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First Impressions (Part 2)


            "Jacob wai..." my plea was cut sort as Jacob's jaws closed around me. I felt his teeth close around me and penetrate both layers of my skin. Then I felt suddenly weightless and I soared through the air for a brief moment. I saw trees and limbs and ferns fly past me.

            Everything went black.


            I sat in a dark, humid space. There was a distant sound of running water, a small stream maybe, or perhaps even a fountain. I was on my hands and knees feeling around in the darkness. The ground beneath me was dirt. The wall behind me, rock. I was in a cave. In the dim light I could make out something on the ground in front of me. I crawled closer and saw my mother's face. I was dreaming. I knew I was dreaming because her eyes focused on me. She was alive. Her cobalt blue eyes were like cold flames. The features of her face, perfect. Her blond hair enveloped her face and her hand reached for me. In a strong clear voice she said, "It's not your fault, little one."

            "Yes it is!" I cried.

            Then I was standing in a dark alley in a city that looked like Atlanta. I was crouched in the shadows waiting for the movement of any rodents that may pass. A rat ran out of a hole at the base of the wall not two feet from me. It scurried away from me quickly and I chased after it, still crouching, my hands outstretched in front of me. My hands looked very small and very young. I continued to dream.

            "Slow down ya stupid rat!" I mumbled under my breath. I took a small quick lunge and brought my hand down across the back of the rat's neck, effectively breaking it. "Ha!" I giggled and as I started to rip the hide off of the dirty pest, a movement in the shadows caught my eyes. I froze as I stared into a pair of red eyes looking back at me. I could see myself looking at me through his eyes. I couldn't have looked older than seven or eight by human standards. The rat draped limp across my hand, its tail still swinging back and forth. The limp arm of a dead girl draped around the neck of the vampire staring at me. Blood dripped from the corners of his mouth and he sniffed the air.

            "Mmmmm, dessert has arrived," he said smugly. And it was so easy. They just walk right up to me. Stupid humans, he thought. Where's your mommy and daddy, deary? Humm, are you lost or are your parents around for the main course?

            He stood and took a step toward me. I threw the rat down and turned to run. I ran faster than a normal human but not faster than the vampire. He caught me by the shoulder and threw me toward the ground. My survival instinct kicked into high gear. I was hurled toward the pavement by the full force of a vampire. The impact with the ground should've killed me instantly and the vampire knew that. But as I careened head first toward the ground I felt my body change. The vampire in me completely took over. I wrapped my arms around my head, tucked my chin to my chest, rolled into a ball and bounced onto the balls of my bare feet, facing the vampire that now froze in shock. He sniffed the air again and stared at me, confused.

            I could feel the burn in my eyes and I knew they were as red as any vampires could be. My blood thickened and my heart slowed, but pumped harder, forcing blood through my veins and driving the vampire into a near frenzy.

            I could hear his thoughts and knew he was looking forward to the thrill of this fight. He realized I was all alone and that no one was coming for me. A growl escaped my lips and turned to a feral hiss. He lunged at me and I saw it coming before he moved. I dodged his attack, springing off the wall and flipping back onto my feet. He lunged again, and again he missed. He was getting angry now. His thoughts were annoyed and very irritated. He couldn't believe he was being outsmarted by a child.

            When he attacked again I wasn't as fast. Unfortunately, I was only half vampire, and the real vampire after me was hell bent on having me for dinner. I did after all have blood flowing through my veins, regardless of what else I was. He grabbed me from behind in mid air by the shoulder and dug his fingers through my human skin, through my vampire skin, the muscle and around the inner bone. I roared in pain and kicked at my attacker. He flung me against the red brick wall and grabbed my hip with his other hand. He held me against the wall horizontally at the height of his head. He sank his teeth into my side and I screamed and kicked with all my might. He took a bite out of my side and the pain was almost unbearable. He laughed hysterically in his head as he took another bite. Then suddenly he dropped me. I was running before I hit the ground. I listened to his thoughts as I ran away.

            But you're a vampire, we could've shared her, friend. Why are you attacking me? Why are you doing this?

            "I'm not your friend, monster. It was a child you vile creature. A child that was defenseless." I heard the voice answer the thoughts but I never looked back. I knew a vampire had saved me from certain death at the hands of one of his own, but why? At that moment I didn't care why. At that moment, I was running away and my life was slowly draining away. I ran and ran until I couldn't take another step. At least I was out of the city. At least I had been able to get as far away as I could. I knew it would never be far enough though. The trail of blood would lead him right to me. I had to find water, a stream or a river, to maybe break up my trail and throw him off. I was grasping at straws, I knew the vampire would find me but I was trying to convince myself that I had a fighting chance.

            I had never had a direct encounter with a vampire before. I had watched and listened to vampires from a distance, and I knew from my internal reaction to them when they were in close proximity. I had never been hurt like this either. I had let my guard down it may very well cost me my life. The vampire half of me had kept me very protected from injury and illness, until now. I felt the life fading from my body. I found a stream and splashed into it. I fell into the water and started to frantically clean away the blood. I striped out of my torn and bloody clothes. My shoulder throbbed. I licked the wounds I could reach and the pain calmed somewhat. I don't know what made me lick the deep cuts, it had just felt like the natural thing to do, but for whatever reason, it helped a little. I crawled to the bank of the stream and my head felt light. The trees faded in and out and I felt the red begin to fade from my eyes. I lowered myself to the ground and closed my eyes.

            I was floating through the air and something cold was against my bare skin. I felt safe and horrified and the same time. Was I dead? Had the vampire found me and finished me off?

            I opened my eyes to bright sunrays streaming through curtains hung over an open window that swayed slightly in the breeze. I could smell fresh running water, wild honeysuckle and the faintest hint of horses. They must be far in the distance, or maybe there was an old barn nearby. I was lying in a small bed and was covered up to my chin by a sheet. It was warm in the room and with the breeze it was quite comfortable. I raised my arm ever so slowly to test the extent of the injury to my shoulder. To my surprise, there was no pain. I threw back the sheet with my other arm and looked down at what should've been severe injuries. But there were only scars. Scars, I thought. I never thought I would ever have scars. My human skin healed quickly and completely, leaving no trace of any injury. My vampire skin had never been breached. Ever. Until now.

            I lifted my arm and rotated the recently injured shoulder. It was healed. Only scars remained. Four tear drop shaped scars in the front and one, slightly larger on the back.  There were two large, oval shaped scars on my side. Perfect bite marks.

            I startled from my thoughts as someone walked into the small room I was in. In an instant I was crouched on the balls of my feet, fingertips on the floor, my eyes beginning to burn as the protector took over.

            The woman that walked into the room stopped suddenly and oddly, smiled at me.

