"I said, I didn't tell a human. Natalie is a witch."
"The both of you come now," my mother almost growled into the phone. "This discussion needs to be done 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.
Natalie was up zipping all around her room, collecting things off her shelves and putting them into bags.
"Oh my god, your parents hate me now. I'm so sorry Nessie. This is all my fault. Why can't I know cool magic like time travelling because I'd so go back in time and fix this. I'm so sorry."
"Nat, stop moving," I shouted over her babbling, instantly she stopped and stared at me. "We're going to go to my house, everything is going to be alright."
"How can you be sure?"
I wanted to tell her that I actually didn't know. I was scared, terrified actually, of how my family would react if that's how my mom, the sanest part of my family, reacted. Surely the relationship between vampires and witches couldn't be that bad, my mother had to be overreacting. Natalie was so sweet, she wasn't evil. If there was animosity between witches and vampires, I would have heard about. I would have actually heard about witches, but I hadn't. And my family, especially my mother and father, told me all of the legends, myths and stories in the world. Anything they knew to be supernatural, I knew as well. My mother was just overreacting because maybe she's never even heard of witches. That had to be it.
I looked up to see Natalie's eyes wide with fear, she was chewing on the end of one of her long braids as she waited for me to answer her. I just couldn't tell her I was scared. "I just know."
Natalie closed her eyes, took in a long breath and then looked back at me. "Okay, let's go."
Silently we made our way past Natalie's parents in the living room and straight to her car, where we found Daniel sitting in the backseat.
"You two didn't think I was going to let you go alone, did you?" Daniel asked us as soon as we climbed into the car. Natalie remained silent but I turned to look at Daniel, confused as to how he knew what was going on.
"Nat and I have a weird sort of twin connection," Danny said with a smirk. "That and I was listening at the door. I realized you guys were leaving, so I decided to join you. I'm ready to meet some vampires."
"This isn't some joke Danny, Nessie's family is going to hate us," Natalie said without turning to look at her brother. She was paler than usual and she looked like she was fighting off tears. She focused on the road as she hurtled her car forward in the direction of my house.
"I'm not laughing Nat, but I think you're both overreacting. It's not like we're dangerous. If anything, vampires are more dangerous than we are."
"My family is safe," I replied defensively.
"I've realized that or else wouldn't everyone in town have become dinner?" Danny laughed, obviously not understanding how serious our situation seemed to be. I just glowered at him, not wanting to laugh even though I did find it funny.
As we turned the corner onto my street, my heart dropped into my stomach. My entire family was waiting on the porch for us. All of their eyes followed Natalie's car as she parked in the driveway. Dan unbuckled himself in the backseat but I stopped him by resting my hand on his knee. Natalie looked at the two of us.
"Wait in the car, I need to yell at them," I told them. Natalie shook her tiny head while Daniel smirked again. He found too much amusement in this that it made me question his sanity.
Wanting to kill my family, I slowly got out of the car and walked across the lawn towards them. Everyone remained motionless as I walked but as soon as I reached the bottom step, my family burst back to life.
My mother partially flung herself forward and went to grab my shoulders but I put my arms up to stop her. "You guys are so embarrassing."
"Nessie, you don't know what they're capable of, none of us do," my mother scolded me.
"You think I would have been able to call you after Nat told me she was a witch if she wasn't safe?" I shouted angrily at her, beyond annoyed that my family was being ignorant enough to believe little Natalie could be any kind of danger.
"We're not being ignorant Renesmee, we're doing what we think is best in a situation that none of us have come across before," my father answered my irate thoughts. I turned to glare at him, so frustrated with him and the rest of my family that my vision began to turn red.
"You can hear their thoughts dad. If they had been or were any danger to me, I think you would have noticed by now. Just listen, I guarantee that Daniel is laughing about how you're all overreacting and Nat is freaking out because all she wants is for my family to like her, because she's my best friend. But instead, my family has to go ahead and act like a bunch of idiots and try and scare away the only friends I have."
While I waited for someone to respond, I scanned the faces of my family in search of someone who seemed to be on my side. My mother looked at me, her eyes conveying the guilt she was now beginning to feel. My father was glowering in the direction of Natalie's car, surely listening to their thoughts for even a trace of danger. Both my aunts gave me apologetic looks, which made me do a little dance of joy on the inside. My grandparents were looking at each, silently communicating their feelings on the situation. Jake was leaning against the banister, just watching me with a small smile on his lips, which if I wasn't so angry at my father, I would have thought more about. Uncle Emmett was fighting back laughter while uncle Jasper was standing farthest away from me, by the door, looking entirely uncomfortable over the amount of tension in the air.
