Grace woke up much earlier the next morning than intended. The sun was just starting to rise above the water and it was just before 7 a.m. She was cradled in both of Jacob’s arms now as they faced each other, their legs tangled together in the white cotton bed sheets.
His breath was even and smooth and she took a moment to admire how soft his features looked when he was asleep. A smile creeped across her lips and then as quickly as it came, it flitted away as the realization dawned on her—this felt more intimate than any moment she had had with Paul whether she had been sleeping next to him or having sex with him.
She felt so close to Jake and the fear started rising in her again. So, she gently extracted herself from his embrace and made her way to the bathroom. Closing the door behind her, she marvelled at the beautifully renovated bathroom with cool black stone beneath her feet and white ceramic and marble laid into the walls. Grace couldn’t help but try out her rain shower and spent a solid 15 minutes just standing under the heat of the water trying to ease the swell of want in her body that was pulling her back toward the sleeping Jacob.
She dressed quietly in some loose, short shorts and a beige t-shirt boasting Phoenix’s desert museum that she had nicked from Bella’s closet. With one last look at the massive sleeping form of Jacob sprawled across her bed, she made her way downstairs and brewed a cup of coffee before taking it on the porch to watch the sun come up.
She didn’t know how long she was out there for, but her cup was drained and the sun was clear above the horizon when Jacob walked out onto the porch with a low “good morning” the sleep not yet gone from his voice.
Grace looked over her shoulder but didn’t move as she returned the greeting.
“Sleep okay?” He said coming to lean on the porch railing.
“Best sleep I’ve had all week,” he said, giving her a heartbreaking smile.
“Happy to help,” she quipped, standing straight now. He mirrored her movements. They didn’t speak for a while but finally, she heard Jake take a breath and say,
“Grace….about the call. The one when you were in Florida...I–” Jake started, rubbing the nape of his neck. But Grace didn’t want to talk about the call. Her eyes pulled up the length of his body and as they rested on his uncertain but clearly wanting face, she felt the sharp pull in her stomach demand something. Her resolve buckled as she watched his brows knit together in worry and confusion. She wanted to smooth that worry and her hands itched to touch him.
The ache in her stomach reared its head, not to be ignored this time. Enough was enough.
“Grace...I want—” Jake started again and as he turned his body to look at her, the trap inside of Grace snapped.
She took the two steps toward him across the porch and threw her arms around his neck, pulling at his neck to bend him to her in one swift movement. She brought his lips crashing down onto hers and instantly her body swelled with anticipation to his reaction. She gently parted her lips to him and at this he returned the kiss eagerly, wrapping his broad hands around her back and pulling her up and onto him.
The ache in her stomach disappeared and was replaced with sweet, full, warmth. Her body was overcome with a rushing sensation and as she held onto him, she felt everything so clearly, the taste of his lips on hers, her heartbeat pounding in time with his. Recognition spilled through her and settled in every crevice of her body as it exhaled in one wild breath saying: Jacob.
They pulled away from each other for a half a second to let out labored breaths and stare at each other's eyes. Their bodies called out to one another, asking to get closer and closer. But more than that, Grace knew in this moment what she’d known all along and the message was clear in his eyes:
She loved him. With every ounce of her being. She felt her entire body tingle with adoration for this sweet, kind, overwhelmingly warm and captivating boy that stood in front of her. As she brought her hand to his face, he gave her a broad smile that made her entire body weak before he pulled her face to him again, warm and ready.
He lifted her body up and set her down on the railing so he could easily access her mouth as he cupped his hands around her face, pulling back ever so slightly to pepper her mouth cheeks and nose with soft kisses. The sun sparkled over her shoulder illuminating every feature of his face and Grace traced her finger down the angled line of his chin.
“Oh, I’ve been waiting for that,” He exhaled, his voice deep and wanting. “Was this what you were trying to tell me on the phone?”
She nodded her head and he let out a low laugh before leaning back into her for another taste of her lips.
The next three weeks passed in absolute bliss for Grace. They were the happiest she could remember in recent memory. Jake spent most nights at her home when he wasn’t on rounds or training the new members of the pack.
He’d walk through the open door and beeline it for her as she was bent over a task in her office, cooking in the kitchen, or reading on couch and scoop her up in his arms, pressing his face to hers sweetly before carrying her off to her bedroom or down to the beach just to be together, relishing in the electric, warm feeling that pulsed through each of them when they connected. She was his answer to a question he was too afraid to ask the universe. At one point he had said as they lay together nearly naked in bed, running a slow finger down her side, “How can this not be an imprint? It feels like there’s no one else but you.”
Grace had asked that they take it slow. Despite how happy she felt even now, she couldn’t shake the fear of the imprint. Jake didn’t belong to her, but she felt so undeniably tethered to him that it felt unfair that she wasn’t his imprint. That thought scared her everyday and each happy moment was overshadowed by the knowledge that his imprint was out there somewhere, waiting for him.
He had agreed to take it slow, but each day Grace felt closer and closer to him and it became harder to stop themselves from wanting more of each other. One sunny morning after late night rounds, Jake lay asleep in her bed, shirtless and peaceful. Grace checked her phone and listened to a voicemail from Alice that had come in last night.
“Hello, Gracie! This is your friendly neighborhood vampire reminder that we’re having a brainstorming session tomorrow morning at my place for Bella’s dress and wedding theme. Your presence, as always is required, bright and early at 9 a.m. See you!” and then in the background just before she hung up, Grace could hear Alice squeal with delight and say: “Oh! I’m so excited, a wedding!”
Grace smiled and clipped her phone shut as she rolled out of bed and went to get ready. Before she left for the Cullen’s she leaned down over Jacob and planted a soft kiss on his lips and stroked a hand through his hair. He didn’t stir from sleep and she made her way to the edge of the forest to recast to the Cullen’s property.
“Okay, so we can either go full woodland nymph, classic and glam, subtle and sweet, victorian chic, or a blend of all four!” Alice cried triumphantly spinning about the room as she made dramatic strokes with her pencil in her sketch pad.
“Alice, I think something simple would be fine,” Bella said nervously from her place on the couch in Alice’s studio.
“Simple?! Bella, I don’t do simple,” she replied. Rosalie laughed at this as she delicately patched an old piece of lace.
“Well, we’ve been at this for four hours and are still no closer to a solid idea,” Bella complained leaning her head against her hand.
“That’s because you’re giving me NOTHING to work with,” Alice said spinning to look directly at her aggressively.
“What about this,” Grace removed a sucker from her mouth that Alice had given her and showed Bella a dress in a wedding magazine she had been paging through.
“That could work,” Bella said looking at it more closely.
“Right? Simple, cute, love the buttons,” Grace continued.
“You don’t think it’s too low in the back?” Bella said.
“You have a killer vertebrae babe. Show em if you got em, I always say,” she joked. Bella cracked a smile and ran a finger down the line of the dress.
“Alice, come look,” Grace beckoned. “Can you design something off of this?” She shook the magazine at her and replaced the cherry red sucker. Alice looked over the page and then with an exuberant smile, nodded.
“Absolutely! Oh my god, Bella, I didn’t know you were a V’adame!”
“A what?” Bella said.
“It’s not important,” Grace shook her head. “Okay, so if we went with this dress, then we go classic, simple, with a touch of woodland nymph?” Alice squealed.
“It’s all coming together!” she said peeling with tinkling laughter.
“Good, can I be released?” Bella said.
“Rude, but yes,” Alice said. “Thank you for brainstorming, I’ll send you mock ups as soon as I’m satisfied!”
“I’m coming with,” Grace said pushing herself off the couch and grabbing her bag. She leaned over to give Rosalie a hug and took Bella’s hand as they skipped down the steps.
“Done planning for the day?” Carlisle queried as he walked past them.
“We’re escaping before the tulle comes out,” Bella said with an exhausted sigh.
“Well, Alice always knows how to throw a party.” He nodded goodbye and walked off to his library.
Once they were outside and in Bella’s truck, Grace turned to her quickly and said, “I’ve been making out with Jacob Black for the past three weeks.”
Bella missed the key to the ignition and jerked forward a bit before stuttering, “Wh-what?!”
“He sleeps over almost every night too.” Grace bit her lip.
“I’ve wanted to tell you since the first day it happened, I just….didn’t know how?”
‘Can you say something else?” Grace whined.
“Woah.” Bella said and then she laughed. Grace hit her arm playfully and then covered her face with her hands. “Grace that’s great!”
“Really!? You don’t think it’s weird or hypocritical or like a really really bad idea?” her face pulled with worry.
“Oh no, I didn’t say that.” Bella teased to an aghast Grace. “No, really. That’s amazing! Are you guys...dating? Together? Official? Getting married?” Grace narrowed her eyes at that last one, “Kidding!” Bella followed up.
“Who knew you were such a jokester,” Grace grumbled as Bella started the truck and started making her way up the Cullen’s drive to the street. “I don’t know what we’re doing. I guess we’re dating, but I said I wanted to take it slow and it’s….it’s going really well.” Grace bit her lip again and tried to contain her excitement.
“Of course it is. Why wouldn’t it? You’re perfect for one another,” Bella smiled happily toward her. Grace sucked in an excited breath and clasped her hands together, relieved that she finally told Bella and getting the greenlight.
“Thanks, Bells,” Grace said.
“I’m just happy he has you,” Bella reassured her.
Bella dropped Grace off at her house before puttering away to meet up with Edward for the afternoon. As Grace jogged her way up her porch steps, a shirtless man came out of her front door equipped with a toolbelt around his waist.
“Jesus!” Grace said, startled, “Paul what the fuck!”
Paul gave her a small smile and sign of surrender. “Sorry, I was sanding the porch so I could apply the sealant and needed to pee.”
Grace tensed and crossed her arms, taking a step backwards down her porch to give herself some space from him.
“I just didn’t know you would be by today.” Grace said, looking at the ground.
“Embry was supposed to let you know…. I’m sorry, I meant to be out of here before you got back,” his voice was tinged with regret. “I’ll leave. Sorry.” He said simply jogging down the steps past her and away.
“Wait!” she groaned turning around, but he was already gone. She was not expecting Paul to be at her home, alone when she showed back up. While she was reveling in her newfound attachment to Jacob, Paul still left a small hole in her heart that was still healing. And what was worse, when she went into her living room, his tantalizing scent was still lingering in the air.
She shook out the pain pricking in her hands and went to take a cold shower, hoping to wash away the guilt and hunger she felt swirling in her.
“So he just left?” Grace adjusted her sunglasses and retired the hair scarf she had tied into a bow on the top of her head as she laid back on her towel on the beach next to Leah.
“Yeah,” Grace replied checking again that her tan bikini top was in place.
“Sounds like he’s still got the hots for you. Imprint be damned,” Leah only said this half seriously and as digging through their cooler for a snack. “Shit bags,” she muttered.
“What?” Grace turned her head to look at Leah in her black strappy one piece slamming the cooler lid down.
“You fucking woodland rejects ate all of the sandwiches!” She yelled in the direction of a collection of boys playing volleyball down the beach. Grace couldn’t pinpoint exactly who it was from their pack and who were just local kids, but they all stopped at Leah’s shouting for a minute before breaking into raucous laughter.
“Leah, it’s fine we can go get more food…” Grace tried to placate her. Leah laid back down on her towel next to Grace in a huff.
“I’m doomed to live in a glorified playpen with hairy teenage boys and my ex-boyfriend for the rest of my life.” she bemoaned. Grace let out a snort of amusement.
“Sorry, you were saying?” Leah said, turning her head to look at Grace now. Grace looked up at the sky and let out a dramatic sigh.
“I don’t know what else there is. It was just weird.”
“Do you...still have feelings for Paul?”
“What?! No. I mean, we were together for like 2 months tops but...it just felt weird being alone with him. And it just still bugs me...like what would we be if the imprint hadn’t happened?” Grace pursed her lips for a second, “It’s stupid because it has happened so it doesn’t make sense to think about, I know.”
“No..” Leah said softly. “I think about that all the time. About Sam.” she paused. “We haven’t been together for almost three years, but I still think about it. It still hurts. And watching every other fucking dweeb around here imprint makes it seem like the world is playing some cruel joke on me.”
“Leah, you can imprint. I know you can.” Grace reassured her.
“Do you?” Leah said skeptically, and Grace leaned up on her elbows looking directly at her now. “Because even Ti’Hal has expressed some doubt.” Leah started to pick at loose strings on her towel.
“I don’t believe that. Leah, you have the gene, why couldn’t you?” Grace said back defensively.
“There’s never been a female shifter before in our histories. I’m an anomaly, which means things might not work the same. And so far, the theory holds true.” Grace shook her head as Leah continued, “What about you? How is it fair to you? You're bound to this pack indefinitely, to protect, to die for us even if need be according to Ti’Hal,” Grace sucked in a sharp breath. She knew that was true. “But you can’t imprint and no one has imprinted on you. All of the work with none of the perks. You can’t tell me our ancestors aren’t laughing at us right now.”
