Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction intended for entertainment purposes only. The characters and world belong to Stephenie Meyer, I just like playing with them.
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Panthalassa: Low Tide
Chapter 23 - Acceptance
The all too familiar feeling of heavy regret settled in when I realized how utterly stupidly I'd behaved once I had pulled over at a border gas station and looked at my most recent message from Alice.
"You are in danger, but not anything physical that I can see. We need to talk, please, please answer, please!"
Alice had sent that, not more than two minutes after I had gotten into my bike to head back to Wisconsin.
I looked at my phone lividly. I sat behind my wheel and put my face in my hands after I had chucked my phone back into my bag.
Great, just great, I thought. Alice struck again.
She'd had me so worried that an asteroid or something was going to kill me while I painted my toenails, which was what I had been doing once I got home, that I trusted her enough to rely on the information she'd sent me.
What the hell kind of danger had she seen then? Now she had me angry but mostly curious and about an hour away from my place.
My stomach turned in knots as I thought about what to do.
On one hand if I went back I'd get to find out all about this new danger Alice saw, and probably also get into a huge fight with the whole family over their plans to use me, and I didn't really want to deal with that. On the other hand, if I really wanted to change and stop putting things off and not dealing with them, I should go and get things settled with them.
I hated that they had hurt me so much, and I wasn't sure what kind of relationship I'd have with them from now on, but if I didn't go I'd never find out. The people closest to you hurt you the most, and the Cullen's were the closest I had ever had to an actual family. I loved them and maybe I owed it to them to do as Rose suggested, let them grovel at my feet. What was the worst that could happen? It was obvious to me they'd let me leave if I wanted to, so they wouldn't keep me prisoner.
Huffing agitatedly I left the gas station and headed back to them. It was time to get answers, and time to stop being childish and not facing the problems that came my way. It was time for a change.
Not sure what I expected when I pulled up in Seth's driveway, I knew I didn't expect nothing. No one was there to greet me when I got there.
I sat there completely puzzled in my bike, looking at Seth's dark house. Not a single light was on, and it looked very scary and foreboding. Even though it was Seth's house, it looked creepy like a haunted old abandoned building. Looking at it I supposed the only thing that would make this moment creepier was if it was windy, and some random owl hooted off in the distance.
I hoped Seth hadn't changed the password for the security as I clumsily found my way up his front porch. Once inside I turned on a few lights and gave a casual look around. It still looked the same, slightly cluttered counters, and he still had the ugly woven basket his niece gave him in prominent display in the entry way.
If the family had known I was coming they'd have been here. I dug my phone out of my bag again, and looked for the most recent message.
We are on our way back from Washington; we will be home about twenty minutes after you get there. Please wait for us!- Alice
I rolled my shoulders in annoyance and went to rummage around Seth's junk drawer for a flash light. There really wasn't a point for me to hang out here, so I would just trek back to the house, maybe see if it felt different to be back. Once I got over the unusual disappointment I felt when no one had been here I found the idea being back at the house first pleasing. It meant I could set the scene. Sit where I would make the biggest impact, and think about what I was going to say to them.
It was pitch black outside, and I tripped more times on the way to the main house than I have ever in my life. I almost felt the urge to type out a message to Bella and comment on it, but perhaps that kind of light hearted banter would be best for some other time, probably months down the line.
I opened the front door and was met with a waft of vampire scented air. How could my brain have ever forgotten, or gotten used to the smell?
Cinnamon was the most prevalent at the door, and I could detect the light hint of plums. The smells sent me into a whirlwind of memories; the vast majority caused my heart to constrict agonizingly. I closed the front door then rested against it bowing my head as I forced tears back.
Initially when I got to the main house I had planned on going up to my room, but now that I was here, and awash of all the memories I eventually found myself going towards Edward's piano.
Something caught my eye when I came around the side closest to the windows and I looked out. There was a small light in the yard, one that had never been there before. It was odd to me for a couple reasons. The Cullen's didn't like wasting electricity, and as they could see perfectly well in the dark any lawn lights would have only been for my benefit. But sure enough there was a little light illuminating something out there and I felt drawn to it.
Once out in the yard I made my way to the light, only to realize quickly exactly what it was for, and where I was heading.
There weren't words for the emotion I had while looking at the grave marker for Adam. I am sure Jasper could have found the words, but I was at a loss. I knelt down in the small patch of grass in front of the light, and stared at the inscription that hadn't been here when we buried him.
"Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance" was carved into an area on the stone that had been smoothed out like a plaque, and just below it was some rather innocuous yet poignant information.
Adam Kenneth MacAvoy
Born the 10th of March 1977
Deceased on the 3rd of June 2025
Putting my finger to trace over the numbers of the day he died I realized it was finger width and that one of the family must have done it with their own. The stone was cold and the little light illuminated just the right amount of it. I felt a little awkward once I realized I was actually sitting on top of his grave, but I still couldn't move.
My hand kept caressing the engraving and I felt no reason to stop.
"Carlisle did that, two days after you left," a soft female voice said from somewhere behind me.
I startled out of my musings, and stiffened with the slight fright Esme had just given me.
A steady anxious feeling climbed in me when I debated whether to turn around and look at her, not that I'd be able to see much in the pitch black after having stared at the little light for a good ten minutes.
"He was forty-eight," I murmured, focusing back on his tombstone, hoping my math was right.