"Edward, do they sound dangerous?" Carlisle asked while my father continued to just glare at the car.
He didn't respond right away, which prompted my mother to rush to his side to grab his hand. "Edward?"
"Their thoughts are as Nessie said they would be, but—"
"But nothing!" I cut him off, proud that I had in fact been right. "Grandpa, tell him he's being overprotective. Don't you want to learn about them? I'm sure they have all sorts of legends they can tell you. Please make him stop!"
It might have to do with my grandfather being a total pushover when it came to me or the fact that things like this intrigued him or a combination of the two, whatever it was, my grandfather conceded.
"Edward, Renesmee is right," the tone my grandfather used made my father's shoulders tense. It was grandpa's 'let it go' voice. I felt like dancing, right there in my front yard. "If they were any immediate danger, we would be able to sense it. The fact that Nessie has spent so much time in their presence just proves that they mean no harm."
"Fine, bring them in," my father growled in my direction. His sour attitude no longer bothered me now that I had won. I hurriedly gave my grandpa a hug while my family began to trickle back into my house.
"Love you grandpa," I said, which made him smile and kiss my cheek.
I practically skipped back to the car. Natalie scrambled out of the driver's seat while Dan leisurely got out, as if he were about to go lay down and take a nap and not into a house full of vampires. Natalie grabbed my hands and looked me directly in the eye, "What happened?"
"My dad was a jerk, go figure. But you guys can come in and meet my family, hopefully sway my father to believe you're not evil," I said sarcastically. "I'm sorry about him, he can be really stubborn."
"Is he mad at you?" Natalie looked like she was about to cry. I didn't know what to say to calm her down, so I lifted my hand to her cheek again and showed her images of my family at their best; when my father played the piano for me, when grandpa would tell me stories about his past life, when my grandma cooked for me, when my mother watched silly television shows with me. I wanted her to see that my family was made up of genuinely happy people, who just got too protective at times. I wanted her to see that my aunts and uncles were all fun loving and spoiled me to no end because they loved me.
"He just worries too much, don't worry. When he gets to know you, he's going to love you," I promised her.
Having forgotten he was there, I was shocked when Danny spoke. "What the hell was that? Did you guys just have a moment?"
Danny didn't know about my gift, so to him what just happened between Natalie and I might have looked more intimate than I had anticipated. Rather than telling him what I was doing, I showed him, pressing my palm to the soft skin of his cheek. Images of him being an idiot flittered from my mind to his, showing him that Nat was my friend and that I liked boys.
"That is awesome," Danny breathed out, his eyes having the same distant look that Natalie's had when I first showed her. "Do it again!"
I just strung together memories I had with him in them, from class when we all joked together instead of paying attention or the many times he crashed our movie nights. I showed him how grateful I was for that night. I wanted him to know how great I thought he was. After the last image I showed him was of me, snuggling with the bear he gave me, he grinned and pulled me into his chest, giving me a big hug. I inhaled his scent. He was the first boy I had ever been this close with besides Jake. He smelt different, a nice different like earthy tones, mixed with something much stronger I couldn't put my finger on. I liked it.
"Are you guys coming inside?" Jake shouted across the lawn, his eyes dark as he looked directly at Daniel. I flushed red as I pulled away from him. How could I have forgotten to show them memories of Jacob, my over protective 'brother' figure. He dropped his glare and turned into the house, leaving the three of us alone.
"I guess it's now or never?" I said to them, trying to keep the nervousness from my voice. I was terrified my parents would embarrass me more.
Daniel shrugged and shoved his hands into his pockets while Natalie grabbed my hand and prodded for me to lead the way. The walk from the car, across the lawn, into my house and into the living room seemed much longer than the thirty-one seconds it actually took. The room fell silent as soon as we walked in. My parents were seated on the loveseat holding hands while my grandparents stood to their right. My aunts were squeezed onto the couch looking so small next to uncle Emmett, while Jake leaned against the far wall. After a second scan of the room, I realized that Uncle Jasper was nowhere to be found.
I had to break the silence, "Natalie, Daniel this is my family. They really aren't as mean as they've been acting, I promise."