Grace flinched against the sharp pain coiling in her stomach. Leah was echoing the sentiment that had been building and building in Grace these past three weeks: he’s not your imprint, he’s going to leave eventually. Grace was swinging between constant fear and anxiety at the thought and she knew it would break her down soon.
“They might be laughing, but I still have some say,” Grace said before they were interrupted by someone clearing their throat and shading half of Grace’s sun. Grace lifted a hand above her eyes to get a better look.
Three men had gathered around their spots. They weren’t from the rez as made clear by their tanned pink skin and blonde and light brown hair. One wore a wetsuit pulled down to his hips. The other two wore swim trunks and were dripping from a recent dip in the ocean.
“Ladies, we were hoping you could be our fourth and fifth for a little impromptu pick up game of football on the beach?” The tallest one with the sandy blonde hair and ashen grey eyes thumbed over his shoulder. Leah grinned wickedly and Grace knew the time was ticking until a member of the pack would see and interfere.
“Yeah, you can be on my team,” the brown haired one said to Grace as he looked up and down her bikinied body. Her tan swimsuit stood out against her deepening brown skin in the sunlight.
“What do you say?” The blonde’s eyes twinkled in the sunlight as he nodded at Leah.
“Thanks guys, but we’re enjoying the sun. Next time?” Grace said sweetly. The brunette squatted down next to her so he could get a better look at her face.
“I’m Noah,” he said, extending a hand. Grace leaned to one side so she could pick up her other arm and shake it.
“Like the arc,” Grace quipped. He laughed looking down for a second and said:
“Yeah, like the arc. You’re funny.”
“I try.” she said, cocking her head to the side. This was too much fun and she knew time was running out because the boys had spotted them up the beach and were making their way toward them.
“These are my boys Ryan and Kelton,” he said over his shoulder. Leah stifled a laugh.
“Oh, she didn’t ask,” Leah said, taking a sip from her water bottle. Noah raised a questioning eyebrow at her.
“So what do you say?” he tried again.
“Like I said before, thanks but no thanks, we’ve got plans.”
“Oh really? And what plan is that exactly?”
“Get fucked,” Leah said strongly.
“Gladly,” the blonde Ryan quipped.
Grace let out a laugh and turned her head to see Embry and Jared in earshot now.
“Nice to meet you, Noah,” she nodded at him to get lost and a disappointed frown pulled over his face as he stood. Embry and Jared were on them now.
“Hey! Is there a problem here?” Jared said.
“No problem, just saying hello.” Noah deadpanned not taking his eyes off Grace. They headed off down the beach and Grace thought about how easy life would be if she were just a normal teenager not imperiled by the supernatural. It was an attractive idea, one that nestled in her brain and made her long for something she knew she’d never have.
“You shouldn’t encourage them,” Jared scolded. To this, Embry smacked him on the chest and Leah and Grace both said in unison:
Okay so you know how. When you have babies, and you have to baby proof the house.
So what if the Cullen’s human proof there house for Bella. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about her falling onto glass.
After a tearful goodbye with their mothers, Grace and Bella made their way to the ticket counter to check in for their flight.
“Oh, Miss Swan, Miss Alo, you’ve been upgraded to first class and instead of your original flight with two layovers, we were able to accommodate you with a direct flight. Here are your updated tickets and Amy here will show you the way to the VIP Lounge to wait for your flight.” The front desk attendant gave them a warm smile and motioned to the woman beside her.
Bella’s mouth was opening and closing like she meant to say something and Grace’s eyes went wide with excitement.
“Nice!” she exclaimed. “Finally, the perks of having a rich boyfriend are paying off.”
“Grace!” Bella nearly scolded as they followed the aforementioned Amy to the lounge.
“What? Might as well benefit from your line into Richville.”
“You sound like Jake.” Bella laughed taking a seat in the overstuffed chairs as a waiter handed them champagne. “Speaking of which,” she set her champagne down without taking a drink, unlike Grace or delightedly downed the first quarter glass in one swift chug, “Have you spoken to him?”
Grace shook her head aggressively, “Absolutely not.” Her mind wandered back to the last text message he had sent yesterday afternoon after they had returned from lunch on the water.
You can’t avoid me forever.
Oh, how true that was.
Bella rolled her eyes and Grace decided to give her a taste of her own medicine.
“And what about you? Should we start wedding planning the minute we get home then?”
“It was his one condition to have him turn me himself.” Bella shot back. Grace wasn’t expecting that.
“So you’re still on this whole immortal kick then?” Grace crossed her arms after popping a piece of gum into her mouth.
“I was never not on it. I know what I want,” Bella said determined.
“And I want a burrito, but it’s 7 in the morning.” Grace said with a little too much venom. She was starting to sound like Sam. Bella looked away from her, annoyed. Grace decided to call a truce, she wasn’t going to convince Bella not to become a member of the undead in an airport. “Can I at least see the ring?” she said more gently.
Bella looked over at her tentatively, thinking for a moment and then dug into her bag and pulled out an oversized ring box. Grace held her breath knowing it was going to be enormous. But she was pleasantly surprised.
When Bella revealed the ring to her, it was big, but the old fashioned and unique oval shape set with glittering diamonds was breathtaking and fit Bella so well.
“Holy fuck,” Grace said a little too loud. Bella snapped the case shut as they drew a look from an older man reading his newspaper a couple seats down from them. “Sorry, it’s beautiful.”
“Thanks. I still..am a little nervous about all of this,” Bella wrung her hands above her and Grace gave her a soft smile.
“I know. But you love him so…” she trailed off, not sure what else there was to say.
Grace had never thought about marriage growing up. Her parents were incredibly happy loving people and she had the best model for marriage, but throughout her life, she never envisioned herself as married. Now a soft feeling turned over in her stomach where she held onto a new idea that was starting to bloom there. One that she saw blooming in Bella too. It might be nice to call someone yours forever.
Their flight landed early that afternoon and both girls were giddy when they got off of the plane. It was their first time flying first class and they were buzzing off the high of a catered meal and sparkling cider.
As they came out of the terminal to baggage claim, they saw Edward standing there, his face fitted with a perfectly stretched smile when he saw Bella.
Bella actually dropped her backpack and ran toward him and into his arms. Grace picked up her bag and slung it over her free shoulder and trudged toward them. As she approached them, Edward pulled his face out from behind her hair and said:
“I brought you a present.”
“A present?” Grace cocked her head to the side confused as Edward took Bella’s back from Grace’s shoulder.
Rachel Black came strolling from around the baggage claim with their suitcases. Grace’s heart dropped into her stomach. Son of a bitch. Grace inwardly cursed and sucked in a quick breath. Was this Edward’s idea of some kind of a sick joke?
“Hey!” she said, trying to sound cheerful and shoving her hands in her back pockets. Edward saw the look of disappointment cross Grace’s face and suddenly felt like he’d made a mistake. Bella looked at Grace worriedly.
“Hey little Alo,” Rachel said, that same twinkling smile on her face. Seeing Rachel made her feel slightly sick which frustrated her even more. A dumb imprint, that Rachel wasn’t even in control of, was going to make her suddenly dislike a person she’d known almost her whole life? “I got to be honest with you, I’m not here just for me.”
Grace was confused and raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”
“I’ve been sent to take you to see your new home,” Rachel rolled her eyes but let out a little laugh. “Well, I think the exact instructions were to take you to my brother first and then the house second, but tomato, tomato.” She shrugged and Grace found herself fighting a smile. Same old Rachel, warm, but still took no shit.
“I hope that’s alright,” Edward said from the sidelines. “We’ll drop you off at your place.”
Rachel nodded and Grace let out a big sigh holding her arms out at her sides in a wide shrug.
Edward was able to drive Grace right up to her home since technically it wasn’t on the original treaty line that they had agreed to so many years ago. Tensions between the pack and the Cullens had ebbed slightly since the fight, so Sam was a little more lenient about where they could come on their land.
Grace, however, was completely floored when they pulled up. The old, falling down house had been given a facelift in her absence. A new thatched roof adorned the top of the house and a second level had been installed. A large circular window looked out toward the cove. Where the sagging porch had been a new one was installed that wrapped around the front of sides of the home. Tools were still scattered about and it was still being installed in some areas. They had painted her front door a dark mossy green and when Grace pushed it open, she thought she might faint.
The interior of the home was completely refinished. A small kitchen looked out over her spacious living room that Esme had expertly decorated to match her rustic, simple style. Her bedroom was on the second floor in the large loft that looked out over the cove and the back bedroom was converted into a pseudo indoor greenhouse with a desk and comfy, plush chairs. One wall was dedicated to an entire bookshelf that held an assorted collection of books.
Grace dropped her backpack in the back room and turned to Edward who was standing in her doorway. “This is incredible, thank you so much.” she couldn’t quite catch her breath.
“It’s the least we could do, considering everything you’ve done from my family and Bella.” Edward said softly before nodding and taking his leave. Bella gave her a hug before she left and said “Tell me how it goes with Jake” before joining Edward.
Rachel was sitting in the new living room waiting for Grace. “Sooo, what do you think?”
“It’s incredible,” Grace said plopping down on the soft linen sofa. “It’s too much but it’s incredible.”
“Naaah, you deserve this.” Rachel steadied Grace with a look and she shifted uncomfortably under her gaze. “I wanted to ask you….” here it comes “About the whole Paul thing.”
Grace felt an awful pang in her stomach rise up. No, not now.
“What about Paul?” Grace said nonchalantly and Rachel tilted her head knowingly at her.
“Don’t act like that, I know you.” Grace gave out a huff. “Sam said you two were pretty serious...before I showed up.” Rachel looked at her fingernails now not wanting to meet Grace’s gaze. Grace looked her over carefully trying to see what she was getting at.
“Yeah, we were together, so?”
“Don’t say ‘so’ like that. I’m asking if you’re okay.”
“Rach, what do you want me to say? Yes? Totally fine? Don’t think about him at all at night? Because that’s not the truth.” Grace looked over her shoulder out the open front door toward the cove. She wanted to disappear in this moment.
“I just...I know I screwed everything up, but I didn’t mean to. I didn’t even know.” Rachel looked at her now. Tears were welling up in Grace’s eyes. She felt her phone buzz in her pocket but momentarily ignored it.
“Why are you bringing all this up again? Are you and Paul going out or something?” she looked at Rachel now with a hurt, scornful look. She didn’t want to know the answer but she also couldn’t shy away from it now that Rachel was trying to gauge her reaction.
Rachel didn’t respond for awhile and picked at the skin on the tips of her finger. Grace watched her carefully and then nodded, “Right…” It was clear what Rachel was after now. Grace pulled her phone out of her pocket and looked at her most recent text message.
SMS Text—4:33 p.m.: Jake
Did you make it home okay?
Rach was supposed to bring you by an hour ago.
I need to talk to you.
Grace considered not responding, hightailing it out of there and swimming as far out into the ocean as her body would allow, but she didn’t want to be alone in this new pain that was becoming clear now that Rachel clearly wanted Paul. She typed a hasty reply.
I’m home, at the new place.
“Grace?” Rachel said looking at her now with a sad look on her face. “I don’t want you to be unhappy. You know how much you mean to me but I...the imprint makes it hard for me to…”
“Are you asking for my permission or something? Or my blessing?”
“No, I….” she took one look at Grace and switched topics suddenly, “What’s going on with you and my brother?”
Oh, so she wanted to play it like this? Grace was game. She stood up and walked over to her kitchen to pull down a green glass water cup and filled it with cold water from the sink. She took a drink and then turned to look at Rachel.
“Not the same thing that was going on with Paul if that’s what you’re asking.” Rachel winced and Grace immediately felt guilty.
“Grace, I’m….I’m so sorry,” her voice piqued with emotion and Grace felt immediately drawn to her. “I don’t know what to do here. Help me.” her eyes were pleading but Grace couldn’t find the words to make either of them feel better at the moment.
“You should go,” Grace said in a hard voice, Rachel’s face changed to one of disappointment, anger even, “Jake’s coming and if you don’t want to get your head bit off, then it’s best to head off now. So…” Grace trailed off refilling her water and staying away from Rachel.
She got to her feet and nodded, walking out the front door and heading off into the forest. Grace let out a frustrated groan as she wrapped her arm protectively around her stomach where the pain was still pulsing. She definitely didn’t expect Rachel to turn up at the airport and what’s more, she was not prepared to have a conversation about her and Paul dating. Grace knew the imprint was in play but it still hurt to think of Paul moving on so quickly. As she gripped the countertop and tried to hold herself together, a familiar voice echoed across the room as Jake made his way through the open door, shirtless and in his cut off jeans.
