Coming across Carlisle's scent on the Olympic Peninsula came as something of a shock. Garrett didn't shock easily, for he had seen and done much in his centuries of vampiric existence, but he didn't often encounter old friends on his travels.
"Since I'm in the neighborhood," he murmured, turning to follow the scent, "I might as well — No."
His slow jog halted with a suddenness that would have caused a human to believe they were seeing things in the darkest hour before the June dawn. Carlisle's distinctive scent was joined by another. And then. . .more?
"What have you been up to, old friend?" the nomad wondered aloud, a smile reluctantly tugging at his features. His red eyes danced with delight and then narrowed as he took the moments necessary to distinguish the scents from one another. "You've changed your ways... Huh."
Nonplussed, Garrett stood, a shaft of moonlight dancing off his skin with a milky luminescence. I thought to find you, but with that many? That might not be wise.
He chose instead to wait and see what the world's only vampire physician was doing with such a large coven. Tracking the scents back to their source, he could only marvel at the fine house and grounds that were clearly the territory of Carlisle Cullen.
The mystery was solved early the following day. Staying out of the way of the caustic sunshine, Garrett kept his distance from the coven of vampires as they made their way into the small town of Forks. "Happy Graduation!" he heard shouted from many young, giddy humans.
He had to smile. "Humans and their ceremonies."
Lingering on the edges of the gathering, he moved about, not drawing attention to himself as the garishly gowned students settled into their seats. The humans noticed nothing.
The vampires were a different story.
"Garrett, old friend." Carlisle's familiar voice reached him under the cacophony of the auditorium. "You surprise me." The golden-eyed fellow smiled a little at him. Garrett had, by that time, reached the platform and was behind the dusty curtain, watching adults arrange themselves with gossipy remarks.
"As you surprise me," the nomad replied with a closed-mouth smile. "We should talk."
"And we will. My son and daughter are graduating today. So, we will find you later?"
Garrett nodded, kept his questions about progeny to himself, and focused on the humans as they began speechmaking. All through history, from coast to coast in his country, speechmaking seemed to accompany everything. When they said the Pledge of Allegiance, though, Garrett was proud to know the words and even repeat them, feeling - for just a moment - as if he were a part of the ceremony himself.
There were more speeches - infantile, really, but the heartbeats he heard betrayed the humans' hope in their futures. And then, there was the parade. It was at this point that Garrett had decided he had had enough when the honors students were called up first and the most beguiling aroma reached him.
Well, well, Long Tall Sally, he mused, venom gushing so that he had to swallow it back to keep from puddling it onto the thick, veneered floor under his booted feet. The name had been a song, decades past, and Garrett remembered it as he remembered everything. This girl was tall, slender, and wore glasses that gave the appearance of intelligence to add to the substance of its supposition, since she was called up as having highest honors in her graduating class.
He did like his ladies to have a mind of their own....
She smelled heavenly. Homey but with subtle accents of fire and sensuality that called to him.
He wondered how she would taste. For, of course, he could not resist that. Her. He couldn't resist her.
Angela Weber. Highest Honors. Accepted with a full scholarship to Bryn Mawr....
The need for her only built as the ceremony continued. He came so close to just flashing out there, amongst the humans, picking her up and whisking her away.
The word was not said in Carlisle's voice, but it was said by a vampire. One who met his eyes as he scanned the auditorium. Golden eyes, under a thatch of red-brown hair that might be called metallic in sheen. Pale skin as they all had.
A vampire? In the student body? Carlisle had said he had children graduating, but Garrett had no idea how he had sired a son! Had Carlisle bitten someone at last?
Shock once again possessed his limbs as he stared at the young man and the tiny female next to him. Both of them were fixated on himself and Garrett marveled at their daring in going to school with humans.
But still, they wouldn't keep him from hunting as soon as he could. Hunting his Sally.