            "It's okay," she said in a soft, soothing voice. "I won't hurt you, I promise." She took two steps forward and sat a plate on the bed and a glass of something on the floor. "Thought you might be hungry since you were finally awake," she smiled. "You've been asleep for almost three days dear. You must me famished."

            I never relaxed my stance. I didn't trust anyone, I never had, and a strange human being nice to me was very unnerving, considering I had no idea how I got here and that she was smiling at a red eyed monster and offering it food. What did she know? Did she know what I was? How did I get here?

            "How did I get here?" I asked in a harsh voice. My mouth and throat were bone dry.

            "I don't know who brought you here," she said, still smiling.

            I read her thoughts. Someone had knocked loudly on her door and she stumbled out of bed. She fumbled her way in the dark to the door. She opened it to see my small, naked and bleeding body curled up on her doorstep. I didn't move at all. A voice in the shadows nearby said, "She's hurt badly but she's young and she'll heal. I will be back for her after she is well if you are unable to care for her."

            I could see through her eyes a dark figure in the shadows, but I couldn't make out a face. Human memories were blurry, even recent ones. I wish I could see who, or what had saved me from certain death. I guess I would never know.

            Then I was back in the cave looking into my mother's electric eyes. She stroked my cheek with the back of her hand. It was cold.

            Her voice was as smooth as silk as she talked to me, "You did what you had to do to survive, little one."

            This time I reached for her. I grabbed a handful of her blouse and clutched it tightly. I buried my face into her chest and felt the hot tears flowing down my face.

            "I'm so sorry!" I cried out. "I didn't mean to."

            "I know, little one, I know" she said, soothing and calm. Her arms wrapped around my shoulders and she stroked my back. She put her cheek against my head and kissed my hair gently. "Shhh, it's okay. No one blames you for anything. You did what you had to do."

            "But you died!" I said. "How could I do that? I did that! How?"

            "Shhh, Lily, it's okay. It's okay," her voice purred.

            I felt the breath against my hair as the words were spoken and I could feel the cold wet cloth of her blouse in my fist and against my face.

            I slowly lifted my head and opened my eyes. I was in another room. I was awake, barely.  My body stiffened instantly and before I could even focus my tear filled eyes, I felt two cold, hard hands push against my side, not enough to hurt me but enough to calm me and hold me still.

            "Lily, you're safe," said the voice from my dream and a hand stroked my hair.

            When my eyes finally focused for a second through the tears, my face was inches away from Bella's. She looked down at me and smiled. She wiped the tears from my face and wrapped her hand gently around the fist that had the grip on her shirt.
            "Sorry," I whispered and let go of the shirt that was saturated with tears. I was still groggy from some kind of drugs I assumed, pain medicine most likely. I could barely hold my eyes open.

            "No, it's okay," she said and held my hand to her chest.

            I was lying on my side in front of Bella. Edward was sitting on the bed behind me, his leg against my back. I knew it was Edward because I heard his thoughts of Bella, always of Bella. He thought how natural it seemed for her to be comforting me. His thoughts made me think of myself as a lost, lonely, stray kitten, but that wasn't how he meant it. Bella was always giving herself to others, making the ones she loved safe and secure. But that didn't really explain me. She didn't know me. She had seen me at school or at the grocery store in passing but she had never spoken to me. Was I meant to be here just as much as Bella was? 

            The room was bright, an entire wall was nothing but windows that looked out to the surrounding forest and down over the river. It was Edward's old bedroom at the Cullen house. I was lying in the bed he had bought for Bella when he'd had Alice babysitting her.

            Edward took his hands off of my side, pushed a few strands of hair off of my shoulder and pulled the sheet slowly down my back. The cool air hit my warm skin and I got chill bumps down my arm. I tucked my head back into Bella's chest when I saw her expression through Edward's eyes.

            I was dozing off again but I could see myself.

            There would be more scars now. Edward pulled the sheet further down my back. The two large oval scars in my side, the four on the front of my shoulder and the one larger one on the back sparked a gasp from across the room. Esme, I assumed. Two bites taken out of my flesh by an angry vampire almost a century ago and the holes where his fingers dug into my skin around my shoulder. I could see the new wounds. An oversized dog bite across most of my back. Two perfectly parallel sets of healing puncture wounds of varying sizes, rounding out at the bottom to meet the other side.  Bella put her hand on my shoulder and pushed very gently.

            "Can I see?" she asked softly.

            I lifted my arm, left my face buried by her shirt and rolled the rest of my body onto my back. My bare chest and neck were completely exposed. If any of the vampires wanted to take a bite of me, they could have. I was weak and in pain. I should've been on edge, my senses on full alert, but I was calm. I should've been afraid, but I wasn't.

            Across my chest and stomach, there was a matching set of wounds, probably set directly over the ones on my back. I was surprised Jacob hadn't bitten me in half. I wondered how deep his teeth had gone. I know they went through the vampire skin, I felt that much, but had they pierced organs? I had to assume they didn't since I was still here. I would have to ask Carlisle if I saw him.

            Bella rolled my body against her and pulled the sheet back over me. "You're safe now, Lily," she said in a whisper and held me to her.

            I was almost out again when I startled at a voice from across the room. A deep, husky voice...

            "I'm so sorry. At first I thought you were just a human, then you stopped and turned on us and growled. I thought my nose was playing tricks on me until I tasted the blood," Jacob rambled, his voice was full of quilt and apology. In his mind I saw my body flying through the air and into a tree trunk. Edward caught me before I hit the ground. My body was limp and lifeless. Blood soaked through the white shirt and jacket I was wearing and I saw Bella cover her nose and mouth and turn away. I wasn't sure if it was the blood, or if she thought I was dead. Surely it was the blood.

            "We have to get her to Carlisle. He'll know what to do," Edward said to Bella. "You stay her, love," he said.

            "No, I'm going with you," she said.

             Jacob started to follow.

            "Jacob, you stay with Renesmeee!" Edward snarled. "What were you thinking Jacob? She was no threat to you!"

            Jacob's thoughts were pure remorse. "I'm sorry, I thought... but the eyes, the growl," he said, trying to make sense of what he had seen and heard.

            "She'll be okay, right?" Bella asked, pulling on Edward to start him moving. "We need to get her to Carlisle, now," she said.

            "Are you okay?" Edward asked Bella.

            "Yes, we need to go."

            Before the words were completely spoken, Edward and Bella where running away and Jacob was walking toward the cottage.


            I guess I feel asleep again. I was dreaming about things I had seen during my time in Forks. I had come across the Cullens by accident and was very intrigued by them, so I watched them. I was mostly curious as to how they were able to exist so close to humans. I had learned that they didn't feed on humans and they were very careful not draw any attention to themselves. At first I thought it was absurd for them to even try to coexist. They were obviously not human. How could the people of Forks not see that? But I had guessed that the hair on the backs of their necks didn't stand up when a vampire was in close proximity. Nor were they acutely aware of the smell of ‘predator' that enveloped every member of the Cullen family. So why did I? Why were they so obvious to me? Had the decades of suppressing my vampire half not made me immune to the fear I had of vampires? If not, why was I so drawn to the Cullens? They were one hundred percent vampires. The only notable difference being the lack of the consumption of human blood.