“Hey, you okay?” He was in front of her in an instant, his hands cupped under her cheeks and pulling her face up to look at her. Grace felt a calloused thumb move gently across her cheek and she took in a deep breath, letting her arm fall as she stood up straight. She grabbed his wrists and pulled his hands down off of her face in one movement.
“Yeah, fine.” She moved past him to go sit on the porch steps, suddenly needing a dose of fresh air. Jake tensed from the ease at which she pulled away and followed her shortly after.
He lowered himself down next to her on the front steps and watched her face for a second before looking out into the cove. “What did Rachel say?”
“It’s bullshit, Jake,” Grace let it out, “This imprint is the cruelest thing in the world. Because no one gets a choice. Why? Why do that to us when we already have so much to deal with? I don’t….” she choked a little, trying to swallow a sob. “I hope it never happens to me. I want a choice.”
Jake listened patiently and nodded his head, “I hear you.”
“Just...promise me something,” she looked at him seriously now and Jacob trained his eyes on her, even with her face red and puffy, lips parted, and hair flying around her, he thought she was beautiful. He desperately wanted to raise a hand to graze her cheek or pull her into him and kiss the top of her head until he felt her breath even out.
“Anything,” he said seriously.
“Promise me that when it happens to you, you’ll still be the same.” Her eyes were swimming with hurt just thinking about Jake being pulled away from her in any way. But still, she pushed down that ache in hopes of keeping herself whole.
“I promise, Grace. I won’t let you down.” His voice was soft, calm, and reassuring. The tension in her face melted right away when he looked at her like that and Jake knew that whatever she asked him, he would do.
She leaned her body against his, resting her head on his shoulder and he let out a sigh of relief.
“These last four days without you were not my best,” he admitted suddenly.
“What do you mean?” she mumbled, listening intently to the crash and roll of the sea.
“When you left, something in me stopped working. I felt….irritated. Like I was being pulled in a million different directions and I couldn’t sit still. Sam had to send me on rounds by myself a couple of nights because no one could stand to be around me and I don’t blame them.”
“That’s weird,” Grace said distractedly.
“Yeah….weird,” Jake said softly. Grace wrapped her arms around his bicep and scooted into him more.
“Are you hungry?”
Jake let out a laugh, “Always.”
They spent the evening prepping and cooking vegetables and chicken for burritos in Grace’s kitchen. Esme, delightfully, had stocked a part of Grace’s closet with extra men’s t-shirts and jeans for the pack in case they had ever phased nearby or needed something to change into. It was incredibly thoughtful and Grace hugged the black t-shirt to her body before coming down the stairs and tossing it at Jake. He laughed and eagerly put it on, returning to his chopping of the onions while Grace watched a pan of sizzling chicken breasts.
When she came over to supervise she gave out a short laugh.
“No, no Jacob. Diced, we need diced onions.”
“These are diced!” he protested. She pushed in front of him and gently took the knife from his hand to demonstrate.
“Slice this way, and then this way,” He was standing very close behind her and was looking around her. As Grace delicately chopped the onion, Jacob raised two tentative fingers and brushed back a swath of dark black hair that had fallen in front of her face. His fingertips gently brushed the side of her neck as he stroked the hair back behind her shoulder and peered from behind her to take in her work. Grace shivered, goosebumps rising on her neck and she suddenly felt very hot and very aware of his presence.
“Like that, okay?” she said, handing him the knife back. He gave her a mischievous smile and nodded.
They worked easily together, each reaching around the other for things, making jokes and laughing at something the other said. They opted to eat on the couch, cuddled up under a blanket and flipping on a movie to pass the time as the sun set. Jacob didn’t ask her once about the phone call and Grace was grateful.
Having Jake in the house made her whole body feel warm and in the back of her mind, she started dreading the time when he’d get up and leave. They talked late into the night, Grace laying her legs over Jake’s lap as she reclined on the couch.
She shared how good it was to see her mom, how she wanted her to see this place and know that she really was okay, so that she wouldn’t worry about her future. Jacob listened dutifully, his eyes always patient, kind, and open as she opened up about her fears and her dreams. He absently moved his hand up and down her thigh, pausing only when he was telling a story about his most recent night of rounds to emphatically show how he wanted to strangle Embry for something he said. Grace laughed at this and revelled at the sensation of warmth when he placed his hand back on her thigh. As the night wore on, they each drifted off to sleep peacefully on the couch.
Grace woke some time in the night to see Jake still there, his head leaning back against the couch and snoring softly. She gently picked her legs up off of him and strode to close her front door and turn off the lights. Then she gently leaned over him and placed a hand on his arm.
“Jacob.” she whispered and his eyes slowly opened looking around at the darkened room. “Come on.” she said running her hand down his arm and taking his hand. He yawned and stood as she guided him through the living room and up the stairs to her room. Once in her room, she let go of his hand and strode into her closet to change into some soft pajama shorts and a thin linen tank top. When she returned, Jake was taking off his shirt and folding his jean shorts, setting them on a chair in the corner of her room.
Grace crawled into bed and Jake nestled in beside her. Easily, they meshed into one another, Grace cuddling up into his left side, arm slung over his chest and head on his shoulder. Jacob wrapped an arm down her back and rested his hand on her waist, under her shirt to feel her skin on his. The moonlight filtered in above the bed and they fell back asleep almost instantly.
Grace didn’t know what it meant to have him here beside her just yet but she knew that she didn’t want him to leave. She had never felt so at peace before and decided as she drifted off that whatever awkwardness happened in the morning, she’d take it if it meant she could have this moment with him. She felt him lean over to kiss the top of her head before she let the sound of the waves and the rise and fall of his warm breath pull her into a deep sleep.
think it's very odd that the twilight renaissance awakened so many people as rosalie stans she brings absolutely Nothing but bitchiness and pettiness to the family. i don't even necessarily dislike her i just think she really doesn't bring anything to the family like literally any of the rest of them do.
she gets along with no one but emmett and spent the entirety of the series (movies and books) being an entire bitch (affectionate....). for her own reasons, sure, but a whole capital b Bitch.
her backstory is awful and she is allowed to be however she wants but her as a cullen is not. compelling to me. i don't think she belongs in the cullen clan/family. it's also weird emmett reminded her of her best friend's newborn and she decided that was her mate right then and there. idk. not a fan of rosalie as a cullen. i think she'd be a better denali or something. i don't see her as the sibling of jasper, alice, edward and bella. nor do i see her being an entirely good mate for emmett. and she definitely resents carlisle for turning her (which is,,, canon). we don't really see her have any sembalance of a relationship with esme either. i know a lot of people paint edward pre-bella as the odd one out but i cannot for the life of me get why it would be him, who is generally pleasant to his family, and not rosalie, who can barely be around any of them without snarking or getting an attitude. maybe it was because she was brought in specifically to be edward's mate and not because of any connection she had to esme, carlisle or edward. alice and jasper almost immediately bonded into the family and rosalie just did... not. emmett bonded pretty fast too as did bella.
long story short, i don't think rosalie fits as a hale/cullen/whatever you wanna call it. i don't know why. but it feels that way.
“Stay safe, okay? No cliff diving or swimming with sharks or trudging through alligator infested swamps,” Edward warned as he leaned down to press another kiss to Bella’s forehead. The terminal at Sea-Tac was bustling around them, not paying much attention to the odd trio.
“I will,” Bella said, “Stay safe I mean.” Edward gave her a gentle smile and looked to Grace.
“Got everything you need?” he asked.
“I think so,” Grace held up an ancient tome of Shakespeare’s collected works.
“Good, I’ll see you two in four days,” he let a dramatic sigh and Bella gave a laugh wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him again. Grace rolled her eyes and turned toward the gate waving a fruitless goodbye to the engrossed couple.
As they boarded the plane, Grace checked her phone before turning it off. Jake, as usual, had been MIA for the few days after her birthday when she turned him down not so subtly. She could tell from her rounds with Embry that he wasn’t taking it well but trying his best not to let it show. To her surprise, she had a new text. She tried to contain her excitement as she opened it.
SMS Text—8:32 a.m.: Paul
Have a safe flight.
“Whaaaat the fuck,” Grace groaned looking at her phone.
“What is it?” Bella said behind her. Grace snapped her phone shut and powered it down.
“Nothing.” Why was Paul texting her of all people! Of all people!?
Florida gave Grace an excuse to bust out her real summer wardrobe, one that she usually flaunted during the humid Oklahoma summers—crop tops and stringy tank tops and bralettes that she tried to tell her mom were bikini tops. Bella was a little overwhelmed by this suddenly exuberant, bare skinned version of Grace.
“Prude,” Grace teased her as she removed her spirit stone and laced a thin gold chain around her neck like a choker. It glittered against Grace’s perfectly sunkissed skin. The Florida sun was kind to Grace. Bella...not so much. Renee had slapped a giant wide brimmed sun hat on her on their first day there on the beach slathering her in sunscreen while Grace and her mother laid out in the sun.
“So, tell me about Edward,” Renee probed as they settled on the back porch of her bungalow that faced the silver sanded beach. The girls were each given a glass of white wine as a celebration for their graduation. Grace was already sneaking them extra glasses when she went back to the kitchen for a napkin, an ice cube, some lotion.
Bella’s explanation came in around the end of her second glass. “He’s…..” she looked at each woman for a moment and then with an exasperated huff she said, “He’s perfect. Really. I have no idea how this happened...to me.” Both Renee and Cherie let out little sighs of appreciation.
“Tell us more!” Cherie prompted. “What’s he like? What drew you to him? How did you two first meet?”
Grace smiled behind her third glass of wine and could only imagine the scene playing Bella’s head. What had drawn her to him? Mmm, the fact that he was a dangerously handsome and alluring vampire that had a thing for her blood? How did they meet? Oh, he saved her from getting smashed by a van and she just knew he was the one.
Bella looked to Grace for help, her mouth hanging open, not sure how to explain.
“They met in biology,” Grace replied easily, completely toasted, “Super romantic.”
“Biology is a very romantic subject. Huddled around a lab table. Dissecting frogs,” Renee teased.
“Mom,” Bella groaned.
“What?! He seems very nice from the very little that you tell me,” Renee said, giving her a smack on the arm.
“Tell me about it.” Cherie said, taking a sip of her wine.
“What does that mean?” Grace tested.
“Nothing, only that apparently you had a boyfriend out in La Push for like two months and I had no idea until you two had broken up. What was his name,” Cherie snapped her fingers together multiple times trying to recall his name, “Uh...uh.”
“Paul, mom,” Grace said, annoyed and downing the rest of her glass. She got up to get another, not even offering an excuse this time.
“Paul! Paul Lahote!” Cherie said triumphantly, “I knew the Lahote family when I was there. Nice people. Well, except for the dad. Jeremy? Jerry? He had a bit of an anger problem.”
Grace rolled her eyes in the kitchen and filled her glass close to the rim.
“My relationship with Paul is not...was not like Bella and Edward’s. They are madly in love with one another. We were just hanging out,” Grace said, shooting Bella an uncomfortable look. Bella watched her face and knew that that wasn’t true.
“Well you still could have told me,” Cherie said a little disheartened.
“Sorry, will do next time.” Grace said dismissively.
“What about Billy’s son? Jacob?” Cherie offered.
“Mom, no.” Grace groaned.
“What!? Charlie said you two were hanging out and I didn’t know if it was the same kind of hanging out that you do with Paul or?” She waggled her eyebrows at her daughter. Grace couldn’t help but laugh.
“Mom stop!” Grace said a smile cracking across her face, “It’s not like that. And anyway, we’re talking about Edward and Bella.” She motioned to Bella.
“There’s not really much else to tell, we’re together, we’re happy, I hope that continues….forever,” Bella breathed.
Renee looked at her daughter carefully and patted her thigh. The rest of the evening was spent talking about colleges, plans for the future, Cherie’s upcoming interview, and Renee’s adjustment to Florida life.
At a little past 1 a.m., Bella and Grace turned into bed and told their mom’s to leave the dishes for the morning. The two women had their arms around each other and were singing an old Fleetwood Mac song at one another and Grace gave a delighted snort.
“Cute.” She poured the half glass of wine left in the bottle into her glass and followed Bella to bed. Grace was definitely drunk. She had probably coasted through an entire bottle of wine by herself tonight without her mother knowing. Something about that gave her a freeing sensation. Bella went to the bathroom to shower and left Grace alone with her thoughts.
The words that her mother had mentioned at dinner swirled around in her head.
What was his name? Paul! That’s right! Paul Lahote.
Grace tried to shake her head of her last memory of her and Paul alone. He had undressed her and though he tried his best not to look, she could feel his burning gaze all over her. Now, in her drunken state it annoyed her.
