COPYRIGHT ALERT: The Twilight characters are not mine, they are Stephenie Meyer's. The other characters, however, ARE mine, and so is the story idea. Please do not steal it. Thanks. :)
What else could possibly go wrong?? Anira’s life has been a complete disaster this past week, and obviously it’s not going to give her a break any time soon. The local power plant almost had a meltdown, a bunch of stupid teenagers burnt down half of the forest she lives in, the government found out that she was living in an abandoned shed and threatened to move her into an orphanage, and worst of all, HER BOYFRIEND DUMPED HER. When she wakes up on the first school day after winter break with that same sinking feeling in her stomach, she knows something else will go wrong, but never in her wildest dreams did she imagine it would lead her on a path like this. A story of self-discovery, this anything-but-average teenager is forced to confront a past she never knew existed, survive an encounter with deadly yet somehow civilized vampires, and juggle a secret that no one can ever know, right in the middle of the worst week of her life.
Palo, Iowa wasn’t supposed to be this unpredictable.
Chapter 1: Get me out of this mess
I opened my eyes groggily and groaned. My stomach was twisting and turning again, like it had almost every other day this past week. And almost every other day this past week, something had gone wrong. The first day had been the absolute worst though, in my opinion.
Hey, Anira, I need to talk to you, Nick, my boyfriend, had said. It was the last day of school before winter break, and we had just climbed off the bus to go home. I had looked at him and smiled, trying to ignore that gut-wrenching feeling I always got when something bad was going to happen. I… Uh, I think we should just be friends. We just aren’t very good together, you know? I hope you understand. It’s nothing personal. We can still be friends though, right? I had agreed with a little too much enthusiasm.
The next day, after I had cried myself to sleep, I’d barely noticed that same feeling when I woke up- I thought it was a side effect from all the sobs- until late in the night when I caught a whiff of smoke and realized that my forest was burning. Apparently a group of teenagers had thought this was a good place for a bonfire to celebrate the week-long vacation. Why they had wanted to be outside in December was beyond me, but there they were, burning down the only thing that hid my house from view.
Then, of course, after the trees had been drastically thinned, the inevitable happened: I got a notice on my door saying that my house was on government property and I needed to go to court to get a real home under penalty of the law. Of course, as soon as I showed up and they realized I was only fifteen, they threatened to send me to an orphanage or foster home until I was legally old enough to live alone. I had two weeks to pick a foster home of my choice before they forced me into some rotten place with the other homeless kids.
If that wasn’t enough to take in with all I had already been going through, the local power plant was in danger of having a meltdown, and I had to work there for days trying to calm everyone down and take control of the situation. By the time all the chaos was over, I had only three days left of my break to relax.
And of course relaxation was an impossibility with my home being threatened and my heart completely shattered in my chest.
Now it was the first day of the new semester, and I could tell that something else was going to go wrong. But what else could possibly go wrong?! After everything I’d been through in the past week, what else could go wrong?!
I sat up grudgingly and stretched my aching muscles. I wasn’t used to sleeping so often. Usually I only had to sleep two or three times a week, but I was so upset during the break that I had actually slept every night. It wasn’t natural.
After going to my closet and grabbing a dull green blouse and khakis, I went into the kitchen to get some breakfast. It wasn’t a very big room, with only the bare necessities to keep it running: a refrigerator, a sink, a stove, and a little wooden table with one chair on either side. The refrigerator was actually pretty unnecessary at this time of year. Since my house had no heater or air conditioner, the food just adapted to whatever temperature it was outside, and since it had just snowed… Well, my food would be plenty cool without manmade appliances.
I knew perfectly well that not having a heater was strange and unthinkable to any of the humans around me. It was part of the reason why I had never invited anyone to my house. But to be perfectly honest, I liked my house without all those silly indulgences. I could really taste the fresh air when the musty air of a machine wasn’t in the way, and besides, the thing would be unnecessary anyway. I couldn’t feel temperatures. Well, I could feel when the weather changed, and I could tell when it was hot or cold, but I was never actually affected by temperature. My skin was just the same 85˚ all the time.