"Hi," Natalie's voice was a tiny peep that most humans would not have been able to make out. Daniel waved at my family, completely at ease. I envied him for that. I introduced each relative by name and relation, not that Natalie didn't already know from our talk, but Daniel might not have. I made sure to mention my uncle Jasper did not do well with tense situations and would be back for dinner
"It's nice to meet you, I am Renesmee's grandmother Esme," she said, with the most genuine look on her face. Only my grandmother could make the tension we were experiencing melt away with one smile. "I'm so happy our Nessie here has made such nice friends. Will you be staying for dinner?"
"If it's not too much trouble," Natalie squeaked, moving out from behind me just a little to get a better look at my grandmother.
"Lovely! I'll get started on dinner, please get comfortable," she said while gesturing to the couch I hadn't noticed remained open for the three of us. Natalie managed a charming grin before taking a seat. Daniel plopped down next to her leaving me very little room beside him, which I squeezed into.
I waited for my father to begin a tirade of questions, demanding to know every last detail or Natalie and Daniel's lives, but he just watched the three of us skeptically. My uncle Emmett sensed the tension and went about relieving it in his own way.
"So you guys do magic?" Natalie nodded her head, probably too afraid to speak to my hulking uncle. "Can you show us?"
"Emmett!" My mother and aunts collectively shouted at him. I grimaced. The look in just my aunt Rose's eyes alone was enough to make anyone cringe.
"No, it's fine," Natalie assured them. "I mean, I understand him asking. It's not every day you meet a witch. I can show him something."
Aunt Rose looked put out, while uncle Emmett glowed at the idea. Natalie lifted her right palm and the hat my uncle had been wearing zoomed into her hand. My mother made a tiny gasp while my uncle and I laughed.
"That's nothing," Daniel chuckled while he gave her a side glance. I turned to look at him, having never seen him do any sort of magic.
"Daniel don't," Natalie warned him but it was too late. Daniel lifted his palm towards the ceiling and all the lights in the room flickered out and zoomed into the palm of his hand, creating a bright orb of light. While I was staring at him in amazement, Natalie was giving her brother the dirtiest look possible. He shrugged and the light in his palm extinguished and the lights in the room ignited.
"I thought you guys would need wands and have to say spells," Emmett commented, still looking at Daniel's outstretched palm, a frown tugging at his lips. "Harry Potter needed a wand."
Everyone laughed at this. I could see my father sharing a pensive look with my grandfather. It wasn't anything I had ever seen before, but they didn't look very surprised. I glanced at all my family members to gage their reactions. My mother was glowing, still gazing at Daniel's palm. Aunt Rose looked much like my uncle Emmet, confused but she looked a little unimpressed. My aunt Alice's expression was blank. It's hard to shock a vampire who can see the future, but Daniel sure managed to floor my aunt. Then there was Jacob, arms tight across his chest while he leaned against the wall behind my father. His eyes were dark but unfocused, gazing past Daniel, out the window behind us.
"When you're learning you have to use a wand, but after you've finished training you can do it all in your head," Natalie explained. "We finished a few years ago. The more you do in your head, the easier things become. My brother has an affinity for lights and flames. I can't turn out lights like he just did. But I am strong."
"Oh really?" My uncle guffawed, looking at Natalie as if she just admitted to being a dragon. He wasn't the only one who laughed; my mother as well as aunt Rose were laughing. I looked at her, curious as to what she meant by strong. She was so tiny; I found it hard to believe she would be capable of picking up a four year old child, let alone do anything more tasking.
"You're obviously not the first person to question that," Natalie flashed him a pearly grin. "I can beat you in an arm wrestling match but that would be too easy."
"That sounds like a challenge to me."
"A challenge for another time," my grandfather intervened. Emmett looked put out, but said nothing while aunt Rose and aunt Alice snickered behind his back. "Why don't you tell us more about yourselves and your kind? That is if you don't mind me asking?"
Natalie grinned at my grandfather, seeming more at ease when looking at him. I glanced towards the kitchen, wondering if my uncle Jasper was standing just beyond the way, doing his best to keep everyone calm.
"We used to live amongst our kind, when we were much younger," Natalie began, glancing towards Daniel. The look they shared made me wonder if they really did have twin telepathy. "Our parents were very traditional, they raised us the same way they were raised. Your parents are meant to teach you, but your community is where you really learn."
"It takes a village to raise a child," my grandfather offered.
"Yes, that is it precisely. Our parents would teach us the basics when we were home, but all the children met with the elders of our community when our parents worked. The elders showed us what our parents could not. Then we would practice with the other children. It was frustrating working with the other kids most of the time," Natalie looked pensive for a moment. "From a young age, Daniel and I both felt different from the others. We finished our training ahead of schedule."