What about Billy’s son? Jacob?
Grace let out an audible groan. Of course her mother would know about Jake. And what was worse, she knew her mother could see that she had blushed profusely at his name. A dead giveaway.
Why was this all so complicated? Did her ancestors have a death wish for her? Was this supposed to bring her some sort of triumph over adversity thing? Or was she truly just meant to be miserable forever? And why did she feel like she was doing this alone?
Her eyes lazily landed on her phone plugged in on the nightstand.
“Fuck this,” Grace said, grabbing her phone and dropping it on the floor accidentally before scooping it up, downing the rest of her glass and finding the right contact in her phone.
“Hello?” It was late here but it was only after 10 p.m. back in Forks. Of course he’d be awake.
“You really piss me off, you know that?” Grace said pointing to the air in front of her.
“You have the absolute audacity to look at me the way that you do on a daily basis and think I won’t notice? You stare. STARE at me and I can see it you know? Some people would say that’s pretty creepy, that’s pretty stalker-ery of you, yah know?”
“Grace, are you drunk?”
“Listen to me! I know how this is supposed to go. Guy meets girl, girl falls for guy and then a bunch of stupid shit happens and now guy’s like ‘Hey, I’m gonna stare at you from afar and not fucking talk to you won’t that drive you crazy?’ And it does! It does! You did it. Congrats. You did it. It’s driving me crazy.”
“Grace, calm down for a sec—”
“Don’t tell me to calm down! Do I need to hold a sign? Helloooo, Do you need me to spell it out for you?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking—”
“Yeah right, you know. You know. You’ve known this whole time. You’ve talked to Ti’Hal, you know.”
“Grace, let’s just talk about this when you get home.”
“No! I want to talk about it right now. I want to tell you what I’ve been thinking these past three weeks. The thing I couldn’t say and up until now, I didn’t know if I should, but I’m gonna and you’re gonna hear it buddy. You hear me?!”
“Grace what are you doing?” Bella came out of the bathroom and was wrapped in a robe, her hair up in a towel, “Who’s on the phone?”
“Hold on, Bella’s here.” Grace turned drunkenly to Bella stumbling a little. “I’m just gonna tell him.” She said confidently, shaking the phone and slurring her speech now.
“Grace, let’s go to bed. Give me the phone,” Bella approached her like she was a rabid animal, knowing she needed to get that phone away from her before she made a mistake.
“I’m just gonna tell him!” Grace turned to yell into the phone, but Bella was quick, “I’m in love with you! You complete fucking—” the phone was already knocked out of her hands and Bella had slammed it shut.
“Are you nuts?!” Bella said, laughing a little.
“Probably,” Grace sighed sitting on her bed and flopping back onto the pillows.
“I’m holding onto this until morning,” Bella said, putting it in her robe pocket. But Grace was already asleep. Bella popped open her phone to look at the last outgoing call. Unsurprised, Bella gave a short laugh at the name glowing from the small screen: Jacob.
The next morning, Grace woke up to a splitting headache and an overwhelming thirst. She dragged herself up out of bed and splashed cold water her face before brushing her teeth and changing into a fresh set of clothes for the day.
As she wandered down into the kitchen, she found Bella washing up last night’s dishes at the sink.
“Goooood morning, drunk dialer,” Bella said, “Drink that, and take those.” She nodded to a talk glass of water on the counter and a couple of pills.
“Nice,” Grace said. “What do you mean drunk dialer? Have you seen my phone?” Grace chugging the water and swallowing the pills. Bella produced Grace’s phone from her back pocket and set it on the counter.
“I’d wait until you rehydrate before checking those texts.” Bella warned.
“What?” Grace grabbed her phone, weak memories coming back to her from last night. She pulled her phone toward her desperately and pulled it open quickly navigating to her inbox.
SMS Text—1:23 a.m.: Jacob
Grace, call me back. I need to talk to you.
I know you’re drunk but I thought you said...
Just call me back,
SMS Text—1:43 a.m.: Jacob
I’m sorry I’ve been staring at you, I like you.
Or don’t. Just call me back so we can talk.
SMS Text—1:47 a.m.: Jacob
You’re unbelievable you know?
You get drunk 2,000 miles away where I can’t get to you to drop this?
SMS Text—2:03 a.m.: Jacob
Text me or call me when you wake up.
We need to talk about this.
Grace threw her head back and groaned: “Fuuuuu—morning mom!” Her mother came around from behind her.
“Good morning my only daughter.” She planted a kiss on her cheek.
“You say only daughter like you have another daughter hidden away in a basement somewhere.” Grace grumbled.
“Are you two ready to go kayaking in the Everglades? Renee’s quite the thrill seeker.” Cherie ignored her and looked to Bella.
“Yeah, should be fun!” Grace said, perking up. She pocketed her phone and resolved to bury her head so deep in the swamp that an alligator would surely come and tear her to pieces so she’d never have to face Jacob again.
Floating in the kayak was peaceful. Grace let herself drift down the thread of water choked by duckweed and low hanging spanish moss, the morning sun glittering on the water. Ahead, Renee and Cherie were chuckling about something and Bella was gliding quietly next to her.
Lost in her reverie, she didn’t realize Bella was next to her until their kayaks bonked together.
“Ooh, sorry,” Bella apologized, trying to steer herself straight. “Kayaks aren’t meant for the uncoordinated.” Grace laughed and gave the back of her kayak a nudge forward. “Thanks.”
“Yeah,” Grace said simply letting the sound of the water against her paddle lull her into another reverie. But it was short lived.
“So, do you want to talk about what happened last night?” Bella said, giving her a knowing look. Grace internally groaned.
“Not much to say that you didn’t already hear,” Grace said while she weaved her kayak around a particularly dense patch.
“Mmm I think there’s more to say. You’re in love with Jacob...but you don’t want to be with him because?” Bella prompted. Grace was silent, her eyes on the water, “He’s crazy about you you know. Even when you thought there was something going on between us..which to be fair he did have a crush on me for awhile...but even back then, you’d always come up in our conversations. In everything. He’d always ask about you.”
Grace had tried to block those early days out. The ones where she was so furiously drawn to Jacob and her stomach would flare angrily when she overhead him and Bella talking.
“It’s not as easy as just saying I’m in love with you.” Grace finally said.
“You had no trouble saying it last night when you were wasted,” Bella joked, ducking her head just in time to not get slapped in the face by moss. Grace shook her head.
“You don’t get it,” Grace said, “I’ve already done the heartbreak thing once. You were there, remember?” Bella gave her a pained look as she continued, “For whatever fucked up reason, my ancestors think it’s pretty funny to have no one imprint on me or me imprint on anyone, but I still get to fall in love with them. Do you know how excruciatingly awful it is knowing you love someone who can and would leave you if someone they were meant to be with came along? That you could never measure up to? Because of some impossibly, supernatural standard?” Grace was desperate now.
“Yes,” Bella said softly, casting her eyes down. Grace stopped at this. That made sense.
“Of course,” she said, “Bella, I didn’t mean it like that but, you can see why I’m hesitating to jump into anything with Jake. Not to mention, Paul and I just broke up like 3 seconds ago and I’m still trying to figure all of this,” she gestured to her whole body, “out.” Grace let out an exasperated breath. “It’s exhausting. And the worst part is….” she paused here not sure if she wanted to go there. But why shouldn’t she? Bella drifted in front of her, looking at her calmly, openly. Bella wouldn’t begrudge her her feelings, nor was she in danger of unwillingly sharing them with Jake since her mind was protected from Edwards.
She could tell her this here, in this calm swamp away from everyone, “The worst part is, I so so so want to be with him. Everything in my body, absolutely every part of me wants him. It’s terrifying thinking you’re staring at your stupid soul mate but knowing that they’ll be snatched away from you any second. I can’t live through that. Not with Jake. If we were happy and he--,” she choked here and took a minute to stop and compose herself, moving forward, her voice hard, “and he left, willingly or unwillingly, I don’t think I could come back from that. So I can’t risk it Bella, I can’t. And it hurts so much every single day to hold that resolve. It feels like it’s going against everything to hold myself back. But I just...can’t.”
After a few minutes paddling forward together, Bella looked at her sadly and nodded, “Okay.” Grace gave her nod, “I understand.”
“Good, now let’s talk about something else.” Grace bumped her boat into Bella’s.
“Well, since we’re sharing secrets…” Bella looked down shyly and Grace’s eyes shot toward her, “Edward asked me to marry him.”
“WHAT?!” Grace shouted as she rocked her kayak dangerously. Their mother’s who were further down the way looked over their shoulders and called out: “Are you okay?”
“Yeah! I think she saw a snake!” Bella called back. “Chill!” she said to Grace laughing. In a hushed voice Grace said:
“Marry?! As in til death do us part, rings and bells?” Bella nodded enthusiastically. “Woah.”
“Tell me about it.” Bella replied.
“So what did you say!? Did you say yes?! You’re 18!”
“I know I’m 18.” Bella replied, a tinge of annoyance not targeted at Grace layered in her voice. “And it’s not the first time he’s asked me. This is like a regular thing with him.”
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?” Grace said splashing her paddles around her dramatically.
“Grace!” Bella said, darting her eyes toward their mothers again who were laughing and paddling a ways up.
“This isn’t the first time?! What is he a glutton for matrimony?” Grace pulled a face and Bella laughed.
“I don’t know, maybe.”
“SO?! What did you say this time?” Grace begged now.
“I said….I said yes.” Bella said barely over the sound of splashing water with a shy smile on her face.
“Oh my GOD! BELLA!” Grace smacked her boat with her paddle.
“Girls!” Cherie called back to them.
“Yeah! Coming!” Bella called back as she tried her best to paddle away. Grace was after her in a second yelling “We’re not done talking about this!”
It was their last night and Grace was cuddled up on an outdoor sofa under a soft blanket with her mom. Grace was thumbing through her Shakespeare collection and her mom was finishing a crossword.
After a serene silence that Grace recognized as a common occurrence between the two of them, she heard her mom set down her pencil and look over at her.
“How have you been? Really, I mean.” Grace looked over at her slowly. This was a weird turn. Could her mom sense something was up? Grace squirmed a little and her heartbeat picked up.
“Fine, really. Forks is great and like I said, the council gifted me that run down house that I’m fixing up so it’s going well.” Grace repeated the same status update she had given her mother on their first day.
“But...I know it was hard for you to return to all of that...without your dad, I mean,” Cherie spoke quietly now.
“Mom.” Grace said softly coming closer to give her a hug, “It really has been okay. I’ve found a great family out there and it’s been good being back on the rez.”
Cherie clasped her hands around Grace’s shoulder and pulled her tight to her.
“I just worry about you Little Bird,” she whispered and kissed the top of her head. That had to be a coincidence. Grace sucked in a deep breath and looked up at her mother.
“I’m okay….really,” she said this gently but meant it. Tears were in her mom’s eyes and she nodded. “Get a grip mom,” Grace laughed and Cherie echoed her.
“I just miss you.” Cherie said.
“You’re always welcome to come and stay. And I’ll visit more,” Grace promised. Cherie was satisfied with this and pulled her back into a hug, rocking her gently as the waves crashed off the shore. Grace was almost whole.
Word Count: 2,542 Felix x OC Oneshot Warnings: Angst, fluff
December 31st – Confrontation of Renesmee
Once it had been declared that Renesmee is not an immortal child, Irina was ripped apart and burned for providing a false allegation to the Kings.
Alice shows Aro a vision of what will happen if he decides to fight the Cullens and the Wolves “Now you know, that’s your future…unless you decide on anther course” “We cannot alter our course, the child still poses a great threat” Caius says to Aro “What if she can remain hidden from the human world, can we go in peace?” Edward asks “Of course, but that cannot be known” Caius replies “Actually it can” Edward cuts him off as Nahuel and Huilen break through the tree line and walk towards the Volturi. “I have been searching for witnesses of my own…” Caius cuts Alice off “We have enough witnesses” “Let him speak brother” Aro says, silencing Caius. “I am like the child, half human / half vampire. A vampire seduced my mother, who died giving birth to me. My aunt Huilen raised me as her own. I made her immortal” Nahuel advises everyone. They learn that Nahuel can survive on both blood and human food and after seven years he became full grown and hasn’t changed since.
Aro appears convinced all is well, and there’s no danger in allowing Renesmee to live. However, Edward reads Caius’ mind and discovers he isn’t as convinced as Aro and without thinking he trades Renesmee’s life / freedom for that of Bella’s sister. “If we traded you Felix’s mate for Renesmee’s life would you allow us to leave and live in peace?” Edward asks looking at Caius. “What? I don’t have a mate” Felix says looking confused “You do, you just haven’t met her” Edward replies “And you have?” Felix retorts “Yes actually. Her name is Annabelle, she’s Bella’s sister” Alice answers this time and shock washes over everyone’s faces. “We would need to confirm that they are mates first” Caius replies, Edward nods “You can meet her today, she’s at home.” Caius looks at his brothers for a moment, before glancing over at Felix, who still looks shocked and nodded at Edward.
