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.
Poor Anira is under so much stress! I hope everything works out for her and Vincent! They are great together.
Thanks guys. :) I've been working a bit on the next chapter, and after that I think it'll be pretty easy sailing for me as far as writer's block goes. :)
I am a new reader - read from the beginning to here and have to say I love the twists it has taken so far :D
please let me know when you update
Hey all. I know I haven't updated in a while, and I know I've apologized a lot for that. Basically, I just hope I can finish this fanfiction before I go off to college. I finally finished another chapter, and I was going to hold off on posting it until I finished writing the whole story, but I decided that if I did that, I would forget to warn you about a few things in this chapter, and I don't want to be accused of copyright infringement. First, there's a court scene in this chapter that isn't necessarily realistic at all. I've never been to court, so I have no idea how accurate I was. Second, there's a huge chunk of this chapter that has been directly quoted from Breaking Dawn, chapter 36. This is not mine, it is Stephenie Meyer's. I just wanted my story to be as "historically accurate" as possible, so I had to take quite a bit from the original book. You have been warned.
Chapter 31: The Last Dream
“Anira DeCaprio.” I approached the bench nervously, fiddling with the small strand of hair that had loosened from my bun. “I trust you’ve gotten the list of foster homes that were delivered to your… house?” He made a discouraging face at the last word. Obviously he didn’t think my home was a suitable living space.
“Yes,” I replied.
“And have you chosen your new family?”
“No.” The judge sighed.
“Anira, I’m sure this must be a difficult situation for you, but you’re only fifteen. You can’t live in that ruddy old cabin forever, especially not as a high school student with no parents, no job, and no money.”
“I have some money,” I mumbled.
“Is it enough to pay rent?” the judge asked sarcastically. “Or need I remind you that your house is on government property, and shouldn’t exist?” I sighed exasperatedly.
“I didn’t like any of the families.” He frowned.
“This is not up for discussion,” he said sternly. “You are going to have to choose one of these households, or I will have no choice but to choose for you.”
“No!” I said a little loudly. He raised an eyebrow. I cleared my throat awkwardly. “I mean, you don’t have to do that.”
“Yeah. Um, I may not have liked the families on that first sheet of paper, but…” I hesitated, then sighed. I really had no other choice at this point. “There is one family… that I think would be okay to live with.” The judge nodded and began shuffling through the papers on his desk.
“Wonderful. Which one?”
“The Cullens.” He continued to shuffle through the papers, the expression on his face becoming increasingly confused.
“There is no Cullen family on this list.”
“Oh, yes, I know, but I talked to them. They live in my town, and they said they would be interested in taking me in.” He frowned again.
“Well, that would be great, if we could believe you.” I grimaced. “As it stands, you’re going to have to take this family to court with you. Just to ensure that they’re really willing to take you into their home.” I nodded, keeping my poker face.
How was I going to tell the blood-suckers about this?
I walked into my bedroom and fell back onto the bedspread with a sigh. How could everything in my life be this terrible for this long? It had been a whole two weeks since that first twist of pain in my stomach, and it showed no sign of easing up any time soon. Even though I technically had a home now, a place that had been offered up to me until I turned 18, my heart didn’t feel any lighter. If anything, now I just felt guilty for taking advantage of the vampires’ offer. I knew that not all of them welcomed me into their home. It was just the whim of the kind brunette that even made their house an option. How would the mind-reader feel? Or that preppy blonde? And what about that mutt, Jacob? Would I be willing to live on the same property as him? Now that Vincent was no longer with me, my disgust had returned for the shapeshifter, though luckily not as powerfully as before. This new situation I had put myself into was full of flaws. Would I really be able to overlook them all? Could I really gain all the vampires’ favor before my next court date on Thursday?
I let out a loud groan and buried my head into my pillow. This was impossible!
Before I could get too freaked out over my current predicament, I heard my phone buzz on my bedside table. It was a text message.
Meet me in the main hallway before school tomorrow. ~Alice
I had to reread the text about three times before it sank in. She wanted to talk to me? About what? And how had she gotten my phone number, anyway?? I hadn’t even thought about that when she called yesterday, but it was a pretty legitimate question.
I picked up my phone after a few minutes of mulling over her request, not entirely sure what to say.
OK, I guess. ~Anira
I hit send and threw the phone back in its spot. It wasn’t like she needed a reply. She would be able to see whether or not I was going to show up.
This reminder of her strange talent brought with it the probable answer to my earlier question: she probably wanted to talk to me about what I said to the judge today.
But… she couldn’t see my future. She could only see humans and vampires. She said so herself that whenever I got involved, the future was just a big blur. So she couldn’t possibly have seen my encounter at court. Maybe she could see that she couldn’t see her future anymore, because I would be mixed up in it? Did that even make any sense?
Ugh, forget it. I was tired, I was frustrated, and I was confused. I would figure it out tomorrow. For now, I was going to bed.
I stared at my sisters in horror. My beautiful sisters, whom I had lived with for generations; who had endured so many hardships, so much pain and suffering, almost as much as I had. Almost.