            I had never really intended to approach any of the Cullen family until after Bella Swan had arrived. She arrived about two years after the Cullens. I had never in my existence met any human that was so destined to become an immortal. At seventeen years old she already had everything it took to be a vampire. Insight, maturity and self-control, all she needed was to be bitten.

            Then there was Edward. The youngest of the Cullens when turned, he was the one that destiny had chosen for Bella. Although Carlisle had turned the beautiful Rosalie for Edward, he wanted nothing to do with her in that way. Granted he did love Rose, but just not the way she had wanted the equally beautiful boy to love her. She eventually found Emmett, but still holds a grudge against Edward for his rejection.

            Edward would have to wait over a hundred years before Bella found him. In that time he had learned patience and self-control. He was naturally insightful, thanks to his special gift. The first time he had seen her face for himself, destiny closed the door and swallowed the key. The future was set. Edward and Bella were two halves of the same whole that had finally connected. Although it took months for either of them to accept their fate, eventually they both realized it was hopeless to try to be apart. Edward had faltered once in a selfless attempt to protect the only thing he loved. Little did he know that the hand of fate never loses. It had been quite a series of events that had finally brought them together again. He had already planned to go back to her but apparently there had to be something missing from the big picture. They had both ended up in front of the Volturi. She was still very much human at the time and yet was still allowed to leave Volterra alive. That was the beginning of the end for Aro, Caius and Marcus. Once Bella was a vampire, all of the rules would change. 


            I was suddenly aware of being moved. I opened one eye. It took every ounce of concentration to fight the narcotics in my system. I was being carried down the hall of the Cullen house. I could feel the soft caress of silk on my skin. Someone had dressed me at least, I thought. I was vaguely aware when I was laid on a hard flat surface and left alone. I heard the whirring of mechanical equipment around me. Then I was unconscious again.


            I saw the Volturi through someone's thoughts. Must have been Edward because I could see Bella and Alice. I felt a jolt of acid hot electricity. The pain was excruciating. Then I saw the angelically evil face a Jane, the young Volturi twin with an exceptionally wicked talent. Someday Jane, Edward thought of revenge as he endured the pain in silence for the sake of his beloved Bella. She didn't need to know the extent of his sacrifice. It would only upset her.

            After they had been permitted the leave, they sat in a waiting area until nightfall. He was with his precious Bella and there was nothing that was going to separate them ever again, he promised himself. He would give her anything she wanted, do anything for her. He would never be without her again. He kissed her hair gently and breathed in her burning scent. That glorious pain, the pain that reminded him he was truly alive. How he had missed that. Without it, he wasn't complete. I had wanted so badly to show him that she was thinking the exact same thing, but deep down he knew that. They both knew that they couldn't live without each other.

            The pictures came to me quickly now. He was protecting her against Victoria and the newborns. She had cut herself as a distraction and he was furious at her. Bella! What could you have possibly been thinking? His thoughts shouted. But she was alright, he thought, and that's really all that mattered when it was all said and done.


            I felt my body being moved again. Silk slid off my skin and cool air blew across my side, my shoulder and my back.

            "Is she healing properly?" Edward asked someone. He was very close to me. I could feel his cool breath against my hair and I could feel his cold skin against my forearm. I must be lying against him.

            I fought to open my eyes and look him. He was on his side, propped up on an elbow and his head was resting in his hand. His other hand held the she sheet off of my body.

            "The wounds went deep," said another voice. It was Carlisle. His cold hands stroked over the bite on my back. He pushed against the lowest part of the injury and my body stiffened with pain. "I'm sorry, dear," he winced, not thinking I was awake and would feel it. His thoughts were apprehensive. He wasn't sure how I was supposed to heal. Vampire skin was rarely breached, and when it was, there were never any vital organs to puncture or damage.

            "The MRI was no help?" Edward asked.

            "No. None," Carlisle answered.

            There were tubes and wires coming out of me now. I saw them in Edward's thoughts and it scared me. What's wrong with me? I thought to Edward. He could see I was concerned about the IVs.

            Just a precaution, dear, he thought. It's only fluid and a heart monitor. Carlisle doesn't want you to get dehydrated since you aren't eating.

            "How long have I been out?" I asked weakly.

            "Almost two days," Carlisle answered. "How are you feeling?"

            "Tired," I said. "And weak."

            "That's to be expected," he said calmly, almost under his breath. "The teeth went very deep." Carlisle put my arm through the armhole of the silk pajama shirt, snapped a few snaps on the front and reattached the IV tube. She's very weak, he thought, looking at Edward.

            I heard Carlisle through Edward's thoughts, though I don't think Carlisle meant for me to hear. He was very worried.

            You should rest. Edward put the sheet over me and gently stroked my shoulder.

            Someone on the other side of the room opened a window a fraction and I could smell the forest and fresh water smell of the river.

            You love the water, Edward noticed in my thoughts as I smelled the alluring scent.

            Very much, I thought. That's where I had felt the safest. I thought about the cave I had found in the lake in Georgia. The entrance was underwater and I spent much of my time there before I was taken to Lillian.

            "Sleep, Lily," Edward said and kissed my hair.

            Bella was at the window holding Renesmee. They both seemed to be very concerned about my health. Renesmee was upset that it had been Jacob that had hurt me. Bella was upset with Jacob. He should've known better, she thought.

            I fell into unconsciousness yet again.

            It seemed like it was only few seconds later when I felt hands on me. I heard the beep of a heart monitor and I heard Carlisle talking to someone. "The fluids aren't working," he said. "We are going to have to get something more substantial into her."

            "Blood?" I heard Esme ask.

            "No!" I gasped, half awake. "No blood! Please!" I pleaded with all my strength.

            "It's okay, Lily," Edward said calmly from beside me.

            I looked around me and noticed that Edward, Bella, Esme and Carlisle were all in the room. Edward and Bella sat on each side me. Esme was standing beside Carlisle which was standing beside Edward.

            Carlisle was holding a clear plastic tube in his hand. He leaned over Edward toward me. "Hold her," he said.

            Edward put his hands on my shoulders and Carlisle opened my mouth. Then he slid the end of the tube in my mouth. I turned my head and spit out the tube out.

            "No!" I said.

            "Lily, just relax. This won't hurt, just hold still." Carlisle held his hand against my jaw so I couldn't turn my head and inserted the tube into my mouth. I simply bit the tube in half and spit out the pieces.