“Does your sister know about vampires?” Aro asks curiously “She found out recently, but it couldn’t be helped” Bella replied, Caius glared at them “You like breaking that basic law of ours, don’t you Edward?” “Actually, I let it slip” Alice interjected, smiling at Aro “That’s quite alright my dear, no harm done really. She was due to find out anyway, given that she is Felix’s mate” Aro replied with a smile, Caius rolled his eyes.
Aro sent the majority of the guards back to the plane, keeping Demetri, Felix and the twins with him, Caius and Marcus. “How do you feel about meeting your mate after centuries of being alone?” Demetri asked low “I should be happy, I know…but this doesn’t seem right D. This isn’t how I thought I’d meet her.” Demetri nodded and sympathised with his friend because he too didn’t agree that this was the ideal way to meet one’s mate.
“You know she is not going to be happy with either of you for doing this” Alice says looking at Edward and Bella. “My daughter’s life was on the line. What was I meant to do?” Edward replied “Oh I don’t know, maybe not trade in Annabelle’s life” Jasper pointed out “She’s innocent in all this and you’ve just handed her over to them like it’s nothing” Rosalie added, sounding a little upset. “They’re mates! They were bound to meet sometime” Edward shouts “This isn’t the best way though is it son?” Carlisle asks “And Bella, you’re awfully quiet, what do you think of Edward’s deal?” Tanya called out “It had to be done” Bella replied. “Let’s hope your sister is more loyal than you are” Tanya responded.
Carlisle motioned for Felix to approach him, Aro nodded and walked alongside him towards Carlisle and Esme “Everything ok Carlisle?” Aro asked “Yes, I just wanted to give Felix some advice” Esme replied low, Felix nodded “Be patient with her, she hasn’t known about our world for long and is likely to be upset, angry even at this situation” She added “I understand” Felix replied with a nod.
Bella and Edward go inside the Swan house to speak with Annabelle and tell her what they did and all hell breaks loose. The three Kings and the four elite guards stood in the back garden of the Swan house listening to the conversation between Bella, Edward and Annabelle, Caius finding the girl intriguing…for a human.
“You traded my life for hers? How dare you? You had no right!” Annabelle screams at Edward “They would have killed her…” Bella tries to explain “THAT’S NOT MY PROBLEM!” Annabelle interrupts loudly “You don’t understand...” Bella tries again “NO! YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND. I’M NOT GOING!” Annabelle screams “YOU DON’T HAVE A CHOICE!” Edward shouts back “ONLY BECAUSE YOU TOOK THAT AWAY FROM ME! YOU HAD NO RIGHT!” Annabelle continues to scream at Edward “I have a life; I have things I want to do with my life and being mated to a vampire is not part of my life plan. So, the deal is off!” Annabelle goes to walk away but Bella grabs her “OW!” Annabelle screams “He’s outside waiting for you. You leave tonight” Bella said, nodding towards the back yard and keeping hold of her sister’s arm “You need to go pack” Bella adds. Annabelle pulls her arm free of Bella’s hold and walks to the living room “I don’t care what deal that ginger prick and my sister made, but I am not coming with you. They had no right to trade my life for their daughter’s” Annabelle shouts, knowing they can hear her.
“I will not make her come with us by force. It isn’t fair to her or me” Felix says looking at the Kings “The mate bond doesn’t work that way my dear boy. You know that” Marcus says softly “I haven’t actually seen her; we’ve not actually met one another so there is no bond in play” Felix replies, Marcus turns to look at him “So you’re telling me you don’t feel a pull towards her...seeing as you’re in such close proximity to one another?” “Not really…but that might be due to her…reaction to the news” Felix replied, sounding unsure of himself, Marcus shook his head “We’ll see.”
“If you don’t go with him now, you’ll end like how I was when Edward left me” Bella said “No I won’t. I haven’t actually met him. I can’t miss someone I don’t know, genius” Annabelle retorts “She’s a feisty little human. I like her already” Demetri says sounding both amused and impressed not caring that Bella and Edward could hear him.
“You know what once I’m changed, I’m going to come back here and RIP YOU ALL APART!” Bella’s mouth falls open in shock “Caius won’t be happy with you” Edward says “Ha – I’ll just tell him it’s a newborn thing and he’ll just be happy I didn’t slaughter an entire village of humans and expose us. Let’s face it, he doesn’t like you two much anyway, so I’ll be doing him a favour really” Annabelle adds smiling.
“I like the girl. I’m going to go claim her” Caius says entering the house, missing the confused look on Felix’s face. “Don’t worry Felix, he didn’t mean it how it sounded” Marcus assured him. Caius enters the house and grabs Annabelle around the waist before an incident occurs as she was standing face to face with Bella. “You’re coming home with us” Caius said in her ear and she struggled in his arm “Put me down now” Annabelle told him “If you come quietly now, I’ll have the elite guards bring you back here as a newborn to follow up on the promise of ripping these two traitor’s heads off” She stopped moving and looked over her shoulder at him “You promise?” “Yes. I promise. I may even come to watch” Caius replied grinning “Fine. I’ll come quietly…but if you break your promise, it’ll be your head I rip off. Understand?” She glared at him “I understand and I will not break my promise, as you said I don’t like them anyway. You killing them means one less problem for me” He smiled at her.
“Wow. She threatened Caius and got away with it. Now I’m impressed” Jane smiled looking up at Felix, his face paled “She’s going to be a handful” He muttered “I know, I can’t wait” Demetri smiled wide, excitement shining in his red eyes and he patted his friend on the back. “It’s going to be an interesting year” Aro said just as Caius came out of the house carrying Annabelle. “Annabelle these are my brothers Aro and Marcus, we rule the vampire world together” “It’s nice to meet you both. My apologies for the…er…scene in there but it was abit of a shock to learn that my life had been ‘traded’ for their daughter’s” “That’s quite all right, my dear. We actually found it rather…refreshing” Aro replied smiling.
Once on the Volturi’s private plane Caius introduces Annabelle to Felix, Demetri, Jane and Alec. “Annabelle, these four are our Elite Guards, Demetri, our resident Tracker, Felix who’s our Executioner” Annabelle gulped and took a small step back, something that Felix noticed and he frowned slightly. “These two are Jane and Alec. They’re twins and are both gifted like Demetri” Caius added. “It’s nice to meet you all” Annabelle smiled at them “Likewise” Demetri replied “Are you curious who your mate is?” Caius asked “Yeah I guess, I hadn’t really thought about it” Annabelle replied “Ok then Annabelle, you are mated to Felix” Annabelle looked between Felix and Caius “That Felix?” “Yes, we only have one Felix…that I am aware of” Caius mused “You’re sassing me? Really?” She asked staring at Caius “When you ask an obvious question, you’re going to get a sassy remark” He replied and started to walk towards his seat “Is he like Edward?” Caius raised an eyebrow at her, the four elite guards turned to look at them “Is he controlling and possessive? Because if he is, this isn’t going to work. I am not Bella. I won’t be told what I can do, where I can go and who I can talk to” She replied “No, he is not like Edward. Although, all vampires are protective of their mates, seeing as we only get one and that can sometimes come across as possessive” Caius replied “Good. That’s something at least” Annabelle said low.
Annabelle sat down beside Felix “So…mate, how soon can I become immortal and go back kill my sister and her husband?” Demetri choked back a laugh as Felix took a deep unneeded breath “As soon as you feel ready to be changed” Felix replied “Great. Bite me” Annabelle said as she pulled her hair to one side and tilted her neck to give him access. Felix looked at Annabelle and then to Demetri who was sitting on his other side “Is she serious D?” “It would seem so Fe” He replied “Come on Felix. Bite me” “Annabelle…I…” “Demetri, will you bite me please?” She cut Felix off, Demetri smiled “Be my pleasure sweetheart” He stood up and watched as Annabelle turned to face him, he leant down and inhaled her scent “You smell nice” He whispered against the shell of her ear “Thank you…I think” Demetri carefully tilted her head a little more as his mouth filled with venom and just as he was about to bite her, he felt a strong hand on his arm “If you bite her D, I’ll have your head” Felix growled and Demetri smiled at him and sat back in his seat “See Felix you do want to bite me” Annabelle smiled and Felix sighed “I will turn you myself, but please wait till we get home. I’d like to spend the ten-hour flight getting to know you, not watch you writhe in pain” He said softly “Fine I’ll wait. But if you wuss out on me, I will let Demetri turn me” Annabelle told him before smiling at Demetri “I’ll be ready if / when you need me sweetheart” Demetri smiled back at her and Felix growled low.
They land in Volterra and once back at the castle they begin to make preparations for Annabelle’s transformation. Felix asks Alec and Demetri to be in the room with him when he turns his mate. “Demetri, Alec please be the room with me when I change Annabelle, I may need you both to stop me from killing her, if I don’t stop on my own. After all I have never turned anyone before” “Of course Felix, I will strip your senses away to allow Demetri to pull you away from her without ripping her throat out” Alec replied and Demetri nodded “Of course I’ll be there to help Fe.”
Annabelle woke up three days later and her eyes instantly found Felix’s and she ran straight into his arms “Thank you Felix” “You’re welcome mi amore” Felix replies as he gently cups her face in his large hands and presses his lips to her forehead.
Jane spoke to Annabelle about changing her plan for revenge on her sister and Edward. “Annabelle, I have an idea regarding your plan for revenge” “Ok Jane, I’m listening” She replied turning to face her. “Revenge is a dish best served cold and I think we should have fun with them first…” “What were you thinking sister?” Alec cut her off “I think we should play around with Alice’s visions a little, make the decision to go and see Bella and Edward, then decide not to go or just not turn up at all. Leave it a little while and make the decision to go to them again…” “Play mind games with them?” Annabelle interrupted “Exactly, that will irritate them, maybe even drive them mad” Jane replied smiling, a wicked glint in her eyes “I like that plan because when we do finally go and exact revenge, they will not see it coming” Annabelle responded with a wicked smile “We will all be by your side when the time comes mi amore” Felix added and wrapped his arm around her.
The next few decades were amusing to the Volturi but frustrating to the Cullens. Demetri tracked the Cullens as they moved around every so many years and took great pleasure in sending them a ‘Welcome to your new home’ card.
Finally, when Annabelle did decide to pay her sister a visit, Caius accompanied her and the four elite guards but instead of beheading Bella and Edward as originally planned all those years ago, they gave them a ‘new home’ present consisting of recently dead small woodland creatures “For you” Caius and Annabelle said together, both sporting a wicked grin on their lips and watched as shock washed over the faces of the Cullens. “We’ve bought you a welcome to your new home meal” Caius added smiling. “Revenge is sweet, sister” Annabelle told Bella with a smile before leaving the house to return to Volterra with her family.
Grace had no idea how or when she made it home. The rest of the day was a blur or spent unconscious or spent recasting to the stupid, same old place in the middle of the forest.
The next conscious moment she recalled with clarity was waking up in her bed to muffled voices: Edward and Bella. The last thing she clearly heard was Bella saying “—tried everything! He’s not answering.” before Edward gently hushed her indicating that Grace was awake.
She knew they were talking about her but didn’t care and as she drifted off back to sleep, she heard Edward mutter, “We’ll find him.”
Grace woke the next morning, the day before the fight was expected to happen, and felt oddly lighter. She didn’t feel better, but a weight had lifted off of her. Maybe seeing Paul had been a good thing and she could work on letting him go too. At this thought though, Grace sucked in a painful breath and took her time getting up and out of bed. Too soon.
Once out of bed, she pulled her long hair out of her face into a presentable ponytail, some jean shorts and a white baggy t-shirt. She headed down the steps to the smell of breakfast cooking in the kitchen. As she rounded the corner, Charlie sat at the little dining table finishing his breakfast, decked out in his fishing gear. Sue Clearwater was packing their provisions into a small cooler to take with them on their 2-day trip to Fraser River to get them out of the area for the fight. Bella was taking no chances.
Grace leaned against the door frame and crossed her arms watching Bella push a massive amount of scrambled eggs around in the pan. Bacon was cooking on the back stove, she must have cooked an entire slab, the pan was overflowing.
“Hey,” Grace said in a small voice.
“Hey! You’re up! Hungry?” Bella gestured to the food. Grace nodded lightly and eyed the pan.
“That’s a lot of food,” Grace raised an eyebrow.
“Good, cos I’m starving,” a warm, comforting voice carrying a hint of a smile came from the other side of the kitchen that connected into the living room.