She continued to tell my family about her training and how long it took the complete. Everyone, even my father, seemed interested in what she had to say. I could tell my grandpa was just eating up everything she said.
"How old are you two then?" My father asked. It was something I never thought to question. They were my age, weren't they? Or were vampires not alone in being frozen in time?
Natalie and Daniel exchanged quick glances. "Seventeen."
"How long have you been seventeen," my mother asked, earning a chuckle from my father. I made a mental note to ask my mother about that.
"Ten years now," Natalie said slowly as she turned to look at me. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you!"
"Have you seen my father? He just turned 122 this year and still looks seventeen," I said while
squeezing her hand to calm her down. "How old does that make your parents?"
"In our community, because you stay young for a long time, you are not allowed to have children
until the aging process begins again. My parents became so involved in the community, they
bypassed the aging process twice, so they are both 115 now."
"I guess we should introduce them to my father so he has someone as old as him to talk to. He
could use some friends."
"Actually, I would love to meet your parents," my father said, entirely missing my sarcasm. My
mother chuckled and mouthed 'your mistake' behind his back. Natalie ignored us and nodded
her head. "Ask them to come next Saturday. That should be more than enough time to tell them
about our family. Esme can put together something wonderful, I am sure."
"She will be thrilled to have guests," my grandfather added. "That would lovely if they came."
"Of course," Natalie beamed, all of her previous worries long forgotten. "Our parents are will
be so impressed to knew we met vampires before them. They have been interested in your kind
for a while. None of us knew you were in the open."
"We are great at disguise," my uncle Emmett tried to joke.
"Yeah, fifteen kids enrolling in high school looking like super models and acting like couples is
the perfect disguise," Daniel said with a laugh. I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing,
afraid my parents would be offended. But in fact, everyone joined him in laughing, saying no
humans had ever questioned it before.
By the time my grandmother had finished dinner, my grandfather had asked Natalie more questions than I felt were necessary. But he learned that most families branched out of their communities when their children were considered grown. It was hard to have so many of their kind in one area without drawing attention from the humans. Like my family, wizards and witches had rulers that kept a strict eye on people. Natalie seemed to enjoy telling the stories of her kind, while Daniel seemed almost bored by it. More than a few times I caught her glare at him, though she had not been looking in his direction at all, to silently tell him off for not paying attention. It made me giggle each time I caught it.
My mother sat beside me at the dinner table, while Natalie sat on my other side, flanked by Daniel. "I'm sorry for freaking out on you sweetheart," my mother apologized as she took my hand. "I guess all these years with your father have made me a little more paranoid than I used to be."
Though he was all the way across the room, helping my grandfather carry our food to the table, my father rolled his eyes. My mother leaned in closer to me, "Your father will apologize as well, he knows they mean no harm and I know he feels foolish like I do."
"Don't say that," I squeezed her hand back. "You wouldn't be a mom if you didn't freak out every once in a while. That's why I love you."
She grinned at that before leaning in to kiss my cheek. If she could cry, I knew should would be in tears right now. Daniel gasped from a few sets down, I turned to give him and curious look.
"Right then, you two looked like twins," he looked astonished. My mother and I both flashed him an identical pearly grin.
Jacob, making a sound for the first time since he'd yelled at us earlier, laughed. I looked to see him giving Daniel a slightly annoyed look. I frowned at that. What had Daniel said that was annoying? Anyone who saw us, thought my mom and I were sisters, but it was expected. She was frozen, only physically two years older than me, so we looked more alike than most mother and daughters.
I wanted to question him, but figured the dinner table, with all of our guests, was neither the time nor place. My thoughts were quickly interrupted by the front door opening and the rest of the pack barreling into the house. My aunt Leah was the first to enter the dining room, hand in hand with Embry. My wide-eyed expression must have caught her off guard because she immediately dropped his hand and blushed at me. Everyone seemed to be shocked by the new development. My aunts were giving them perplexed looks, while I swear I saw my uncle Emmett groan and hand my uncle Jasper money. My father had what I liked to call 'the look' on his face, one that meant he was getting far too much information than he needed and would appreciate some new thoughts. My mother was gushing, very unlike herself, as she now stood at my aunt's side. It was because of all this commotion, no one noticed my uncle Seth enter the room and stop right in his tracks, his eyes completely wide and his face stuck as he locked glances with Natalie.