Sunday afternoon I found myself staring at my vibrating cell phone, feeling instantly guilty. Natalie was calling; we hadn't spoken all weekend and I'd promised to call her after talking to Jake.
"Hey Nat," I greeted her as I pressed the phone to my ear.
"Oh thank God, I thought you weren't going to pick up," she said, only making me feel worse for not calling her. "I'm really sorry about Friday Nessie, I understand if you're mad at me. I don't want to lose you though. I've never bonded with anyone like you before."
"You're not going to lose me, I swear," I told her quickly. I didn't know how to explain to her I couldn't talk about things now, not with my father only a room away. "Can I come over for a little, we can talk?"
"Of course! Please come, I miss you. I think Danny does too, he's been asking about you," Natalie said with a laugh.
"I'm on my way," I told her, looking around for Jake. He would drive me to Natalie's house if I asked him.
"See ya soon," Natalie replied before hanging up.
"Where are you going?" I froze at the sound of my father's voice. I'd been doing a bang up job of avoiding him all weekend and now I was stuck alone with him, without the aid of Jacob.
"I haven't seen Natalie all weekend, I just want to see her for a little while. I was going to ask Jake to drive me," I told him, busying myself with putting a coat on and then looking for my purse.
"Is there any particular reason you've been hiding your thoughts from me?"
"Because they're not yours to hear," I snapped back. While I didn't want to start a fight with my father, I was being honest. My thoughts weren't for him. I know he can't control what he hears but I can't control how I feel.
"Renesmee, who do you think you're speaking to like that?" My father asked with a somber expression on his face.
"You," I replied back smartly.
"You're not going anywhere young lady. You can stay home and think about how you're acting. If you want something Renesmee, you do not go about it like this."
"You can't keep treating me like this! I'm not a little kid!"
"Maybe you should stop acting like one then," my father replied seriously. I wanted to scream at him but a bright idea flashed across my mind so quickly, it didn't appear my father noticed it. I glared at him hard before turning around and sinking down onto my bed.
"I don't enjoy doing this to you Nessie, but you have to realize that yelling at me and talking back isn't how things work around here," my dad said from what I assumed was the doorway but I refused to look at him. Instead I focused on my nails as hard as I could and waited for him to walk away.
It wasn't long before he did so. I could hear him sigh before marching off into the hallway, down the stairs, into the living room and then finally into the kitchen, where the rest of my family was with Jake and uncle Seth. Apparently someone had said something funny because everyone burst into laughter, even my father. I took that moment where his guard was down to slid my window open. I let the cool breeze graze across my face as I listened for what happened downstairs.
Uncle Emmett was telling a story, I could hear his boisterous voice all the way up here with ease. It was something about when my mom broke her hand punching Jake in the face. As interesting as that story sounded, I continued just listening, making sure my thoughts were solely on listening to my family. I could make out the side conversations going on, uncle Jasper was talking with aunt Alice while my father was talking to Grandpa Carlisle.
Only moments later, I could hear the kitchen erupt with laughter and I took that moment to seize my opportunity. I leapt from my window and landed quietly on the grass before my house. My mind was entirely blank; I had been working hard on learning to clear my mind lately. Without any hesitation I launched forward and began running to Natalie's house, eyes closed just focusing on my senses. I didn't chance looking back, but I could hear everything around me clearly and no one was following me. My father hadn't realized I'd left yet or he was letting me go, either way I found myself lucky.
I hadn't run this long or far in a while, but I felt exhilarated under the circumstances and only pushed myself harder, running faster than I thought imaginable. When I finally I opened my eyes, proud I made it so far with them closed while I pictured my room. Soon Natalie and Daniel's house came into view and I had to slow down before I burst through the trees looking like a mad woman.
I slowed my pace to a brisk walk and marched up the steps and rang their doorbell. The moment my finger left the bell, Natalie threw the front door open and pulled me into a giant hug.
"I'm so happy you're here," she admitted.
"Me too," I told her when she released me.
"Let's go upstairs," she said, dragging me along behind her. I laughed, wondering how someone so little had so much strength.
When we got to her room, Daniel was inside waiting for us, spread across Natalie's bed with Harry lying on his butt.
"Hey Nessie," he said, sitting up quickly, causing Harry to fall off and growl angrily. "Sorry Har," he laughed when the dog nipped him before hopping off the bed.
"Hey Danny, it's good to see you," I said while giving him a big hug.
"You managed to escape your family for a little bit?" He said with a smile and I laughed at the irony of his question.
"Actually, yeah I did. I hope they're not too mad," I said while plopping down in the spot he just vacated.
Natalie stared at me wide-eyed. "Tell me your parents know you're here."
"I mean, my dad knows that I wanted to come…so when he sees I'm not in my room anymore, I'm sure he'll figure it out. Can I crash here tonight? I really don't want to see him right now."
"I really hope your parents don't hate me for this," Natalie said, looking unsure. I was ready to plead my case but luckily Danny stood up for me.