"He spent nearly 18 years of his life as a werewolf, according to Edward and Carlisle… that is an amazing feat."
The snort at her comment was involuntary, but somehow I didn't regret it. I wondered what kept him going all those years. From what I had seen of his transformation, on a night without a full moon, it looked more painful than what supposedly happened to a human when transforming into a vampire. And it happened to him every month, and sometimes more than one night a month it seemed. Which raised another question I hadn't really thought about, when and how they transformed, but now I was here maybe I could learn about the Children of the Moon.
The air behind me felt cold, and I knew Esme was standing as close as she could without actually touching me. Smart woman.
Even if I wanted her to hug me and sob out her apology, it would only seem fitting after how furious I was at their betrayal, some part of me felt proud of myself for not wanting it enough to actually let her. I stood with deliberate slowness, taking in the darkness surrounding Adam's grave, and gave a half hearted sigh of frustration.
I wasn't sure how I was going to manage not looking at her as I walked back to the house, now that I was sure everyone was here. But as I turned around and could only make out the outline of her angelic face in the dark it was easy.
"How are you… feeling?" she asked rather awkwardly as I made to move, without even saying hello to her.
Here was the problem I faced and I wasn't sure how to handle it; On one hand I didn't want my relationship with my family to be strained, but on the other I didn't want them to think I was happy with the situation, or the original purpose for me joining their family.
Deciding on detached courtesy I glanced at her as she kept in step with me, "I'm doing well… as well as to be expected." I had to press my lips together hard after I said that, censoring the biting remark about how anyone who'd been used by their family wouldn't exactly be "fantastic." The fact Edward was listening in on my inner monologue made me a little happy that my need to be snarky was known.
"Did you have dinner?" the concern in her voice made my heart soar. And my stomach rumble in happy anticipation.
"Not yet…" I hesitantly said. I could see her face better now that my eyes had adjusted from staring at the lighted grave marker, and she was giving me a hopeful smile. And unfair, beautiful vampire hopeful smile. The distinction had to be made; a normal person smiling like that could never get me to agree to much with the mood I was in. A vampire doing it, a vampire whom I considered my mother made it impossible to say "no" to even if she hadn't asked me a question yet. But I knew I'd say yes if she asked to make me dinner.
"We could make you some steak, I have some fresh raspberries from the garden…" Instantly I craved one of her fruit crumbles. I gave her a non-committal grunt with a one shouldered shrug as I began to ascend the porch steps.
The lights inside were bright, and hurt my eyes but it didn't take me long to stop and see the entire clan uneasily watching me. I sighed not sure if I should avoid looking at them, or how this conversation was going to start.
Esme moved around me once we had made in, and was blurring about the kitchen, gathering ingredients for my meal I was certain.
Turning away from the kitchen I stepped with a false sense of confidence that was fueled by my curiosity.
"Leave it…" I murmured to Esme, knowing she'd hear me all the way across the room.
The clanging in the kitchen stilled and I saw her blur to Carlisle's side.
I took them in. Looking into each face briefly, as if to confirm to myself that while I had suffered and changed each of them had remained the same.
Frozen and unchanging.
Esme and Carlisle were standing off to my right just on the imagined line between the dining room and living room, he had his arms wrapped around her shoulders. Emmett and Rosalie, who had remained stonily yet wearily silent this whole time, were leaning against the bookshelf on the left wall closest to the couch where Edward and Bella sat. Jasper and Alice were on the other side of the room standing by the window seat, the window nearest Jasper was cracked open.
When my gaze went to Alice I stared her down coldly.
"Explain," I demanded.
The explosion of words came from everyone, but when I held my hand up they stopped talking over one another. Ren looked close to running across the room at me either to hug me or to throttle me I wasn't sure. But Jake had a firm grip on her shoulders from their spot standing by the front door.
"Alice," I said.
"Eva all I ever wanted was to prote-"
I growled at her, and her face made a priceless shocked expression.
"She means the "Serious Danger" from earlier." Edward explained.
I gave Alice a glare, wondering if she was capable of telling the truth.
Alice fidgeted with the rings she was wearing, and I saw her glance to Edward, then Carlisle.
"You were at a recording studio tonight?"
I nodded, slowly moving to cross my arms over my chest.
"It's dangerous for you to…" she trailed off with the intense stare I was giving her. I only had eyes for her, and I wanted to burn a hole through her with my glare. It helped to focus on one member of the family at a time; with all of them standing there I would feel too much pain and frustration that it would cause me to break down if I had to listen to all of them at once. But Alice was doing her dance around the topic which was her usual style, and before it was kind of enchanting and harmless now it was just aggravating and pissed me off.
"She saw you becoming quiet famous, worldwide. However your future as a vampire is still there, thus your fame would cause hindrance to a peaceful life as one of us. You would have no anonymity." Edward quickly explained.
It was hard not to appreciate Edward, even if I was just as angry at him as I was at everyone else. I slowly turned away from my stare down of the little black haired meddler to look at Edward.
Bella was sitting with him on the arm of the couch. They and Seth were the only members sitting, and I wished the others would join them.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath thinking over what this meant. My dreams and hopes for singing my songs to the masses were going to be squashed because… I was still going to become an immortal. Didn't it matter that I didn't really want to become one of them any longer? Before I found out about the lies I was pretty okay with the idea, sure. Now… I didn't think I could stand an eternity of them always meddling, especially Alice.
