All recognizable characters, plots and places belong to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: "As a lone nomadic vampire, Jayden was pretty lonely. His life was a mess. He did whatever he pleased, pausing to drain a couple of humans once in a while. But then he came across the strangest, sweetest not-human not-animal scent while passing through a mini-town called Forks in Washington. It lead him to the strangest freaky coven of vampires he'd ever run into: the Cullens. A coven of eleven? Were they fuckin' MAD? One of them was a really stinky freakin' werewolf married to a…what the fuck was that bronze-haired female? She wasn't human, nor was she vampire. The concept of 'hybrid' was just plain ridiculous. But…there's another female. The sexy blond female and the giant black-haired male said they'd adopted her when she was a baby. But… Ugh, this was so damn confusing. Well, one thing's for sure. This was one confusing family of vampires with…wait, golden eyes? What the fuck?"
Happy reading! Oh, and, for the record, despite the M rating, I don't do lemons. I'm really sorry. The rating's only for the harsh language. Enjoy and leave a review!
Prologue: What the FUCK are YOU?
This place was new. That didn't feel good. The weather was perfect for hunting around here, but the place felt a little foreboding. Normally, I'd acknowledge my instincts and keep away from strange-feeling places like this, but something about this time felt different. Or maybe it was just all the rain acting on me. I rolled my eyes—I was trying to keep myself away from here. What's more pathetic than that?
"Shut up and hunt," I told myself. "The thirst's getting to your head."
And look at myself. I was talking to thin air. If Fred saw me now, he'd shake his head, grin and say, "Jayden, dude, you're seriously, absolutely, completely, entirely losing it. Just man up and get a fuckin' girl, okay? You need company."
But, seriously, how was I supposed to get 'fuckin' girl' if none appealed to me? It was ridiculous. Fred had his way with everything female that breathed, human or not. He did prefer the soft human ones—the feast afterwards was always appreciated. But that just wasn't my style. I wasn't the type to just grab a random human slut off the alley, fuck her literally to death, drain her of blood and then walk away. That wasn't my style. Nor was I inclined to fuck an immortal. I'd done that a couple of times and ended up in a fight with her friends every time. Why did females of my species always have a ton of protective girlfriends? It was seriously irritating.
I growled, annoyed by my own memories.
Just fucking focus on the hunt tonight, my burning throat snarled at me. The thirst's killing me!
I gritted my teeth and continued running through the forest. I wasn't in the mood for a hunt, but the agonizing burn in my throat was driving me to the brinks of insanity. I needed to hunt tonight. Immediately, too, according to the raging flames in my throat. This was why I hated nighttimes—sure, I could wander around in the streets without my showy skin glittering off the sunlight, but it also meant the humans were all asleep in their houses.
I had few rules when it came to hunting. Firstly, don't break into humans' houses. They usually had kids in there somewhere. Secondly, never drain kids. Feed on the fully grown humans all you like but never touch kids. And thirdly, keep the hunts at night. That makes it a lot easier to hide from sunlight.
I didn't know why I was so against feeding on children. Their blood would obviously be a lot sweeter, purer. But I absolutely refused to kill them. Part of me said it might be because they might grow and spawn more humans for me to kill. Part of me said they were too…well, innocent. Most humans deserved to die—filthy, vile creatures. But the kids were sort of innocent, despite their foul parents. I was nowhere near pure or clean or virtuous. My mind rebelled against me sometimes at the idea, but I couldn't help respecting the purity of human children. They were just too innocent. Sure, once they grew up and behaved like grown-up humans, I'd attack them without a second thought…
But, as children, there was always this air of power around them, despite their physical fragility. I could crush their bodies in a second, but those tiny things had so much life in them…
No. I couldn't do it. Ugh, I hated this. Kids felt untouchable and I hated it. I detested it, so I just stayed away from them. What I couldn't see couldn't tempt me. I might be vampire and supernatural, but I still had morals.
I focused on running, the branches of trees and leaves blowing past me at incredible speeds. This place, despite the creepy environment, smelt really good. I inhaled deeply, filtering through the scents of plants and wet soil to smell the perfume of the place. It was…sweet? No, closer to…
I froze in place. My nostrils were flared, my eyes wide, knees bent into a protective crouch, hands curled into claws, senses on hyper-alert. My eyes wheeled around in panic, searching for enemies.
I smelt vampires.
Shit! I'd invaded into some coven's territory.
I was currently standing in the scent trail of two vampires. A male and a female, if previous experience was anything to judge by. One smelt distinctly of strawberries and freesia—a female. The other, probably the male, had a weird scent—honey? And something a little more flowery. Lilac? I frowned deeply, pondering what to do.
I rarely conducted with others of my kind. The only friend that I actually had was another nomad, Fred Murphy. And I was usually too busy drinking their blood to make friends with humans. Who cared about them, anyway? Due to my non-existent social skills, I had no idea what to do now. Did invading into foreign territory mean I had to meet the vampires? Or should I just leave quickly, before they noticed my presence and turned hostile or some other shit.
