Chapter 13- a visitor
I am the monster that breathing men would kill. I am Dracula. –Dracula
"Sky? Hello? Anyone in there?" Edward asked, hiding his apprehension with a thinly masked veil of amusement.
The word made its way into my brain before implanting itself fully. I had promised Edward I wouldn't freak out and I intended on keeping that promise, so that meant I had approximately one minute to process this new information before returning to reality in at least a semi-healthy mental state. It would be a challenge.
"She'll come back any second now." Alice chirped pleasantly, settling deeper into her seat.
This seemed to pacify Edward, who then calmed considerably. The room quieted peacefully as everyone waited for my response. After a few difficult and stalled moments of deliberation, I finally managed to give out my croaked retort. "I think… you broke me."
"My sincerest apologies." He said, but I could hear the undercurrent of sarcasm in his voice.
"This is weird." I admitted, glancing around hesitantly at the room full of vampires.
"We never said it wasn't." Edward shrugged back at me. "You seem to be handling it fairly well though."
I bit my lip but just couldn't help myself. The vampire jokes were just too easy. "Do you vant to suck my blahd?" I hissed at him in my best Transylvanian accent.
He sighed. "And she's back."
I gave him a look. "I can't help that I have a fast rebound rate. But in the meantime, would you care to inform me of any other mythical creatures who've set up shop around here? Perchance, does there happen to be a clan of demigods or wizards camped out in the woods? Or maybe a portion of the forest is sectioned off, designated specifically for Martians hailing from Jupiter? Or are my guesses not wild enough?"
"Full disclosure- we are the only mythical beasts in the area." He promised.
I let my shoulders sag a little in relief. "That's nice to hear. Did you tell Kelsey about your… um… state?" I prompted, unsure of what to call it.
"We were going to leave that to you, actually."
I sneered. "Gee, how thoughtful of you."
As if on cue, Carlisle and Emmett emerged from the top of the staircase, Kelsey in tow. "Skylar has something else to share with you." I heard Carlisle say to her softly as they descended the stairs. Though she was a few shades paler than usual, she wasn't as stricken-looking as I anticipated.
In fact, she looked (dare I say it) rather calm. "I think I already know what she's going to say to me." She replied to him quietly, coming down to sit next to me.
"Oh really?" He raised an eyebrow. "And what's that?"
She spoke in a reasonable tone of voice, as if she had rationalized everything out in her head and it somehow came out making sense to her. "Well, running under the assumption that the legends told at the bonfire held at least a practical degree of truth, that would mean the 'cold ones' also existed. Despite the fact that your family fits their description, you seem generally harmless, at least around Skylar and I. Which leads me to the conclusion that you all are, in fact, these aforementioned 'cold ones' who have merely assimilated into society enough to blend in and hide your secrets. And you seem to have a good enough grip on any of your urges that you do not pose a direct threat to either Skylar or me." She finished.
Emmett whistled in amazement. "That's quite a talent you've got there."
She shrugged humbly. "I observe things. I'm good at it."
"I'll say." He reiterated.
"Yeah, you basically just gave me more information then I already knew, and I got the five minute rundown from the source." I said, feeling pride in my best friend.
"What I really want," Kelsey started slowly, folding her hands together. "Is for one of the wolves to come over. So we can see him, hear his side, and so I can analyze the situation more clearly."
All eyes turned to me, expecting an argument. I did not fail to deliver. "What is there left to analyze? Boy plus Native American tribal voodoo equals wolf. Pale person to the cubed root of human blood equals vampire! Done! Analyzed!" I solved for her.
"That's not an accurate-" Kelsey interjected, no doubt to dispute my irrefutable mathematical evidence.
"Look, Kels." I pleaded with her, desperate to keep my distance from the "wolf pack." "I get that you like to have every piece of the puzzle and all, but if you step back and see the Eiffel Tower, a sleeve of baguettes, and a dude wearing a beret, isn't it okay to assume you're making a puzzle of France?"
Her lips twitched in amusement. "It's a good thing you didn't major in English, because that was possibly the worst metaphor I've ever heard."
I put my hands on my hips. "You know what I meant."
She huffed. "DNA based theoretical studies involving science and the supernatural are a little more complicated than… puzzles. You need every piece of the puzzle if you've never seen the picture before. Now why don't you tell us the real reason you don't want to bring one of the werewolves over."
I shuddered slightly. "You didn't see it bro- it was scary as shit. They clearly aren't in control of themselves. It could be very dangerous."
"Not with us around it won't be." Emmett said from the background, cracking his knuckles and just generally looking menacing. "They know they gotta stay in line around here."