“Jacob.” Grace whispered, her eyes connecting with his before bounding over to him and crashing her body into his. She wrapped her arms around his upper chest and under his arms like a child hugs an adult, but she didn’t care. Everything had felt so cold since she and Paul had separated and now, warmth rushed through her body causing her to shiver with relief.
Jacob eagerly wrapped his arms over her shoulders and down around her back, leaning forward to whisper softly in her ear, “You okay?”
Grace tried so hard to hold it together in that moment but she couldn’t help a sob from escaping her throat. She clasped her hand around her right wrist behind his back and pulled tightly into him, trying to squelch any sounds from escaping her lips with his body. Her tears wetted his dark blue shirt and he just held her there gently swaying her back and forth.
“You got this?” Charlie put a hand on Jake’s shoulder as he held his tackle box in his other hand.
“I got this,” Jake said confidently.
Charlie smoothed Grace’s hair down absently for a moment and then headed toward the door.
“Have fun!” Bella called behind them.
“We will!” Sue said to the sound of the screen door clapping shut behind them. Grace took deep steady breaths as she continued to hold onto Jake, loosening her grip ever so slightly and laying her left cheek to his clothed chest. Her body had ached so long for that warmth and she felt something in her mending ever so slightly. She didn’t feel whole just yet, but Jake being there took some of the pain off of her that she had tried so hard to release when she saw Paul yesterday.
“Let’s eat, yeah?” he said and dipped his head to look at her face. She nodded, still breathing heavily, tears having stained her cheeks despite her best efforts. Jacob cupped her right cheek in his hand and wiped the tears with his calloused thumb before giving her a reassuring smile. He walked her over to the kitchen table and she slumped into the chair across from him. Bella set some plates down in front of each of them and spread jam across her toast, taking a seat facing the small window. Grace looked at her food for a second still trying to come back down for her emotional high. Things swam in front of her, her head foggy.
“Grace, eat.” Jake said before digging in, giving her a worried look. She straightened up a little and moved over her plate, slowly taking bites and sitting back in her chair to chew. When she looked to her right over Bella’s shoulder, Edward was sauntering in.
“That’s new,” he said, gesturing to Grace eating. “Took you long enough.” He jabbed at Jake.
Jacob returned the comment with a scathing look. “You know you didn’t have to tackle me. If I’d known I was being summoned, I would have come.”
“Keep your phone on then and I won’t have to come looking for you next time.” Edward said jovially.
“Anyways, the plan is to get you two into the mountains. Seth will be there as a guard, but with Bella’s scent placed everywhere in the clearing, it shouldn’t be difficult to keep the vampires there.”
“Wait what?” Grace said, trying to clear the fog in her brain.
“We need Bella away from the area, but not so far enough away that I can’t get to her if I need to,” Edward replied smoothly. Bella watched Grace’s face carefully.
“You’ll need to recast you and Bella to the location,” Jake said, staring at her seriously. Grace looked from Edward to Jake.
“So you’re going to leave her there with Seth?” Grace felt dumb. “No offense but if something were to get to Bella, Seth isn’t the best defense just yet.”
“You’ll be there to protect her. If danger pops up, you can easily recast her away to another location.” Edward said simply.
“That doesn’t make any sense. I’ll be in the clearing with everyone else,” the fog persisted but she was slowly coming to a realization.
“No.” Jake said firmly, “You won’t. We’re not risking you to an army of newborn vampires. You’ll be away, safe in an isolated location with Bella.”
“The fuck I am,” Grace said dropping her fork with a clatter on her plate.
“Grace,” Bella pleaded.
“No. I’m not letting you guys do this without me. Edward can stay with Bella,” Grace pointed at Edward, like a child accusing a sibling. He let out a scoff. Jake glared at Grace. “What?!” she said, voice raised. Okay, she was a little emotionally uneven right now, she’d admit, but that wasn’t an excuse to box her out of the fight.
“Forgot how stubborn you were,” Jake said casually, returning to shovelling eggs and bacon into his mouth. Grace rolled her eyes and looked back to Edward.
“I’ll get her there but I’m not staying, so figure something else out.” Grace said definitively, crossing her arms.
“You’ll have to talk to Sam then,” Edward replied, digging in his heels and keeping his voice curt.
“Oooh, I’m so scared.” Grace taunted. Bella had her head in her hands now. “I can do more than just recast you know.” Jake looked at her suddenly giving her a warning look. Edward waited to hear more but Grace decided not to offer additional information, squirming a little under Jake’s look.
“Grace, I’d feel better if you were with me. I don’t want you in the fight as much as Edward, but at least if you’re there I’ll know we’re safe together.” Bella said softly. Grace rested her eyes on her uncrossing her arms and leaning forward to Bella.
“I understand, but I can’t leave them out there,” she motioned to Jake.
“You can and you will,” Jake said between mouthfuls. Grace glared at him. Now she was careening toward annoyance at his presence even though when he left she knew the cold would return. “Because Sam’s gonna make you.” Jake gave her a knowing, harsh look.
Grace tightened at this, her whole body starting to shake and shimmer. Her emotions were on a hairpin trigger as it were. She heard an echo of her name as someone, maybe Jake, maybe Bella, called out to her before she recast. Then, she was in the same thicket of wood she’d ended up in the past few days.
She was standing in the fern covered ground, as if she had just been dropped there. She threw her head back and let out a low groan:
“Uuuuugh, why?! Why am I here?” she asked no one.
Fine. If something was bringing her here, she needed to figure out what it was. She surveyed the densely vegetated area and picked a direction, taking large steps over the choke of ferns, vines, and brush. Grace could hear the ocean nearby and the birds trilled and dove above her high in the trees. After a few minutes walking through the trees, she came to a clearing.
Grace audibly gasped. The clearing she had come into was actually a cove. She faced the side of an old dilapidated house that faced out toward the lapping waves in the large oval shaped cove. She stepped out of the brush toward the moss covered home. The roof was sagging on one side and it definitely had weathered more than one storm.
Grace came around to the front of the home and tentatively tested the porch steps. It led up to a wide and deep covered porch. It seemed okay but she tread lightly anyway. The house was on the small side but breathtaking with wide old windows laid into the front that reflected the ocean at her. She tried the door and it swung open easily.
When she crossed the threshold, she felt that familiar rush move through her that she now recognized as a signal of change, a shift in her destiny, the page turning. She took a deep breath and stood in the doorway all at once feeling alone, but home.
Grace zipped close the duffel bag she was meant to bring with her to the campsite.
“You know where you’re going?” Sam said standing next to her in the clearing. Bella was finishing up rubbing her blood on everything and Grace grimaced at the coppery smell that lingered around.
“Yes.” she said with a huff, shouldering the bag and looking up at him. She zipped up her coat. Even in the warm May weather, it would be quite a bit cooler up the mountain.
“Just listen for Jake’s voice and you’ll be able to see if a threat is coming, okay?” Sam said, fully acknowledging that she was more directly linked with Jacob from afar than him.
“Okay. Anything else?” Grace said. He’d already given her the Alpha order that she wasn’t allowed to join the fight under any circumstances. To which she had almost lunged at him for before Jacob put a hand defensively around her. He waited for her to look at him in the eyes before he said.
“Nope, just stay put with Bella until we give the all clear. Understood?” He thought he’d just toss on an extra dose of the alpha just in case the first one hadn’t sunk in. Grace bit the inside of her cheek, irritated and gave a curt.
“Mmmhmm,” before turning to see Jake and Bella approaching. Edward left his family’s group to come and say goodbye to Bella.
“Ready?” Jake said. Grace, hands on her hips nodded again and Jake ran a hand down her arm before nodding at her, “Everything’s going to be okay.” He hesitated before jogging off with Sam to look at her just a little bit longer. Grace held back the emotion threatening to spill out and bounced her leg nervously.
“I know. Be careful,” she edged out. Jacob nodded and looked over her shoulder at Edward, signaling his was off and then he turned to leave. The pull in her stomach jerked toward him as he ran and Grace winced.
Grace turned to Bella who held out her hand after giving Edward one last long kiss.
“Stay together,” he said strongly before Grace had heard enough and recast them easily to their targeted destination. Edward had gone ahead and set up their campsite earlier the night before. Grace dropped the duffel bag near the tent and turned to look at Bella.
“Well. This will be fun.” Grace said sarcastically.
“Thank you for staying with me,” Bella said softly. Grace immediately melted some.
“I know. Of course. I’m sorry I’m just…” Grace faltered.
“It’s okay. I know the feeling.” Bella could see that Grace was trying to keep it together despite everything that had just happened over the last week. “It’ll take time to feel okay again. At least I think it will? Jacob was the only thing that could make me feel slightly better afterward.” She said shoving her hands in her pockets.
“Same,” Grace breathed.
“Two peas in a pod.” Bella joked.
As the night drew on, Grace and Bella settled into their sleeping bags around the campfire where they had roasted some peppers and warmed up some of Emily’s homemade vegetarian soup made special for Bella. They had zipped their sleeping bags together and were huddled under it spooning soup into their mouth when Seth bounded up the hill.
Grace could feel him coming early on as she listened for Jake, but she still acted surprised when he appeared.
“Seth-a-rino!” She said happily clanking her bowl of soup with Bella’s. “The party starts!”
Are you drunk? She could hear Seth ask jokingly.
“What? Of course not.” Grace said, confused. Bella looked at Grace curiously since she hadn’t heard what Seth had said, but she waved her off. Seth acknowledged her weird mood swing and came to sit beside them in his wolf form. He radiated hotter than the bonfire ahead of them.
“What do you think it’s gonna be like tomorrow?” Grace asked Bella. “You’ve had way more encounters with vicious vampires than I have to be fair.” Bella nodded at this.
“I’m not sure. A few vampires is one thing, but an entire army of newborns? I was in an entire ancient den of probably the most dangerous vampires in the world and I still couldn’t tell you. But I know it will probably be terrifying.”
Grace breathed out, listening for echoes in the distance. Voices calling out to her in rounds, but no one did. Seth’s even wolf puffs of breath indicated he had fallen asleep. Grace watched the flames of the fire until they died down to an ashen burn before nudging a sleeping Bella awake to go sleep in the tent.
The morning of the fight dawned on Grace excruciatingly slowly. She paced up and down the side hill training her ear for Jacob. She heard echoing voices that didn’t say much, just communicated how excited, how pumped, how scared or nervous they were for the fight to start. They were meant to stay on the eastern part of the forest and slowly surround once the vampires had been drawn into Bella’s blood-soaked clearing.
Alice confirmed with Edward who relayed to Sam that the newborns were on their way and would be there soon. The message echoed down the line. Grace felt a lump form in her throat as she repeated over and over again so Jacob would hear her.
Be careful. Be careful. Please be careful.
She was surprised by the volley of answers calling out to her.
We’ve got this.
They won’t know what hits them.
Can’t wait to take them down.
They’re the ones that should be careful.
Let’s rock this shit.
Grace laughed a little, reassured by the confident voices and closed her eyes to try and see through Jacob’s eyes what was happening. The image flickered off and on for her—she hadn’t practiced this form of communication as much with him. But she was able to see that they were falling into formation and the sickening smell of the vampires was growing as they descended on the clearing.
The Cullen’s stood ready. Grace felt a warm hand in hers and felt Bella beside her, leaning in like she could hear what was happening too, but watching Grace’s face for cues.
“They’re here.” Grace echoed and she saw, horrifyingly, as the newborns stomped into the clearing. The Cullens didn’t hesitate intercepting them as the huge throng of 23 strong newborns launched at them. They volleyed for two minutes, mostly ducking and moving out of the newborns way to get them deeper into the clearing and buy the wolves time to surround the clearing and then--
Grace heard the command from Sam to charge in and she tightened her hold on Bella’s hand.
“What? What?!” Bella asked frantic clutching Grace’s hand back. Grace focused and shook her head. She followed Jacob’s sight through the throng. He lunged and ripped and tore at each newborn that came into close contact.
Then he careened back, changing course and lunging across the field over bodies and bodies fighting to intercept and pull a newborn that had clung to Embry’s back. He and Sam ran rings around the group, trying to keep up but—
“They’re outnumbered.” Grace breathed. And then, she saw the red head, Victoria, move into the field, frantically searching and locking eyes with Edward across the field. Edward was on her in a second and they were locked in an exchange of blows. Edward tossed her across the field and Quil went to intercept but got flung back by a large newborn that crunched him into a tree.
Grace sucked in a deep breath and tensed. Jake was there in a second to pull the newborn down and Quil quickly rejoined the fight, shaken but undeterred. The newborns were fast, just as Jasper had described, and they were outpacing the wolves and the Cullens were having trouble keeping up. Each time one of the wolves pulled a newborn to the ground, a Cullen would come to try and pull the newborn apart, but frustratingly, the newborns would wiggle free and dart away more often than not and continue the tireless fight. After ten minutes of this, Their numbers had barely diminished.
