A/N: This is the first thing I've written. I know the title is dumb but I haven't come up with anything I like yet. I may change it. Also, this story is a huge work in progress. I'm constantly revising what I've written so far and I can't promise to keep it going. If inspiration hits, I will. I know parts of what will happen but there are huge gaps to fill in that my imagination hasn't come up with yet.
This story hasn't been read by ANYONE but me yet (no beta, no proof-reader, nothing). Expect mistakes. And feel free to point them out to me in the comments. Or if you're so disgusted with it, offer me your beta services.
Since this is my first effort, please keep that in mind and... be nice! Please!
All regular disclaimers apply. I do not own any part of the Twilight Saga or any of the characters. That's all Stephenie Meyer (duh). What happens here however, is the product of my own sleepless night's brain activity.
I lay awake in my bed, unable to fall asleep. I tried in vain to calm my thoughts, but I wouldn't be calmed. My legs twitched. My hands were sweating. My heart raced—even more than usual. It was dark but my sharp eyes saw everything clearly. Outside the windows, I saw the sky, stars hidden behind the clouds. It felt unusually cold for early September, although this was my first one in Chilliwack, so I couldn't be sure what was considered usual here. I pulled the blankets tighter around my body. It was too quiet. Normally, I would be able to hear movement and voices throughout the rest of the house. Maybe my family was making an extra effort to be silent to allow me a better night's sleep. Well, their efforts were wasted then. I rolled over to look at the clock. One forty-five. The late hour sent another wave of panic through my body. I had to be up early tomorrow… for my first day of school. I reached over to press the play button on the mp3 player docked on my night stand. Soft piano melodies my father recorded for me found my ears gently. The first was the one he composed for me the day I was born.
Up until this point in my life, I had never attended a school with other children before. I had always had my schooling at home. My father taught me almost everything—math, science, history, geography, social studies, languages… and music. My mother was in charge of English. She said that was the only subject in which she was completely secure in her knowledge. The rest of family members helped to round out the rest of my education.
Although I was chronologically turning six-years-old in one week's time, due to my accelerated aging, physically I was much closer to a fifteen-year-old. Cognitively, I was already much older than that. Within this coming year, I would be reaching full maturity. And then I would cease to age any further, just like the rest of my family—but for a different reason. For the vampires in my family, they stopped aging when the transformation into an immortal was complete and their hearts stopped beating. I was born half-human, half-vampire and, although little of my kind was known—in fact, we had only met one other creature like me—we did know that I would reach maturity approximately seven years after my birth. The timing was perfect for me to begin attending school with my peers. My aging had slowed dramatically in the past few months to the point that my final year's growth would appear almost normal.
I was beginning my public education in the ninth grade—or grade nine as they referred to it here in Canada—at G.W. Graham Middle-Secondary School. My mother, father, and Auntie Alice were enrolled in grade ten, Auntie Rosalie, Uncle Emmett, and Uncle Jasper in grade eleven and Jacob in grade twelve. It was a stretch for all of them to play the roles of those so young but it meant we would be able to stay here longer before having to move on again. We had just moved from Forks, a tiny town of only 3,500 in Northern Washington State, where I had lived all my life in almost complete secrecy, to just outside of Chilliwack, a much larger city of 80,000 in British Colombia, Canada at the beginning of the summer.
To say I was nervous to go to school now would have been an understatement. I had never really been around fully human people—other than my grandfather, Charlie and his wife Sue and my grandmother, Renee and her husband Phil, and Jacob's father, Billy— let alone children before. What would they think of me? Would they like me? Would they be able to tell I was different? My family and I had spent the entire summer, in our new home, practicing the appropriate behavior expected of normal high school students and how to hide the quirks and tell-tale signs that would give us away. My father and aunts and uncles were seasoned veterans at feigning being human and it was not so long ago that my mother was one, so I was soothed somewhat that they were all joining me tomorrow.
Then there was also the issue of the scorching thirst, the burning ache in my throat I felt when I was around humans. I could handle it fairly easily around a few at a time, but would I be okay surrounded by hundreds at a time? I felt uneasy about this. The rest of my family had no qualms about my self-control but I really didn't want to mess up and force my family to move on so soon after resettling. Hopefully we would be able to stay here for at least a few years.