How could they take the Cullens’ side instead of mine? But then, how could they not? They were our extended family, after all, werewolves or no werewolves. Did I really expect them to shun our fellow vegetarians just because I held a grudge? But they broke the law! Well, at least I thought they did. They must have seen the child before she was all… well, different. How could they fight for something so similar to the forbidden, even if she wasn’t exactly what I had expected?
I felt so alone. Not only had I lost my mate, my true love, but I had betrayed my own sisters, and Carmen and Eleazer. I could see them amongst the opposing battalion, as well. They were all fighting for the Cullens, for this… creature. They didn’t care that they were working with the mutts who killed my dear Laurent. They were there for the Cullens, to fight the strongest alliance of vampires ever created, probably knowing they wouldn’t survive.
They wouldn’t be in this mess if it weren’t for me. If I had known that I was putting my sisters’ lives in danger by going to the Volturi, I never would have done it. Especially since it was so obvious now that my accusation was wrong.
“Artifice!” Caius snapped, snapping me out of my horrified trance. “Where is the informer? Let her come forward!” I looked over at the malicious vampire hesitantly, my face still completely blank. This whole situation was so messed up, I couldn’t decide what facial expression to use. “You! Come!”
I stared for a few seconds longer, not at all wanting to go to the ancient. I was still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I was completely and utterly alone. This couldn’t possibly be happening.
Suddenly, I felt something jab me in the back. I blinked twice and slowly advanced towards Caius.
I stopped just a few yards away from him, my gaze never losing sight of my sisters from across the battlefield.
Caius stepped up to me in less than a second and slapped me across the face. I clenched my teeth and glared up at him defiantly, trying not to let the humiliation show on my face. I deserved it.
He pointed to the child angrily.
“This is the child you saw?” he demanded. “The one that was obviously more than human?” Once again, I looked at the girl. It was obvious that she had grown, but I didn’t understand how it was possible. She couldn’t possibly be human! I saw her jump at least twenty feet in the air just a few months ago!! But then, I had also seen a toddler, not a 7-year-old girl, yet they were obviously the same person.
“I… I’m not sure,” I stammered, not sure what else to say.
“What do you mean?” he hissed. I tried to explain.
“She’s not the same, but I think it’s the same child. What I mean is, she’s changed. This child is bigger than the one I saw, but—”
Caius let out a strangled croak, his gaze steely with rage. I decided it was best to stop talking, for fear of angering him further.
Aro glided over to us before his fellow ancient could humiliate me any further.
“Be composed, brother. We have time to sort this out.” I heard him say something else, but my thoughts were once again occupied. This was my fault. My sisters were in danger, and it was my fault. I had to fix this somehow.
I realized a second late that Aro wanted to read my thoughts. I put my hand in his uncertainly.
“You see, Caius?” he said. “It’s a simple matter to get what we need.” He glanced around at everyone, and then turned to Carlisle. “And so we have a mystery on our hands, it seems…”
I watched in fascination as Edward was summoned to explain their story. Of course, I couldn’t hear for myself what was going on, but by the look on Aro’s face when he finally touched his palm, it was worth hearing.
The next ten minutes were all spent on Renesmee, which was apparently the child’s name. I learned what she really was, how she was conceived, the talents she had, her attachment to that blasted mutt, Jacob. In those ten minutes, I realized just how wrong I had been. My poor, innocent sisters were lined up to die because of me, over something they didn’t deserve to die over.
“Irina,” Caius barked, snapping me out of my reverie once again. I looked up in surprise, and fear. What did he want now?
He snapped his fingers, and I approached him once again.
“So you appear to have been quite mistaken in your allegations.”
“I’m sorry,” I whispered. “I should have made sure of what I was seeing. But I had no idea…” I gestured towards the half-blood girl helplessly. Aro tried to chide him for his harshness, but he brushed the comments away.
“We all know you made a mistake,” he said. “I meant to speak of your motivations.” What?
“My motivations?” I asked, confused.
“Yes, for coming to spy on them in the first place.” I flinched; much as I hated to admit it, that was exactly what I was doing. I was looking for a good opportunity to get my revenge. It seemed bitterly ironic now. “You were unhappy with the Cullens, were you not?”
“Because…?” he asked impatiently.
“Because the werewolves killed my friend,” I finished reluctantly. “And the Cullens wouldn’t stand aside to let me avenge him.” Aro said something to correct me, but nobody was paying any attention to him anymore.
“So the Cullens sided with the shape-shifters against our own kind – against the friend of a friend, even.” I stiffened.
“That’s how I saw it.”
“If you’d like to make a formal complaint against the shape-shifters – and the Cullens for supporting their actions – now would be the time.” He smiled expectantly. I raised my chin defensively in response.
“No, I have no complaint against the wolves, or the CUllens. You came here today to destroy an immortal child. No immortal child exists. This was my mistake, and I take full responsibility for it. But the Cullens are innocent, and you have no reason to still be here.” I turned to look across the battlefield at all the people who were lined up to die because of me. “I’m so sorry.” Then I looked towards the Volturi witnesses. “There was no crime. There’s no valid reason for you to continue here.” There; let the Volturi try to kill my family now, now that everyone knew there was no reason to punish them.