"You can still record an album…" Edward answered my thoughts, preventing the angry tirade from forming.
"I think I've thought of a way it'll work, you can still be famous and sing but-"
"This is my life," my voice came out rather hoarse. They were trying to control me, and I was on the edge of snapping. But I could tell Jasper was holding it back with his ability, which only caused me to become a subdued form of enraged, if that was at all possible.
"We are only concerned with your future," Edward explained, and I could tell everyone was looking to him to help dodge the mine field that was my fury.
"My-MY FUTURE?" I laughed out gawking at him and then the whole room. Seth shifted in the chair he was in.
We still love you, and we know what happened hurt you. I'm sorry; I am, for my part in it. But this is our family Eva-
"STOP IT!" I swore at Ren, her voice in my head was drowning out all other sounds and my own thoughts for the most part. I balled my hands up and clenched my jaw. But being Ren she didn't stop, but instead she pressed.
-Our family. You can't deny it now; we don't expect you to forgive us, not yet anyway. But let us explain.
"For the love of god stop that!" I screamed at her, "This isn't about you lying to me, this isn't about that. It is- but- no I want to sing, and if I can get my songs out there…. I don't care about fame- This isn't about you, or the family lying to me. That-that's I separate issue altogether!" my accent was making itself known and I felt my agitation shifting.
"You don't get it," I looked to each member of the family again.
"We do, you are just being young and naïve to understand that our concern for you isn't entirely selfish," Jasper was direct.
My mouth popped open and I felt indignant that he'd just called me naïve.
"You said I'd still be turned into one of you!" I looked disbelievingly towards Carlisle his soft blonde hair, and quiet look of subtle pain when our eyes met had me wishing I hadn't looked at him.
"Your fate… it would seem still hasn't changed, whether you live with us or not." Seth added drearily.
I stopped short, blinking wildly.
"Red eyes?" I asked horrified.
"Yes," Esme whispered with the unmistakable tone of dread.
"But, Ren- she showed me. Alice's visions changed… does that mean-"
"The darkness I've been seeing is back, same as before." Subdued, Alice looked at the floor.
"So…" I trailed off.
Obviously if the visions were back, that meant that something in the future would kill the entire family. But I would still be changed by someone else. At least that's what I was gathering.
"As far as we've been able to tell you aren't too far off," Edward answered my thoughts.
I started feeling that crushing ache in my chest when I thought of them being destroyed, but the feeling was distracting me from my original line of thought. Edward sighed and I saw his lips move slightly.
"I think it's wonderful that you could become a famous singer Eva… You deserve to with the talent you have. But what we are saying is that when you are changed you won't be able to be near humans for a while, and they would notice the difference. The fact you'd never change or grow old would mean that you would always be highly recognizable. It's a risk, not only for you but for any humans that may notice the change."
I nodded stiffly not looking at Carlisle while I let his words soak in.
"We've been discussing possible ways that would let you have the singing career Alice saw, and also maintain a sort of… mystery about your appearance," Seth explained.
"How is that possible, you can't be famous and… anonymous, aren't they like-um- opposites?" I was dubious of the very idea.
"The two things aren't mutually exclusive, Evangeline," Carlisle calmly said.
"That might work…" Edward suddenly said, looking towards Jake. Everyone's attention now shifted to the Alpha.
He gave a half grin at me, "I was just thinking about one of those old time masquerade masks they wore at balls and such-"
"OH!" Alice exclaimed and instantly I saw her stiffen and I knew she was looking towards the future of me parading around on stage with a mask on.
I did understand the need for me not to be famous; my face would be noticeable possibly even centuries after I'd been changed. It would make living around humans impossible for me. Never mind the fact Alice had been seeing me with red eyes recently. That idea alone made me feel sick. If I was going to be changed, which seemed to be certain, I wanted it to be with my family.
Edward turned to look at me and I rolled my eyes at him when he gave me a gleeful smile at my internal phrasing of "my family".
But if I want to sing and let my voice be known…
"Oh that's it!" I exclaimed, and I saw eight pairs of gold eyes look at me, Alice having come out of her vision.
"I want my voice to be famous… not me or my face," I could see it now; I would wear a mask whenever I was around others not in my family. I could even wear wigs or color contacts to obscure my appearance. But no one would know what I looked like; it could be like my gimmick or device. I had to have a stage name or just make up a different one, but the idea to be unknown entirely was really appealing. I would be the voice… the voice of the people. I snorted at my own thought, it sounded pompous almost. I could sing my songs at concerts and I could record albums and be completely-
"Anonymous," Edward stated, the awe and appreciation of my line of thought in his voice made me blush.
Alice opened her mouth to say something when a vision must have hit her. I bit my lower lip wondering if my decision would work, if becoming some obscure singer that hid their true identity could work.
"You wouldn't be able to earn any money, it would be a way for it to trace back to you," Jasper said.
I frowned at that. Then again I'd never really needed much to live off of.
"We could have any of your earnings given to a charity of your choosing, we can provide you with anything you need to live off of," Esme beamed.
Before I could retort, both Alice and Edward shared an unrestrained look of pure exhilaration, Jasper clutched at his mate and his eyes rolled back slightly.
"Darlin'…" he murmured, which I could barely hear, but it sounded like she was emoting so heavily it was causing him some trouble.
"It'll work! It'll be SO prefect Eva!" the little black haired vampire started vibrating with excitement. At one point in time her excitement even without Jasper using his ability, would have infected me as well. But right at that moment I pressed my lips together and narrowed my eyes at her.