"You should be bouncing off the walls Nat, you've got your best friend back. Besides, if her parents are going to get mad at anyone, it will be Nessie. She's the one who ran off."
"Exactly! I think we have some catching up to do. Pop in One Tree Hill and let's just relax, I'll deal with my parents another day."
That was all it took to convince Natalie to let me stay there. She put our show in and plopped down on the other side of the bed. While we watched the show, she told me how Connor had been nonstop texting her all weekend. She was happy that he seemed to be expressing an interest in her, but after what happened at his party, she didn't think she was ready for a relationship. When she mentioned the party, I was instantly afraid that everyone had found out what happened, but she assured me only those involved and Danny knew. Still, I feared word would get out and we would be the laughing stock of our school. And worst of all, I was afraid my parents would find out.
We wound up talking all night until we fell asleep and next thing I knew I was awoken suddenly, almost falling out of bed. I groped around the bed looking for my phone to check the time. When I couldn't find it, I turned over and my jaw dropped at what I saw.
Natalie was standing in the doorway of her closet, with clothes zooming over her head. Suspended in the air by what seemed to be invisible strings. I rubbed my groggy eyes, figuring they were playing tricks on me, but when I looked again, I saw the same exact thing.
"Oh my god," I breathed, unable to express my thoughts in words.
Suddenly all the clothes fell to the ground and Natalie spun around to look at me, her face blank. Neither of us spoke, we continued to stare at one another in disbelief. Her vivid blue eyes were glued to mine. Had I really just seen that? What on earth did it mean? Growing up in my world kept me from doubting the likelihood that Natalie could be part of her own world, but still I was in complete shock. Was Natalie a witch? Witches did magic, didn't they? And that was definitely magic.
"Okay, so…I don't know how to explain what just happened?"
"You're a witch, aren't you?"
Natalie was silent for a few moments, not exactly looking at me but looking over my shoulder. "Yes," she whispered but my sensitive hearing picked it up.
"That's…that's awesome," I said after another moment of silence. "So you can do all sorts of spells and stuff?"
Natalie looked flabbergasted by my response. "Did you just say 'that's awesome'? You are the least normal human I've ever met."
I took a deep breath. I figured that if Natalie trusted me enough to tell me her secret, she deserved to hear mine. Though it wasn't exactly my secret, but really my family's secret, I couldn't fight the gut urge to tell Natalie the truth. If I was going to call her my best friend, she deserved the truth.
"About that…" I began, unsure of how to tell her my family secret.
"About what?" Natalie looked very concerned.
Because I wasn't good with words, and so I wouldn't technically break any rules, I got up from the bed and placed my palm to her cheek. I showed her the beginning, when my parents met and fell in love and what my father was. I showed her when my mom was pregnant with me and what I was exactly. I showed her the wolves, who were all now bound to my family. I showed her when I was a little kid who grew up at an accelerated rate while the rest of my family remained frozen and eventually, I froze too. After what felt like hours, I eventually pulled my hand away.
"I don't know what your world is like, whether or not vampires are painted out to be the bad guys but my family is different. They're good people; I can show you so many other things. Please don't be scared."
"I'm not scared Nessie," Natalie said while beaming, grabbing me by both my shoulders and squeezing me against her. "I knew you were different, I just couldn't figure out how. Now it all makes sense. That really explains why there are so many of you."
"Yeah," I said laughing. I always wondered why the humans so easily bought that we were all family. If I was a human, I would be very curious where all these kids came from together and why they were all so pretty.
"So Bella and Edward are you parents?" Natalie asked, with a distant look on her face. She was most likely reliving what I showed her in her head.
"Yeah, no one in my family is really blood related like we say they are. Grandpa Carlisle was the first in my family," I explained to her. She nodded, taking a seat on her bed and instructing me to do so as well.
"That's so weird, Grandpa Carlisle. I always thought he looked too young to be a dad, but he looks waytoo young to be your grandpa," Natalie laughed.
"Well, when someone is turned, they remain frozen at that age. My father was only seventeen when he was turned, but he was born in 1901," I told her.
"You're dad is over a hundred then!" Natalie shouted at me, looking absolutely baffled.
"Yeah, well Grandpa Carlisle was born in the 1640's…"
Natalie just stared at me with her jaw hung open. I couldn't help but laugh at her expression. I had just told her my family was a bunch of vampires and I was a half vampire who was conceived when my mother was still human and all she cared about was how old my grandpa was.
"That is nuts! Is your mom really old too?"
"No, she met my father like 20 years ago or something like that when she was 17. My uncle Emmett makes fun of her for having slept with an old man."
"Uncle Emmett," Natalie repeated after me, her eyes almost glowing as she bounced. "Your family is awesome, I am so jealous. Is there anything else cool about them? I can just tell by the look on your face, tell me!"
"Well, my dad can read minds," I said very timidly, because I knew how she would react to that, given the fact that meant he had read hers. Her face dropped instantly.
"He can read them, like when he wants to?" She asked, looking slightly scared.