Kelsey raised her hands in a gesture towards him and gave me a pointed look as if to say 'see?'
"Come on!" I whined. "Don't you ever just have a feeling, you know, when something just isn't right? A gut feeling that tells you not to do something?"
"No, I have a brain that analyzes evidence and derives from it the best course of action based off of morality and personal interest."
I shook my head. "God, you're so strange. Why am I even friends with you?"
She smirked, looking full of herself. "You love me. Now are you all out of arguments?"
I sighed heavily, unwilling to do what I was about to do. "Fine. But just… no Jacob." I compromised, hoping she wouldn't try to force an explanation out of me on that one.
Thankfully, she took my rare kindness quietly without question. I think I needed a little bit more time before I could quite face Jacob again. "That's fine, I suppose. We can just have Paul." She said with a shrug, the name rolling off her tongue rather quickly if you ask me.
"Um, that maybe isn't the best idea." Edward interrupted with his opinion. I had a snarky comment at the ready, but I held it back this time. We had finally found a point that we agreed upon.
"Why not?" She questioned, a quizzical look on her face.
"I just think you should pick a different mutt. Like Seth, or Sam, even. That one… well, let's just say that much of the pack gossip centers around his lack of self-control."
Kelsey kept her composure well, but I could see the most minute amount of bristling as she listened to Edward denounce Paul. "I have faith in him." She said, sounding off hand and dismissive, but I knew better.
"And what the hell has he ever done to inspire faith in you? I didn't even know the word faith was in your vocabulary." I challenged spitefully.
"He just did, okay?" She shot back, sounding strangely defensive and almost territorial.
"What happened to all that bullshit about the accumulation of facts based off of evidence?"
She sighed, knowing the she had contradicted herself. "Are you going to tell him to come or not?" She asked Carlisle weakly.
He looked to me in confirmation. "Are you sure that's okay with you, Skylar?"
"Whatever." I conceded in annoyance. "It's not so much the choice of wolf that bothers me, but the hypocrisy of certain best friends who shall not be named."
"Wonder who that could be." Edward mused aloud.
"No one asked you, Dracula!" I snapped at him.
He held up his hands, palms out in surrender. "Looks like someone's wound pretty tight."
"I've had a rough night. Don't talk." I ordered.
He shrugged and got up from the chair as if it didn't matter much to him anyway. "I guess I'll go call Sam."He stated, pulling a sleek black cell phone out of his pocket as he walked away.
"You mean you aren't going to send a formally written letter to the house?" I asked, casting a side glance at Alice as I recalled her doing the exact same thing with me not too long ago.
She smiled deviously. "I knew that if I had actually called the house, you would just hang up on me. A letter though, you would have to finish reading at some point.
I thought about it for a second. "Yeah, you're probably right."
"I usually am."
"She's not just being conceded." Jasper butted in. "Alice can see into the future."
"She can what now?" I spit out, disbelieving. I could see Kelsey lean forward in her seat, becoming more engaged in the conversation.
Alice spoke offhand, blowing it off as if it wasn't as big of a deal as Jasper was making it seem. "I get flashes into the future, from time to time. But nothing is definite. It's all according to the choice path that someone is following at that given moment."
"What do you mean flashes? Like 'That's so Raven?'" I pondered aloud.
"That's so what?"
"Raven. You know, the old TV show."
"Oh," She furrowed her eyebrows, clearly trying to recall it but coming up short. "I don't watch much television."
"Not even Disney?" I tried to contain my shock and horror as she shook her head. "That's… that's… inhumane!" I exclaimed, feeling sorry for her.
Edward came sauntering back into the room, interrupting our conversation along the way. "If you two are done with your sisterly bonding, Sam said he sent Paul up. He should be here in a few minutes."
"That was quick." I commented.
"Well, he picked up on the first ring. Judging from the frantic sounds in the background, everyone was eagerly awaiting our call."
I snorted. "They're probably just worried that I'll tell people about their weird gene deformation that turns them into werewolves."
He raised an eyebrow at me. "Yes, I'm sure that would be a cause for concern. You're hardly the type of person to keep it to yourself."
"But-" I started to dispute his statement before realizing he was mostly true. "Okay. Fair point."
There was a bit of awkward silence where no one knew what to say. I felt compelled to fill it with my nervous questions. "What are you going to ask Paul?" I turned to Kelsey, unsure of exactly what she was expecting from this upcoming conversation.
"Details. Technicalities. How this whole thing is possible."
"And you thought to yourself: 'out of all the people to ask such high-thinking, contemplative questions, Paul would be the most reliable?'" I asked in a skeptical voice.