I sniffed at the trail again. They smelt pretty normal. Should I follow it to their den? Vampires didn't normally stay too long in one place, so I could always hang around until these two left… I shrugged. It wasn't like I was out to conquer their territory—I was just plain thirsty. I'd hunt and then leave. Whatever.
I shot off into the foliage again. And then I froze again—it wasn't just two vampires. It was three. I frowned deeper, the lines carving into my forehead. I sighed and stopped again, sniffing the air carefully. Three vampires. Okay, that wasn't exactly uncommon. Not every day stuff, but it was heard of. This just made things little bit riskier. But my plans remained unchanged: run, hunt, drink, leave. I just needed to find a tasty hiker. Not much chance of that, considering humans tended to sleep at night, but I could, maybe, find some campers? But I didn't move my feet, captivated by the third scent.
It was the strangest thing I'd ever smelt.
Sweet, deliciously so. Amazingly tantalizing. Deploring, almost. Rich, creamy and full of promises. I could feel the venom welling up in my mouth. I could almost feel the blood flowing through my mouth. It was…human? But no. No human could ever smell so…incredibly mouthwatering. And besides, there was something distinctly familiar about it. Vampire, almost. I raised an eyebrow—vampire smelling like a human? That would mean this one (male or female, I wasn't sure) had just hunted; but I didn't smell any blood. And no vampire was that much of a neat-eater that another vamp couldn't smell the leftovers of blood.
I tested the air once more carefully. Nope, definitely no blood. But…
It wasn't an animalistic scent, either. There was definitely a strong whiff of vampire in it, mixed amazingly deliciously with human. What the fuck? I knelt closer to the ground, running my hands through the fallen, brown leaves and selecting one with the strange scent strongly embedded on it. I held it close to my face and breathed in deeply, curious and confused.
What the hell is this thing?
But then I noticed that, if I paid close enough attention, the scent was a startling mixture of the two other scent-trails I'd found a few minutes before. There was a strong smell of the honey-and-lilac male, and an equally powerful counterpart of the strawberry-and-freesia female.
Almost like the way human kids smell like their parents…
What the fuck was I talking about? Parents? Vampire parents? Right, yeah. Keep dreaming, Jayden.
I frowned at the dirty leaf in my hand, trying to figure out what the fuck was this thing. Not human, not vampire. And not animal, of course. So…what? Should I follow this to their den? The other two smells were clearly vampires, so I maybe I could pretend to socialize a little and then leave, find somewhere else to hunt. And while talking, I might mention in passing about a weird scent I'd found in the woods…you know, find out a little…and then leave. Curiosity sated. Thirst, not. I'd go somewhere else for the hunt. My thirst really wasn't that bad, was it?
Of course not. And I usually had good control. I could handle another hunt-less night.
That decided it for me. I turned my back to the west, where I was headed before for the hunt, and began following the trails. The strawberry scent was a little stronger than the others; obviously, the female followed the same trail a little bit more than the male. But whatever made that bittersweet trail was with her every time she did. That didn't make sense…
I shrugged. Whatever, Jayden. Just go satiate your fucking curiosity and then just fucking get some blood down your throat. It's on fire.
Fine, fine. Sheesh! I was really thirsty tonight. I better make this visit quick.
I locked on to the strawberry-and-freesia scent, letting my mind register the texture and flavor. I locked on it the information, and once it was embedded, I didn't need the scent anymore. Something was calling to me from the east. It wasn't exactly sound—I couldn't really hear—but it was more like I could feel whatever I was tracking was in that direction. I let my inner senses take over, following the strange 'sound'. Yes, it was definitely female—only females 'sounded' that way. I raced through the forest, darting past, over, under and around the vegetation to get to that female and find out the mystery behind that strange scent.
I started encountering more of that lilac-y scent as I got closer to where I could 'feel' the female's inner voice. And others. I hesitated, shutting off my other instincts for a while. And then I began to count the trails I'd crossed.
One…two…three…four…five…six…seven…eight…nine, if I included the weird one. Holy fuckin' shit.
This time I absolutely refused to move. Eight fuckin' vampires in one place! What, were they having a fight or some other shit? What the fuck were eight godforsaken vampires doing in one motherfuckin' area? And I wasn't even sure one of them was a fucking vampire! What the hell was going on in this crazy place? Did the Volturi know about this? Hot fuck, what the hell? Eight? Eight?
I sighed, confusing raging wild inside of me. I knew it was insanely dangerous, and possibly the most stupid and ridiculous idea I'd ever gotten in my fifty-eight years of being a vampire, but this was something I definitely had to see.
A coven of eight?
I looked around, searching for signs of carnage. There were no unnaturally broken trees. The rare boulders scattered here and there was unscarred and unharmed. These vamps were definitely not fighting. In fact, judging from the way the trails intermingled, they got along pretty well.
A coven of eight? What was going on?