Caius raised his hand up, and at first I thought he was going to slap me again. But then I realized he was holding something.
I lurched out of my bed, tears streaming down my face, my heart pounding hard enough to break a rib.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered.
Now she remembers everything! I wonder how the Cullens will react when she says she wants to live with them? Will they be able to reconcile their past differences? And more immediately, why does Alice want to see her? Thanks for posting this chapter now. I can't wait to see what else you have in store for us!
Sorry, this one's a little short...
Chapter 32: Odd Requests
I woke up the next morning feeling like crap. After waking up from that horrid dream last night, I couldn’t fall back asleep for fear of being enveloped by flames. I knew what happened next. I knew everything without question. Irina had been unjustly murdered. I had been unjustly murdered.
I sighed and walked into the bathroom, observing the slight bags under my eyes. This was going to be a fun day at school. Why couldn’t I have had that stupid dream two nights ago??
I brushed through my hair quickly and went to the fridge to grab some fruit. There was only one apple left. I was just about to take my first bite when I heard my phone go off in the other room. It was another text message from Alice.
Don’t forget. ~Alice
Right. I was supposed to meet her before school for some mysterious reason. The time on my phone read 7:45. So I only had about 5 minutes before I had to leave for our little chat. Why couldn’t I get more than 5 minutes of free time to relax anymore??
I didn’t bother replying. If I was really starting to get on the vampires’ good side, I didn’t want a grumpy text to be taken the wrong way and send me a few steps backward. I needed all the brownie points I could get if I was going to ask to live with them. Ugh.
After scarfing down my apple and changing into a normal-looking outfit – a sweatshirt and jeans – I grabbed my backpack and headed out the door. Luckily nobody was out and about yet this morning, so I just slipped my wings through the hole in the back of my shirt and flew the whole way to school. I landed in the bushes a few yards away from the front doors. The familiar little vampire was standing just on the other side of the glass.
“Uh, hi, Alice,” I said awkwardly, walking up to her and doing my best to keep the grumpy tone out of my voice. She turned to look at me and smiled.
“Hello Anira.” A few moments of silence passed between us, and I shifted my weight uncomfortably. Why was she smiling at me?
“So… what did you want to talk to me about?” I finally asked, rubbing my neck. Her grin grew smug.
“Actually, I just wanted to know if you wanted to go shopping after school today?” I felt my jaw drop a few inches. She had to be joking.
“You… want to go shopping?”
“Please???” she begged, grabbing my arm. I blinked in surprise; none of the other vampires had dared touch me before, especially not in such a thoughtless manner. She must have been desperate for a shopping partner.
“Uh, sure, I guess.” She squealed excitedly. I gave her an odd look, silently pointing out that I thought she was nuts.
“Oh, don’t look at me like that,” she chided. “You have no idea what I have to live with! Bella never wants to go shopping, and she hardly ever lets Renesmee go with me. Rosalie comes along sometimes, I guess, but she’s so picky about her clothes and she can’t shop for hours like I can and I just need a new face to model for me!” She did a little sort of happy dance and gave me a big, genuine smile. “Besides, none of my brothers or sisters have any occasions coming up that we need to shop for, but you do.” I raised an eyebrow. “Oh, come on, Anira! Nobody has any birthdays around here without me hearing about it. I know your birthday is this Saturday, and I know Vincent is hoping you’ll throw a party for once, though he’d never admit it to you, and I can make that happen.” I rolled my eyes.
“Okay, whatever. What time should we plan on this shopping trip, then?” Her smile returned.
“Right after the last class of the day.” How was I not surprised? “I’ll meet you outside your classroom.”
“Okay, I’ll see you then.” At the very least, this would be some good girl bonding time to make her hate me a little less. Well, she wasn’t really acting like she hated me right now, but it was better to be safe than sorry. Besides, I definitely needed something to take my mind off of things, and shopping was the perfect brainless, shallow, time-wasting distraction available to mankind, so how could it hurt?
After we went our separate ways, I began to look for Vincent. It was 8:15 at this point, so he had to be around here somewhere. I found him a few minutes later, standing outside his first hour class, and strangely enough, he was talking to Emmett.
Could this day get any weirder?
“Hello Anira,” he greeted me, smiling widely as he took my hand in his. I felt butterflies form in my stomach at his touch, and I couldn’t resist smiling back at him.
“Hi Vincent,” I said. Then I looked at the burly vampire standing next to him. “Hey Emmett.”
“How’s it going, short stuff?” he said, grinning at me ruefully. I rolled my eyes and shrugged.
“I’ve been worse.” Not by much, but it was technically true. “How about you?”
“Oh, it’s going fine, other than the fact that a toothpick beat me up on Friday.” He lifted his hand to examine his nails casually, the grin still playing around his lips. “My buddy Vincent and I were just planning out the rematch.” Buddy? Planning?