Grace was growing worried as the wolves continued, their senses dialed to ten. But she knew it wouldn’t last forever. They’d get tired and then they’d be in trouble. Jacob was having more success taking some newborns down but when Paul was suddenly knocked from his feet, Grace couldn’t help but yell out in pain as the newborn came down on top of him, snapping his collarbone. Paul yelped and Grace snapped her eyes open. The alpha order melted away and she felt it’s release.
“Grace wait!” Bella said seeing a dangerous look in her eye. Seth whimpered and tried pleading too.
You’re supposed to stay with me and Bella, Grace. Sam said, remember?
“Stay here, Seth.” Grace was calm, she felt the air move easily around her as she recast and heard a rushing sound, a change as she reappeared directly in the middle of the clearing, the fight raging around her. She knew she had to do something, but no sooner had she got there than suddenly, the newborns froze and their gaze snapped to her. The Cullens and wolves instantly moved to try and tackle the temporarily distracted newborns but it caused them to move faster, surrounding Grace in their fury.
She smelled very very good to them, temporarily overpowering Bella’s scent in the clearing. Her heartbeat echoed in their newly defined ears. They were drawn to her like moths to a particularly lit flame.
Bait. She was bait. Fuck.
Grace hadn’t anticipated this reaction and braced herself for the onslaught not sure what to do next. The wolves dashed toward her, somehow in this moment outpacing the vampires as adrenaline shot through them at seeing Grace there. They made a crushing circle around Grace facing the newborns. Furious voices filled her head as the wolves cursed at her for being there.
You couldn’t just stay put.
I swear to fucking god if we die, I’m gonna be so pissed.
As the newborns crushed in on top of the wolves and the Cullens tried to pull them off from the outside, Grace saw an opening. She had to act fast.
She recast outside of the tight circle of snapping, growling, shattering, and bludgeoning and moved quickly around the edge of the circle.
She reached through one of the Cullen’s arms, Emmett by the size of it, and onto a newborn they had. She yelled “Let go!” and they did. Grace recast carrying the newborn out of the crush just a few feet from the circle. Then in one swift motion she pulled her energy up, hardened it, and smashed it down toward the ground as hard as she could onto the unsuspecting newborn that had been sprawled out on the grass, cleanly severing it’s head and smashing it’s arms in the process.
Satisfied with this result, she repeated it more times than she could keep up with, constantly recasting in and around the circle, pulling newborn after newborn free and smashing them to bits on the ground. The Cullens, catching on, broke from the circle and picked up the mess of limbs and threw it on a waiting fire. The wolves were able to push the diminished crowd of newborns back as Grace moved quickly. The rest seemed easy.
Grace saw Edward out of the corner of her eye give her a menacing look and take off through the trees. She had left Bella alone and unprotected. She tried to shout after him but the momentary distraction had given a newborn the opening they needed to crash into Grace, tackling her from around the waist and smashing her against a tree.
Blood poured from her mouth at the force of the impact and she temporarily slumped to the ground after the newborn had pulled back, hand raised to bash in her skull no doubt. But that blow never came—Jacob and Paul crashed through the clearing, one going for the head, the other going for the body and ripped the newborn to literal shreds, not stopping until he was practically dust.
Grace picked herself up and leaned back against the tree taking deep gulping breaths, the blood soaking the front of her shirt. She tried to assess her internal injuries but in her heightened state was unable to focus on one point of pain long enough before it subsided. Jake and Paul stood guard in front of her scanning the field as the others took down newborn after newborn. The wolves were taking the rest down 2-1.
Her eyes widened as she heard a distance, echoing voice rise up through the back of her head.
Grace! Grace help!
“Seth!” Grace recast, envisioning the campsite and holding onto Seth’s form in her mind.
Jacob and Paul swung around to where she had stood, eyes wide, before jumping back in to take care of the rest of them at Sam’s command. When Grace recast at the campsite, her eyes widened as she took in the scene.
Edward was on his knees, held by Victoria at the throat as another blonde newborn held him down. Bella was screaming and about to launch toward them but Grace was faster. Seth was mid-air when she recast and slid into the blonde’s legs like she was sliding into homebase, knocking him unexpectedly off his feet. Seth grabbed his head in his mouth and tore it cleanly from his shoulders.
Grace tossed the beheaded body aside and Seth had at it. Edward was able to get on his feet, and take Victoria down to the ground. Grace strode over, lifted her leg as high as she could and brought it down with a satisfying crunch into Victoria’s face. She ground her heel into her neck, severing it from her body. Edward flicked open a lighter and threw it on the bonfire, stacking Victoria’s body on the blaze and immediately crossed to Bella. Grace tossed the severed head and limbs of the blonde vampire on as well, her breathing raspy and uneven.
“Grace?” Bella said, concerned as Edward wrapped his arms around her pulling her into him.
Blood covered Grace’s shirt but she didn’t feel injured. She must be in shock. Then a scene flickered in front of her eyes. Leah spotted a newborn hiding in the trees and went after it. Her takedown was messy and the newborn quickly got his arms around her. Whimpering and calling out for help, the pack snapped into action. Sam cried out “Leah!” desperately trying to reach her.
But Jacob got there first, pulling the vampire off. He stumbled in his haste to free Leah and the newborn got the upper hand again, quickly wrapping his arms around Jacob. Grace heard a sickening crunch and screamed, recasting into the clearing as she saw Jake’s body fall to the ground.
Every piece of energy she felt around her roiled and built up in the ground beneath her like an unconscious call. She realized her scream was echoing and pushing out around her and in the next moment, the energy like a hot, crashing wave moved out from around her and pushed everything in the clearing away, including the wolves and the Cullen’s who were thrown into the forest. The newborn who had been poised above Jacob felt the full force of it and slammed back into a tree, cracking his head at the neck so it was almost severed but not quite. Jacob’s body was untouched.
Trees fell from the impact of the energy and crashed into the ground like giant booming dominoes. Grace quickly ran to Jacob who had unphased in his agony before passing out.
“Jake?!” she yelled in a broken sob.
The others were on her in a second crowding around Jacob. Paul put his arms under Grace’s shoulders and hoisted her back away from Jacob despite her screams and clawing forward to get to him. The pack quickly and carefully picked him up walking out of the clearing. She heard a muffled sound and saw Carlisle shout something at them. But she was losing consciousness.
The massive amount of energy she had expelled to clear their battleground had drained everything from her. Paul caught her under the knees as she buckled and let herself get swallowed up in the darkness, the noise and rush still crashing around in her head.
Rachel Black, Jake’s older sister, had laughed as Grace had launched her body full force into hers. The two tumbled to the beach in a heap as the pack and their partners made their way over to them.
“Gracie!” Rachel giggled hugging her back just as tightly, “Oh it feels like home seeing you.” She said.
Grace had helped her up to get a good look at her. Rachel was a little taller than Grace but had the same beautiful angled face as Jacob. Except where his hard edges protruded, hers softened. She had chopped her black hair into a short bob just above her shoulders but her cheeks were just as pink and pronounced as ever. Her amber brown eyes sparkled in the sea light.
“It’s so good to see you,” Grace said breathless. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m back home from college, just for the summer before I start my thesis this fall. Biodynamic Farming in Indigenous Communities. So I guess you could say i’m here for research?”
“That’s great! Wow!”
“Hey!” Rachel called over her shoulder as the others moved toward them. They all were suddenly crowded around them. Rachel was always a calming presence for Grace. All through her childhood, she was there in her memories. She was the thread that tied her, Jake, and Grace together. And now she was here, same bubbly beautiful Rachel.
Everything suddenly started to move in slow motion. Rachel still had her arm wrapped around Grace’s shoulder, refusing to let her go just yet as she pulled Quil into a one arm hug, and then Embry.
Paul. Her Paul.
Rachel and Paul took one look at each other and the world shifted violently under Grace’s feet.
“Paul Lahote, right?” Rachel had said, some coloring of recognition moving across her face. She had to have felt it. How could she not have? The feeling was palpable between them. The air electrified at this emergent shift in destiny.
Paul didn’t move, his eyes darting from Grace to Rachel quickly. He was tethered. Rachel let go of Grace and stepped toward him, magnetized almost. The rest of the pack looked around at each other, uncomfortable and waves started to echo and crash in Grace’s head like someone turned up the volume too loud.
Leah was next to Grace in an instant. She threaded her fingers into hers and leaned in close to Grace’s ear.
“Time to go.” She whispered. It wasn’t an ask, but it was urgent, begging almost. At least Grace couldn’t remember if she had asked or not.
But either way, in the next second, Grace was gone.
Grace looped an arm around her midsection and sank to the bottom of the shower letting the hot water move over her back. The scene wouldn’t stop replaying in her head. Like a broken record for the past five days between being awake or asleep, the scene replayed in her head. She had to hold herself together now to get through the pain of that moment. Again and again it screamed through her brain.
Paul Lahote, right?
Grace gripped the side of the tub as she felt herself breaking apart again. Steam choking the air around her. She tried her best to stay whole and to stay here. In the past few days, Grace had been having trouble controlling her recasting. Bella thought it must be a side effect of her emotions pushing and pulling her around.
Sometimes, Grace would wake up in the middle of the night, shaken from a nightmare and find herself somewhere in the forest. Groggily, she’d stand and look around her before recasting home. She never tried to figure out where she was, but she got the feeling that she was going to the same place every time.
Now, in the heat of the bathroom, the water leaving red welts on her skin, she held on tight trying to keep herself in place. She didn’t know how long she was there for, but she heard the door creak open and a voice call out to her. Everything stayed blurry for awhile. The water was suddenly off and Grace instantly felt cold.
A towel was placed around her shoulders and suddenly Bella’s face came into view.
“Hey, come on. Let’s get you to bed.” Bella had seen this look before on her own face and knew that Grace had done the same for her. She gently pulled Grace to her feet and steered her toward the bedroom, tightening the towel around her. Grace sat on the edge of her bed as Bella rummaged through her drawers and pulled out some sweats, socks and an old band t-shirt. She dressed the catatonic Grace carefully and gently combed her hair, threading it into a loose french braid down her back.
“Come on,” she said as she pulled her back on the bed with her and threw the covers over both of them.
“Where’s Edward?” Grace asked barely above a whisper as Bella wrapped her pale arms around her.
“Hunting. They’re prepping for the fight.” Bella said non-descriptively. Bella didn’t need to ask what had happened that day.
The day after Grace had come home from the beach and gone straight to bed and laid there for over 20 hours, was the first time Paul had shown up. His eyes were hard but pleading when Bella answered the door.
“Is she here?” He said, a rasp to his voice as if he had been yelling.
“Now’s not a good time, Paul.” Bella said, crossing her arms. “She won’t speak. So since you’re here, why don’t you tell me what happened.”
Paul looked down at the ground and shook his head.
“Please. I just need to see her,” he had pleaded. When he looked back up at Bella, she saw intense pain in his eyes. “I didn’t mean for this to happen. I just-”
“What happened?!” Bella pushed.
“I….I imprinted. On Rachel Black….at the beach,” Paul said the words like he had said them a million times.
“What…” Bella knew what it meant to imprint. Jake had told her what it meant and she had hesitated to ask him if he had imprinted on anyone considering the intensity of their relationship. But he had given her a confusing answer and brushed it off.
“I didn’t mean for this to happen, Bella. Please. Just...if I could just see her,” Paul stammered, his body trembling.
Charlie was behind Bella now in the doorway.
“Chief Swan.” He replied trying to regain some composure.
“Grace isn’t feeling too hot right now and isn’t allowed guests. She’ll call you when she’s ready.” Charlie nodded. “I suggest you head home.”
“Thanks dad,” Bella muttered as Charlie retreated back into the house. Paul stood there, limp.
“Just...tell her I stopped by.” Paul said, taking a step back down the stairs. Bella just nodded and shut the door.
And again today. As Bella hopped down from the truck and pulled her hood up against the rain, she glanced down at her phone to see if Jake had texted her back. Her last text message was sent the day before as her worry for Grace grew:
SMS Text—7:47 p.m.: Bella
Please call me, Jake.
She hadn’t gone into details about Grace, but she knew that Jake should be here. Grace was having nightmares, much like the ones Bella used to have when Edward was gone last year. She was woken up on more than one night this week to cries of pain. But each time she jumped across her bed to get to Grace, she was gone. On one night, she even called out for Jake.
When she closed her phone and looked up, Paul was there again. Bella shoved her hands in her pocket and walked around the truck making her way toward the house.
“No, Paul.” Bella said, much less sympathy now.
“I just want to talk to her.” Paul said. He seemed less beat up today than he had on the first time he’d known up. Bella had raised an eyebrow at him, skeptical.