I grabbed an apple from the fridge and went into the bathroom as I ate, my feet dragging a little as I walked. The bathroom was a little smaller than the kitchen, with a bath tub, a toilet, a sink, and a mirror. I lived in an extremely small house.
I looked at my reflection in the mirror without interest. Just a little over a week ago my eyes had been bright and shining with life. Now they were just a dull forest green, similar to my shirt color, with no emotions and no light. There were shadows under my eyelids that hadn’t been there before. I may have been sleeping more than usual, but that certainly didn’t mean I’d been sleeping well.
My hair was an unkempt mess, knotted and tangled from the many days of neglect. I grabbed my brush from the sink now, not wanting to look like a zombie when I got on the bus to meet Nick. I couldn’t let him know how much his decision had affected me. I had to suck it up and act like nothing had changed, as if it didn’t matter in the slightest that he had broken my heart. It wasn’t really his fault, I guess. He wasn’t trying to be mean or anything. He just didn’t think we were right for each other.
I sighed when I was finally done and watched the gossamer strands flow all the way down my legs, halting just below my knees. The name Rapunzel fluttered through my mind as I glanced back in the mirror. I was a strange sight to see, with flawless pale skin and pale hair that ran all the way down to my calves. Maybe that was why Nick had dumped me…
I shook the thought out of my head and checked my watch. 7:30. I still had 30 minutes before I had to be at the bus stop, and I was already set to leave. What was I supposed to do for 30 whole minutes?
My eyes brightened just slightly as an idea came into my head. I ran back into the kitchen to look out the windows at the surrounding forest- at least what was left of it. Was it safe? Would anybody really be out and about this early in the morning? Ordinarily I wouldn’t be too worried about getting caught, but after those stupid teenagers had burned down the woods, I couldn’t be too careful. The coast seemed clear, and that uncomfortable feeling in my stomach had subsided, for now, so maybe I could get some exercise in before I left.
Before I could change my mind, I reached behind me to reveal the crease in my shirt where I had installed the zipper. Very carefully, I pulled the zipper down until the hole was completely open and exhaled in relief as my wings slipped through the flap. I had been too preoccupied over my vacation to stretch out my wings, but now nobody was around, I could sense that it was safe, and I had 30 minutes of free time to kill. What better way to spend that time than to fly as fast as I could and just tune out the world for a few precious moments?
I fluttered my wings experimentally, smiling as my feet lifted off the ground. It felt so good to finally use them again! I shot out the back door after a short warm-up and let the world blur around me.
I thought about my past while I flew, all the memories I had before this week that didn’t make me want to hide in bed all day. Before I had lived on Earth, I had grown up in a small planet called Avalon. I lived there for eight years, but then one day our Fairy Council had come to my house and asked my parents if they could send me to Earth. They sent different fairies to Earth every year to help the humans with their natural disasters and magical infestations, but only the ones with the best talents could go. I was honored to be a part of their program and left immediately. I had always admired the fairies that came to this planet, and I had hoped they would pick me, but I had also thought that my talent wasn’t good enough. While some fairies could bend the elements or turn invisible, my only unique quality was my sense of danger. I knew when something bad would happen. I didn’t know what it would be, but I always knew, and it had saved my people’s lives many times. So they sent me here, to this tiny town of Palo, Iowa, where I could live safely undetected and help those in need.
Well, that plan was in the process of being uprooted and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. The officials had trusted me to keep our secret, and though nobody knew what I really was, the fact that they had found my house was enough to put us all in grave danger. Nobody could know we existed, humans and other mythical creatures alike. We could not be discovered. It was the law.
I slowed to a more human speed and dropped down to the ground when I heard a rustle in the bushes. A deer jumped out of nowhere and scampered across the path to disappear into the trees once again. That same uneasy feeling came back as I watched the creature, and I backed away on foot. Whatever that creature was running from had to be the danger I was to face today. I wasn’t going to let it find me here, completely vulnerable and with no witnesses.
I opened my wings and fled back to the house.
Wow, I'm really into this and I kind of got sad when I realized that there was no more to read :( Update me? Please!!