I could tell she was going to reprimand me before she even opened her mouth. "Not all of us are so quick to judge and slow to forgive, Skylar."
I scoffed. "Please. Don't even start with your holier-than-thou bullshit."
"Well then don't start with your sarcastic remarks to everything I have to say." She countered.
Carlisle took a look at the two of us and made a face like he was a reluctant peacekeeper, hating the fact that he had to intervene. "Okay, maybe we should all just take a deep breath." He suggested, holding his hands out towards us warily.
I folded my arms over my chest with a 'hmph' noise.
Edward watched me with a critical eye. "Did you ever mature past the age of, say, five?"
"Says the ancient vampire who still looks like a pubescent teen." I said patronizingly.
"Well at least I act my age." He shot back at me.
"It sure doesn't seem like it with all this childish bickering going on!" Carlisle snapped, finally reaching the end of his rope. Judging by the silence in the room, this was rather out of character for him. "Edward, really? I thought you were above this."
Edward opened his mouth to respond, but after a particularly withering look from Carlisle, he closed his mouth and thought better of it.
Carlisle extended his fatherly glare to the whole room, subjecting each of us to it in turn. "Now, here's what's going to happen. You are all going to take a seat where you will remain silent until the wolf shows up. If any one of you so much as glances at another person with a hint of ire, they will apologize and leave the room. Understood?"
There was a chorus of reluctant grunts as we all did what we were told. No one made a single peep as we all waited for Paul, with demeanors ranging from petulant to thoroughly reprimanded.
Less than five minutes in, Alice stood up. "He's here." She announced before leaving the room, Jasper quick to follow.
Paul walked in unannounced, not even bothering to knock on the door. I didn't really know what to make of him. Part of me was kind of expecting him to look scarier somehow, more intimidating now that I knew what he really was. But no. Just same old Paul with the smirk on his face.
"You rang?" He said cockily, plopping down in the nearest chair and putting his feet up on the coffee table like he owned the place.
I grimaced at the sound of his voice, already regretting my decision to stay for Kelsey's safety.
"Yes," Kelsey leaned forward indulgingly. "I was hoping you could tell us of the particulars of your race. Scientifically, that is. I'm just trying to make heads and tails of this whole situation, and anything you could tell me would really help."
Paul leaned back and put his hands behind his head. "Well…" He drawled out slowly. "While I've never been one much for science-" I snorted. "-I'll see what I can do."
"Great!" Kelsey clapped her hands together far too enthusiastically for my taste. "Let me just get a notepad and we can get started."
"This is ridiculous." I muttered as soon as she left the room.
"Oh, Skylar!" Paul perked up, pretending as if he had just noticed me. "You're still here, are you? I'm shocked. I would have thought you darted away with your tail between your legs by now." He smirked.
I was in no mood to play along. "Shut the fuck up, Paul. You're wasting my oxygen."
Conveniently, Kelsey walked back in just at this moment, having heard only my charged comment, making me look like the aggressor. Paul took full advantage of it, too. His face adopted a pitiful, vulnerable look and he held his hands up innocently. "Woah there tiger, it was just an observation. No need to break bad on me."
"You little piece of-"
"Skylar!" Kelsey gave me a look that would turn Medusa herself into stone.
"But I didn't do anything!" I turned to look for a Cullen to back me up, but they had all seemed to disappear. Goddamn unreliable vampires.
"Why don't you sit down and close your mouth, because to be honest, I'm just about here with you and it would really help it you would just stay out of this for a few moments." She glared.
She was serious about it, and her words shut a sting of betrayal into me, but I masked it well. "Whatever, Mom." I muttered, walking out of the room and into the kitchen to find something to eat.
Sitting in the room with his hands folded and looking calm was Jasper, who was quickly becoming my favorite vampire of the bunch. "She didn't mean it you know." He said, pushing the half eaten bowl of raspberries across the table to me as I took a seat. "She's just stressed, like all of us right now."
"I know." I sighed, taking a berry out of the bowl and rolling it around in my hand. "Fighting with her just always makes me feel like shit though, because I know I'm always the initiator or whatever… what with my sunny disposition and all."
He gave a small chuckle. "Not everything's your fault, you know. You can't help that you saw Jacob phase mere hours after he- how did you put it?- 'made out with you in a parking lot?'"
I groaned. "Ugh, let's not talk about that, shall we? All I can think about right now is an image of myself being ripped to tiny pieces and devoured by a flesh-eating wolf."
