It has been five and a half years since the Volturi came to Forks to confront my family over the details of my existance. Over that time, several things have changed. More hybrids have come to be known to my family and I. I came to know Lia den Adel, a Dutch-born exotic female hybrid who was into goth, emo, and punk music and fashion. She was also exceptionally compassionate and caring. I also came to know her boyfriend, Christian, a caring and loving hybrid who was a friend of my mother's. They lived in Phoenix together until she moved back to the Netherlands.
Also, I came to know Melinda Swan and her sister, Jess, although no relation to my mother, before anyone asks. They can be described broadly as a composite of my mother and Lia in terms of personality, especially Melinda. They're both hybrids, and they're from a family of hybrids, just as Lia and Christian were. Such a thing was believed to be impossible until Lia disclosed such details to my family and I when I was little. That proved a few things, such as hybrids can reproduce like normal humans. Also, likely because of being half-human, they tend to form close bonds with each other in relationships and even families.
Such things had stayed secret from the Volturi for years, as they didn't even know of the possibility of such creatures. However, after the Forks confrontation, they had been planning for this possibility. Even though there was no conclusive proof of hybrid families, they released some startling information in the fall of 2008. They disclosed that vampires, werewolves, shape-shifting creatures (like my Jacob), and vampire hybrids existed.
Such an announcement from a group like the Volturi certainly was unexpected, obviously. Thankfully, there was no panic. I didn't know why there wasn't. Whether people just thought that vampires and werewolves were cool because of various media exercises, or people still disregarded them as superstition. Still, we were a fact, and that was a fact that people soon found to be the truth. Aside from some people freaking out, the status quo was maintained. I didn't know that the overwhelming majority of people were that tolerant. Perhaps normal humans were pre-occupied with their own issues to worry so much.
This announcement ultimately had minimal impact on the human world. People didn't disregard the announcement, but the seemed to be pre-occupied with their own worries and concerns. Perhaps, they knew that we had our issues, too.
Most vampires had started to shift to a "vegetarian" feeding regimen, in other words, feeding mostly on animals. As asinine as many believed it was only a few years ago, they've had to adapt to it as people knew about them, and aren't fearful of them. It also helps that humans outnumber vampires by a massive margin. The Volutri also promised to "enforce" measures against those who massacred humans.
After the initial shock, mankind learned quickly to co-exist with the supernatural kind. They found that they had little to fear, as those who attempted to wantonly kill humans were quickly dealt with. I have many friends who are human, shape-shifting, and vampire.
However, the Volturi, as far as was known, kept up their human blood feeding habits, a shade hypocritical if those theories were true, to say the least. Nevertheless, the Volturi, though badly weakened from the aspect of their aura of power being dimmed, still held onto enough power to challenge anyone who they felt were any form of threat to them.
To the current day, most of the supernatural world tolerated the Volturi. It was still believed by some they were the "law and order" of our kind, and that we needed some form of stable leadership. However, they weren't in the running to win any popularity contests.
Things continued to change in my world after that. Lia and Camel-as Christian liked to be called-recently broke up, this being just weeks ago. Lia's family, along with Camel himself, were skeptical about the Volturi's intentions behind their "coming out". They wondered if the Volturi were trying to be honest, of if they were trying to kiss up. Thus, Lia's family had to return to the Netherlands, where they felt it was safer for them, and Lia had to leave Camel behind. They were doing fine considering how heartbroken they were over their split. They stayed friends, obviously, but they went from being engaged to be married to being internet social networking pen pals, as they were before 2004.
I had met them in early 2007 when they visited Forks to meet with my family, and they seemed nice. They were nice, and above all else, in love. They cared so much about us, and they had passion and chemistry, and they loved each other for who they were. Jacob and I have tried to emulate this, obviously. I'd have to say if there were a couple who deserved to be with each other, it was Lia and Camel.
Oh, and before I forget, I have the dish on Camel's name. As a youth, camels were his favorite animal, and he lived in Phoenix much of his life, and when he was in the US Army as a Ranger, he served for a spell in Afghanistan. So I guess the name stuck, and thankfully it had nothing to do with the cigarettes. That being said, he did collect packages and tins with the Camel cigarette branding on them, though only those that had realistic depictions of the animal on them.
Even Melinda and Jess were a little strange. There are a few things about them that I'd rather have them tell. However, I'm willing to share some of the basics. Both of these lovely ladies were born in Roswell, New Mexico. A town that was better known for alien myths, instead of vampire mythology, it had some more "conventional" legendary creatures among them for a spell. Nevertheless, they were fans of various alien fictions, most notably the Japanese manga and anime series Bio-Booster Armor Guyver. I know, even the title doesn't make much sense. But I won't hold it against them, being born where they were. Also, they say the alien thing is a bunch of crap.