“Oh really?” I asked, raising an eyebrow at my boyfriend. He gave me a sheepish grin.
“Well, more like he’s planning the rematch, and I’m listening to him rant.” I chuckled.
“It’s nice to see you two getting along, at least.” I observed the two of them skeptically.
“If I’m going to be a part of this crazy group, I don’t want to be afraid of anyone in it,” Vincent explained, glancing pointedly at Vincent. Obviously he was still a little intimidated by the vampire, but the fact that he was making an effort to talk to him was admirable. “Even if I don’t… well, you know, change my diet, I get the feeling we’ll be spending a lot more time with the Cullens, so I just figured that the sooner I’m comfortable around them, the better.”
“Besides, I felt guilty about freaking the poor guy out,” Emmett cut in, giving me that cocky grin of his again. “I just wanted to make sure he’s more scared of you than he is of me. You know, because you’re such a scary little faerie.” I glared at his use of the term ‘faerie.’ My secret was no laughing matter.
“Oh yes, I’m terrified of her,” Vincent said sarcastically, luckily interrupting the snide remark I was about to make. He wrapped his arms around my waist and kissed my cheek, emphasizing the irony of his statement. “She’s certainly a creature to be feared.” I rolled my eyes and smiled a little, then glanced back at Emmett.
“You’re lucky Vincent’s around to save your sorry butt,” I said dryly, “or this ‘scary faerie’ would teach you a thing or two about what is and isn’t socially acceptable to talk about in public.”
“Ah, c’mon, don’t be like that! I’m just messing with you,” he said, laughing at my serious tone. “Lighten up.” After a few seconds of debate, I grinned back reluctantly. Perhaps I did need to lighten up. After all, it did sound a bit ridiculous. I wasn’t about to get into an argument over the word “faerie.” Arguing over stupid topics was something that siblings did, not soon-to-be-housemates. And if I had any hope of being a soon-to-be-housemate, it was better to just let him win this round.
“Whatever,” I said. “I’ll see you in class, faerie-lovers.” With that, I detached myself from Vincent and glided back to my chemistry room.
Anira hasn't even moved in yet and she already has to deal with Alice and Emmet! Good luck to her! Looking forward to the next update!
Chapter 33: Sleeping Arrangements
My first four classes of the day were pretty uneventful. As far as I could tell, none of the vampires really hated me anymore. Rosalie was bitter, but her mood was no longer that angry red color, so I took that as a good sign. I had a few tests, I took a few notes, I pretended to listen to what the teacher was saying. Overall, a very average morning. I didn’t have to think about my life or the stressful situation I was in, simply because I didn’t have time to. However, lunch was a different story.
“Are you alright?” Vincent asked in concern, scrunching his eyebrows together as he gazed down at me. “You seem a little stressed.”
Nope, not at all, I wanted to say. The Government’s only trying to kick me out of my house and make me live with a bunch of blood-suckers, creatures that I once swore to kill without exception and under any circumstances. Why would I be stressed??
“I’m fine,” I muttered. He pursed his lips.
“It’s all going to be okay,” he said gently, touching my shoulder. “I know you’re worried about me, but I’m fine. I’ve accepted what could happen to me in the near future. Don’t you think you should, too?”
There were so many things wrong with this misconception that I wasn’t sure where to start correcting him.
1) I would never accept the idea that the person I loved could be turned into an innate murderer.
2) He had no idea what he was agreeing to by doing this. Did he even have any idea how much he would be giving up if we had to change him? We may have explained the traits of the newborn vampire, but we never specifically mentioned that we would have to take him away from his friends and family, that he would probably never see them again. He still had a lot to learn before he could make this kind of decision.
3) This wasn’t even the topic I was worrying about, anyway. He just didn’t know that because he was completely oblivious to my impending relocation. And I wasn’t about to change that any time soon.
“I’m going to keep you human for as long as possible,” I promised, my voice grave. He frowned at my determined tone, but didn’t press the matter further.
As we got out of the lunch line, I started walking towards the table where Nick and his friends were sitting, simply out of force of habit. Then I stopped. Why did I want to sit with them, anyway? Nick had been anything but polite lately, especially to Vincent. Did I really want to sit there and watch the 2nd Cold War start right in front of me? Besides, I had to find a way to talk to the vamps about my living arrangements. Maybe if I had an extended amount of time to talk to them – such as during lunch, for example – I could casually slip that into the conversation. Maybe.
“Let’s sit with the Cullens today,” I suggested, turning my head so I could see Vincent from where he stood behind me. His eyes widened slightly, and he shrugged.
“Lunch with the people who don’t eat. Sounds interesting.” He smirked at me, covering up his nervous expression quite well. I grinned back at him apologetically and led the way to their table, where they were all currently poking at their food, but showing little effort in actually pretending to eat it.
“Hello, everyone!” I said a little too brightly. They all glanced up at me skeptically, no doubt wondering why I was bothering them. “Do you mind if we sit here?”
You could have heard a cricket chirp from the other side of the school, the silence at the table was so deafening. Edward was the first one to speak.