            Carlisle looked at the tube then to me. He disappeared and a second later he was back with a metal hook looking thing. It looked like a hollow hook shaped funnel. The second I saw it I started to fight against Edward's hands on my shoulders. Although it didn't take much effort for him to hold me, Bella still helped to hold me still.

            I shook my head and started to kick my legs. Edward held one shoulder and one wrist against the bed. Bella held the other. Esme held my ankles.

            "No blood!" I cried. "Please Bella! Don't do this! Edward! Please!"

            "Lily, dear, it may be the only thing that will make you strong enough to heal." Carlisle said.

            "Then let me die!" I pleaded. "No blood!"

            "Lily!" Bella's voice was full of shock and surprise. "Sweetheart, it's okay. You have...

            "Bella, please don't!" I begged her. My eyes welled with tears and overflowed and I fought harder.

            "Emmett! Jasper!" Carlisle said over his shoulder and a half a second later they were in the room. He put his thumb between my teeth so I couldn't bite through the equipment. I could've bitten it off if I had really wanted to. Apparently he didn't expect me to have vampire teeth. I bit down on his thumb enough for him feel that they weren't human teeth. He looked at me to acknowledge the action but didn't remove his thumb.

            Emmett placed one hand on my chest and the other on my hip. I felt his cold hands through the thin silk clothing, though the color was different than from the last time I was awake.

            Jasper tried to calm me but I yelled thoughts at him and soon he gave up.

            "Jasper?" Carlisle questioned when the attempts were obviously not working.

            Jasper shrugged apologetically, "She's fighting me."

            "Bella!" I yelled, "don't let them do this to me! Please!" I cried at the top of my lungs, fighting against everyone holding me.

            Carlisle continued to insert the feeding tube.

            Then I felt my eyes begin to burn and my heartbeat slowed. The vampire was waking.

            "No!" I growled and focused intently on Bella. Bella, please don't let them do this. Please! I begged her. Would she protect me? I had to try. I thought of Renesmee and how Bella would've done anything for her.

            Lily... it's... it's necessary, sweetheart, she thought, fighting back her emotions.

            I could see her picturing me as an older Renesmee and she fought to keep me restrained. I kept trying.

            Bella! I shouted in my head. I could feel the tube at the top of my throat and I could no longer speak. My eyes were bright red now and I was crying hysterically.

            Bella shut her eyes and shook her head. Lily, it will make you strong enough to heal. Just be still, please... Just..."

            Bella! No blood! I swore on my mother's life, NO BLOOD! Bella!

            "Stop!" Bella shouted and pushed Carlisle away from me along with the feeding tube. "Stop," she said again trying to push Emmett away.

            "Bella, love," Edward began, "she needs to be stronger and nothing else will suffice," he said calmly.

            "I know, I know. Just wait," she said to him quietly, trying to clear her head.

            Bella would've been crying if she had been able to. She pushed everyone's hands off of me and cradled me against her body. She rocked slowly and wiped the tears from my face. I wrapped my arms around Bella's neck and buried my tear soaked face into her cold throat. My breathing was labored and I felt so weak. My wound hurt now and that worried me. I wasn't used to feeling physical pain.

            Bella spoke softly. "Lily, you have to drink the blood."

            I didn't speak, just shook my head.

            "I know why you don't want to," she continued. "I saw it in your dreams. Your mother. Because you feel it's your fault."

            I killed her, I thought weakly, and I promised I would never, ever consume human blood again.

            Do you think she would've wanted you to die? Bella asked. No, Lily. She would've gladly fed herself to you in order for you to survive.

            You don't know that, I thought.

            Bella concentrated on the way she had felt when she was pregnant with Renesmee. The way she felt for the child growing and tearing her apart from the inside. I could feel the unconditional love for the baby in lieu of the damage it was doing. It was a living part of her and she would fight, kill or die for its survival.

            But you still don't know that she felt that way, I argued.

            I know she felt that way the first time she felt your life inside her. You were her life Lily and she gladly gave her life to save yours. She will not fault you for living Lily.  And right now, human blood may be the only thing that will give you the strength to heal. Look at me Lily.

            She held the back of my head in her hand and looked into my eyes, the red now fading.

            "I will not sit here and let you die, do you hear me?" Bella demanded, her face inches from mine like she was reprimanding her child. "If I have to force you to drink the blood myself, I will."

            I knew that I had lost. There was no sense arguing with her now. I relaxed in her arms and slowly nodded my head. Tears overflowed my eyes again as I stared at Bella. Her face was stern but kind. She motioned to Carlisle to hand her the blood. He quickly poured the blood into a glass.

            Bella sat me up slowly and handed me the glass of warn liquid.

            She pushed the glass toward my lips. I turned and dropped my head slowly, squinted my eyes and looked pained to Bella.

            "Please Lily," Bella said in a whisper.

            I put the glass to my lips and fought the gag reflex as the blood went down my throat. By the time I finished the glass I was crying again, and Bella wrapped her arms around me.

            "Thank you," she kissed my temple and wiped the tears.

            I gently pushed away from her and laid my head on the pillow. I was feeling dizzy and the room was starting to spin.

            "Lily? Is something wrong?" Bella asked, her hand on my shoulder.

            Carlisle was there at once. "Lily?" he asked.

            But I couldn't open my eyes. The room was spinning so fast I thought I would be sick. I had never been drunk before but this must be what it felt like. Like I had just stopped spinning around in circles and the room hadn't caught up yet. I reached for the hand on my shoulder and squeezed, hoping it would convey to my head that I was sitting still. It didn't work.

            After about three minutes, though it seemed liked an hour, my head began to calm. I heard the beep of the heart monitor begin to slow along with my head.

            That wasn't nearly enough, Carlisle thought and handed Bella another full glass of blood.

            Bella put her hand under my head and sat me upright. I still clutched to her other hand. I opened my eyes only a sliver. I knew what was next and though I wanted to fight, it was pointless. There were six vampires surrounding me and at least two more within a whisper. I sighed and raised my free hand slowly, motioning for the glass. My eyebrows pulled together and I grimaced at the smell as I brought the glass to my lips. It wasn't that the blood tasted bad to me, it actually tasted very good, it was what the smell reminded me of. My birth and the death of my mother by my own hand.

            "Lily," Edward said softly, "it's okay." He had seen what I had been thinking. "I promise, it's okay. She would want you to live, Lily."

            I downed the sweet, metallic tasting liquid as fast as I could. I swallowed hard on the last sip and tried to lie back on the bed but Edward put his hand on my back and kept me upright. As the room started to take off again, someone put another full glass in my hand. The heart monitor beeped faster, my pulse beat stronger.

            Edward saw that I had wanted to throw it across the room and wrapped his cold hand around mine and the glass. He lifted it to my lips. I cringed, took a deep breath and put the glass to my lips. Edward was still focused on my thoughts and he knew I was close to fighting. Lily, don't, he thought in a calm tone.