"I think it's time we visit the next topic," I spat harshly. And I wished I could have taken my words back; because I really did want to avoid talking about it, and here I was inviting us to just open up the wound. But it did have a desired effect on Alice, her face fell and her posture shifted into one that showed her reluctance. Maybe I was a sadist and I liked to see people suffer, that idea didn't seem right. It was probably just the fact I wanted them to feel as hurt as I was.
I heard Esme make a noise and turned my attention away from Alice, instantly I wished I had prepared myself for it.
I hadn't given Esme a proper look since I'd been in the living room lights, but her caramel hair was falling smoothly over her shoulders and her eyes were full of swimming unshedable tears. There was a tight pain in her beautiful face that slammed into me more than words probably ever could, that she was sorry. Not just sorry, but repentant and tormented and plagued with guilt. I swallowed thickly looking into her eyes; in my peripheral I could see that Carlisle had a similar expression. My involuntary action on reaching to my collar bone to latch onto the pendant Rose had returned to me had been seen by everyone, but I didn't really regret the action.
"I-… I thought you were so good, such wonderful people…" I ducked my head, unable to look at them a second more. "I felt so loved. And it didn't matter that you weren't human, but... how could you?" the question was for the room, and I felt myself curl inward. My shoulders slumped and my hands met in the middle both clasping the pendant as if it could shield me from the truth. Surprising myself I didn't feel tears forming, but I was starting to shake.
"I never wanted to hurt you. Not ever… Eva-p-please," Esme's broken plea had me grateful I wasn't looking at her.
"I was selfish." Alice's weak voice broke through the air during the short pause. Some noise erupted in my throat, somewhere between a whimper and snort.
"Eva… aside from Edward no one in the family understands what it's like when I see…nothing. It's far worse than any nightmare you could have. And I feel it, I see it… just looming there," Alice's tone was pained and she seemed so far away, even if she was just across the room.
"-Because, just as much as you needed a family, I need them too. When I went to the hospital and told you enough to ensure we'd have to bring you into the family, it was selfish. But when the people you love… when they are in danger-you- you'd do whatever you could to save them." She was pleading and self justifying what she'd done. A small part of me, the one that knew she was right couldn't let me hold it against her.
I swallowed and turned to look at her again.
"Regardless of the reasons I wanted you with us, which we are all aware were because you'll bring something to the future that may let us survive, it doesn't mean we care about you for who you are any less." Alice's hands were bunching up the fabric of her silk sweater.
There was a point when I would have spat something back at her and the whole family in anger over my original reasons for being here were, a point about ten minutes previous that was slowly fading and falling back as the seconds ticked onwards. This was my family; I could completely understand why Alice did what she did.
"I understand," I whispered, barely parting my lips. "It doesn't make what you did any less painful or…"
"A betrayal of your trust," Bella supplied. I shot her moody look, but then I sighed and nodded.
"You had so many opportunities you could have told me… why I'd been chosen to live with you. You had ten whole months to tell me about these dark visions. But it took a drunken mistake for me to find out-"
"We didn't know how to tell you." Emmett spoke up for the first time, his strong deep voice startling me.
"But does that make it alright? You didn't know how to tell me… so you just-didn't? How is that right? How is that supposed to instill a sense of trust of confidence in our relationship?" I asked as I turned to look at Carlisle again, watching his features crumble slightly. I think we both knew I blamed him the most for this. He was the leader of this family, and he'd let me down in ways I am sure he wasn't even aware of.
"It does not make it alright. Evangeline, how were we to allow you to open up to us to heal from those travesties in your past while living with us and knowing the original purpose for being here was because of the future Alice foresaw? You would never have been able to confide in us, thinking we were using you. We had to show you, convince you-"
"Trick me, you mean, Carlisle," tartly I hinted his name with the accent of our motherland.
"To let you know that you are loved, and I may regret the way you came in to this family but I do not regret that you are a part of it now. I love you, and I am not going to apologize for that." His tone had taken one of stern command, and although I had never heard it before I found myself captivated by the authority he possessed.
"As for the matter of trust," Rosalie added, "We can promise not to hide anything from you any longer."
A dull ache in my head was making itself known and I was facing the moment I'd been curious about since I'd come to understand what had really upset me the most. There was no undoing the love that had formed for them in my heart. It was as Carlisle had said the night they told me I was going to be adopted, I couldn't remember the phrasing and I wished I did.
Loving them didn't make it okay that they lied to me. Rose was promising they'd be truthful from now on, but a precedent had been set for them lying to me I doubted I could ever truly trust them so blindly again.
"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things," Edward spoke softly. Carlisle turned his head to look at his son, and I hung mine again.
That was what Carlisle had said. Could I bear this pain? Could I believe not just them, but in them? What of hope, what was I to hope for? Enduring… I'd endured far more terrible and agonizing things than being lied to.
"I can endure…" I stated more to myself than to the others.
A long pregnant pause hung in the air about us like a thick fog, and I heard my heart thrumming steadily in my chest signaling the seconds as they past.
"In an effort to not keep you in the dark, perhaps we should tell you what has been occurring over the last seven months." Clearing his throat Edward gave Carlisle a nod.
This was far too short of reconciliation for my tastes, as I was still resentful and had wanted to perhaps have the same type of yelling match with them that I had with Rose. It would have been cathartic.