"No, he can read them all the time. He can read multiple minds at the same time within a two mile radius," as soon as I said that she flung a hand over her eyes. "I know, it sucks. I've gotten used to it though, when I'm around him and I don't want him to know what I'm thinking, I sing show tunes. He leaves me alone pretty quickly then."
"I thought the most embarrassing thing in front of him the other day!" Natalie cried, shaking her head back and forth as she slapped her forehead.
"What did you think?" I asked but she remained silent. "Ew, tell me you didn't think my dad was hot."
"I did Ness! I am so mortified; I can never go near him again," Natalie whined while I faked vomiting sounds. My dad was not hot, handsome sure, but EW he's my dad.
"Okay, off of the gross and embarrassing topics…my aunt Alice can see the future."
Natalie instantly bolted upright. "Does that mean she knows about Friday? I haven't told anyone, only Danny knows."
The light and happy mood in the room shifted. I had not thought about aunt Alice. Did she know about Friday? If she did, why hadn't she said anything? Did she tell my parents? Of course not, I would be locked in my room if my father knew what had happened. If my aunt knew, which would have been before it even happened, then she would have prevented it. She couldn't know about it. So did that mean aunt Alice couldn't see my future when I was with Natalie, just like when I was with Jake?
"I don't think so. I wouldn't be here right now if my family knew. It's weird, aunt Alice has holes in her vision. When I'm with the wolves, she can't see my future. Maybe you're another hole in her vision?"
"Yeah, I have to be. Or else I feel like your family would never let you see me again," Natalie said with a dry laugh.
"Well, they didn't exactly let me last night. Remember, I ran away?" I reminded her and myself. It was strange that my phone had remained silent the whole time I had been with her and that even now, when I was missing from school, not a single text was sent my way.
"Oh yeah, that's so weird they haven't called you or anything. Not even Jake, right?"
I looked down at my silent phone. Jake hadn't text me either, which was strange given the fact that he swore he wasn't going to leave my side after what had happened. Then again, I was the one who left his side. Maybe my mother was finally standing up for me and telling my family to just leave me alone for a while. She might not be alone in that, I could see grandmother as well as my aunts telling my father and Jake to just let me be. I needed time for myself.
"Not that I'm complaining," Natalie assured me. "I guess if they had been bugging you, I might not have gotten to find out how cool you all are."
"You didn't think we were cool to begin with?" I joked back.
"Shut up," Natalie laughed while throwing a stuffed animal at my head. "You know what I mean."
"Yeah, well I guess I wouldn't have found out you were a witch if my parents had forced me to come home last night."
"That's true," Natalie mused. She got up from the bed, finally acknowledging all the clothes she had deserted on the floor. Slowly each one began to float back into her closet, instead of following them and putting them on hangers, she turned back to me and grinned. "I can't believe you're half vampire that is crazy. I want to meet your family now, this is so crazy."
"Have dinner with us tonight!" I blurted out, not even thinking about the fact my family and I weren't on good terms.
"Are you sure that's a good idea?" Natalie asked, looking apprehensive.
"I mean, if you don't want to it's fine, I guess…"
Natalie lunged forward, grabbing both my hands. "I didn't mean it like that! It's just that it is so last minute. I don't know if they would mind me intruding."
"Not at all! Let me call me my mom," I said quickly, happy that Nat seemed eager to come to my house. I dialed the familiar number and put my phone to my ear, waiting for my mom to answer.
Like always, she answered on the first ring, "Well, how nice of you to call."
"Hi mom," I groaned into the phone, praying I wasn't in for a lecture.
"No 'thank you mom for keeping dad and Jacob from running right after me when I so rudely snuck out last night?'"
"Thanks mom, I thought that was you."
"You're welcome, you're father is none too happy with me at the moment. Neither is Jacob," she said with a slight huff. "But I'm sure you're not calling about that, so what's up babe?"
"You know me too well mom," I said with a laugh that she shared. "I kind of had something important to tell you and then something to ask."
"Why does this sound like bad news?" I could just imagine my mother's frightened look as she imagined the worst case scenarios for what I was about to tell her.
"It's not bad news. Just, don't get mad?"
"Renesmee Carlie Cullen, you tell me what's going on this instant!"
"I told Natalie our secret."
The line was so silent that I had to look at my phone to see if my mother had hung up. We were still connected, "Mom?"
"Nessie, how could you?! I stuck up for you! How could you be so careless? We're going to have to move now! I thought you were ready to handle being around the humans and you go and tell your first human friend?!"
"But I didn't tell a human!" I shouted into the receiver, furious that my mother was calling me irresponsible.
The line was eerily silent. "What did you just say?"
"I said, I didn't tell a 'human.' Natalie is a witch."
"The both of you come home now," my mother almost growled into the phone. "This discussion needs to be in person."
Without even giving me a chance to say a word, the line went dead. I looked up to see Natalie's nervous expression and I couldn't help but reciprocate the emotion.