“Of course,” he said, his lips pulling up at the corners as he pulled a chair back for me to sit in. I sat down uncertainly, wondering why it wasn’t Renesmee or Alice who had accepted me first. Surely they liked me a lot more than the mind-reader did? Then it occurred to me that he must have heard my thoughts on the way over to their table, so he already knew the real motives behind my change of heart. How could I overlook such an obvious detail?? I even thought of him as “the mind-reader!!” My face heated up as I realized my mistake, and I looked down in embarrassment.
“Is there something you’d like to talk to us about?” Bella asked, her tone kind, but perplexed.
“Please don’t tell me you’re cancelling our shopping trip!” Alice whined, her face molding into the most pitiful begging expression I’d ever seen. Jasper chuckled quietly and patted her arm with his hand.
“Maybe she’s here to schedule our arm-wrestling match,” Emmett suggested, waggling his eyebrows at me. “She still owes me a rematch.” I smiled a little and shook my head condescendingly.
“You know I’d only humiliate you in front of your family,” I murmured to the muscle-monster. Everyone chuckled. Then I faced the whole table. “Actually, I have something a bit more serious to talk to you about.” I fiddled with a strand of hair that was hanging in my face. How was I ever supposed to tell them what I had done? My only option right now was really just to hope that Esme’s invitation wasn’t premature, and that the rest of her family was just as accepting of me as she seemed to be. “So… as you know, I’ve been having a bit of a dilemma finding a permanent home until I’m legally old enough to live by myself.” Renesmee smiled; she already knew where this conversation was headed. “As you also know, your, um, mom told me that I was welcome to live with you all until that day came. I was wondering if that feeling was mutual, or if she was just being nice? I know you said I was welcome, but I just wanted to make sure…” The vampires all looked at each other.
“Wait, what?” Vincent asked, his voice confused. I turned to look at him in surprise. “What are you talking about?” Oops.
“Haha, um, well, funny story…” I gasped, rubbing my neck and avoiding eye contact. “I’m kind of being forced to move out of my house by due process of the law, and if I don’t find a decent, legal place to live by Thursday, I might never see you again. I guess I forgot to mention that to you.” I bit my lip and turned my head to gaze out the window. This was uncomfortable.
After a long silence, he finally spoke.
“Why didn’t you tell me??” he asked, his voice panicked. “You could live with me! Well, I mean, we have a spare bedroom, and I know my mom wouldn’t mind if you stayed with us for a while…”
“Vincent, you and I both know that’s a bad idea,” I sighed. “We don’t want to get your parents sucked into this, too. On our first date you got attacked by a vampire and saved by a faerie. Imagine what could happen to them on the first day we’re housemates! It wouldn’t be fair to let them get them involved.” Vincent grumbled in frustration and looked away.
“But I don’t want you to leave,” he said quietly.
“I don’t either,” I agreed. “So let’s promise that we’re not going to let me leave, and everything will turn out okay.” I smiled up at him weakly, waiting for an answer. After a moment’s hesitation, he nodded, his smile even more pathetic than mine.
I turned back to the vampires.
“I guess you all are sort of my only hope for keeping my promise now,” I said. “I’ve already tried everything else. I would never use you for my own personal gain if I had any way out of it, but I don’t see any other way out of this mess. Frankly, it would probably be easier for all of us if I just left, but now that Vincent knows about all of us, he’s in too much danger for me to leave.” Not to mention the trouble I would get in with the faerie council if they found out how many loose ends I left untied in my designated city. “I know that not all of you like me” – a glance a Rosalie – “and I know that I haven’t exactly given a good first impression, but if you can just let me hang around for 3 more years, I promise I’ll be on my best behavior. I’ll stay out of your way as much as possible, and I don’t even really have to stay at your house if you don’t want. I’d just need Carlisle and Esme to come sign a few papers for me so that the judge thinks I have a legal place to stay…”
“Stop blabbering and let us talk,” Rosalie interrupted, scowling over at me. I shut my mouth.
“We talked about this possibility after you left on Friday,” Edward said, looking around at his family. “I knew that you would probably take our offer into consideration, and I had the same concerns that you did.” I grimaced. Great. “After a long debate, we finally reached a conclusion. We didn’t bring it up on Saturday because we had a much more pressing topic to deal with first.” A glance at Vincent. “We decided that it would be best for you to stay at our house, rather than disappear to some unknown part of the country, even if only to keep an eye on you. So your reasons for asking us for help are no more selfish than our reasons for saying yes.” A slow grin spread across my face.
They said yes.
“So, just to make sure, I’m free to sleep at your house whenever necessary after the papers are signed?” I clarified. Everyone nodded.
“You are free to use our house as you please,” Edward said. “What’s ours, is yours. As long as you don’t abuse it, that is.” I nodded a little too eagerly.
“Of course, of course. Thank you so much. I promise I won’t do anything intentionally out of line. I’ll be as little trouble as possible.” Edward tilted his head in acknowledgement.