I tried to rationalize with myself: Jayden, this is reckless and stupid and dangerous. They could be fuckin' hostile, for all you know! You could get yourself turned into a pile of ashes for this stupidity! Your curiosity can literally get you killed this time! Dude, just fucking turn around and get the hell out of here. This place is as far from safe as it's possible to be. Just get away from here, okay? Now!
No. I wanted to see what was going on. I wanted to know why eight vamps—and one thing I wasn't sure about—were together in one place. I'd never seen a coven so vast. Sure, I'd heard of the Volturi and their unbelievable numbers, but a normal coven of eight? No way…This wasn't something I was simply going to give up without closely investigating. And what about that weird scent?
Forget that fucking scent, dude, and get yourself a fucking head, for once! GET OUT OF HERE! NOW!
No. I was seeing this to the end. Who knew, I might end up finding something really interesting. I had a feeling that strange smell might lead to something enticing…
That's just you being your usual, fucked up, irrational self! Get out of here! NOW, I tell you!
Shut up! I was going here, whether my fucked up instincts liked it or not. I was going insane with curiosity and I was doing whatever the hell I could to diminish it. Safety, my ass. I was seeing this through, even if it did mean I was going to end up as a pile of useless ashes tonight. My throat was on fire, anyway. It might as well spread to the rest of my body.
I locked on to the scent of the strawberries and freesia again and let the mind-call pull me forward. I darted through the leaves and forestry again until I came upon the banks of a river. It was pretty wide, and clear; I could see the smooth pebbles on the riverbed. They were multicolored, even in the moonlight. Two hundred feet away, I could dimly make out the outline of a vast window deep into the forest.
A house, here, in the middle of the woods? What the fuck? Did the vamps stay in there? Like, as a…family? What?
I shook my head, confusion raging in my mind. It was going to end up eating my insides if I didn't (quickly) do something about it. I took a couple of steps back, and then raced toward the water, springing up into the air as I got near enough. I shot across the wide berth of the river and landed neatly on the other side, the house a bit closer to me now. The trees were beginning to frustrate me now—I could see the place clearly because of them obstructing my view.
Now I noticed another smell. Ugh. Disgusting! Sheesh, it was appalling! I shuddered slightly, my nose screaming in protest from the utterly repulsive stench. In fact, this stink was reeking all over the place! UGH! Revolting! I'd never smelt anything so utterly sickening in my life! Ugh! What the fuck was making this odor?
From here on, I disconnected the part of my mind locked on to the scent of the female, relying on my outer sense alone. I let my ears range out, noting I could hear several people breathing lightly inside the house. Three of them were breathing almost unnoticeably faster than the others. I wanted to lock on to the bittersweet smell and see if one of the fast-breathers was the one behind the scent, but I didn't want to risk focusing on anything else.
The vampires in the house—and I was sure the vamps I'd smelt were in that house—weren't moving a muscle. It was almost like they'd been anticipating me. I frowned; what the fuck? One of the fast-breathers weren't so still, however. I inched my way carefully through the leaves and branches. And then I froze, shocked into stillness by the scene in front of me.
It was a house. A full-fledged, motherfucking, godforsaken house. No, not a house, a fuckin' mansion. It was friggin' beautiful! Antique windows, a stunning white front door, a deep porch. And a sprawling lawn, wide and large, that circled the huge house, and overhung with the vast, sweeping branches of several ancient trees. It was breathtaking. And, if I wasn't mistaken, I could even see the hint of a driveway between one of the old trees. What?
I eyes the front door warily. Should I just walk up and knock? How did vampires interact? Fred and I ran into each other half a decade up while we were both hunting, and we shared the hunt. And ended up buddies. There was never really any introduction. And he was a loner, a nomad, like me. He didn't belong to a coven of eight with a thing that smelt amazingly vampire-and-human and a disgusting-smelling beast. Our friendship had been relatively easy.
This was NOT.
What the fuck was I supposed to do now? Obviously the vamps inside had heard me—any vampire with ears would hear another vamp making their way to him. Or her. So what now? I took a deep breath, released it silently and cautiously walked—at a slow, human pace—to the beautiful front door. When I reached the front, I stopped, confused again. I could hear a…thrumming? Like a bird's heartbeats. Wait, two birds' heartbeats. What the fuck? Did this coven keep pet birds? Huh?
Up close, the house was even more beautiful. It showed serious talent. And the trails I'd smelt easier were pretty concentrated here. There was even a slight hint of human. A previous meal, probably? And several of the smells were pretty old. This coven's been here for a shockingly long time. Wow. This was getting more complicated with time. Would I ever find my answers? Well, they were as hostile as I'd thought they'd be—they'd let me get onto their porch, didn't they?
I raised my hand, slightly nervous, and knocked on the door. Solid wood.
