Everyone seemed glad to leave the house in Inverness. They couldn't go back to Forks for another several decades, but they moved to Victoria, which almost felt like home to Nessie. They might have gone to Alaska, but Kate and Garrett weren't there—Kate said she needed time before she set foot again in the home she'd shared with her sisters.
Carlisle was working as a trauma surgeon this time; most of his patients were backpackers who ran into trouble on the West Coast Trail. Everyone but Nessie was attending a tiny local high school even smaller than Forks High, where they stood out like usual but no one bothered them.
Nessie was still doing lessons with Carlisle, because she was getting ready for her first stint at college and he wasn't about to trust this crucial stage of her education to the public system. They told anyone who asked that the youngest Cullen girl had Lupus and had to be homeschooled.
The biggest change in her literature lessons was that now she was reading criticism as well as the books themselves, and they started with the Greeks again. For a paper on Aeschylus she read scholar after scholar call Cassandra the Schizophrenic of the Ancients, but she wrote that Aeschylus knew better than that.
Cassandra was cursed. She was cursed to always speak and never be believed. To always see—to watch her brother die, her city fall... and be able to do nothing.
But there is power to be found in being ignored. There is power to be made from silence, watchfulness. There are worlds to be healed by knowing how much you can really do when the rest of the world ignores you, ignores the woman with the strange gift and the strange words and the strange look on her face. If it does not drive you to madness, this impotence, it will make you strong because no one will expect it. No one can see it. And if you can harness that power you will not be murdered in the bathtub, you will not be raped by a conquering warrior and sold as consort to a slovenly pig.
Or maybe you will. Maybe you will, and so will everyone else, but at least you tried. You tried and you can die or live out eternity in the peace of knowing how much power you have when no one thinks you have any power at all.
Nessie knew this now, and she never, ever forgot it.
Thank you all so much for reading.