:) Thanks everyone. I'll be working on the next chapter this weekend, so hopefully I'll have it up soon. :)
Finally, we're getting some answers here. ;) Well, at least the lead-up to all the answers... Don't worry, the chapter after this one reveals all. :) Well, sort of.
Oh, and sorry, it's a little short, but I wanted to end it just right, so there was really nothing I could do about the length. =P
Chapter 28: A New Light
“I’ve been having dreams,” I muttered, staring at my hands blindly. “She’s in them…” I was in shock, not because I knew I was right, but because I didn’t know how I knew.
“What name?” Rosalie asked, her voice angry, as usual.
“What dreams?” Edward demanded, ignoring his sister. I shook my head and shrugged.
“They’re just… dreams. I don’t know. They feel so real, almost like memories, but I’ve never been in those experiences before… They must be from her life or something.” I frowned.
“Edward?” Bella questioned softly, her face confused.
“Really?” he asked me, his face intrigued despite his effort to sound threatening.
“For the love of God, Edward, what the hell is she talking about?” Emmett growled, glancing over at us irritatedly. He didn’t like being left out of the conversation.
“She knows about Irina,” Edward finally replied, glancing around at all of them. Shocked silence filled the room. He turned back to me. “Exactly what events have occurred in these dreams of yours? What parts of her life?” My vision blurred as I remembered the dreams, those dreams with such detail that they were like memories…
“Her mother died,” I murmured. “She created an immortal child, and the Volturi killed her, and the boy.” I flinched as I remembered the pain that I felt, the pain that had awakened me that first night. “She was going out with her sisters to do… things…” – Edward smiled knowingly – “but they heard the Volturi and went back to the house to see what they wanted…” I shuddered. “We… um, they were definitely surprised.” I had to watch myself, or I would start using the first person. I had to stay objective. I was telling them what I knew about Irina, not my own life. “That was just the first dream.”
“How many dreams have you had?” Carlisle asked, his eyes alight with curiosity.
“Just two,” I said. “But I have a funny feeling they’re not over yet.” His eyebrows pressed together. “Irina eventually met someone, a mate… he didn’t live in their lifestyle, but she didn’t care. Or at least, she tried not to… She tried to conform him to her diet at first, but he quickly grew tired of it.
And then he had to leave on an errand for a friend…” I flinched as I remembered the pain of his absence. At first it had been bearable, but then Tanya and Eleazer had come home… “He said he would be back within a week or two. I waited for him every day, expecting him to walk through the door at any moment… but he never did…” I tried to fight back my tears. They were completely unnecessary. Vincent was here with me, safe and sound, not eaten by werewolves, and he was sitting right there on the couch, probably more terrified than I would ever be. I had to act strong for him. “Tanya and Eleazer brought me the bad news one day, after I had urged them to find out what was taking him so long to come home. Eleazer said that he had been… killed by werewolves… because he had tried to kill –” I stopped abruptly, glancing at Bella’s face cautiously. I didn’t want her to think I had willingly been dreaming about my un-boyfriend draining her human body of blood. However, she didn’t appear to be paying attention to me anymore. Her back was straight as a pin, her face paler than usual. She seemed to be remembering something of her own, something that my own memory had inspired… “Because he tried to kill Bella. I was mad. Infuriated, actually. I wanted to kill the werewolves, or at least hurt them, but you wouldn’t let me…” My voice turned dark as I remembered the unbridled pain I had felt in that room, how I had shamelessly begun to plan my assassination of the werewolves who killed my mate as soon as the Cullens were out of harm’s way. Because they were still my family, even if they weren’t acting like it… “That’s all I know.” The illusion broke as I brought myself back to the present. So much for not using first person.
Everyone glanced around at one another in awe. And horror. And caution. There were a lot of emotions in the room.
“And you got all of this from two dreams?” Alice asked, her voice a little miffed. I nodded.
“Well, I have a good memory, so I don’t tend to forget my dreams…” I trailed off as Edward began to shake his head in disbelief.