Jasper leaned back thoughtfully. "You know, between vampires and werewolves, in all truth, you picked a much more dangerous creature to put your trust in."
"How so?" I asked hesitantly.
Jasper smiled sheepishly. "Let me paint you a picture here. In one scenario, you make a werewolf angry. He shakes, you run to a safe distance, he turns into a wolf, a few seconds of growling but he feels instantly regretful. He turns back into a human and you approach him, virtually unharmed, before he apologizes and you ride off into the sunset together." He paused.
"And… the other scenario?" I asked, unable to stop myself.
"The other scenario… you make a vampire angry. Best possible ending, you die immediately. Worst possible ending… he toys with you. You try to run, but he's everywhere. He's too fast, you can't outrun him and he feels no regret or remorse. The next thing you know his lips are pressed into the skin on your neck and you're being drained dry of blood before he leaves you on the ground, lifeless, and probably never thinks about you again."
There was a moment of silence before I verbalized my reaction. "You're not exactly endearing yourself to me right now."
He smiled. "And yet for some reason you've taken a liking to me."
I narrowed my eyes at him. "Fucking empath." I muttered, just loud enough for him to hear.
He laughed, only to be interrupted by Paul's booming voice behind me. "You missed the moral of the story, Skylar. What he was trying to say was go talk to Jacob before he blows his fucking brains out. I'm leaving, but I know for a fact that no one in the pack will be sleeping tonight. Come to Emily's when you're ready."
Kelsey, whose arms had been crossed as she stood behind him, quickly shot her hand out to grab hold of his shoulder before he left. "Hey, um… thanks, Paul." She muttered quietly, unable to make eye contact with him and staring at the floor, instead.
Paul's eyes were glued to her hand, making it appear as if he was trying to memorize the exact way it looked as it rested on his bare russet skin. "No problem." He rumbled, his voice rough as she slowly slid her hand away. "And Kelsey?"
"Hm?" Her head snapped up so quickly I swear she almost gave herself whiplash.
"I'm really sorry. About all that shit I said, a while back. I didn't- I never meant to…I never want to hurt you." His shoulders slumped a little at his admission.
"I forgive you." She whispered back at him, not missing a beat.
They made eye contact at the same time and a second or two of silent communication seemed to pass through them. Paul gave a solemn nod, to which Kelsey responded with a soft "Bye," before they both turned away and he walked out like nothing at all had transpired.
It was weird.
The door made a clicking noise as it shut and I waited a second before asking the question that had to be on everyone's mind. "What the fuck?"
Kelsey rolled her eyes at me and walked out, clearly still annoyed with me. I turned to Jasper instead. "You just witnessed that too, right? It wasn't normal, right?" I questioned, needing validation.
He smirked. "It's much more complicated than you think." His response was vague.
"Oh no." I accused, pointing my finger at him menacingly. "Don't you start with all this mysterious shit. I get quite enough of it from your brother and the pack of werewolves that live down the street."
"They're actually shape-shifters, not werewolves!" Kelsey called out from the other room to correct me.
"You say tomato, I say huge ass motherfucking wolf." I muttered under my breath.
Edward appeared out of nowhere, leaning against the doorframe and looking like his usual Calvin Klein model self. "You should go to Sam's house and talk to the Pack. They're worried about you." He advised.
"Why, you kicking me out already?"
"No, but you've calmed down enough that I think waiting another week is rather useless."
I smiled at him tauntingly. "Is my head playing some nice soft Jazz music for you, Ed?"
He gave me a mean grin. "Did you know that you have a PMS soundtrack, Sky?"
"No!" I clamped my hands firmly over my ears, trying to block out the sound of his voice. "No. No. No. You win. Fine, I'll go talk to them. Just… never talk to me about my period again, okay?" I said with a shudder.
He threw his head back and laughed. Kelsey shot into the room, looking apprehensive but excited. "You agreed? We're going now?"
I huffed, dropping my hands. "Look at you, little miss impatient. I was going to take a shower first. If we're going to party with wolves tonight, the least I can do is look and smell edible for them."
Alice practically materialized in my face. I can never see myself getting used to that. "Leave it to me." She said, beginning to drag me up the stairs already.
"I'm not wearing any more of your ball gowns, Tinker Bell." I made sure to warn.
She sighed. "Sky, we've been over this. I'm a vampire, not a faerie."
I shook my head stubbornly. "No, you're lying to me. There's no way you can be anything other than a faerie."
She smiled with amusement, pushing me into a nearly unused bathroom. "I'll have your clothes picked out when you're finished!" She said, shutting the door in my face.