“Um, actually, we do have one favor to ask if you’re going to live with us,” Bella said, giving me a sheepish grin. I looked at her expectantly. “Please try to be on your best behavior around Jacob. I know you have some sort of… aversion to him, but he doesn’t really deserve to be treated like a criminal, so just please try to make him feel less uncomfortable when you’re around.”
“Okay. I’ll do my best,” I agreed. “I don’t think I’ll have a problem with that anymore, anyway.” I thought back to the dream I’d had the night before, the forgiveness I’d given the wolves just before… well, before Caius went all pyromaniac on me. Now that I remembered my whole past – or at least most of it – it was a lot easier to control the emotional shadows these vampires had provoked. I had a feeling Jacob would just be another acquaintance from now on.
“That’s good,” Bella said doubtfully. Well, I supposed we would have to see it to believe it. I could just be feeling neutral towards the shapeshifter because Vincent was sitting next to me. I’d just have to check my reaction the next time I came in contact with the dog.
At that moment, the bell rang, signaling the end of our conversation. Everyone got up silently and went to dump their trays. I smiled and got up as well, Vincent right behind me. That was easier than I thought it would be.
Alice was waiting for us on the other side of the cafeteria doors. She fell into step beside us as we walked to our next class.
“I’ll see you after school, Anira,” she said with a grin. “I hope you’re ready to get your shop on.”
I wonder how things will go? Could she be okay with Jake if all her anger is now directed towards the Volturi? Can't wait for the next update!
Chapter 34: Getting My Shop On
The last bell of the day finally rang, signaling the end of art class. As I began to pack up my things, Renesmee walked over to me.
“I’m glad you’re going to be staying with us, Anira,” she said, smiling. “I know you have mixed feelings about my family, but living with us has to be better than living all by yourself, right?” I grinned back up at her weakly.
“There are certain advantages to it, yes,” I agreed. “It does get kind of lonely when I’m not supposed to make any emotional attachments to the humans around me.” She raised her eyebrows.
“Well, my job on Earth is to protect the humans, and if I’m emotionally attached to any of them, I might protect those humans more than the others. It wouldn’t be fair.” She frowned.
“But you are emotionally attached to a human,” she pointed out. I sighed.
“I know. But that isn’t hard to hide. As much as I hate to deceive my own kind, if they think I’m actually going to live my whole life without a friend – no matter what species I am – they’re crazy. The fact that you and your family are still around, on the other hand, is going to be a considerably more difficult secret.” I let my breath out in a huff. “The fact that I plan on living with you! I don’t even want to think about it. If they ever decide to check on me, for any reason, I don’t know how I’m going to be able to conceal that. At that point, our lives would all be in danger.” There was an extended silence.
“Oh,” she said awkwardly. Then she looked towards the door. “Aunt Alice is waiting for you.” Nice how she didn’t even bother to hide the real family relations anymore.
Renesmee grinned smugly. “I’m glad she finally has another shopping partner, too, danger or no danger. I don’t think I could take another all-day mall extravaganza.”
“I heard that!” Alice’s voice called from the hallway. “Come on Anira, let’s go!” I chuckled.
“It’s a fate worse than death,” I agreed, grabbing my stuff and walking out of the classroom. Alice was leaning against the wall, pouting.
“You’re so slow!” she whined, grabbing my wrist and pulling me down the hall. Again I was surprised by such casual contact. It was like she wasn’t concerned at all about the consequences. Frankly, other faeries would cringe at something so detestable. Touching the undead. Eww. However, I was indebted to these vampires, and so I couldn’t afford such a reaction. Maybe that was why she wasn’t worried.
“So how long is this shopping trip going to last?” I asked curiously. She grinned.
“You went to sleep last night, right?” she responded, her expression mischievous. I shuddered as I remembered the previous night, and the horrifying dream that came with it.
“Yeah,” I mumbled. What did that have to do with our shopping trip, anyway?
“And you don’t have to sleep every night, correct?”
“Well then, we have until school starts tomorrow!” she gushed, doing a little happy jump mid-stride.
I was starting to understand why nobody wanted to shop with this chic anymore.
“I don’t think many stores stay open that late,” I protested, not at all wanting to shop all night. I didn’t care if I needed to suck up to the blood-suckers; no household was worth that kind of cruel and unusual punishment.
“Relax, I was only kidding!” she said, laughing. Then, slightly quieter, “Maybe.” I rolled my eyes.
“I will shop with you for as long as it takes to find the “necessary” items you mentioned this morning,” I said wryly. “I don’t know how many things I’ll need for a big birthday party, but I guess that as long as you keep thinking of stuff, we’ll keep shopping for it.” She clapped excitedly.
“Trust me, I’ll never stop thinking of things to shop for,” she said.
The nearest shopping mall with enough stores to satisfy Alice was in Cedar Rapids, about 20 minutes away. Or, if you were with a crazy speed-demon vampire, 10 minutes away.
“Don’t you think we’re going a bit too fast?” I asked, watching the trees zip by us nervously.
“I’m not going to crash, if that’s what you’re worried about,” she scoffed, glancing over at me and raising an eyebrow. “And even if we did, you’re about as indestructible as us, right?” I paused.
