half-serious. My eyes stung, preparing for tears that would never fall, but I knew I would be crying happy tears for this moment. Everything was in overdrive, trying to overwhelm me, but it all felt wonderful. Utterly, absolutely, 100% perfect.
"Don't worry," I say into his chest. "I'll zap you every now and then to keep you an honest man." Playfully, I send a gentle, tingly current through my palm and up his spine. He jumped a bit, not from pain, but from surprise.
"Wouldn't have it any other way," he quipped back with a grin, before ducking down to steal a gentle kiss from my lips.
A/N: Was that "Awww" worthy enough for you? I think it was. Sweetness and angst galore. *Wipes away tear*. Is there any better combination?
My overwhelming gratitude to Project Team Beta for getting Vi0lentSerenity and mcc101180 to beta my stuff. They helped so much! Kudos goes out to them!
Cookies for reading, but reviews are showing me the love. :-)
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