I grimaced but knew better than to argue with the high-strung creature. She would win no matter what.
I took a lightening-fast shower, reveling in the feel of the warm water hitting my body as it helped to calm my nerves. I then spent half an hour arguing with Alice over what I was going to wear. In case you weren't aware, arguing with Alice over clothes is kind of like bargaining for your soul with the Devil.
I say no to skirts and she insists on curling my hair. I nix anything floral and she pulls out the polka dots. And I insist, above all, no fucking pink, and you know what she says?
"How do you feel about fuchsia?"
I threw my hands up in utter disbelief. "I am like, five hundred percent done with you right now, Alice. Five hundred."
She pouted, lowering the shirt in her hands before starting to speak in a reasonable tone of voice. "How about this instead. You dress yourself tonight, however painful it will be for me to watch. In return, you promise to come see Edward's show as Benaroya, and I get to make you as pretty as I want. No arguments."
I thought over the offer for a moment. After a second or two of contemplation, I grabbed her ice-cold hand and gave it a firm shake. "You've got a deal, Nosferatu."
She laughed, a twinkling noise. "Are the vampire nicknames going to continue?"
I shrugged. "Probably"
I threw on the same clothes I was wearing before, not even bothering to dry my hair. I could see Alice cringing out of the corner of my eye, but I felt no remorse. She would have her fun later.
It was during my short trip back down the stairs when the nerves started really kicking in. Kelsey was still waiting in the kitchen, looking very impatient. "Hold on." I told her before she could even open her mouth.
"I have an idea." I proposed to the small… coven of vampires all seated around the kitchen table.
"Go on…" Carlisle permitted.
"I would like a bodyguard." I said, eyeing up Emmett and his tank-sized muscles. "Strictly for the purposes of this visit, of course."
Emmett's eyes lit up like a kid on Christmas. "Ooh, yes! That would be so much fun." He grinned.
Carlisle held up a hand to silence him. "While I'm not denying that you would most likely enjoy yourself very much, I'm afraid it is off our territory. To accompany you would be to break the treaty."
"Treaty?" I echoed.
"It's a bit of an agreement between us and the wolves. A 'you stay on your side and we'll stay on ours' kind of deal." He explained, summing it up for me.
"Then…" I began to surmise in my head, tapping my chin thoughtfully with my finger. "Didn't Jacob break the treaty when he came over all in a tizzy earlier? And Paul, just now?"
"Well…" He drawled, having the decency to look sheepish. "We have been rather, lax with the policies in recent years. But still, bringing Emmett into a room full of irritable wolves and their mates… is a very bad idea. No matter how well we get along sometimes."
Emmett deflated in disappointment and I huffed in annoyance, stomping over to the counter and yanking open various drawers, trying to find what I was looking for. The kitchen was so fricking big though, it would literally take me years to search all of it. I gave up quickly. "Where do you keep the forks?" I shot at Edward, who very simply leaned over and opened a drawer for me, looking confused.
They remained quiet as I grabbed each fork, testing its point with my finger. Edward finally cracked the silence. "Any particular reason you feel the need to inspect our silverware, Skylar?" He asked.
I turned to him, clutching in my hand what I was not positive was the sharpest fork in the bunch. "I figured if I can't have my very own vampire bodyguard, I might as well arm myself with some silver. At least, that's what Ann Rice and Bram Stoker taught me. Vampires hate garlic, sunlight, and crucifixes. Werewolves hate silver. Probably more things too, but I can't remember."
Kelsey tugged on my arm, leading me away. "Alright, Buffy. You almost done creating an arsenal of weapons for yourself?"
The door shut loudly behind us as we walked out. "Yeah, yeah." I muttered, making my way back to my car. "But if I die- it's on you." I told her harshly. "All of you!" I added, knowing the vampires could still hear me even through the outer walls of the house.
"Cut the drama and get in the car, Kai." She told me, slamming the passenger door.
And so at roughly three AM, I drove with my possibly deranged best friend to Emily's house so we could bond with a bunch of werewolves.
This is my life.
A/N: So hey. If you want to know why it's been so long since I've posted, it's because I've been writing a novella called "How to Juggle 4 Fanfics, 3 AP classes, Extracurriculars, a Job, and a Semi-Functioning Social Life." …that was a joke… But yeah my sincerest apologies but this chapter was also really hard to write for some reason. Hope you liked it! Also- do you like the book cover I made? I forgot to tell you guys, I have a new story coming out soon-ish, it's a Kim/Jared story, so keep your eyes peeled. I'll tell you when I actually post it. That's all! Thanks as always for the support, it is always loved and appreciated.