- DAYLIGHT -
An Unauthorized Sequel to the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Twilight or any of the story's many varied characters.
They belong to author Stephenie Meyer. This is simply my own novel-length version of a sequel to the popular series.
No copyright infringement is intended. No money is being made.
(AKA: This is Ms. Meyer's chess game, and I'm merely moving around the pieces.)
Chapter One: Half-Vampire Hang-Ups
There were days when being a half-vampire had its advantages.
Unfortunately, today wasn't one of them.
I gripped the sides of the podium in front of me and forgot for a second how much stronger I was than the wooden lectern. The slight feel of crunching timber beneath my fingers reminded me. I immediately let go. My nerves, unfortunately, wouldn't do the same.
"Renesmee Cullen," Mr. Gordy said from the back of the room, "you may proceed."
Uh . . . I swallowed, trying to remember all the encouragement my parents and Jacob, my best friend, had lovingly filled me up with just this morning. But, right now, I had a hard time remembering my name. Public speaking wasn't going to be the most difficult thing I'd ever do in my life. Yet, that little fact didn't help my nerves one bit. I looked around at the faces of my fellow students staring expectantly back at me and wondered how each one of them, in turn, had been able to stomach this. They're physically weaker than me, intellectually too. In fact, I'd understood more by my first month of life than they probably did right this minute.
Maybe it's their age. It's possible. Everyone in this room is older than I am. Wonder what they would think if they knew I just celebrated my seventh birthday? They'd probably laugh in disbelief. After all, I certainly don't look like a child. I have long, bronze-colored hair which is currently braided down my back; cocoa eyes; big feet (It's killer trying to find shoes you like when you wear women's size 11); am 5' 8" height; and have a somewhat curvy—although not as curvy as I'd have liked—figure. No, at seven-years-old, I have the appearance of a teenager or young adult. But then again, I've never looked my age.
With a vampire for a father and a human for a mother, what else could you expect? By the time I was a month old, I looked like a toddler. By age three, I was easily mistaken for a 10-year-old. Now, having celebrated past my last birthday only a month before, I knew the changes in my features would soon become fixed for the rest of my immortal existence. Maybe they already had. At least that's what my paternal grandfather, Papa Carlisle as I called him, had been saying lately. As he was a vampire and scientist who had been measuring and studying my development since I was born, he was undoubtedly somewhat of an authority on the subject.
Within the first few months of my life, my features changed almost hourly. After several more years, however, the acceleration of my maturity had begun to slow. It had slowed so much three years ago that even regular humans were less aware of any changes in me now. Because of this, I'd been allowed to enroll in high school in Castlewood, South Dakota. It was a small, quaint town full of people who preferred to keep to themselves, which for a family like mine was perfect. My first day of school, my father had suggested I use this time to get in as many human experiences as possible. My mother had dryly remarked that human experiences were usually overrated.
Standing in front of the entire class about to make my first-ever public speech, I was inclined to agree with Mom.
I suppose most people would be thrilled at the prospect of youthful immortality, but for me, it has its drawbacks. Even though my father and mother—who is also now a vampire—are as immortal as I am, there are other members of my family far more fragile. My maternal grandfather Charlie, for example, is as human as they come.
And when he dies, I'll never see him again. Never. Humans could comfort themselves in the time of death as they knew their own mortality would reunite them with their loved ones, either in Heaven or oblivion. I, unfortunately, have no such consolation. No, I will continue living even as every other person in this room dies. Yeah, that definitely takes the bloom off the rose, or so they say.
I closed my eyes, trying to focus on the matter at hand. Death and immortality can always be pondered later. Public speaking is what I needed to concentrate on now. I suppressed a shiver of revulsion. Logically, this assignment shouldn't be a problem for me. No doubt, it wasn't for many people.
Regrettably, I'm not one of those people.
Opening my eyes, I peered down at the blue index cards laying on the podium in front of me. All I had to do was pick them up and talk. It really wasn't too complicated. Right? I briefly considered all the abilities I was empowered with as a half-vampire. I can run faster than the subway, crush this podium into a pile of toothpicks, have teeth sharper than the blade of the best Samurai sword, and was able to understand complex algorithms and scientific theories by the time I was two-years-old. Most importantly, I can communicate simply by touching someone. Thoughts, images, memories, ideas—all can be transmitted by me through a slight stroke of my fingertip against someone's skin. As great as my powers are to have, not one of them is useful at a time like this.
The irony that I am able to communicate so well nonverbally and yet unable to complete a simple verbal speech is not lost on me—believe me.
Vampires can remember things with lightning speed and accuracy, a skill I also have acquired as a half-vampire. But, public speaking is made up of so much more than just reciting a stack of memorized words. I hated all the eyes on me and the collective listening and judging of every word coming out of my mouth as well as the cadence and tone I used to sound out the syllables. It was enough to give me a headache, and I can't get headaches.
I tried to pep myself up. You can do this. A little speech on the rise and fall of the Roman empire should be cake. A moment went by, and my stomach clenched painfully. I sighed, finally acknowledging the truth. Nope, I can't do this.
"Miss Cullen, we don't have all day," Mr. Gordy called, his voice ever impatient.
"O.K." I took a deep breath, knowing I didn't have a choice in this. I was going to have to do this speech whether I wanted to or not.
Just kill me now. I considered the ridiculousness of that thought for a second. A wry smile cracked the corner of my mouth as another, more ridiculous thought popped in to take its place. Really, it didn't matter what my father said:
Sometimes, being a human really sucks.