At that everyone seemed to take their cue and start to seat themselves around the living room. Jake and Ren sat next to Jasper and Alice on the window seat. Ren gave me a tormented look of longing, which I ignored the best I could. I took the only other lone chair, which was Emmett's favorite gaming chair, turning it so I was at a better angle to see Carlisle, whom was taking a seat next to Edward. Also my new position had an advantage of being turned slightly away from the group at the window. Seth was sitting to my left now, which for some reason made me feel better.
My phone rang and caused me to jump. When I looked at the display reading Kevin's name I hit the ignore button, regretting that I had to.
"Is that the boy you've been seeing?" Esme was interested. I pursed my lips at her and huffed.
"And what would make you think that?" I asked slowly folding my arms over my chest. I barely caught the movement out of the corner of my eye but Jasper hadn't been able to hide it from me.
"We had to make sure you were safe…" Ren tried to help her uncle out from under the blazing hot glare I was giving him.
Honestly, they made me want to scream. How could I go from being partially calm about clearing the air with them to furious in a matter of seconds? It was making my head hurt.
"Rule number one. No one is allowed to spy on me any longer. Got that?" I asked the room icily. Edward was frowning and he shook his head once answering someone else's thoughts.
As they agreed to my first rule, I had to wonder how strictly they were going to follow it. Of course Edward couldn't help hearing my thoughts and I didn't really consider what he did was spying. Alice on the other hand, with watching everything I was doing from a distance, and Jasper constantly hacking in to security camera's set up around the area I lived in, just to watch me.
We didn't need to discuss the fact they lied to me more than we already had, it was made apparent by my attitude that it was intolerable from this point on. With that in mind they began to divulge some rather insidious secrets they'd been holding back from me. None of what they told me had me more upset than them lying to me so I listened with horror.
Seven months ago, while I was at school, the family got a call from a nomad by the name of Randall, who had been traveling in the Philippines. He had encountered a newborn vampire and barely managed to defeat it because as Randall told it, the newborn attacked without any reason. The only reason he brought the fight to the Cullen's attention was because he found the trail of no less than ten newborns later that day.
Then Alice had a vision of a mated couple on a tropical island being attacked by two other vampires. According to best guesses Alice and Edward were able to see that the couple had been attacked by newborns.
At this point in the story I was starting to recognize a pattern.
Carlisle explained that they had been finding an increase of mysterious deaths and disappearances in seven different third world countries and an abnormal amount in Jamaica as well as China.
Dread built up in me as to why they hadn't been telling me all that was going on in their world. Alice and Jasper had gone to Brazil to meet with their friends down there and have them help find other nomads in South America to see if any other vampires had noticed a pattern.
When we got to the part where Tanya, Kate, and Garrett had gone to Jamaica and run into a battle that very nearly cost them their lives had me livid with fear. When Ren and I had gone on our camping trip, Rosalie and Emmett were in Ireland with the Irish coven trying to figure out where several British nomads had gone. Siobhan had been rather happy to find less British vampires initially.
But the Cullen's were caught between a rock and a hard place. Normally in situations where it was obvious that they were new born vampires being created in a way that could garner suspicions from humans, the vampire coven would bring the evidence to the Volturi. If they brought the information to the Volturi, their already strained relationship could become worse, especially if Aro demanded his kind of reporting. Carlisle was certain that since they were committed to changing me they weren't actually in breach of any vampire law. Edward, however, knew how Aro thought and the risk of telling the Volturi was my life. Alice couldn't tell as they hadn't decided to tell the Volturi about this world wide newborn problem.
For the most part Carlisle told the story, but others added to the conversation. Edward however remained mostly silent. And from his expression he was having a silent conversation with someone as he was nodding and shaking his head at random intervals, which distracted me slightly.
"So what's the game plan now?" I asked the room once Carlisle finished telling me they had just come back from having a tribe meeting in La Push with the wolves.
"She is curious," Edward said aloud to the room, and I quirked an eyebrow at him wondering who he was talking to.
"There is one more point we haven't really talked about." Jasper said heavily, his eyes swiftly moving to look at his family and settling on me.
"It's about what Eleazar felt when he met you," Carlisle supplied to my building curiosity.
"Eleazar?" My shock tugged at my memory, the memory of when I met the cousins sifted through my thoughts.
"We did not inform you that he too has an ability," the shame in Carlisle's voice had me rolling my eyes.
"Wow this hole just keeps getting bigger," I said irritated, in reference to the fact they had started off in a hole with their huge lie of using me, and all these confessions were showing me just how important I was. I was beginning to see myself as some sort of pet to them.
"That isn't fair Evangeline," Edward interrupted my thoughts.
You and I can talk later about what's fair dear brother, I shot back at him crossly. My tone didn't mollify him, but then Jasper ignored the glare I was giving Edward and continued on with the explanation.
Eleazar could sense abilities in other vampires. In humans it was rather nebulous, like catching a whiff of a familiar smell and not being able to place it, if the human had potential at all that was.
He had been able to catch something with me that he told my family felt very similar to the feeling he'd had with Demetri.
"A tracker?" I scoffed, half with amusement and half skeptical.
"Not exactly a tracker," Edward's tone was contemplative.
"Well good thing you brought a potential not exactly tracker into the family, I mean, that will definitely help fight off hoards of newborn vampires," I folded my arms over my chest and nodded with mocking seriousness. Ren let out a chuckle before she could stop herself. And it surprised me that hearing her laugh had a smile tugging at my lips.