“We are not amazed because of how much information you remember from your dreams. We are amazed because all of it is exactly accurate,” he explained. I stared at him in confusion. “Irina was a real person – a real vampire – until seventeen years ago, when she was murdered by the Volturi. Everything that you’ve told us about these dreams of yours actually happened to her at some point in her life. And they appear to have come to you in chronological order.”
“And you knew her?” I asked. It sounded more like a statement than a question. “You were considered extended family?” They all nodded. “But you wouldn’t let her kill the werewolves, even though it was their fault her mate was no longer alive?” I couldn’t help but sound scornful when I said this. To make a friend endure such agony while the murderers continued to live didn’t seem like the best idea. If they had just let her kill them in the first place, maybe they never would have had to deal with the Volturi’s wrath. She wouldn’t have held a grudge against them for anything. Besides, werewolves were parasites that needed to be disposed of anyway. Were the Cullens really so tolerant that they would refrain from human blood, just so their number-one competitors for food didn’t have to starve?...
“Oh!” Edward said, giving me a strange look. “You don’t understand. There were no actual werewolves that killed Laurent. They were the shapeshifters. They protect humans. It’s a completely different situation.” I glanced at Jacob in surprise. Again I felt that pang of hatred as I looked at him, remembering how I had plotted against the creatures that killed my dear Laurent. With this new information, I saw my initial reaction towards him in a new light. These two different scenarios, where I had felt such a strong hatred for someone I didn’t even know, these situations that weren’t even in the same lifetime, were one in the same. I hated Jacob now because he had killed Irina’s mate seventeen years ago. Somewhere in my subconscious I had realized that he was the reason behind the unnecessary amount of suffering she had been through. And somehow I cared enough for this Irina, this vampire whom I’d never met, that I hated him just as much as she had. But why did I care about her?
I felt something squeeze my hand and looked over at Vincent in surprise. I was so lost in my own world that I hadn’t even realized that everyone was staring at me. Only Edward could hear what was happening inside my head, and from the looks of things, he was just as confused as I felt.
Why did I care about Irina? Why did I feel the same emotions she did when looking at the people she had once known? Why did I want Laurent to have lived, when it was my duty to kill leeches like him? He refused to conform to the ‘vegetarian diet.’ That meant he was a threat to humanity. There was only one possible explanation for why I could want such a thing to exist, something that went way beyond the needless emotions of a few unusual dreams…
I was Irina.
Great chapter! My suspicions have been confirmed! I wonder how she will handle everything and if she will understand the situation? Can't wait to see what happens next!
Uh, sort of... =3 There's more explanation in the next chapter. I hadn't really thought of that, but reincarnation IS a big part of their life/religion in Avalon (Faerie planet) in my mind. :)
Chapter 29: Duh.
The realization hit me with incredible force. It all made sense. Irina had died seventeen years ago, and I was approaching my sixteenth birthday (I did kind of have to wait nine months before my mother could spit me out, after all). It wasn’t uncommon for mythical creatures to die and then reappear as a different mythical creature later on. It explained why I had felt so much hatred for Jacob in that first encounter, when I didn’t have Vincent with me. And now that my lover was right here, safe and sound, I didn’t feel anything terribly malicious towards the dog. It explained why I had felt the need to gain Renesmee’s approval from the first time I had met her; if Irina was really the one behind the Volturi’s attack on her family, and then she discovered that they were completely innocent, of course she would have felt guilty. If I were her – and I was – I would have spent the rest of my life trying to redeem myself. And subconsciously, I had been trying to do just that. Those vivid dreams that started after the Cullens arrived were not just dreams, but memories, inspired by a long-lost family I didn’t even know I’d had. And the reason I didn’t want to kill off these blood-suckers like I had the others was because somewhere deep down, I knew they were my friends. Their eyes and strange behavior may have diverted me, but there must have been an underlying emotion behind the curiosity that caused me to spare their lives. Would my emotions ever have allowed me to kill them?
A whole two minutes had passed since someone last spoke. The term awkward passed through my mind as I realized I was the reason for their silence. Every single person in the room continued to watch me, their gazes ranging from irritated (Emmett) to nervous (Vincent). Edward was the only exception, the only other person who knew about the sudden epiphany I had just experienced. He looked appalled.