I really did love my new home. It had been a lodge-style resort in its previous life but Esme, my grandmother of sorts—although she didn't look a day older than twenty-five—had worked endlessly since Carlisle, my 'grandfather', had accepted his new position at Chilliwack General Hospital, to renovate it into the new Cullen compound. Each branch within the family had their own wing; Carlisle and Esme, Auntie Alice and Uncle Jasper, Auntie Rosalie and Uncle Emmett, and my parents and I. We all shared the grand hall and kitchen-dining space, although I was the only one in the family who actually dined there. Our wing was comprised of my bedroom, my parents' bedroom, my father's office, the bathroom, a music room, and an insanely large room deemed just big enough to be a closet. Auntie Alice had insisted each wing have one and she saw to stocking them all herself.
My room was spacious but still cozy. It was decorated in tones of gold and chocolate with hits of dark red. It held a beautifully opulent bed, which my mother insisted upon since I was the only one in the house that could actually sleep. It also boasted a state-of-the-art built-in surround system and collection of music to die for as well as numerous shelves stocked with so many books that it would put the New York Public Library to shame. The eastern wall, opposite the bed, was made entirely of glass and had French doors in the middle, leading out onto a balcony overlooking a ravine. It gave the impression you were walking out of the doors into the sky.
Yes, I loved my new home, but I missed Forks. Our family home out of the way in the woods had been my whole world. I had never really ventured off the property much other than trips to Grandpa's house in town and to La Push where Jacob and Billy and the wolves lived. I wasn't allowed to be seen by the locals. I grew too quickly to keep our secret. Charlie had circulated the story that Edward and Bella, my parents, had moved to New England to attend Dartmouth and upon their supposed graduation had set out to travel in Europe. In truth, there were brief stints spent going back and forth to New England as a family when a few night courses were taken as my mother adjusted to her new life and built up her tolerance being among crowds of fellow students but after a year or so, we all returned to Forks for good. I was glad. I missed my home whenever I was away. I loved the cottage I shared with my parents behind the larger Cullen family home. From then on, there had only been a few family vacations abroad. Australia and South America had been my favourite—such variation in my usual diet was always appreciated.
The worst thing about being in Chilliwack at first was not that I was in a different country, that I didn't know a single soul outside my home, or that I was far away from everything I knew. No. The very worst part about being two hundred miles away was that I couldn't see Jacob every day. Since I had been born, we hadn't spent more than a day apart. Even when we were in New England and travelling around the world, Jacob always came with us. During the very long, arduous summer, it was different story. Jacob could only visit every few days. He had to be in La Push to lead his pack and set things up for his absence during the coming school year. It was difficult for both of us to be separated. I didn't like it.
We were already in Chilliwack for four days by the time Jacob was first finally able to visit. He began his run early. He had roughly one hundred miles to get to Port Townsend before the first ferry left at six-thirty. Then, after landing in Coupeville, it was still another hundred miles from there. The wolves didn't deal too well with swimming great distances so there was really no other choice at the time. Carlisle promised to come up with something so that travelling across the water didn't slow the wolves down and make their trips back and forth longer than necessary. At least while on land, running was faster than driving.
Esme had decorated one of the cabins outside the main building strictly for Jacob's use while he stayed with us—there were three more for Leah, Seth, Quil, and Embry to share as well when the school year finally began and Jacob would be staying here more often, running back to La Push on the weekends and whenever else necessary. When he finally arrived, of course I was excited to show it to him, but he was so exhausted he was barely through the door before he fell asleep. I didn't want to waste our time together so I kept him company while he napped, softly playing my violin and catching up on some reading. We only had a few hours to spend together once he awoke. I showed him around the rest of the grounds and eventually took him to the main building. Auntie Rosalie had wanted to keep him out completely. She said she didn't want him to pollute our new residence with his wet-dog stench but she knew I wanted him there so when we entered through the back door, she only wrinkled her nose, threw him a disgusted look, and stormed off to her room. Auntie Rosalie and Jacob did not get along but she doted on me and tried to fulfill my every whim.
Jacob and I ate our dinner together in the kitchen—a heavenly chicken cordon bleu made with sweet peas that my father had learned to make from an episode of Emerill. Really, for someone that doesn't eat food and never tastes what he creates, it never ceased to amaze how delicious everything he attempted turned out! But, it was over too quickly and Jacob said he had better be heading back to La Push. I walked with him out to the front door and onto the porch.
"I wish you didn't have to leave so soon. It feels like you just got here." My brows pulled down and I pouted.
"Yeah, I wish I could stay longer too," he agreed. I knew he was trying to cheer me up when he flashed his bright smile and continued, "but I'll be back in just a few days."
Jacob had an infectious smile. I grinned back at him which made his smile grow even bigger.
My smile faded just slightly and I told him softly, "I miss you."
He face was abruptly serious, even a little sad. "I miss you too." He scooped me up in a great big bear hug, squeezed me tight, released me, turned and walked away, disappearing into the forest. I only stood there and watched him walk out of sight.