“Yeah, something like that,” I muttered.
In reality, faeries weren’t much less vulnerable than humans. Our skin was tough enough to resist all weather conditions known to man, but if I were to crash into a tree at 120 mph, I was as good as gone.
She gave me a funny look, then sighed dramatically.
“Fiiinneee,” she said, easing off the gas pedal. “I guess I can slow down a little bit.” It was quiet for a few minutes. “So… if you’re not as indestructible as we are, how are you stronger than Emmett?”
“Being strong and having tough skin are two very different things,” I replied. “I have a lot of muscle in my body that, obviously, you can’t notice. The structure of them is a lot different than the structure of the human muscle system. It’s made of a much more durable material, and so it’s a lot easier for us to hold our ground when lifting objects. Our most powerful source of strength comes from our wings, though. They may look thin and fragile, but they’re made of a substance stronger than plexi-glass. However, our skin is only slightly tougher than a human’s, and just as easily penetrable. Our bones and muscles may be strong, but they’re also rigid, and so they are only a little bit harder to break than a human’s. You and I are kind of like steel and iron. Steel is a lot sturdier, while iron is easily broken, when under enough pressure.” I frowned. Did I really trust her with this information? “The only reason I’m telling you this is because you’ve been acting a lot less like you want to kill me recently, and I’d like to think I can trust my judgment on that.” She laughed.
“Please, Anira, the last thing I want to do is break your bones. You’re practically a sister to me.” I pursed my lips.
“You don’t have to say that,” I said quietly. “You’ve shown me a lot of hospitality by taking me into your home. You don’t have to pretend to like me, too.” She turned her head to look at me, her eyebrows scrunched together.
“I’m not pretending,” she said sincerely. “I mean, sure, we didn’t exactly like you at first, but after we all talked on Friday night… well, we realized after you left that you really do look just like Irina, but with longer hair. After we figured that out, it was hard not to think of you as our long-lost cousin. Plus, you gave me a lot more insight into my past. At least, if what you say is true. It’d be nice to have someone around who could help me figure out more about my human life. Or my faerie life, I guess.” I didn’t know what to say. I was touched.
“That means a lot,” I said, smiling warmly. “It’s good to know I’m not considered an enemy anymore.” We sat there and smiled at each other like idiots for a good 3 seconds, the silence growing more and more uncomfortable. I cleared my throat awkwardly. “So what all do you have on your shopping list, anyways?” Her grin turned sly.
“Well, we need streamers, party hats, gift bags, invitation cards, balloons, a piñata, a mattress, a bedframe, some blankets…”
“Wait, wait, wait,” I interrupted. “What in the world are the mattress and bedframe for?”
“Oh, it’s not for the party,” she explained. “If you’re going to be living with us, and you intend to go to sleep during that time period, we’re going to need something for you to sleep on. Because, obviously, we don’t need beds.”
“I know you don’t, but wouldn’t you have them anyway? You know, to uphold the human charade and everything?”
“Well yeah, but those are our beds. We need a nice, clean, new bed for you. You can’t sleep in a bed that doesn’t fit your personality!” I rolled my eyes.
“I think I’ll survive.” She pursed her lips.
“I’ll bet I can get you to change your mind,” she said. I raised an eyebrow. “We may not sleep on the beds, but we still use them. Often.” I stared at her blankly for a few moments before her meaning clicked in.
“Oh.” I jerked my head away and stared out the car window, my cheeks flaming. “I guess you’re right. A new bed would be nice. It has to fit my personality, after all.” She snickered and shifted the car into park.
“Then let’s go get one,” she said.
Chapter 35: Stop Staring at me Like That!
Our shopping trip did not, in fact, last all night. It did, however, last a lot longer than the stores were willing to stay open. We did a lot of window shopping after about 10:00 pm.
“Can’t we just sneak into one store?” Alice had pleaded, clasping her hands together desperately. I just shook my head. I may have been desperate enough to live with vampires, but I wasn’t about to give in to any more bad behavior. And breaking into a store, even if we didn’t plan on actually stealing anything, was still not exactly gold-star worthy.
All in all, we managed to get a mattress, some really fancy blankets, and a really nice bedframe that reminded me a lot of the ones we had back home. It was a dark, mahogany wood that spiraled high above the floor and created a beautiful canopy of fake leaves over where the mattress would go. I insisted that I pay for it, since it fit my style so perfectly, and it was pretty expensive.
She wouldn’t let me pay a dime.
We also got our hands on some suitable streamers and party hats, though she was a little miffed that we didn’t have more time to look at them. We were practically kicked out of that store for being too slow.
“We’ll just have to go back tomorrow,” she decided as we were walking away. I grimaced. Goody.
After a few arguments about what kind of invitations I wanted, we finally decided that we would just hand-write them when we got back to her house (after I blackmailed her by saying I would never shop with her again if we didn’t). I didn’t find the balloons terribly important, but she insisted that if I got my way with the invitations, she would get hers with the balloons. It seemed like a reasonable compromise.