The door opened, almost like somebody had been behind it the whole time and just waiting for me to knock. There was a male in the threshold. Blond, tall, twenty-something, probably, when he had been changed. From the worldly look in his eyes, he'd been vamp-y for a while. Two centuries? Three? I wasn't exactly sure. His scent was familiar though—it was one of the new ones I'd encountered by the river. He wasn't the male I'd originally smelled.
"Hello," he said quietly. He was smiling. Wow. Friendly. "My name is Carlisle Cullen."
"Hello, Jayden. It's very nice to meet you. My son's been telling me you are curious about my family. Would you like to come in, meet them? We're all here."
'Son'? And what the fuck did he mean this 'son' was telling him I was curious? And 'we'? Okay, this might be going too far if I actually get in this big house. Nevertheless, I stepped in. The thrumming sound was a lot louder here. It was definitely coming from the house. And that strange scent was here too, along with the utterly vile one. And there was another scent too—another sweet, deliciously human but tantalizingly vampire scent. This one was even sweeter than the other: I could smell chocolate and something vaguely like molten gold. It was incredible, almost drugging.
Carlisle stepped aside as I entered.
The inside of the house was even more beautiful than the outside. Vast living room—one big open space. Couches, carpets, small tables, a giant TV, a couple of magazines scattered around. A row of computers at tables. Loads of chairs. And a hundred percent glass back-wall. A white-on-white color scheme. It was all very soothing. Like a real home.
And then I locked on to the faces.
All vamp. A motherly-looking caramel-haired female seated on one of the wide, white couches smiling sweetly at me, warm and calming. Her face was almost as if she was telling me that there was nothing to be cautious about, that she wasn't dangerous. And her face was of that type—you just can't help easing up. Just a little. Her eyes flickered to the blond, Carlisle, and I could tell from her look that they were mated.
Another female was seated beside her. A beautiful brunette—long straight flowing hair, large eyes, a smiling mouth. She was rather pretty, in the girl-next-door sort of way. Her smile was calm and reassuring, too. She looked like she was somewhere around eighteen and nineteen. Her arm was wrapped around the shoulder of another female.
This one was short and with black hair with spikes that pointed everywhere. She was tiny. She couldn't possibly have been more than five-feet-nine. And her smile was brilliant. Her eyes were lit up like I was most exciting thing I'd ever seen. I could see her hands fluttering over her green and black dress rapidly, like she was really impatient about something. She looked almost adorable, like a pixie. Her smile was catchy—I couldn't help a small grin at her. Just a small one; I was still a little strung-up.
There was a male seated at the brunette's feet, holding her feet in his lap. His eyes were focused intensely on me, with a searching quality that made me a little nervous. He didn't look hostile—just like the others. He grinned at me, too. His eyes had a knowing look in them which made me a little suspicious. His hair was a little shocking—messed up and astray, but with a startling shape of copper and bronze. His grin widened a little as I mused over his creepy hair for a few seconds. He seemed to be fighting a laugh—what a strange guy.
I noticed another much bigger male sprawled on the opposite sofa. He had really curly black hair. And he was huge, like a wrestler. Bands of muscles bulged on his arms and broad shoulders. He was lying on the couch, but, from his legs, I could tell he was really tall. That might have made him really intimidating, but the smile on his face really put it off. It was wide, really wide—he was grinning at me like I was the best friend he'd ever had and he was just aching for a high-five or something. Huh?
What the fuck?
Another tall, but blond, male was sitting at the bottom step of the large sweeping staircase. He was holding a book, but looking at me. There was a pile of more books placed by his feet. His smile was the smallest in the room. I automatically tensed as I saw him—scars. Thousands of scars, littered all over every inch of exposed skin that I could see. His face, his throat, his arms. It was like a warning sign—he's fuckin' dangerous! GET OUT OF HERE!
I couldn't tear my eyes off him. It was so clear that he was unsafe. His lean build was another clue that he was an excellent fighter. Probably better skilled than the burly male lying on the sofa. He regarded me carefully for a long time two, but there was no challenge in the look. He was just making sure I wasn't dangerous, just like I was. That didn't put me at ease, though. I was still extremely tense. But I relaxed a little bit as I saw the glance he exchanged with the pixie-like black-haired female.
The look in his eyes was very tender, affectionate. Loving. The pixie grinned at him like all the brilliance of a 100-Watt light bulb, and the male relaxed. I eyed him for a couple more seconds.
Then I noticed the girl sitting at one of the computer tables. She was stunning, amazingly gorgeous. Blond, attractive features, large eyes, full lips, arching eyebrows, long lashes. In short, she was the most beautiful female I'd seen until now. She was smiling at me a little suspiciously. From her eyes, I could tell she was the least eager to let me into the house. Whatever—she was freakin' beautiful!
And then I registered the color of their eyes. I was, of course, expecting the dull red of vampires. No. These vampires, this coven of eight vamps living in complete harmony, had golden eyes. Shock reeled through my mind, leaving it blank from the force of my surprise.
What the fuck?