They moved to Forks from Phoenix, where they lived for the most part since Jess was a "teenager." Melinda also stayed in Italy for a spell, while she was waiting for her husband, a human named Christiano, to have his citizenship finalized and other details worked out. Unfortunately, Christiano was killed when criminals stormed their home and bombed it after Melinda left to run an errand. She still, nearly fifteen years later, hasn't gotten over it, and understandably so.
Jess, on the other hand, has had a more stable love life, though she was a late starter. She's been dating Johnny Williamson, a charmer from Port Angeles. He never was able to swoon me, but his magic worked on Jess! They've spent time going back and forth from Jess' home (she lives with Mel and her parents), and his own home, though they mostly spend time at Mel's.
Mel and Jess helped babysit me when I was younger, and we still occasionally have all-girl sleepovers. Even though I'm a "teenager" in my own right, Mel and Jess still look as if they're teenagers themselves. This is in spite of the chronological ages of 25 and 21, respectively. They're both generous, kind women who I wish, especially for Mel, that things would've turned out better for them. I feel sorry for Mel and her loss of Christiano. Her humor and fondness for family, friends, and people have helped her deal with that tragedy. She's kind of gotten over it as far as that she's open to love and such, but she's still hurt by her husband's death. It does, however, go without saying that the Swan sisters have had a fairly normal life as far as hybrids go. If only I can say that my life was as stable.
In all of this chaos in my life, the Volturi have asked me about how I would like to live my life as an adult. They would like to know if I'd choose to live as a human or a vampire. I have characteristics of both, but I don't believe that I can live as one or the other. I'm part of a unique species, and why should I deny that? That goes back to why Lia and her family returned to Holland-the safety of their home in an area that's relatively free of vampires. Lia and Camel had their romance and probably their lives with each other ruined due to fears of what the Volturi may attempt to do in the future.
I kept up with the two of them through social networking sites. Even though I wished they could be back together, I couldn't see that happening especially soon. They sometimes seemed so alone.
As for myself, Jacob and I had been dating for a couple of years. We were waiting for me to reach adulthood. Then, we'd get engaged and if all went right, married. For me, everything seemed to be so perfect. That was until Camel made a surprise trip to Forks.
I was on my way home from school as I was nearing my graduation. I drove out to a small park near Mel and Jess' place, where I found them. Both were sitting on a park bench, with Jess sitting on a seat, messing with her cell phone. Mel was sitting on the table section, resting her feet on the seat, and she was just looking into the forest nearby. Both girls sensed my presence, and as I neared them, they looked at me.
"Hi, Nessie," Mel said as I walked over to her. She and Jess were dressed in their normal fare for a spring day. Both were in strappy, girly tops with hooded sweatshirts over them (though Mel had tied hers around her waist), calf-length skirts, and ballet flats. Mel seemed to be dancing while sitting, and I noticed from afar that she had the earphones from her MP3 player in her ears. I could hear that she was listening to "One More Time" by Daft Punk.
"Hey, Mel, hi, Jess," I greeted them.
"What brings ya here?" Jess asked, smiling.
"I just got off school and I thought that you'd be here," I told them.
"Well, you guessed right," Melinda answered, still swaying slightly to the music from her MP3 player. "What'cha up to, Ness?"
"I was thinking of going to the library and getting some books just to pass some time before I go home."
"Bella and Edward know?" Melinda asked.
"Yeah, I called them when I got off school," I replied.
"Well, you won't believe what Mel and I saw there earlier," Jess teased.
"What?" I asked.
"We saw Camel there earlier," Melinda explained. "He called me last night, suspecting that I was awake, and said that today was his first day working there."
"Funny, I don't remember him being up here for anything," I said.
"We didn't know much, either," Melinda confessed. "I only found out a few days ago that he was here, but he didn't state a specific reason."
Jess then said to me, "He then called very late last night that he applied for a job at the library and that he got it."
Mel the explained to me,"Today was his first day, and he might be gone now, being his first day."
"I'll go and check anyways," I told the Swan sisters. "It can't hurt, since I was going to go there anyways."
"We doubt that you'll find him, since on their first day people usually go in early and go home early," Melinda stated. "I volunteer there, so I know how that usually works."
"Well, I want to go there anyways, so it can't hurt to check," I told Mel.
"I guess you're right," she answered. "Either way, I hope you have fun."
So I set off for the library, not knowing what I'd find. However, I wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't there, since Melinda has worked at the library. Whether or not I'd find Camel, all I was focused on was doing what I set out to do. However, I've learned to expect the unexpected...