So she dragged me to the nearest party store that was still open and bought at least 100 of the stupid little rubber things, plus two helium tanks to fill them all up.
We didn’t get back to Palo until about midnight. And even then, I didn’t get back to my house until 3:00 in the morning, considering she wanted all of our hand-written invitations to be just right. It didn’t help that everyone else was conveniently doing other things and couldn’t possibly stop what they were doing to join us.
It really was a good thing that I didn’t need sleep every night.
After about three hours of just reveling in the silence of my condemned house, I decided I should probably do my homework for school. By the time I was done with that, it was 6:30. I still had an hour and a half before I had to be at the bus stop.
Well, what did normal people do in the morning two days before they got kicked out of their house? I figured I’d start packing my things.
Since I didn’t have a suitcase, I wasn’t exactly sure what to put my stuff in. If I used my backpack, where would I keep my school supplies for the next two days? And I didn’t have enough room in just my “ninja bag.” I finally just decided to shove as much as I could into as many portable storage units as I had available.
By the time I had to leave, all of my clothes were stuffed into my indigo shoulder bag, and every nook and cranny I could find in my backpack. I would just have to carry anything else I wanted to take with me by hand when the time came.
The school day went by uneventfully, except for the awkward moments when I was trying to hide the fact that I had socks in my pencil bag. Vincent and I sat with the vampires at lunch again. They talked to me as if I were already a part of their family. Even Rosalie condescended to speak a few words to me. The only weird part of the day was the fact that every single one of them kept giving me really weird glances. Every time I saw them in class or in the halls, they all gave me the same look. They seemed… expectant. Like they had done some huge Earth-breaking deed and were just waiting for me to notice. The problem was, I had no idea what it could be. Everything appeared completely normal within the hustle and bustle of high school life. For once. What motive could they possibly have to give me that look?
I got my answer after the final bell.
“Hey Anira, Edward wants to talk to you,” Renesmee said, smiling with that same expectant look in her eye. I frowned as I once again tried to decipher the meaning behind her gaze.
“Why?” I asked cautiously.
“Oh, I don’t know,” she said casually. “I didn’t ask.” I groaned.
“You definitely do know,” I mumbled. “You just don’t want to tell me.” She laughed.
“Come on, just go talk to him!” she said in amusement. After one last suspicious glance up at her, I finished packing my art supplies and followed her out the door. She probably knew exactly where Edward was, too, since she was in on the joke. Whatever it was.
We walked out to the parking lot together and up to her family’s two very expensive-looking cars. All of her family members were already there. Everyone watched us approach with the same expression they’d worn all day. I was starting to get tired of feeling so out of the loop.
“Hello Anira,” Edward greeted, smiling at me.
“Hi,” I muttered. He chuckled as he no doubt read my thoughts.
“Why don’t you come home with us today?” he suggested, not bothering to answer the question in my head. “I believe you have some of your things packed already? Or would you prefer to carry all of your clothes around school again tomorrow?” I frowned. Naturally he knew about that.
“I guess I can come to your house,” I said grudgingly.
“Climb in the car then.” I hesitated.
“Um, I think I’d rather fly,” I said, looking away awkwardly. As much as I appreciated these vampires, and as much as I was really starting to like them, I wasn’t quite ready to be stuck in a small space with all of them.
He shrugged. “Suit yourself. We’ll meet you there then. You might want us to take your backpack, though.” I handed him the bag and watched everyone pile into the cars, then snuck off into the bushes to prepare for take-off. I heard the motors start from the parking lot and smiled.
“I’ll race you,” I thought challengingly. I wanted to see how fast I could really fly.
I heard the engines rev in agreement. They accepted my challenge.
I shot up into the air at the same time that they pulled out of the parking lot. I passed them within seconds, but as the traffic thinned and the road below became more deserted, I soon saw them again. They were probably going at least 100 mph, if not more. But then, so was I. On a spur-of-the-moment decision, I decided to fly closer to the ground so they could see me better. It wasn’t like I had to hide my talents anymore, anyway, and besides, there were no cars to be seen for miles. And I would know that better than anyone; I could see the whole town from my vantage point in the sky.
I slowly lowered myself down until I could clearly see each person where they sat in each car. Then I descended even more, until I was flying at the same height as the cars, just three feet from the ground. It was exhilarating. I waved to Emmett and Renesmee as they turned to look at me, grinning cockily. They both stared at me with shocked smiles on their faces before waving back. Even Rosalie looked amused from where she sat in the driver’s seat. Then I sped up, forcing my wings to move even faster, until I was flying beside Edward’s car. I waved at the other four vampires just as ecstatically as I had to the first three. Edward rolled his eyes, but couldn’t hide the impressed look on his face. The others stared at me the same way Emmett and Renesmee had.
I finally landed on their porch just seconds before the two cars parked in front of their house.
“Ha! I win,” I announced, my hands on my hips and my chin lifted high in exaggerated triumph. Before any of the blood-suckers could respond, I heard the front door open behind me and an eerily familiar voice say my name.
“Irina, is that you?”