I took in all of this in just a second. Carlisle was still waiting by the door. I looked at him once and then turned back to the room at large, looking carefully at each face. None of them were emitting either of those amazingly sweet scents or that utterly repulsive reek. I ran my eyes over the vampires. The brunette female, the motherly female, the spiky-haired girl, the burly male, the two blonds, the copper-haired male and the gorgeous Ice Queen. Eight vampires. This was incredible. And they were clearly so close to each other, just like a…family.
Carlisle, the one who'd greeted at me at the door, stepped forward, leaving the door open. I understood what that little gesture meant—he was silently telling me that, even though it was unneeded (according to him), the escape route was free for me to use should I want it. He, or any of the vamps in the room, weren't dangerous and I was free to leave whenever I liked. That relaxed a bit further.
"Jayden, let me introduce you to my family," Carlisle told me warmly.
I felt a slight shock at the last word. This was a coven, not a family. But…hadn't I just made the comparison myself a few seconds ago? Gosh, this was so damn confusing. I was going to freakin' explode if I didn't get some answers soon. And I was going to get them. I was sure about that. The copper-haired male nodded at me. Huh?
Carlisle's gaze swept the room and all of them instantly got to their feet.
Okay, Carlisle Cullen's the leader. That's for sure. And that female with the motherly smile is his mate. They probably co-lead this huge coven. How do they keep them from fighting?
The mother-ish female walked over to right beside Carlisle, who wrapped his arm around her shoulder, smiling once at her before looking back at me.
Okay, two leaders are mated. Strong bond. Really strong bond. What the fuck am I say—they're in friggin' love, not just 'strong bond'.
"This is my wife, Esme," Carlisle said, looking at his mate under his arm.
Esme smiled warmly at me again. "It's very nice to meet you, Jayden. Welcome to our home."
"Er…thank you," I said nervously. "You have a…pretty decent house." It's beautiful, actually. And how come you and your coven-members have golden eyes, ma'am?
"This is my son, Edward," Carlisle told me, nodding at the bronze-haired male, who nodded at me again. "He's a mind-reader."
I raised an eyebrow, deciding to test it out. Really? Can 'cha hear me, dude?
"Definitely," Edward grinned at me.
I blinked. Okay, that was unexpected.
"From what Alice has shown me," Edward told me, "you'll get used to it, Jayden, don't worry. This is my love, my wife, my Bella." He squeezed the brunette snuggled into his side.
She smiled brightly at me. "Hello, Jayden. Thank God you're finally here. Alice wouldn't shut up about you."
I wondered who this 'Alice' was whom they kept talking about. And geez, why were they so friendly? This was freakin' confusing. They were acting like they already knew everything about me, but I didn't know a fucking thing about them. This was really getting to my head.
Edward looked at Carlisle once and said, "Alice is my sister. That really small person over there." He pointed with his chin at the overly-eager tiny female who grinned widely at me.
And then, before I knew it, the munchkin was racing at me at top speed, her arms stretched and her smile so big it looked like it was going to pop right off her face. Her eyes were sparkling with excitement. That was all I had time to register before she threw herself at me and wrapped her mini-arms around me tightly, laughing loudly.
"Hi, Jayden!" she said loudly, her voice shrill and laughing. "It's so awesome to finally meet you! I've already seen you so many times and now you're finally here, and I can't believe it! Welcome to the family, new brother!"
I blinked, not sure how to react. She was obviously extremely friendly. 'Brother'?
"Alice, give him some space," Edward told her, chuckling lightly. "He needs a little time to absorb all of this."
"Okay, right," the tiny thing squeaked from somewhere down there. Her head barely came up to my chest. "Sorry, Jay. It's just I know all about you already. It's hard to wrap my head around you not knowing me. My visions were so vivid of you that I got a little caught up. Sorry."
'Jay'? I'd met this tiny thing a few minutes ago and I already had a nickname? She was fast.
"Er…sure, no problem," I told her unsurely.
The blond male with the book finally smiled. "Don't worry, she's harmless. It's fine. My wife, Alice, is always a little overexcited, even about the smallest things. You'll get used to it, just like Edward's mind-reading. Alice is psychic. She had several visions of you coming here. She's a little hyper right now."
"Oh." That explained a bit. What could she have seen? "It's alright. She's pretty nice."
"Oh, I love you, too, big brother!" And the pixie was hugging me enthusiastically again. And, again, I was stunned as to what to do.
Edward laughed. "Alice."
"Oh. Right. Forget." She, once again, released me, her smile as bright as ever.
I couldn't help smiling back at her. She was a sweet little thing. A very little thing. She was less than even half my height. And that made her quite adorable, actually. And her smile was contagious. She was just the sort of person you couldn't help but like. At seeing my answering smile, her grin got wider. Edward and the other blond shook their heads at the same time.
"I'm Jasper," the latter told me. "Alice's husband."
"My son, Jasper, here, has the ability to sense and manipulate emotions," Carlisle told me.
I raised an eyebrow at him and Jasper nodded. "Yes."