            Bella put the back of my hand against her chest. "Lily, your mother would've wanted this."

            I drank the blood as fast as I possibly could without choking on it. By now Edward and Bella were having to hold me up. Someone took the glass from my hand and before they could replace it I held my hand up, palm out and said, "Enough."

            I felt sick. I was cold and I was never cold. The room spun faster and faster and I fought to keep the fluid down. I was allowed to lie down.

            My eyes remained closed but Bella was looking at Carlisle.

            "She's okay", he mouthed inaudibly. "It's just the blood. She'll heal quickly now."

            My body felt strange. Part of me wanted to sleep for a week, but part of me wanted to be outside, running full speed through the forest. My muscles burned and twitched. The wounds from Jacob's teeth burned deep within the skin. It was like white hot pokers. My normally warm skin felt cold. Bella's hand even felt warm to me. I reached for Edward and he took my hand. I clutched it tightly, but it still didn't stop the spinning.

            Oh please make it stop, I thought. I still held tight to Bella's hand too but I was still spinning. My thoughts began to wander. Oh, I'm gonna be sick. Does blood always do this? Maybe I should try it more often...I swear, if I could bottle this feeling, I would be a very rich person!

            Edward laughed out loud as he heard my thoughts. He smiled warmly at Bella. "She's going to be just fine, love," he said.

            Slowly, I felt my body begin to warm and I drifted into sleep.

            It was very dark when I woke. Everything was still. The only sound was the rush of the river heard through the slightly opened window and two people breathing.

            I felt a tiny movement in front of me and looked down to see Renesmee curled up against my chest. I was laying on my side, her head was on my shoulder and my arm was outstretched across the bed, hand hanging over the edge. My other hand was on her side. I could feel her breath against me. She was even warmer that I was.

            "How are you feeling?" Bella whispered from behind me.

            I turned my head to see her stretched out on the bed behind me. She was on her side, propped up on one arm and looking down at me.

            I slowly took a deep breath, allowing the air to fill my lungs and expand my ribs. I smiled, "Better, I think. How long have I been out?"

            "Since the blood, about four days," she whispered.

            "Four days?" I said, a little too loud.

            "Shh," she smiled at me. "You'll wake Renesmee."


            I looked into Bella's eyes and stared. She was beautiful. I could see her through Edward's eyes. I could see everything that they had been through together and the way he felt about her through it all. I could see Edward through her eyes too. The way they felt about each other. I cringed slightly as I remembered Bella when Edward had left. That had hurt me so much to watch, that I had tried to find Edward. I would've told him anything to get him back to Forks. If I had been able to find him that is. It had nearly killed me to see Bella like that.

            "What?" she asked quietly.

            "Why are you here?" I asked.

            She looked confused. "Well, I once lived here..." she began.

            "No," I laughed quietly. "I mean here. Right here. Every time I woke you or Edward were right here with me. Why?"

            "You sleep better when we're near," she said. "But we can talk about it later." She leaned close to my face, "Go back to sleep, it's late. We'll talk in the morning, I promise." She peered over me at Renesmee. "You both need to sleep."

            Renesmee stirred and settled. I pushed a lock of curls from her face and settled myself. I was soon asleep again.


            My dreams were about Daniel. We were alone in the barn on his farm in Tennessee. It was an early morning in spring and the scent of wild honeysuckle drifted on the breeze. I loved that smell and it's what I had loved the most about living in the south.

            Daniel had made a bed out of a few loose bales of hay and a blanket. We climbed up the ladder to the hay loft and he tackled me landing softly on the blanket. I was lying on top of him staring into his deep green eyes. He put his hands on each side of my face and kissed me long and hard. He rolled me over onto my back and I slid his shirt up and over his head. His lips traced the contour of my jaw, down my neck and along my collar to my shoulder. His hands were on my skin and he lifted my shirt over my head.

            I felt the weight of his body on top of mine, his breath on my neck and my shorts being unbuttoned. My eyes burned but I didn't stop him, not this time. I unzipped his pants and he stared wide eyed into my red eyes. He said nothing just continued kissing me. He wrapped his arms around me and rolled me over. I looked down at him just as I was about to kiss him and he looked back at me with eyes as red as mine...

            An audible gasp escaped my lips and I sat straight up in bed. I was breathing heavy and my skin felt clammy and damp. I closed my hand around something cold and hard.

            "That was some dream," came a beautifully musical voice from beside me.

            I twisted around to see Edward with half of a smile on his face. I took a deep breath and tried to slow my breathing.

            "That was Daniel?" he asked.

            "Yes," I said blankly.

            Bella walked into the room carrying Renesmee and instantly Renesmee reached out for me. She giggled and opened and closed her little hands until I took her.

            "Hi Lily," her adorable little voice sang. "Feel better, Lily?" It was like wind chimes after a spring rain.

            "Yes I do sweetheart. And how are you?" I asked her cheerfully. I was feeling better, a lot better.

            "Bella, you said that we'd talk this morning," I said looking around Renesmee to see Bella.

            "We are here because your sleep was so restless when you were left alone," Bella looked at Edward and explained what we were talking about. "Lily asked why we were always with her when she woke up."

            Renesmee put her little hands on my cheeks. I could see myself on the bed. There was blood on the sheets and in my hair. Every few seconds my body would twitch, either my hand or my leg or my arm or some part of me. Then I rolled over completely, my face cringed in pain, but I didn't wake up. After a few minutes Bella sat down on the bed and placed her hand gently on my back. I saw my body relax under her hand.

            I never slept well. No matter where I was. The encounter with the vampire when I was very young was always fresh in my memory. The only time I slept peacefully were the nights when my body simply collapsed from lack of sleep.

            "You needed rest," Edward said. "Your body needed rest in order for it heal. So we stayed with you."

            I was still confused. "But why?" I asked again. "You don't even know me."

            "Do you know that we can see your dreams?" Edward asked. "And yes, I do know you."

            I saw a flash of a memory in Edward's thoughts then he quickly thought of something else.

            "Wait, how long have I...?" I began.

            "About a week," Edward answered.

            "A week! Oh no, Scott is going to be..." I began to panic.

            Renesmee put her hand on my neck. "Scott was here," she said, showing me the encounter that Cullen's had with a very angry Scott.

            She was sitting on the bed beside me playing with some small electrical toy, a video game maybe. Bella was sitting at the foot of the bed watching Renesmee. A knock filtered up the steps and instantly Edward was on his feet. He had been sitting beside me.

            Edward was almost out the door when Renesmee said, "Dad, take me."

            He tossed a glance to Bella for approval then scooped Renesmee up off the bed and tossed her cheerfully in the air. She giggled exuberantly when he caught her and nearly flew down the steps and to the front door.