A few moments later, I felt two stone cold arms wrap themselves around my shoulders from behind. I put my hands on top of the arms to return the affection.
Hi Mom, I thought internally.
"Hi Nessie," she answered me aloud.
I leaned my head into her neck and allowed my mind to run through the day's events; Jacob arriving and how glad I was to see him, my disappointment at him falling asleep and then feeling guilty at begrudging him his rest, my playing the violin for him as he slept, the quick pace of our fading afternoon, and then finally, his departure. I sighed.
My mother, who had seen everything I had just thought through my talent of sharing through touch, kissed the side of my head. "Summer will be over before you know it and then he'll be here all the time. In the meantime, we have a lot of work to do."
I smiled. "That's right, Bella." I teased, emphasizing her name. Just like we had been practicing.
I followed her back inside the house to the grand hall where the rest of the family had convened. Everyone was there, occupying his or her self in some way. Auntie Alice was seated at the oversized, square coffee table, sketching a design for a new top with Auntie Rosalie peering over her shoulder, nodding in approval. Uncle Emmett and Uncle Jasper were engrossed in what looked like an epic game of monopoly but with a giant board they had created. I could only guess at what rules they had come up with. Esme was leafing through a furniture catalogue. She claimed the guest cabins needed a few more pieces. Carlisle was on the computer, researching a newly released study in neuroplasticity. And my father was waiting patiently on the couch for my mother to return to his arms.
She sat, leaning back against his chest and put her cheek in the hollow of his neck. He put his arms around her and adoringly kissed the top of her head. You would think that they were two statues carved out of the same piece of marble. They fit together so perfectly. It was true that Carlisle and Esme loved each other passionately, as did Auntie Alice and Uncle Jasper, and Auntie Rosalie and Uncle Emmett. But I don't think it could be argued that any two beings loved each other more entirely throughout all history and the rest of forever than my parents.
My father looked up at me and smiled. "What was that piece you were playing?" I understood that he was referring to the memory of my violin that I had showed my mother. As I had a gift for letting people see what I wanted them to, he had a gift of being able to read minds.
"Oh…" I faltered. "It's something I've been playing around with."
"It sounded beautiful. Can we hear some more?"
"Um… It's not quite where I want it to be yet." I couldn't understand my own reluctance. I may not have been the talented composer my father was but I already had a repertoire of a few pieces I was actually quite proud of. The current composition just felt like something was still missing. I wasn't quite ready to share it with anyone at that point.
He picked up on my hesitation immediately. "Maybe when it's ready. How about something else for tonight then?"
"Only if you'll play with me, Edward." I winked.
"If you insist." He stood and strode over to his piano.
I walked over to the small table near the back door where I had placed my violin when Jacob and I had come into the house that afternoon. I rejoined him at the piano, placing my hand on his face.
Let's play the one we wrote for Mom together last year.
He nodded, smiling. I didn't have to touch him in order to convey my thoughts as I did with the rest of my family but I still did so for comfort and as a display of my affection for him.
He placed his hands over the keys, ready, and waited for me to begin. Slowly and sweetly, I dragged the bow over the strings to begin our serenade.
One by one, my family members discarded their past-times and gathered nearer, listening intently.
If my mother had stayed human, she would have turned twenty-four-years-old on her birthday last year. As a birthday gift, my father and I had composed a duet for her. We deemed it 'the ultimate love song'. Just like when we first played it for her, her face was a kaleidoscope of emotion. Her breathing became uneven and she blinked several times. Her body was unable to produce tears but she was crying.
When we finished, everyone applauded our performance. I made a quick curtsey and my father bowed dutifully, his eyes never leaving my mother's face.
I had heard tales, mostly from Uncle Emmett, of how, during her human life, my mother would blush scarlet red at the drop of a hat. I imagined she would be blushing now if it were still possible. She was always easily embarrassed by her own displays of emotion in front of others.
She still hadn't regained her full composure when she blurted out in overly-boastful praise, "I'm sorry, but my daughter and my husband are extremely talented!" Everyone laughed.
We continued to play throughout the evening, regaling the family with more duets and also taking turns doing solos. I even took my turn at the piano. I played the first piece I ever learned, Clair de Lune.
That night, just as I was drifting off to sleep, I overheard my parents talking in their room.
"It won't be long now."
"Should we explain it to her?"
"No, we all agreed that we'd leave it up to him to decide."
I heard my mother's sigh wistfully. "Growing up so fast."
In my exhausted stupor, I didn't have the capacity to comprehend what they were talking about. Or whom. And I was too tired to care.