“That’s not possible,” he whispered, his eyes wide as he stared at me. I could picture what he must have been imagining: my face, the face I had known for almost sixteen years, compared to Irina’s face, the one I had seen only once in the dreams I’d had. Neither he nor I could deny the detailed similarity between the two. He knew I was right. He just couldn’t believe it.
“Edward?” Esme asked, her voice confused.
“What have we missed, son?” Carlisle asked. Edward shook his head slowly.
“Are you sure?” he asked, still staring at me wide-eyed. He sounded as if he’d had the breath knocked out of him. Emmett growled in frustration. Just as impatient as ever.
“Aren’t you?” I retorted, raising an eyebrow. I felt Vincent shift his weight next to me awkwardly and turned my head to give him a reassuring smile, realizing a little too late that he still didn’t know about Edward’s talent. Then I turned to face the Cullens. “Since Edward seems to be having problems processing my… um, his thoughts, I guess I’ll tell you myself… I’ve finally realized why I’ve been acting so strangely around all of you. Jacob in particular.” Everyone waited patiently for me to continue (except Emmett, of course, who could never be described as patient). “This girl, Irina, that you used to know, died seventeen years ago, right?” I looked to Carlisle for confirmation. He nodded. “Well, I’m approaching my sixteenth birthday.” Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Alice’s expression brighten ever so slightly at this information. “Well, what I think – no, what I know happened – is that Irina’s soul wandered for a few months after she died, and reformed as someone else. As me.” I looked around the room for any more baffled expressions, even for shock, but after a few seconds, the only emotion I really saw was doubt.
They didn’t believe me.
“Oh, come on!” I said a little loudly. “Remember how I first reacted to Jacob? How much I hated him??” I glanced at Jasper and raised my eyebrows, just waiting for him to deny it. He just shrugged and pursed his lips, but his eyes told me that he saw I had a point. “Remember how Irina hated the werewolves for killing Laurent? How she asked for revenge? Do you think she would have let him live if she had encountered him in the same scenario as me? The only reason I didn’t hurt him was because I couldn’t think of a rational reason to. But I wanted to.” At this, I gave the dog an apologetic glance. Imagine that: I was sorry. “And then I’m sure Edward heard the near-craving desire of mine to stay on Renesmee’s good side. I was trying to keep from putting her in danger! Perhaps because it was a certain vampire’s fault that she was in danger the last time??” I cringed internally. I could feel the guilt seeping over all my other emotions, drowning them. I couldn’t believe I had done such a thing to one of my (now) best friends.
“She’s right,” he murmured reluctantly. “I couldn’t understand why she wanted to protect our daughter so badly, considering the way she thought about vampires. It was unnatural, to say the least.”
“See?! Plus, if you haven’t noticed, I look just like her.” There was another long stretch of silence.
“All your points seem valid,” Carlisle finally said, “but I don’t understand how such a thing is possible. As you put it, Irina’s soul ‘wandered around’ for a few months?” I nodded.
“Well, travelling anywhere takes time, even for something without a physical body. It needs time to decide on its next path of life before entering back into the world of the living. And then it starts life over again, just as a different person – or animal – with no recollection of the past.”
“So, what you’re saying… is that mythical creatures reincarnate instead of going to heaven like the humans?” Esme guessed. I tried very hard not to make my gaze look condescending. The religions they’d probably heard of here on Earth were so different from the knowledge we had on Avalon that it was unlikely these vampires had ever contemplated these ideas before.
“Everyone reincarnates,” I said matter-of-factly. “Vampires, faeries, humans, animals, goblins, elves, dragons, you name it. If it’s alive, it reincarnates. Well, I don’t know so much about plants, but anything with a heartbeat does, anyway.” I let them digest this for a moment.
“Wait, wait, wait,” Edward said, the ghost of a smile daring to form on his lips. “You said that the soul leaves your current body when it dies, and then comes back later in the form of another body?” I nodded, not sure where he was leading with this question. Wasn’t that what I’d just said? “So, in order for your soul to have travelled into your current physical form, that means that your vampire form must have held your soul as well?”