"Evangeline…" Esme said in her motherly warning tone, "This is serious."
Like I needed reminding, but instead of retorting I tilted my head at her communicating with my body language that her telling me that was redundant.
"You went to all this trouble of getting me in the family and I don't even have a cool ability like Bella or Edward?" I asked the room. I purposefully picked those two, as I was still upset with the little pixie. I could see her out of the corner of my eye forlornly pouting, and I felt smug at her frustration.
"Tracking, or whatever you might have when turned, could be very valuable in a war. It has many tactical advantages, especially when combined with Alice, Edward and myself," Jasper enlightened me. I was still dubious of it.
I remembered back when I first moved in and they told me about abilities. For the most part when human all of the Cullen's with abilities exhibited traits of their future vampire abilities. I'd never been able to "track" anything or know where things were, so it really made no sense to me. Edward, who in my opinion had the most profoundly useful ability, had been hyper aware of others when human. He had told me he didn't actually remember it, as his human memories resembled very much how a human feels after they wake up from a dream. Just wisps of the feelings that are like dreams are all that's left for vampires of their human lives. Edward had the feeling that when human he'd been able to predict what someone would say before they said it.
Jasper had been able to guess if someone was upset and know how to calm them. Bella, we all knew had been immune to all sorts of mental abilities as human. And Alice, we assumed had been able to have visions while human, and that's why she was shipped to an Asylum.
So where did that leave me? Sure knowing I'd have an ability was cool, but a tracking ability? And I wasn't exactly exhibiting any of the types of things that the others had while human.
Then a memory spilled into me, quiet randomly.
Carlisle, when I had been at the hospital, had asked me how frequent the flashes of light were, and at the time I had correlated it to something to do with the Whitlock's. My eyes widened as I thought on it and I met Edward's eyes, wondering if he had made the connection before I did.
"Do you think…?" I asked him, the shock and awe of my discovery causing my voice to waver.
"It is something I have given a lot of thought to… and yes. It is possible," he answered.
I was about to mentally ask him if he'd told the others but simply by looking at their slightly concerned and confused faces I knew he'd kept it to himself. Which didn't seem very Edward like; it did seem like something he'd tell them.
Opening my mouth, I didn't know exactly how to communicate the epiphany to the family; the thought had kind of bulldozed over me and left me mute.
"What?" Rose sternly asked.
"My lights…" I managed to whisper my eyes looking at a random spot just over the front door as I recalled the instances when they'd flashed.
In the court house when I was 10.
The day I got caught shop lifting.
When I fell off Mrs. Mews bike and into the street.
The night Mr. Golswiki came into my room.
At the camp when I stepped off the bus.
Right before I saw that I was surrounded by werewolves in Yellowstone.
All of those moments had one thing in common, one defining thing. And all the times that I could remember my lights burning my eyes were times when something dangerous was close by.
The chair I was sitting in seemed to gain distance from the rest of the room, as if suddenly by gaining this insight I was being propelled backwards through a tunnel. My residual feelings of contempt and anger were lost among the new feelings of understanding. Or at least the itching of comprehension, I didn't think I had the mental capabilities to really grasp the whole gravity of discovering my link with the flashing lights and what ability Eleazar said I had potential for.
"Eva… are you okay?" Ren spoke up, she had risen from her spot next to Jake and taken a tentative step towards me the movement which I had somehow missed while off in my own world.
"Sorry," I replied instantly. My stomach chose that second to make rumbling noise, and I winced realizing how hungry I now was. Esme shifted in her seat, antsy, wanting to make me that steak she'd mentioned before.
"I –think- I mean it's possible that the lights… those lights that I see sometimes- I've never," I was stumbling around my words like an excited kid unable to convey a story of great importance.
"Evangeline has come to the same realization I had hypothesized shortly after Eleazar mentioned her potential," I nodded absentmindedly along with Edward.
"You've never mentioned a theory regarding her potential gift before…" Bella had a look uncertainty on her beautiful features.
"I apologize, there are a few reasons why I never mentioned it, and the biggest one is I wanted Evangeline to discover it for herself when the time came. As we are all aware this family dynamic doesn't work without each member feeling equal and Evangeline has been at a severe disadvantage for the duration of her relationship with us. As not telling you my theories did not put us at risk nor would knowing have helped us figure out who is behind the newborns. Or what is the cause of the dark vision Alice sees, I decided not to divulge my hypothesis." Edward told the room, then he turned his gaze to me, "Evangeline I believe you are right in thinking that those lights you see have to do with the potential ability Eleazar felt. I have noticed all in of the incidents that it's happened you have almost immediately encountered some form of danger or threat. The more severe the threat the greater the pain when they flash."
It made sense and I was significantly less befuddled with him helping to voice the revelation.
"The flashing lights?" Seth asked wanting clarification.
So maybe I'd be like an early warning system for when something dangerous was coming, but that was a redundant ability with Alice and Edward around.
"May I?" Edward asked me and I shrugged, knowing he'd discuss my last thought aloud.
"Evangeline if it does in fact manifest as a sort of danger warning system it already surpasses aspects of my ability and Alice's." This got everyone's attention, Seth sat up straighter, and Esme's mouth went slightly agape. Rose however pushed her lips into a thin line, looking between Edward and myself.
