Disclaimer: Twilight belongs to Stephenie Meyer.


Prologue


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Images flickered through my mind, blurring from one into another; some familiar, others not. The feelings that engulfed me weren't new to me, nor were the conflicts that jarred my mind as I felt the scorching heat envelop me as his hands roamed up my back. In the same moment the urgent, wet lips moved over mine, and the groan that came from the man trying to coax a reply out of me was frustrated. He demanded that I stopped fighting him, that I was making things more difficult than they needed to be. Again, confusion whirled through my brain, and I vaguely recognized the voice, but I couldn't understand why he was there, or what he was asking of me. If this were truly who I thought it was, why was he kissing me? Harder yet to conceive, why did something inside me tell me that this was right—it was meant to be? But unlike all the other times – I would always fight him off, and I would awake from the tormented and emotional turmoil – he came at me again, and I found myself relenting. An immense heat surged in my chest, shooting through my veins, burning me with tremendous agony, and for a moment it was as if my heart were trying to pound its way out of my chest.

I awoke with a scream, clutching my chest through my drenched nightshirt. My mouth felt dry, as if I hadn't had a drink for days. I panted and gasped for air. The heat within me was still present, but the burn had dissipated, and all I felt was the bad aftertaste of yet another dream; the very same one that had plagued me for the past week.

It made absolutely no sense, and no matter how hard I tried to search my memories, I couldn't think of one incident from the past that these dreams might stem from. What was happening to me? One thing was for certain: I would have to get to the bottom of this. There was only one person I could confide in, only one whose thoughts would be safe enough to keep this a secret until we could, together, figure it out: my mother.

"Sweetheart, are you all right?" came her soft, melodic voice as the door cracked open, and I sighed in relief. My thoughts were in too much turmoil right now to keep from my father, and I was happy he was away hunting.

"Yes, mom, I think so..." What else could I say to appease her, if only just temporarily, so that I could collect myself to open up to her about everything? It wasn't like me to keep things from her; we were so close, and unlike my father picking my thoughts from my brain without permission, I always felt the willingness to share them freely with my mother. The mattress shifted beneath me as she sat down on the edge, her hand stroking my arm tenderly. Even though her touch was cool, it was always a comfort; grounding me, relaxing me.

"Are you sure? This is the fifth time this week," she pressed, her voice dropping lower. "Is this about your upcoming birthday party that Alice is throwing you?"

My eyes lifted to meet her golden gaze. I tried giving her a reassuring smile, wanting to instill in her that I didn't mind Aunt Alice's escapades. Truthfully, I liked watching her dance around, ecstatic and eager to make everything perfect. She always went to such great lengths and she really loved doting on me, as did everyone else. It had been a slight discomfort in the beginning, but I was coming to terms with how significant my being here was, how much my existence meant to all of them.

"Mom," I began softly, "I'm not like you, I don't mind all the attention, I know it makes you all happy, and I promise I'm not just trying to be compliant." I said this, placing my palm against her cheek, giving affirmation with my mind.

She smiled and wrapped her arms around me, then she stiffened. "You're all wet!" The lights came on, and she was back in front of me in a split second, her eyes taking in my disheveled appearance.

"I'm fine," I told her lightly. It was becoming more and more difficult to tell if she was freaking out or not, but she rarely put her speed to use unless she was worried, so regardless of the blank expression on her face I imagined she was in fact worried. "I need to talk to you, but I need you to promise that you won't freak out," I said.

"Sorry, I just – never mind." She straightened up and folded her hands neatly in her lap. "Go on," she encouraged, offering me a gentle smile. Again, I couldn't help but notice that it didn't sit as genuinely on her face as it used to. That would have to wait, she would avoid the subject anyway.

I took a deep breath. "I've been having odd dreams about Jacob in the past week, and they don't make any sense at all," I offered in an even voice, keeping it straight and simple. This was the best way, and really the only way I preferred. Beating around the bush wasn't my style. Perhaps it was due to the fact that I spent almost every day with a father who could read my mind. What was the point in trying to weasel your way out of something, anything, if he would catch you red-handed either way? I grinned at that, but my face fell when my mother's strange expression registered. But before I could ask she had composed herself, and now her hands were around my shoulders in a firm grip. Her eyes implored me.

"What has he done?"

I blinked at her, "What?" I asked, confused. "Nothing – what do you mean?"

She was up on her feet, the faintest twitch to her jaw; she must be livid. How was it that Jacob always managed to infuriate her so much? Sometimes only the mention of his name would cause all manner of responses and reactions. Apart from my recent dream, nothing else confused me more than the relationship between my doting guardian and my overprotective mother. Granted, most of the time she was the epitome of calm, and things rarely bothered her. Only two things in this world were able to set her on edge: Jacob and the Volturi. It was strange that almost 16 years ago she had been so trusting toward Jacob that she had been willing to let him take me away. However, since the threat of the Volturi had been cleared, they, my parents, watched Jacob like hawks, as if he were not to be trusted. Especially lately, as if they were waiting for something, expecting something.

"I am going to speak with him. Right now," she announced, and in the next moment she was gone. The dusty rose curtains in my window fluttered in the breeze left behind by her swift departure.

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Author's Note:

There is no way I would've be able to do this without Cretin, my beta for this story, so I can't thank her enough for accepting the job of slaving through this with me. Thank you so much for all the work you put in to make it work.