I was feeling a little nervous and tense…and now I was feeling so happy, I felt like I was about to explode from it…so happy! Happy…really happy…Wow, I was really happy!...Happy happy…sooooo happy…. Me was happy! HAPPY! HAAAAAPPY! Yay! I was happy! HAPPY!
And then I back to normal. And shocked out of my senses.
"What the creep was that?" I gasped out, my eyes wide and my head still reeling from that strange emotion of mindless happiness.
"Jasper," Edward explained, nodding at the vampire in question.
I felt a little…exposed. Edward was reading my mind, Alice was seeing my future, Jasper was playing with my emotions. Gosh, this was so much to take in. And I hadn't even met the gorgeous blond lady and the burly black-haired man. What would come next? Levitation? Or maybe they had the ability to disappear into thin air? Or was it something like they could make me disappear? Poof.
Edward laughed. "No. Don't worry. My brother, Emmett—" he indicated the muscle-y male "—and my sister, Rosalie—" he looked at the beautiful blond "—don't have any extra abilities like Alice, Jasper, Renesmee, Bella, Pricilla and me."
Renesmee? Pricilla? Who the fuck were they? And Bella had an ability? I looked at Edward.
"My wife, Bella, is a powerful mental shield," Edward told me.
Bella rolled her eyes. "Ignore him, please, Jayden. It's just a thin sheet of invisible cover that stops a few mental attacks. Edward, here, is a little…too proud. He won't listen to me when I say it's nothing." She glared at Edward, but I could see the burning love in those strange golden eyes.
Edward laughed. "It doesn't stop a few mental attacks, love. It blocks out every one of them. Nobody can get anywhere near your mind," Edward looked at me, "if Bella's got it wrapped. Even my mind-reading won't work." He returned Bella's look, and I could almost feel the adoration and devotion in that one glance. Wow. Talk about a 'powerful love'.
"It's an exceptional talent that my daughter-in-law has," Esme said.
"Right." Bella looked away, as if embarrassed by all the attention. I took her for a private person—Edward heard my observation and nodded in agreement. Okay, that was seriously going to take a while to get used to. He nodded at that, too. Freaky.
"I'm Emmett," the burly man told me, his wide smile still in place. "I'm the best in the family. Fighter, I mean."
"Right," Jasper drawled, and I noted a Southern hint to his accent. "And when was the last time you won a wrestling man with me, Emmett? Or Edward?"
"Bring it on! I'm so itching for a rematch of last night! And you and Alice and Edward cheat. That doesn't count."
"Of course it does."
"Boys!" Esme chided. "Stop, please! We have a guest in the house! Please, behave yourself. You're going to make a bad impression on him the very first time he meets you two."
I couldn't help another smile. This was incredible. It was almost like a real family. Jasper and Emmett, bickering like real brothers, and Esme breaking up their false fights like a real mother. I could see Carlisle looking at them warningly—like a father telling his sons to behave themselves. This was amazing. A real family. Brothers. Sisters. And Carlisle was constantly addressing them to me as his 'sons', and Esme had just called Bella her 'daughter-in-law'. Wow… Bella and Alice were standing beside each other, Edward's arm around Bella and one of Jasper's arms wrapped around Alice's waist. The two girls, in between the boys, were holding hands, like best friends. Or sisters. And the gorgeous blond woman, Rosalie, was standing right behind them, leaning on Emmett and grinning at Bella. Sisters. Three sisters. Three brothers. A Mom and a Dad.
It was so hard to believe.
A family. Wow… Vampires, a coven of eight. No. The word 'coven' didn't apply to this group. I could almost feel the bonds tying them to each other. Their connection to one another was too strong and powerful to be called a mere coven. No, the only word which actually fit them was 'family'.
A family of vampires. Carlisle and Esme as the parents; Emmett, Jasper and Edward the brothers; Alice, Rosalie and Bella the sisters.
This was incredible. I would've called it impossible if I hadn't been seeing their love for each other right in front of me. Even while bickering with each other, I could see the loyally and devotion in Emmett and Jasper for one another. It was so…unbelievable.
Edward, obviously having heard what was going on in my mind, smiled but didn't say anything. I smiled back freely. This family just had that effect. You could smile at them, no matter how nervous and apprehensive you might have been minutes ago. They automatically put you at ease.
Esme finally managed to break off the argument between Jasper and Emmett. "Be quiet, you two."
"Okay, Mom," they said together. The word fell from their tongues easily. They'd obviously said it a million times before. Mom. Huh, even in my own mind the word felt foreign. And they spoke it so easily, naturally…
"Who are Renesmee and Pricilla?" I asked Carlisle.
Edward, Bella, Emmett and Rosalie tensed up immediately and at the same time. All of them exchanged nervous glances, like they didn't want this topic breached. Why? Was it forbidden?
"No, not forbidden," Edward said slowly, responding to my thoughts. "I think you should come in and sit down, Jayden. This is…a little delicate, to say the least."