            He opened the door and Carlisle was on the porch trying to calm a very upset Scott Armstrong.

            Scott was yelling, "I know she's here! I want to see Lily!"

            "Scott, Lily is hurt," Carlisle was trying to explain.

            "I don't care what's wrong with her, I want to see her. I'll call the police if I have to."

            Edward turned around and Rosalie was behind him, her arms outstretched to take Renesmee from him.

            He turned back to Scott with his cell phone in his hand. He put the phone to his ear.

            "Charlie," he said. "I think we may need your help." There was a brief pause. "Yes sir, thank you." Edward nodded to Carlisle.

            "The police are on the way," Carlisle said to Scott.

            "If Lily is hurt, why isn't she at the hospital?" Scott asked. "Carlisle?"

            Carlisle inhaled deeply. "How much do you know about Lily?"

            "I know that if she's hurt that bad, she should be in a hospital, and not here!" Scott yelled.

            I needed to be in a hospital about as much a vampire should, I thought.

            "And that is exactly what Carlisle was thinking. If Scott knew about you, he would know that you couldn't go to a hospital," Edward said to me.

            "She has to have parental consent unless the injuries are life threatening. And if that were the case, I would take every action necessary to save her life, son. I would not let any harm come to Lily. She is very special to us, please know that. We, as an entire family, would never allow any harm to come to her."

            Police sirens were fast approaching the house.

            "I want to see Lily!" Scott yelled again and took a step toward the porch. There was a low rumble in Edward's chest and he took half a step forward.

            Chief Swan's cruiser came to a sliding stop in the driveway.

            "What's the problem, Carlisle," Charlie asked when he stepped out of the car.

            Bella walked outside and took Renesmee from Rosalie.

            "Bella, is everything all right?" Charlie asked her.

            "Lily Honeycutt is hurt and we're caring for her here," Bella told Charlie.

            "Hurt?" Charlie's expression was angry instead of concerned. "Hurt how?" he asked in an accusing tone.

            "Looked like a... a bear trap," Edward said. "I found her in the forest. Looked as if she fell at the worst possible time. She landed on her side..."

            "Wait, a bear trap? As in," Charlie put the heels of his palms together and clapped his hands shut to imitate the hinged trap.

            "Yes," Carlisle confirmed.

            "Is the girl going to be okay?" Charlie asked.

            "She couldn't be in safer hands," Bella said, emphasizing the word safer.

            "I just want to see her," Scott said, "I want to see that she is okay for myself."

            Charlie looked at Bella, then to Carlisle. "Would it be okay for us to see her?" he asked.

            "She doesn't need to be disturbed, she needs all the rest she can get," Carlisle said.

            "I won't wake her, I promise, I just want to see her," Scott's voice cracked on the last word and he quickly turned his head and brushed the back of his hand against his face. Was he crying? I wondered. Surely not!

            "If we promise not to disturb her?" Charlie asked.

            Carlisle took a deep breath and Edward walked quickly into the house. I imagined it had been Carlisle that had made Edward respond. After a couple of minutes Bella and Renesmee walked into the house and up the stairs.

            Bella sat on the bed beside me and sat Renesmee in her lap. Then Edward walked in with a towel in his hand.

            Edward lifted the sheet off of me and placed a wet towel across the wounds on my chest then he placed the sheet over me and also a light blanket. He sat on the bed beside me, opposite Bella.

            Carlisle led Scott and Charlie into the room. Scott walked quickly toward me and Edward was on his feet, face to face with Scott. "Do not disturb her," Edward said between clinched teeth. "That was the deal."

            "I don't even know if she's alive," Scott said, trying to push Edward out of the way. Edward didn't budge.

            "Edward," Carlisle spoke in a soft calming tone, "son, let him see her."

            Edward took two steps back and sat on the bed beside me. His eyes never leaving Scott's face.

            "Where is she hurt," Scott asked, looking back at Carlisle.

            Carlisle nodded to Edward. He put his arm around me and very gently rolled me toward him. Bella pulled the covers down my back to expose the wounds.

            "Oh my God," Scott gasped and reached toward my skin. Edward's hand flew to meet Scott's, but Bella caught Edward's arm before he could break any bones in Scott's hand. Carlisle was pulling Scott away from me before Scott even realized what had happened.

            Charlie was looking questioningly at Bella.

            "We don't know what happened, Dad," Bella frowned.

            "See," Edward began, "Lily is hurt and she needs her rest. I will be sure to have her call you when has regained her strength."

            "When will that be?" Scott snapped.

            "Whenever she's stronger," Edward said to him, his voice was angry.

            Charlie took Scott's arm and pulled him toward the door. "Scott, she's in good hands, she'll be safe here. We should go. She needs her rest."

            I felt Renesmee's hand drop from my face.

            The room fell silent. Carlisle and Esme walked into the room without a sound. Alice and Jasper soon followed, then Rosalie and Emmett.

            I looked around the room and everyone's expression was very serious.

            "What is it?" I asked, worried.

            Renesmee wrapped her arms around my neck. "You're a Cullen now," she said in a velvet whisper.

            "What," I was really confused now. "What do you mean, I'm a Cullen?" I searched inward for any changes in me, but I knew I was immune to vampire venom so I couldn't have possibly been turned. I was breathing, I still had a heartbeat. I pushed Renesmee away from me enough to see her face. "What do you mean Renesmee? How am I a Cullen?"

            "Dad," she said and wrapped her arms around my neck again.

            "Edward?" I was thoroughly confused. I focused on his thoughts as he spoke.

            "I said I did know you, remember" he began.

            "Yeah, from school, right?" I guessed.

            "Not only from school," he continued.

            I could see a dark alleyway and in the distance, a figure of a man holding a child against a wall. The child was kicking and screaming, long blond hair flailing with the child's body. The figure turned for a fraction of a second and flashed his red eyes. He sank his teeth into the child's ribs and the child let out an ear piercing scream. She kicked harder against her attacker but his grip was firm. His fingers were sunk into the child's flesh and he held tightly to bones of her shoulder. He took another bite. Then the vampire was inches away, a pale hand jerked the man by the neck into the opposite wall. The child fell, landed on her feet and ran away.

            Edward glared at the vampire before him. The vampire smiled at him.

            But you're a vampire, we could've shared her, friend. Why are you attacking me? Why are you doing this?

            "I'm not your friend, monster. It was a child you vile creature. A child that was defenseless," Edward answered the vampire's thoughts.

            In the next instant, the vampire's head was no longer attached to his body. Edward kicked the head it into a pile of debris against a wall. He pulled a match from his pocket, struck it against the wall and tossed it into the debris. He watched as the debris started to burn. Once the fire was going, he grabbed the headless body and threw it into the flames. He watched as the vampire burned.