“Um… Duh.” I couldn’t help it. That was about the dumbest question I’d ever heard him ask. And he’d asked me a lot of questions. If I didn’t have a soul in my last body, how would I ever have possessed the body he was currently looking at?!
His smile grew wider, and the strangest emotion passed through his eyes: hope. “Interesting,” was all he said.
“So…” Vincent said, once again reminding me of his presence. I looked at him in surprise. “Are you saying that you used to be a vampire?...” I nodded sheepishly.
“Um, yeah. I’m sorry Vincent, I know this must all be very confusing to you. Even I’m a little overwhelmed, and I know more about this topic than everyone else in this room combined.” I squeezed his hand, watching his face anxiously. He seemed to be contemplating what I said, but not panicking over it, so that was good.
“Does that mean I used to be someone else, too?” he finally asked. “Since you said everyone ‘reincarnates?’” I nodded. “Who was I?”
“Well, Vincent, I could never tell you that for sure, because I probably didn’t…” I trailed off. Staring at his face now, after the revelation I’d just experienced, his face seemed oddly familiar. Not just because I’d known him for years, but as if I were looking at a long-lost friend…
“Actually, I do know who you were,” I murmured, giving him a small grin. “You were a vampire, too. Hopefully that doesn’t scare you too much. You were a… um, friend of mine named Laurent. You look a lot like he used to.”
“This is crazy,” Bella said quietly. My grin widened as I looked over at her.
“I know,” I agreed. After all, it wasn’t every day that you invited a family member who’d died years ago and her past boyfriend into your house. “So… now that all my mind-blowing epiphanies are over, perhaps we should change back to our previous conversation? Have you finished telling us everything you wanted to tell us?” Wow, we’d digressed quite a bit from our original topic.
“Yes, well, we just wanted to make sure Vincent was aware of the dangers he is susceptible to now that he knows about us,” Carlisle said, straightening up in his chair. “I think we’ve gotten the point across, more or less.”
“Plus, he knows how confusing our family is now,” Alice quipped.
“I’m the cause of the confusion, though,” I reminded her. “So, technically, that part’s my fault.” I glanced at my boyfriend shyly. “But I guess he’ll get used to that.” He smiled back at me, his eyes sparkling ever so slightly.
“So, Vincent,” Edward said, his previously confused expression turning serious. “Now that you know about what could potentially happen if our government finds out about your knowledge, are you willing to face the sentence they would decree?” Vincent looked around the room, searching everyone’s faces nervously. Finally, he looked at me.
“Well, I guess I don’t really have much of a choice now, anyway,” he said. “So, provided you all tell me more about vampire life, and that you would show me how to hunt the way you do, I think under the circumstances, I can live with that.”
great udpate! post again soon please!
Thanks. :) Ok, so I need all of my readers to help me out with this: I'm having some minor writer's block and I want Anira to do something on Sunday (it's Saturday in the last chapter I updated). Does anyone have any ideas that they could picture Anira doing on a Sunday after bringing her boyfriend into her screwed-up life?... Or based off of everything she's learned from her last visit to the Cullens' house? I have most of the rest of the story planned, but for some reason I never thought of a Sunday activity..... =3 I'd love any help or ideas!!
I'm really sorry that I haven't commented on your story in ages! Now that she knows her past, maybe she could visit her previous family in Denali? I've written a fanfiction called Sunset Forest, please check it out!
Thanks for the idea. :) I'll see what I can do. I actually do have some more ideas now as well, so I don't think I'll have anymore writer's block. The only problem is finding time to write the story... =/ As soon as this fall is over, I think I'll have plenty of time. Sorry to everyone that I've kept waiting...
Chapter 30: Could Somebody Please Distract my Boyfriend?