I might have hesitated to 'sit down' with them before, not any more, not after seeing how much they loved each other. I nodded at him. Alice grinned at me and Bella and Rosalie nodded reassuringly. Emmett looked at me for a while, his smile a little tenser than before, and then flashed over to where he had been lying on the couch, sitting up this time.
Carlisle indicated me into one of the armchairs by the fireplace. The family sat on the couches. I appreciated the gesture—I might have relaxed a lot by now, but I wasn't sure I was ready to have one of them sit beside me, even if it was quirky little-sister-type Alice.
The atmosphere in the room had gone from fun and easy-going to high-strung and tense. I wondered why. Every one of them had a worried look in their strange golden eyes. I had yet to ask them about their eye color…
Edward looked at me from where he was sitting at the couch. "I know why you came here, Jayden. You smelt a strange scent alongside Bella and mine, correct?"
"And you're a tracker," Edward stated.
"Really?" Bella said, leaning forward a little in her place beside Edward.
"Yes, he is," her husband told her. "Alice didn't see that, of course, since it is a purely mental talent. I only found out when he started tracking your scent to here, love. And he's a very capable one at that, too."
I shifted in my place, a little uncomfortable. "I manage well enough. Nomads with talents like that find their shifty lives a lot easier."
"Understandable," Edward nodded. "And useful, too, I imagine. But, to return to the point. But before I answer your question, and your curiosity, for that matter, I must ask you to promise to keep an open mind. This is something you have never encountered before, Jayden. Please, please, remember that. And remember the Cullen family has committed no breach of the laws of our world."
"Okay," I said unsurely. What was going on…?
"Very well," Edward took a deep breath. Then, "Renesmee is my daughter."
I raised an eyebrow. You're her maker, obviously, dude. What's so shocking about that? Big deal. You call Carlisle your father, because, partly, you think of him that way and also because he's your maker. So?
"No," he shook his head. "I'm not Renesmee's maker. She's my daughter, Jayden. My biological daughter."
I froze. What? What the fuck are you talking about, Edward? How's that even fuckin' possible? Are you bananas, or something? "What?" I managed to get out. "I…Explain."
Edward opened his mouth to speak, but Bella grabbed his hand and spoke up:
"Edward and I have a…complicated love story, Jayden. You need to know that, first, okay? Promise you'll be patient and hear me out?" she asked softly.
I looked at her for a long time, suddenly having doubts whether this family were insane or not. Vampires couldn't bear children. Had they totally lost it? "Fine, Bella. I'll listen. But this better make sense, please."
"Thank you, Jayden," she said. "Okay. Let's see. Start from me coming to Forks, Edward?"
"If you want, love," he told her, kissing the back of her hand.
"Okay." She turned back to me. "See, my Mom got married to a baseball player, okay? And Phil, the guy, was great and all, but he had to move around a lot. I lived in Phoenix, Arizona, back then. I was human. Mom stayed with me at first, but she was lonely. I could see that. I hated that she was sad because of me, so I decided to move in with my father, Charlie, to Forks. Here."
"My Mom and Charlie got divorced when I was just a baby," she explained. "Anyways, I move in here. And then I met the Cullens. You can imagine my reaction to them, right?" She grinned at me.
I looked at the other Cullens and grinned back. "I can guess."
"Exactly," she laughed. "My blood was impossibly sweet to Edward; he almost killed me when we first met in Biology class, but he controlled himself. And, eventually, we got to be friends. Needless to say, I was insanely in love with him."
Edward squeezed her hand. "Bella was my singer. La tua cantante."
My eyes widened. "Wow. And you stopped yourself from draining her?"
"My family is vegetarian, Jayden," Edward elaborated. "We feed exclusively on animals. We highly respect the human life, and absolutely refuse to drink off them. That is why we have golden eyes."
I frowned, pondering that. "Ah well, it's your life," I shrugged. "But that's beside the point. Continue, please, Bella."
She nodded. "Edward me to his special place in this gorgeous meadow in the middle of the forest. And we finally told each other that we were in love. I met the rest of the family the very next morning; Edward and I spent the night together."
I opened my mouth but Emmett's loud voice cut on: "No, dude, Jayden. They didn't do it, as you're probably thinkin'. I know. I was pretty disappointed, too." He put on a fake devastated expression. Rosalie smacked his arm while the rest of the family laughed.
Bella rolled her eyes and went on, "Right. Now that we're through with that… So. Everyone decided to have a baseball game as a sort of celebration for Edward finally having found love after a hundred years of being single. And, in the middle of the game, we were interrupted."
"James," Edward hissed. His voice was dripping with hatred and menace. His arm around Bella tightened possessively. "That filthy…James and his mate Victoria took a liking to Bella, thought she was our pet. They started to hunt her while their other coven-member bailed. James almost killed her, just before we stopped him."
"Emmett and Jasper killed off James," Rosalie said, speaking up finally. "But Victoria escape. Bella was fine after a few weeks—James had bitten her but Edward managed to suck the venom back out."