            My mouth gaped open and I stared, wide eyed at Edward. "It was you!" I struggled to speak.

            Edward spoke for everyone else's benefit as I watched him replay the events in his head. Everyone listened intently to the story.

            I watched city streets and buildings go by in a blur then he was running through the forest. He was following my scent. He slowed when he approached the small stream. He bent down and lifted my limp body from the bank. He picked up my torn and bloody shirt, rinsed it in the stream and used it to wipe the mud from my legs. He carried me swiftly through the forest to a barn. It seemed to be in the middle of nowhere.

            Edward put my body in the loft and covered me with a blanket. I never moved, but he could hear my heartbeat, see the air expand my lungs then escape. He watched over me the next day and after nightfall, he took me to Lillian's door.

            He put my naked body in front of her door and knocked loudly. When she answered the door he stood in the shadows as not to be seen. He told her I was hurt but that I would heal. He told her that he would be back for me if she couldn't care for me. I could see in his thoughts that he didn't want to leave me, but he knew it was for the best.

            He went back to check on me several times, but after a week saw that I was healed and doing well. He didn't go back again.

            My mind was a rush of emotions. I didn't know what to say. I had believed it was Edward that saved my life since I learned of his gift. I remembered that the vampire that had saved me, had answered the other vampire's thoughts.

            Edward continued his story, "I had stayed in that barn for a few days. The woman that owned it lived nearby but no longer had horses, so she had no need for it. Her husband had died years before in the war. Her three children had died of the Spanish Flu. I could hear her dreams at night. She was so very lonely and depressed that I had considered taking her life before she took her own. Then I found the child in the city. I wasn't sure why, but I could tell that the vampire bite wasn't changing the child. Her, your," he said, looking at me, "thoughts were peaceful. You weren't changing, you were healing. I wanted to make sure you were okay, but I didn't know how long it would take. I knew you weren't becoming a vampire. I assumed that maybe you were just immune to venom. Knowing I would only bring more danger to you, I took you to the woman who owned the barn.

            "At first I wanted to take you back to Carlisle and Esme, but you were only a child, a human child and you needed to be with humans. So, knowing how lonely Lillian was I took you to her. I went back to check on you until I was sure that you were no threat to her and that she could handle caring for you."

            I was still confused. "What made you realize it was me? That I was the same child you saved decades ago?"

            "The scars," he said simply. "But when I first saw them, I thought it was only a coincidence. It would be impossible for you to still be alive. Then I thought of Renesmee. Could you possibly be part vampire? There was no denying it, the proof was right in front us. And it just seemed so natural for you to be here.

            "I often thought of the child I had saved, of you. I wondered if you grew up and got married and had children of your own."

            "I never really grew up," I said quietly. "And I can't have kids. No menstrual cycle, it's like my body stopped maturing at fifteen. And I have no venom, so I could never change anyone. I often wonder why nature would create a creature that is destined to be alone. Humans would kill, or at least try to kill me if they knew what I was.  Vampires have tried to kill me too. So there's nowhere that I fit."

            Renesmee put her hands on my cheeks, "You fit here Lily. You are like me." She showed me the way Edward and Bella had protected me and watched over me as I healed from Jacob's bite. They were always there, like watchful parents over a sick child.

            I felt my eyes begin to fill with tears as I watched what Renesmeee had seen. The joy of having someone around that was like her was very comforting to her, and to me.

            "You are not alone anymore, Lily," Edward said.

            "And you will never have to be alone again," Bella added.

            I looked around the room at the faces that surrounded me. Renesmee was clung to my neck. Edward was sitting on the bed beside me, Bella on the other side. Carlisle, Esme, Rosalie, Alice, Emmett and Jasper all stood around me.

            Esme walked over to the side of the bed, leaned across Edward, put her hands on each side of my face and kissed my forehead gently, "You are home, Lily, if you want to be." Her thoughts were warm and inviting. She was happy to have another child in her home.

            Jasper walked around to me next and handed me an envelope. "The first night you were here, Edward and I went to your house to get clothes for you and to tell your father that you had been hurt and were here. When we got there, the only scent was yours, Scott's and his sister's. No one else had been there. That's when we began piecing things together and realized that you were all alone and as near as we could tell, always had been."

            "Your dreams gave away some of your past," Edward added, "That's how I was sure that you were the one I had saved that night in Atlanta."

            Jasper continued, "You have done very well keeping yourself and your secrets hidden. And to do it completely on your own, just proves how strong and how intelligent you are."

            I smiled and looked at Bella. She wiped a tear from my cheek and slid closer to me to put her arms around me and Renesmee.

            "I was at your place a lot during the paintings and I never would've guessed it was just you," Emmett added. "I guess money isn't really an issue for you either, huh?"

            "No," I confirmed. "I have enough to last a while. Some investments, some no-so-ethical transactions. No, money is not really an issue."

            "Not-so-ethical?" Esme questioned.

            "I've used my gift a few times," I answered. "Convinced a few tellers to add a few zeroes to cashier's checks. I never hurt anyone, if that's what you're worried about," and she was.

            "Oh," she said.

            Jasper continued his speech, "Open the envelope," he told me.

            I opened the envelope and unfolded a piece of official looking parchment paper. In the bottom corner was an embossed state seal in gold foil. It was adoption papers.

            "You officially belong here," Jasper said to me and bent down to hug me.

            "Welcome to your new family," Alice said and hugged me too.

            I looked more closely at the paper. The paper said that I was officially a Cullen. The name on the certificate was Lillian Isabella Honeycutt Cullen. But it was the names of my adoptive parents that caused the waterworks.

            The names in the parental spaces were Edward Anthony Masen Cullen and Isabella Marie Swan Cullen.

            I couldn't believe that this was happening. I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what to do. I wasn't quite sure why, or how, but after almost eighty years, I was finally in a place where I was safe, forever. A place where I was loved and where I fit in. I not only had a family, but I had a sister that was just like me.

            Edward could see that I was breaking down. Bella took Renesmee and Edward wrapped his arms around me as the culmination of everything hit me. I went limp in his arms, tears flowed down my cheeks and I held tight to him to keep from falling over.

            Renesmee wrapped her arms around me and rested against my back. Bella wrapped her arms around both, Renesmee and me and kissed my hair.

            "You're home," Bella whispered in my ear.

            A fountain of tears overflowed my eyes, ran down my cheeks and darkened Edward's shirt.


            When I had finally composed myself, I looked around me, into the faces of my new family. I should've felt like a stranger in a strange place, but it was nothing like that. The perfect stone faces that stared back at me were more familiar to me than anyone ever had been.

            Renesmee squirmed her way under my arm and into my lap. Her perfect little face and the eyes I so clearly remember on her mother, stared up at me. She smiled, wrapped one arm around me, put her head against my chest and put her other hand on my neck.