"Alice cannot see real werewolves, yet you were able to sense them. I am always hearing the thoughts of others, however if they were thinking in a language I did not know I would not be as easily able to assess the threat they posed-" I gave him a skeptical look. Edward knew more languages than anyone else in the family, it wasn't likely he'd run into one he didn't know.
"It is highly likely that we may run into a threat where I will not be able to translate their thoughts. The most recent example is of Nahuel's and Huilen's tribal language. They think in it, and I have been able to grasp a good portion of the vocabulary and structure after having been exposed to it. However if we had met in a potential hostile situation, I would not have known it in advance. In short it would seem you could fill in the gaps in the limitations Alice and I have."
That seemed impressive.
Shortly after that Esme rushed off into the kitchen to make me dinner and I got another call from Kevin. This time I texted him telling him I was visiting my family and settling some issues we'd had.
I didn't want to stay and eat. And there was a very tangible tension around me, I was hyper aware of it. It stemmed from the fact I was unsure of what to do now.
I hadn't exactly forgiven them. And with all the new information I was certain I was still angry somewhere beneath the stress of learning all I had tonight. I was wary, and being around the family again was awakening feelings I'd buried. Love, hurt, longing, disappointment circled about me pressing down on me.
Where did we go from here? As a family? Edward seemed to be championing the fact he wanted me to have equal footing in this family, and as sweet as it was I seriously doubted it happening until I'd been changed. The spark of desire to have it done had diminished because I had found things I wanted to do. Things I could only do as a human.
Such as sing. Sure I could sing as a vampire, but as my family pointed out it would be hard not to attract attention in that situation. It was a little thrilling to have the fact Alice had seen me as a famous singer, knowing it was still a highly likely future had me giddy on the inside.
Maybe some people wanted to sing to gain fame, notoriety, money, or power and I found myself liking the fact none of those things really appealed for me. Fame, sure, to have my name out there and known by millions was exciting, but the best part about the fame would be my songs and my voice lasting throughout the ages. Even if through the decades my songs became outdated and unpopular they would still be listened to, and still be out there.
When our conversation about my potential ability dwindled and Esme had finished preparing the dinner I hadn't asked for, I dragged myself out of the chair.
My mum hadn't been too terribly strict while I was growing up, but she had rules and instilled in me the understanding that it was the highest disrespect not to sit at the table when a meal had been prepared for you.
Most of the family stayed where they were and watched as I went to the dining room, they were probably waiting for me to give them the go ahead to follow me in.
Though luck, I thought bitterly.
Once I reached the dining room, feet heavy and head swirling with a tirade of emotions and thoughts, pale white hands thrust a small stack of plates at me.
Blinking at Esme's patient and kind face I took the plates pursing my lips.
Bitterly I set the table, while Ren helped. She had cut her hair, and although I had noticed it instantly I hadn't really looked at her.
She looked tired.
Her hair was cropped short, much like how my hair had been about Christmas time, long enough to use hair clips but too short to use a pony tail. In fact Ren had a beautiful black bird hair clip pulling the bronze curls that normally would have fallen over her eyes back. She had simple diamond studded earrings in, and her wedding band as well as a locket that Bella and Edward had given her when she was only a baby.
She kept trying to make eye contact with me as we set up the table, ferrying dishes Esme finished from the kitchen. I avoided her gaze, though snuck glances at her.
The meal was at best a test in balancing my desire to be content and happy with the Cullen's again with my aching heart. At worst it was a way for them to wheedle information about my life without them out of me.
As I wasn't too terribly talkative, I wanted to get home before it got too late, I let Jake and Seth tell me all sorts of things about the last seven months they'd been keeping from me.
I was walking at a steady pace, letting my flashlight hit various trees. Forests and dark places really creped me out. But the woods between Seth's house and the main one never did. Perhaps because I knew nothing scarier than my family could possibly be out there.
Soft footfalls behind me pulled me from my musings about the evening, and how tired I was.
"Are you upset with me?" Ren asked just behind me, and I knew she'd only let me hear her so I wouldn't freak out when she just appeared.
"What do you think?" I asked rhetorically, not actually sure of the answer to that question myself.
"That I've lost my best friend…" She said in a defeated voice, and I noticed she wasn't keeping step with me. I turned around and flashed the light in her face.
"Best friend," I tasted the word, it felt a little foreign. I pursed my lips and we looked at each other in the dark, the only light from my flashlight. It illuminated her features and they were burdened with grief.
I could torture her, make her think she'd really lost my affections for good. It would be easy, and the evil piece of me that had reveled in Alice's pain was keen for the same reaction. She can cry, the beast cooed to me.
No matter what she'd revealed to me two months ago, it hadn't changed my feelings for her, or any of them really. I chewed on the inside of my lip as I listened to my heartbeat. Her chocolate eyes were swimming, and it became clear to me that although I had been unmistakably wronged, I too had hurt those that cared about me.
As she was arms length away I took one step forward and wrapped my arms around her. Her body swayed and I heard a sob escape her, while she clung to me. I felt tired and weighted down about this reconciliation with the Cullen's, but when Ren held onto me and cried I felt some of the hurt I'd been carrying around slide away.
I'm so sorry, she brokenly sent me.