"And she's your singer?" I looked at Edward. "Dude, I have to give it to you. Your restraint is incredible."
Bella nodded. "It is. But a few months later, on my birthday, there was a small accident. I cut my finger, Jasper decided he'd like a bite outta me and Edward forced the family out of town, afraid for my safety. He lied that he didn't love me anymore and then left."
I blinked, shocked. That was unexpected.
"You can imagine how I reacted to that," Bella said. Her voice had lost the enthusiasm, lost the life, was blank and hollow. I looked at her eyes and then quickly looked away. There was so much raw pain in there… I fought back a shudder. Such strong love… I didn't even dare to look at Edward. My imagination had enough fuel.
"She went catatonic," Rosalie said. "Edward stayed away for months and months. Meanwhile, Bella found out she could imagine Edward's voice better when she was doing really stupid, dangerous stuff. She became friends with Jacob Black, and they did all sort of insane things together. And then…well, Jacob Black turned into a werewolf."
I froze for a moment, taken off guard. And then chuckled, winking at Bella, "You really like your supernaturally beasts, don't you, Bella?"
"Apparently," she told me, grinning. I was pleased to see she wasn't in so much agony anymore. I looked at Edward—there was still a hollow look in them, but mostly, he was alright. Good. This family was a happy one, and they should stay that way.
"But when Alice saw a vision of Bella jumping off a cliff," Rosalie went on. "She thought Bella was committing suicide. I was there when she saw it. Alice went back to Forks straight away and I…" she closed her eyes, guilt marring her features. "I called up Edward to tell him Bella was dead. She wasn't; it was just a ridiculous game. Alice mistook it. But I didn't know that. And Edward didn't either. He went suicidal. He went to Italy. Volturi."
It was clear to me now. "He wanted to die, too."
"Yes. He wanted to join her in death, that stupid, stupid boy. But Bella got there just in time and saved him. The Volturi found out that Bella knew about us being vampires and said she had to be changed. So Edward and Bella decided to get married."
And the pieces fell into place for me. "And Bella was still human on their wedding night. And she conceived Renesmee."
"Yes." Edward's eyes were burning into me.
I didn't care. That would explain everything. That scent had smelt a little like both Edward and Bella. That was because she was their daughter. Biologically. Wow. This was…big.
"Can I meet her?" I asked Bella and Edward.
Edward nodded. "Yes, but you still need to hear about Pricilla."
"Oh, fuck," I groaned. "She's another hybrid, right?" Great. Just great. This was just giving me more questions. Was there no end to this? How much more complicated could one family of vamps get?
"Er, yes," Rosalie replied. "She's mine and Emmett's."
"How?" I asked warily, preparing myself for another long story.
"I found Emmett when I was already a vampire for a couple of years," she explained. "He was being mauled by a bear, so I told Carlisle to change him. He did. I was never human to be with child. But we found an infant, a baby hybrid, out in Alaska five years ago. I loved her right away. We searched for her parents. Her mother's body was decaying a few feet away from her. We never found the father, and we don't think he ever really cared about her, anyway. We adopted her."
"Hybrid?" I said, trying to wrap my head around it.
"They are immortal," Edward said. "They rapidly age until the age of seven, when they reach full physical and mental maturity and then they stop aging at all. They become immortal. Just like us full vampires."
"Wow," I muttered. "Can I meet them?"
"There's one more thing you need to know," Bella said uncomfortably. "Renesmee is fully grown, okay? And my best friend, Jacob. Well, Jake's a werewolf, like Rose told you. And…werewolves do this thing, okay? And…well, when they see their soul mates, they're instantly bound to her forever. They fall powerfully in love. Impossibly, incredibly, extremely powerfully in love."
"Okay." That wasn't as bad as I'd been expecting.
"And wolves smell really bad."
"Oh." That would explain the sickening odor I'd smelt outside.
"Yeah. And this fall-in-love-really-hard thing? It's called imprinting. Jacob imprinted on Nessie."
I swallowed. That was… "Oh…well, I guess…that's really…um…wow, I guess, I…oh."
"Yeah, that exactly was my reaction, bro," Emmett told me quite seriously.
"Right," Bella went on squirming. "Nessie and Jacob got married a year before she fully matured. That was six months ago."
That was okay. "That's really nice. For them. Congrats, I guess?" I looked at Jasper for help. He nodded. This was turning out to be a lot more confusing than I thought.
"Yeah," she was still shifty. "And…er…don't blow up or anything, okay? We've been dumping all this information on you all this time."
"Sure. No prob."
"Right. See, Nessie is pregnant."
I think my jaw dropped to the floor. What the fuck is she talking about? Half-breeds can have kids? Motherfuckin' shit! What the fuck is going on with this family? A werewolf married to a hybrid, a hybrid found as a baby and now the other hybrid is pregnant with the werewolf? Oh shit…fuck…