            She showed me the family meeting that had taken place while I was healing. The whole family was sitting around the dining room table. Edward was the only one standing. I didn't see Bella, so I assumed Renesmee was in her lap.

            "As everyone now knows, Lily is half human and half vampire, like Renesmee. Lily is the young child I saved many years ago when I was away from Carlisle for a brief time. I knew she would be in more danger if I kept her than if I left her with someone else.

            "Lily lost her mother when she was born. Unlike Nahuel, she has no venom and is unable to turn anyone, like his aunt. Lily has been alone all of this time. Lily has never had a family, no one has ever looked after her, protected her, or been there for her in any way except the woman that cared for her when I knew I couldn't. Lillian, the woman I entrusted to care for her, apparently had health issues and wasn't part of Lily's life for nearly as long as I would've hoped, only six years.

            "Bella and I would like to take Lily in as our own. We feel that she is here for a reason. From what I have been able to see from her thoughts and dreams, she is very lonely and very scared and we can not see turning her away. Renesmee has even grown attached, already," he said smiling at Renesmee.

            "Bella and I are here to ask if you will accept Lily into our family, as one of our own. She has kept her secret and done so right under our noses, and the Volturi's noses, for that matter, so I don't see exposure as an issue," He said glaring at Rosalie.

            "What about Scott? Isn't she seeing someone?" Rosalie asked.

            "I don't foresee Scott being a problem for us," Alice assured them. "Not unlike Renesmee, I can't see Lily."

            Esme stood up. "She is very vulnerable. Would we be putting her in more danger by taking her in?"

            "No more danger than Resnesme is in," Bella answered and Renesmee turned to look her. "She is much safer here than anywhere else. No one else could possibly protector her more than Edward and I. No other vampire would protect her, and no human could. This is the safest place she could be, and I think that she's supposed to be here." She looked down and stroked Renesmee's hair, "I think she's supposed to be here as much as Renesmee is."

            "I would love for her to become part of our family," Carlisle began, "I believe that Bella is correct, this is the safest place she could be. And with Renesmee," he smiled at her, "this seems to be the only logical place for her to be. Edward saved her life when she was very young and now she has appeared in his life again, so many years later. I believe this is where she should be, with her own kind." He looked around the table.

            "From what we can deduct," Jasper said, standing, "no one except Scott and his sister, Julie, have ever been in her house, but there is a bedroom with men's clothing and toiletries, so Lily has gone to great lengths to hide who, or what, she is." He smiled at Rosalie and added, "Oh and she has a loaded SL65 AMG. Um, and that's a V12," he grinned. "If you're nice to her, maybe she'll let you drive it."

            Everyone laughed, except Rosalie. "I don't like Mercedes'," she spat.

            "Right," Edward said almost under his breath. "A one-hundred-thousand-dollar car that you don't like? Uh, huh."

            Rose didn't say anything.

            "Where will she stay?" Alice asked.

            "We thought about adding a room to the cottage," Edward answered without a thought.

            Emmett spoke up, "Can we see her not here?" He said it very matter-of-factly. "Can any of us honestly say that we don't want her here? She's exactly like Renesmee but we have all seen into Lily's past, and most of it isn't pretty, the kid's had a rough life. If we kick her out, wouldn't it be like kicking Renesmee out? I can start the addition to the cottage right away," he added. "It'll be done before she wakes up."

            I looked at Emmett then to Edward, "I have my own room?"

            Edward laughed and stroked Renesmee's head, "Yes, you do. Or, you could stay here if you like, or you could even stay at your own house if that's what you'd prefer. It's your choice." Renesmee flashed him a dirty look, her little eyebrows bunched together. She wanted me to stay with them, at the cottage.

            I didn't know what to say. Edward answered my thoughts.

            "Say ‘thank you'," Edward whispered in my ear and he kissed my temple.

            "Thank you, all of you," I sobbed though it was barely audible.

            Bella lifted my hand and looked at the ring that was on my finger. It was silver with an intricate carving of a small coat of arms. The oval shaped face was about the size of a penny. In the center was a shield with a thin bar cutting it diagonally in half. On the upper half was a clover and on the lower half was a diamond. On either side of the shield there was a horse and a dragon. Ornate swirls and loops encircled the coat and extended out over the edges of the ring to make tiny loops around the outer edge.

            She looked at the ring for a moment then to me. "It looks very old," she smiled.

            "It was my mother's," I said sadly. "Two years ago, I went back to where I was born and buried her remains. This was on her finger. I don't know if was hers or her mother's or father's. It may have once even been my father's ring, I don't know, but she was wearing it."

            I had never worn jewelry before I had found her ring. I was always afraid that someone would recognize something if I wore it all the time. But after being discovered thanks to the scars that I couldn't take off, I figured that wearing my mother's ring wouldn't be any worse than wearing the permanent scars.

            I looked at the ring for a long moment then I handed Renesmee to Bella, it was her feeding time. Everyone slowly filtered out of the room.

            I called to Rosalie as she neared the door, "Do you want the car?" I asked.

            "Huh?" she replied.

            "The Mercedes," I affirmed.

            She thought about it for a minute, "Na, I'll just borrow it," she smiled and prissed out of the room.

            Nicely done, Edward thought. You are a very smart one, aren't you?

             I only looked at him and smiled.

            He shook his head, "There's food downstairs if you're hungry. Steak, bloody and hot, just the way you like it."

            "Cool!" I hopped out of the bed and followed everyone downstairs. I felt incredible. I couldn't remember ever feeling this way. I wasn't sure what I was feeling but it was different, and I liked it.

            In the kitchen Esme had a steak sitting on the counter. I sniffed the air.

            "Venison?" I asked.

            "Yes, thank Emmett," she answered, dropping the steak onto a hot skillet.

            She let the very outside of the steak brown then turned it over. She scooped it up and placed it on a plate. She took a knife and fork from the drawer in a split second and walked into the dining room with them. I grinned and followed her.

            Finally someone to use the dining room table, for dining, she was thinking.

            How did Edward know what I ate? I wondered.

            "You have very vivid dreams," he answered from the other room.

            "Okay, that's just creepy!" I yelled at him

            "You'll get used to it," Emmett commented on the unheard conversation. He paused for a moment, "Oh great! And I thought it was bad with just one of them around, now there's two."

            But I don't have to say anything out loud for you to hear me, I said silently to Emmett.

            "Okay, that's even worse," he said, looking at me.

            "But I can turn mine off completely," I said.

            "Well that's cool," he said, "maybe it won't be as bad."

            I cut into my steak. The inside was still quite raw and bloody. I couldn't believe how hungry I was.

            "Eww," Renesmee said when she saw me eating.

            "I know, but you get used to it," I said.



Chapter End Notes:

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