I got small flashes of her crying in the morning after I'd left. Jake trying to consol her. A flash of her standing in front of the mirror, eyes red and puffy from crying, tear trails still clear on her perfect face. She took scissors and started randomly cutting chunks of her gorgeous hair to a cropped length. There was a flash of Rose, and Alice practically in hysterics after seeing her hair. A brief memory of Alice sitting at a window on a windy day limply staring out, thanks to Ren's ability I knew that Alice stayed like that for three days before Jasper worked up enough nerve to move her and force her to do something. That something apparently was to help him research my father's life.
When her quick slide show ended I pulled away from her slightly. She looked up into my eyes and in the tiniest voice I'd ever heard she whispered to me.
"I was terrified I'd -that I had doomed you to living without those that love you. I missed you so much. There were days I drove down to Chicago just to stare at the coffee house you worked at. I wanted to be close to you, to tell you- I missed my friend, and I didn't-don't know how to tell you how sorry I am." She swallowed and took a shuddering breath in. I sighed then tugged at a lock of her short hair.
Rather tell her my thoughts on the matter, I decided to save that for another day, and I gave her a wan smile.
"For how beautiful you are, I can honestly say… I looked better with short hair," I stated half wistfully, while turning on my heel lighting my way back to Seth's. I smiled when I heard her scoff then catch up to me to walk at my left side.
She didn't attempt to ask for forgiveness, probably because she knew me well enough to know I wasn't yet ready to give it.
Ren waved to me as I pulled out of Seth's driveway, and I thought I could make out the shapes of some of the family standing in the shadow of the woods as I drove down the long driveway.
Maybe I should have given Esme a hug. I know it would have opened up a cascade of tears, but my arms felt tingly and excited after having held Ren close.
I didn't ignore their texts and phone calls any longer. But usually my responses were one or two words. Alice and Jasper were coming in to Chicago three days after I'd gone home, to help me get ready for the signing of my contract with Land Ocean records. I'd been told Alice had a game plan. And Jasper had sent me a rather happy text saying he had been forced to join Alice on a shopping trip. He had a " " in the message, and the fact a civil war veteran had sent me a frownie face had me laughing all day at work.
Kevin and I had missed our last date because he was needed to help drive the horses out to a mansion that was having an 1800's themed garden party. He sent me several pictures of the event, which looked fairly realistic to me. And as I had been distracted with the residual issues to do with "making up" with my family as he called it, I didn't have a whole lot of time to miss him.
It was a cloudy day and up until an hour before closing 42 had been steadily busy. I was bored after having done most of the closing duties and cleaning work so I sat on the edge of the counter watching the Discovery channel.
The most fascinating programs to me were the ones with information I'd never knew anything about. The particular program I was watching was about Earth and how it formed to what we know now.
The narrator was some bloke obviously from the London area, and I was mesmerized by his descriptions of the plate tectonics. It turns out that Pangea was only one of the many super continents, and I was about to turn off the TV when I heard the narrator mention a phrase I'd never heard.
I took a moment to watch the cg of the earth and how it looked with a single large land mass, surrounded by water.
Shuffling along the two blocks to my place I thought about the ocean, and specifically the large ocean that once surrounded all of the land on earth. The poet in me, the song writer awoke with those thoughts and soon I was making comparisons to my family and the ocean.
Jaspers first reaction upon entering my apartment was to stiffen and hold his breath; my scent must have been heavily concentrated so I gave him an apologetic smile before quickly going back to the bathroom to finish getting ready. Alice should have known I wouldn't be ready yet, why she had sent him up to make him suffer was beyond me.
They were to take me to the studio to meet with Branson and Greg to discuss my terms for working with them. Alice had emailed me a list of "unnagotioables" for my contract. By the looks of things I was going to have to get used to wearing colored contacts.
When I emerged from the bathroom Jasper had my notebook in his hands and was reading what I had been working on. I was embarrassed and I felt the blush forming on my face, he glanced up at me and sent a small wave of calm.
"I- haven't figured out the melody yet… Or a title." I murmured.
"This is beautiful," Jasper stated, his accent hinting his words.
"Panthalassa," his voice caressed the word and it had me shyly smiling at him.
"Panthalassa, such a comparison to us is… inspired. If we are the never ending ocean that surrounds the land, then Eva, you are our Pangea. And as you have written, though we are beautiful, and cold, we can be savage and powerful. But you have only seen the love we have for you through your eyes, through the eyes of someone who is so solidly the land we surround and protect.
"For eternity, Eva, we will surround you with our cold," he smirked, "and loving embrace, that much I can promise you."
I could only stare at Jasper as I felt the ache in my heart, the grief over their lies break apart. What girl could stand unaffected by such a declaration?
"I missed you," I whispered, still keeping my gaze on him.
A small frown formed on his handsome face, "We were always right there." He gestured to my heart and I came to realize exactly how much I had taken his brotherly love for granted before. In fact I had taken all of their love for granted.
"And you'll stay there… forever."
AN: So, that was it folks, the last chapter for Panthalassa: Low Tide, and for those of you who have been with me from the start, yes the title did change. Because although in my head this was what the first part was called. I wasn't sure if I would make a whole separate story for the next part. And I decided I will.
So this chapter will be the last one for Low Tide. And just to make it easier for everyone I will be posting the sequel immediately after posting this chapter. But that doesn't excuse you from not reviewing this last one! Give Panthalassa: Low Tide a farewell, because Panthalassa: High Tide is going to be a whole new bag of trouble.
Once you are done with Low Tide, please continue to the review section before heading to my profile to see the new part in Panthalassa.
Last chance for Panthalassa: Low Tide.