We spent the rest of the day explaining to Vincent just exactly what a fledgling vampire was, blood-thirsty habits and all. We explained how human blood would seem so much more appetizing than animal blood, but if he wanted to stick around town, he would have to deal with the ‘vegetarian diet’ that the Cullens enforced (I would never be able to kill Vincent, but I wouldn’t allow him to kill innocents in my vicinity either). We told him that he would be a lot stronger than the humans around him, and much faster, so he would have to be very careful around the humans so he didn’t scare them. We mentioned that he would look a little different, but we didn’t want to overwhelm him too much with the idea of red eyes and chalky skin.
“They would change to gold in a few months,” I insisted, touching his leg gently, “if you stuck to the vegetarian diet. It wouldn’t be that big a change. It’s just a little lighter than your eye color now.”
“It’s still creepy,” he muttered.
We skipped over the whole burn-until-you’re-crazy-while-you-become-immortal concept altogether, hoping we would never need to tell him that little detail. Hoping he could stay human, at least for a while.
After all the eerie details of vampire life were taken care of, Vincent and I left for my house. I didn’t want him going home with his brain so full of fuzz that he couldn’t think about anything else for the rest of the night. I wanted to find a way to distract him from the afternoon’s events before I sent him home to his mother.
“How are you doing?” I asked hesitantly, hoping he wasn’t dwelling too much on his recent information overload.
“Umm… Good?” was his reply. I chuckled a little.
“I’m really sorry, Vincent,” I said, for about the millionth time since we’d started our flight home (it was the most convenient way to travel, now that he knew my secret).
“Stop saying that,” he sighed. “It’s not your fault.”
“But it is,” I insisted. “If I didn’t exist, you would never even be going through this.” He tried to twist his head around to look up at my face.
“If you didn’t exist, Emmett would have sucked all the blood from my body last night.” I shuddered.
“I guess that’s true…”
“If you want to lay blame on someone, I’m the one who asked you on that date.”
“Oh, don’t even try to make this your fault!” I said, rolling my eyes. “It’s my fault I said yes.”
“Or maybe I’m just too sexy for my own good?” A surprised laugh escaped my lips at this comment. I’d never heard him use that word before.
“Yes, you are way too… sexy.” I giggled.
At this point we had landed back in the alley we came from and were walking across town, towards my forest. He still hadn’t said much, other than during our rather short conversation over the topic I was futilely trying to avoid.
“What are you thinking about?” I asked, twining our fingers together. He sighed.
“You already know. Today has been crazy,” he murmured ruefully, glancing at me from the corner of his eye.
“I know, Vincent,” I replied, “but you really shouldn’t think about it now. We don’t want you to slip up and say anything to your parents.” He laughed humorlessly.
“Oh, what exactly am I going to say? ‘By the way, my girlfriend has wings and the new kids in school want to suck my blood?’ They would send me straight to the insane asylum.” I grimaced; it did sound crazy. “Besides, I don’t think something like that would escape from my mouth during a normal, human conversation.”
“Well, you never know. They could ask you what you did today. And then what would you say?” He pursed his lips, his eyebrows furrowing as he thought.
“I suppose I would say that I hung out with you,” he finally replied. “It is true, to some extent.” He saw my worried expression. “Don’t worry, I’ll watch my tongue,” he promised. “The last thing I’d want to do is tell my parents about it, anyway. They would consider you a bad influence for forcing such ridiculous stories into my head.” I laughed.
“Please. Your mom couldn’t care less how crazy I am!” I retorted. “You know how much she’s probably wanted you to have a girlfriend? She was practically drooling over us when I came to help you with your math homework last week.” He chuckled.
“I guess that’s true…”
“We still don’t want you to tell her, of course, but if something does slip out, feel free to blame me for telling you ghost stories all day.” His lips curved up slightly and he pulled me in for a one-armed hug.
“Thanks, Anira,” he murmured. I smiled in response.
“By now we had reached the edge of my forest, home to the frightful nightmare that had completely unraveled my secret in less than 10 minutes. I felt Vincent shudder at my side.
“Come on,” I said, gently tugging at his shirt sleeve. Very hesitantly, he followed me in.
The atmosphere of the forest was completely different in the afternoon than at night. While at 10:00 pm there had been shadows jumping out at every turn, now nothing could escape the shafts of light that shone through the leaves. While there was no way to run when Emmett attacked, for fear of tripping over hidden branches or tree roots, now everything was visible, even incandescent from the sun’s rays. Even the air seemed different, lighter somehow, making it easier to breathe. All traces of the scuffle we’d had the night before had been erased with the light.
We walked through the woods in silence for a while, just looking around at all the trees, listening to the little animal noises and the crunch of the leaves. Before long, we arrived at my house.
And, surprise, surprise, found another piece of paper taped to my door.
“What’s that?” Vincent asked, pointing to the notice questioningly. I ripped it off the wood and jammed it into my jeans pocket.
“It’s nothing,” I lied, opening the door and letting him inside. “Just some solicitors asking me to buy something.” He nodded.
“Yeah, they do that to us all the time! But why would they come here? No offense, but your house looks pretty abandoned when you’re not in it.” I laughed a little nervously.
“Well, you know, if they’re desperate enough, they’d risk it. What harm could they do by advertising to a house with no people in it?” He chuckled, then shivered.
“Geez, it feels abandoned, too. Don’t you have a heater or something? It’s just as cold in here as it is out there.” I sighed and gave him a sheepish smile.
“Yeah, about that… One of the cool things about Faeries is that we aren’t affected by temperatures. Having a heater would just be an unnecessary waste of money.”
“What about when guests come over?”
“Vincent, I’m amazed YOU found my house. Nobody’s even supposed to know about it, really. I never planned on having guests. Like, ever.” He frowned.
“I always knew you were different, Anira,” he said. “I didn’t know how different, but I knew you weren’t like everyone else ever since I first laid eyes on you in 8th grade. You were withdrawn, but friendly. The only other person you ever seemed to hang out with was Nick.” He made a face at the name. “Now I guess I know why.” I laughed.
“I know I’m supposed to try to blend in,” I said wryly, “but there’s only so much social interaction I can take before I say something stupid and give myself away. As you’ve noticed.” He grimaced a little.
“I’m fine with you being a… a faerie,” he replied earnestly. “I’m just having a hard time wrapping my mind around… well, you know, being a vampire.”
“You’re not a vampire and you’re not going to be,” I said sharply. He jumped at my tone in surprise. “We’re going to do everything in our power to keep that from happening,” I added more gently. He nodded thoughtfully.
“Then why did you tell me all those things about newborn vampires? It sounded like it was pretty decided to me.”
“That information was solely so you know what you will have to accept if necessary. We’re going to keep you away from the Volturi, Vincent. Don’t worry about being a vampire. It’s not going to happen.” My voice came out confident, but we both knew I couldn’t promise something like that. However, he seemed consoled nonetheless.
“Okay,” he said, smiling. I grinned back.
“Now, are we done talking about this? Or do I need to distract you?” His smile broadened.
“Hey, I think it’s time for me to be in charge of the distractions for a change,” he said playfully. “You’re under just as much stress as I am. I can see it in your eyes.” I grimaced. “Come on, let me help.” He lifted his hands to my face gingerly and leaned in close. My breath caught in my throat. “Are you distracted yet?” he whispered.
“Not quite,” I managed to breathe. His lips curved up at the edges. And then he kissed me.
This feeling was so different from the way I felt when Nick had first kissed me. That feeling was nice, but hollow somehow. The craving I felt when I had kissed him back was more of a craving to feel loved, rather than a desire for the actual person. Back in 8th grade, I couldn’t tell the difference. Now, it seemed crystal clear. Because the sensation coursing through my veins the moment our lips touched was more powerful than anything I had ever experienced. It was electrifying.
“Follow me,” I murmured, twining my fingers in his. With that, I pulled him into my bedroom – the only room with any comfortable furniture – and shut the door. He was right; we were both in need of some major distractions, and right now all I wanted to do was lose myself in his arms and forget about the world for just a few precious moments.
Because as much as I knew his life was in chaos right now, mine was about to get infinitely worse.
Ms. Anira DeCaprio,
You have been summoned to appear in court on the day of Sunday, January 10, to determine the whereabouts of your new home…