“Absolutely not. You broke her fucking heart,” Bella said, surprised at her own anger. Paul tensed at this.
“I know. I just need to see her.”
“No, not today.” Bella said, swerving around him to get into the house.
“Before the fight then,” Paul bargained.
“No. When she’s ready, not when it’s convenient for you,” Bella said, not bothering to turn around. She slammed the door behind her before hearing an explosion and tearing out on the front lawn that could only mean one thing.
Now, as Bella listened to Grace’s rhythmic breathing as the light faded away outside, she worried about what happened next. If Grace tried to join the fight like this, she worried she’d get hurt. She reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone again.
Still nothing. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
SMS Text—8:32 p.m.: Bella
Jake, you need to come home now.
It’s Grace. She’s in pretty rough shape.
Bella clipped her phone shut and wrapped her arms around Grace who had fallen asleep on her shoulder. She sighed and closed her eyes, willing sleep.
When she woke up the next morning, the space where Grace had been sleeping was empty.
Grace had been walking and walking since before dawn. Making her way to the reservation. Her body felt weak despite all of the sleep, but she held new resolve. She couldn’t sit in this pain anymore and just let it be hers.
She was going to confront Paul. Instead of recasting to the rez, she took the time to walk through the forest. She made her way easily in the dark, not needing to see to know where she was going. When she finally reached his door some of her resolve started to crumble.
What if Rachel was in there? What if she saw something she didn’t want to see? He wouldn’t have moved on so quickly would he? But she knew imprinting worked different. She took a step back and then felt the pain crash around her again. She would not be alone in this.
Quickly she stepped forward and rapped on the door, nearly banging on it. It only took a couple of seconds for Paul to reach the door and yank it open. His face was full of annoyance that subsided to shock that melted into desperation.
“Grace,” he choked out. Grace kept her hands at her side, eyes rimmed red and hands clenched into fists.
“Can I come in?” her voice shook more than she wanted it to.
“Yeah, yeah,” he stepped back so she could come in. She moved past him doing her best not to let any part of her touch him. The minute she got inside, her eyes automatically lingered down the hallway to the cracked bedroom door. She swallowed hard and turned to face him. Maybe this was a bad idea after all.
“Grace, I’ve wanted to talk to you for a week.” Paul said keeping his distance more for Grace’s sake than his. “I’ve stopped by. Did Bella tell you?”
Grace nodded her head. She suddenly felt like a caged animal. What about this was supposed to make her feel better again? She couldn’t even look at him for too long or she’d feel her stomach turn.
“Grace I’m so-”
“Don’t say you’re sorry,” Grace said, her eyes hard now. “Don’t.”
“Okay,” he watched her carefully. She felt frantic, uneasy, where this place was once going to be her home she now felt like an unwanted guest. She kept checking over her shoulder, waiting for someone to stumble out of the bedroom. A room that Paul had filled with light for her. And now, she’d never see it again. She wanted to walk the short steps to it and push open the door to mourn her loss in peace. But she was too afraid about who was behind the door.
“Is she here?” Grace said suddenly.
“What?” Paul said confused for a second, and then realization dawned on him, “No, Grace of course not, no.” He almost looked offended.
Grace looked at the floor embarrassed now. Paul took two steps toward her and she stumbled back.
“No.” she said, tears coming immediately. “Please...don’t. It’s too much.” Paul crumbled now. She’d never seen him cry, but something in him broke in this moment.
“Grace. Please, let me explain,” he said. Grace dug her fingernails into her palms and nodded.
“Okay. Explain.” She could take it. She could do this.
“I didn’t mean for this to happen, you have to know that. When Rachel showed up, I was just as panicked as you. I’ve barely talked to her since. I just needed to figure this out and I couldn’t….I didn’t want to let you go,” he shuddered, as tears glistened and fell from his eyes. Grace nodded to have him keep going. “I couldn’t eat or sleep. I had to see you and Bella wouldn’t let me see you. I felt so...lost without you Grace.”
Grace was shaking now, trying to keep herself in place. Not now, not yet. She had to hear it.
“I went to see Ti’Hal. I couldn’t take the pain...the weight of this. She said imprinting wasn’t a choice but that I still had one. I could still choose you.” Grace let a whimper escape and shut her eyes tight for a minute before opening them to look at Paul. “But….but she said that even if I chose you, Grace, you would never be as happy with me as we were before. And I wouldn’t expect you to be because I’d always be looking after Rachel. It would eventually destroy us.”
Grace held herself in place even though she felt it starting.
“Ti’Hal said it would be better if I-,” he choked, burying his face in his hands and letting out muffled sobs. Grace was shaking so hard she wondered if he could hear her teeth chatter. “She said, I should….” he stopped and stuttered again trying to look at her.
“She told you to let me go,” Grace said, her voice warbling and her knees shaking. Paul looked at her sucking in a deep breath and wiping at his face. He nodded.
“Yes.” Was all he could manage as he looked at her. She wasn’t sure why but something in her accepted this even though her heart was fighting like hell against it. She strode over to him and wrapped her arms around his neck, burying her face in his shoulder. He immediately grabbed her and held her to him tightly.
She let her body collapse onto him. She tried to let her pain go but instead it swelled up inside her as she held tight to him. The pain crescendoed and she pulled back cupping his face in her hands. Paul was breathing heavy trying to bring himself under control. His eyes searched hers, hoping for her to say anything that might allow him to move forward, pretend like nothing happened, and carry her back to the bedroom like they had done last week.
“Let me go.” she whispered painfully. He squeezed her sides and looked down then quickly back up at her face. She planted one more soft kiss on his lips that he desperately tried to deepen, but she was gone in a flicker.
She recast on the edge of the forest and trudged the short way up the familiar hill to the cliff’s edge. The day around her was shaping up to be beautiful, the last solid day of sun they’d have for awhile. Grace stood on the edge of the cliff, the pain swirling up in her and tearing its way out of her throat. She let out a guttural, primal, painful scream that shook her whole body and got carried away by the wind and then fell to her knees in heaving sobs.
What if the Cullens had also created an army of newborns to fight Victoria?
They never would.
First, this option is never even discussed, it’s not remotely on the table. It’s not even in the universe of options that exist. As it is, they decide not to turn Bella as she’d be too out of control and unreliable in a battle that’s only weeks away. And also because Edward refuses to even consider the possibility, but Jasper does nix it pretty quickly.
So, you create a newborn army, then you’re going to have that same problem but tenfold. More, this was the entire problem with Victoria’s army, she had strength in numbers and in fanatic newborn strength, yes, but her army was a mess. They had no fighting experience, no control, and the reason there were no casualties on the wolves/Cullen side is in part because these people were running around like chickens with their heads cut off.
Second, creating a newborn army is full stop evil. You’re turning people with the sole purpose of enslaving them and using them as cannon fodder and the full intention of murdering them when their usefulness is up. This is the hell Jasper lived for decades and one he now condemns.
The Cullens may not always be the greatest of people, but this would be betraying everything they believe in. It would be Rosalie turning unwilling people into demons without their consent and then abusing them in the worst of ways, it would be Carlisle not only taking people to war but forcing them into it in the most callous manner, it would be Jasper becoming worse than Maria.
As it is, in Breaking Dawn, even when he realizes he has inadvertently summoned an army, Carlisle prays for a peaceful resolution and it never does come to a fight. He makes it very clear to his friends that they are only expected to be witnesses, that they can leave and he will not blame them. Alistair does leave and Carlisle doesn’t blame him.
This is not a guy who ever wants to go to war and does so in Eclipse with a very heavy heart and with allies who are willing partners.
The only one who ever, might, make a newborn army to confront Victoria is Edward. Edward, if he becomes even more unhinged than he already is, and somehow gets the idea into his head that this is the only way to protect Bella (somehow) he might go for it. However, that’s asking for 50 lbs of character development and some crazy shit I can’t even imagine to happen.
But since you asked what would happen...
Edward creates a newborn army to confront Victoria, convinced there’s no other way to win. He has some delusional fantasy that after the battle is done, those who survive will go live on a farm somewhere.
The “battle” is just both newborn armies tearing each other’s limbs off and running around like chickens. There’s no winners, they just slaughter each other for a cause that has nothing to do with them and they don’t even understand, it’s horrible.
Bella probably gets eaten anyway.
Which is good news as the now suicidal Edward has now done something very illegal and Jane is right there. Carlisle has to watch as Edward is burned alive and murdered for treason. The surviving newborns, if there are any, are all murdered by Jane.
Jane gives Carlisle a very judgmental look. Carlisle’s staring at what used to be Edward and Bella.
She used to live in Virginia, but at the age of 10, the fae blood inside her was awoken with her bleed.
Her veins in her body turned a white silver. She woke up screaming, thinking she was on fire but in too much pain to move. She was asleep for almost a week straight.
In that time, her mother and grandmother began packing up their small mountainside home. When she woke up, almost her entire room was packed and she didn’t know why.
Communication was always free and easy, sometimes even unspoken in their household. So she waited for a sign, any explanation of what had changed so suddenly and drastically.
Sitting beside her bed, they told the story of their ancestors. Centuries ago her bloodline was part of the fae people. They were a particular kind of fae with a specific job and purpose. As humans began to rise and the church demonized anything that was considered unknown, the fae united with humans creating changlings of sorts.
The fae bloodline was strong and lasting, continuing on in some people even in present day to perform the duties of their ancestors as the universe needed. This particular family line hadn’t had such an awakening in at least four generations, they’d thought it had died out. Until her.
Through the next ten years or so, she could expect drastic changes, some of which no one could prepare for. And sometimes it’s not safe to be around others when those changes happen. A small town in the southern Bible Belt wasn’t safe, people talk and grow suspicious very quickly. It’s better for them to make up their own stories than to stay and add fuel to the fire.
So to protect her, they were going somewhere they don’t question supernatural things. Somewhere people like them can help in plain sight and no one is the wiser. A place like Forks, Washington.
The grandmother had to stay. She’d lived in that house over sixty years and wouldn’t part with it to be sold to someone else. It was a heart wrenching goodbye. The girl who’d never spent a day without her grandmother and mother together now had to leave.
It wasn’t until she looked down at her hands from holding her crying face did she notice the marks. They almost looked like scars, white lines along her hands and forearms where blue or green veins would normally be.
When she gazed at herself in the mirror for the first time, she finally saw the intricate pattern of knots and swirls along her spine, venturing out like a tree covered in snow. It was beautiful and mysterious, but needed to be hidden always.
Forks became her home from then on and essentially she was a normal kid. She learned about the local flora and fauna, helping her mother in the kitchen with new recipes and mixtures. She went to school and made distant friends with people who sort of thought she was a bit weird but not too much. It was quirky at that point.
She started seeing, feeling, and hearing dead people wherever she went. They’d find her, seemingly drawn in by her silvery scars and ask for help. The first one she saw, she thought it was a customer from the herbal shop her mom ran who came looking for something special at their home.
She called to her mom but her mom couldn’t see him. He spoke in a broken voice like there was static in the way of his words, but she knew he needed help. Her instincts took over before her mind could catch up. She opened the veil for him to enter the afterlife and he moved on peacefully.
Her mother stood in quiet awe of her daughter’s ability and didn’t question it except to ask if she was alright. Being barely 12, she nodded and went back to harvesting the lemon balm. And that became her life.
High school rolled around without much fuss. She’d earned a slightly quirky but cool reputation. A writer for the school newspaper and occasional replacement photographer. The cloudy, rainy, and cold weather kept her arms almost always covered.
The day the Cullens started school, she almost choked on a laugh. Their auras and even appearances were so not human, she considered they might’ve been more direct fae ancestors. I mean Alice could certainly play that card.
They all became a sort of oddity for her. A mystery she was quietly determined to crack. She’d never spoken to them or anything, but kept a weary eye out. Something about them set her on edge.
It took two years before she finally figured it out and wanted to flip a table because it seemed so obvious. Six months after that, she sort of guess on each of their abilities.
Edward randomly smiling or looking angry or bored, glancing his head automatically to hear something that wasn’t there.
Alice had the aura of a seer once she got past all the dead stuff. And Jasper, empath recognizes empath.
An interesting flaw in her fae genes seemed to be a complete immunity to their powers but also a fun dodge pattern so they wouldn’t notice anything was missing anyway.
She was feeling pretty proud of herself at figuring it all out. A bit smug and important before someone’s spirit came and smacked her to reality, hard.
Her grandmother. She could tell she didn’t want to be there. She didn’t want her own granddaughter to have to use her gifts this way or find out. Had there been a moment delay, her mother would’ve been able to excuse her from school so she could grieve and work in peace.
But there her grandmother was, in the middle of the cafeteria and the banshee had to work quickly and quietly to help move her on onto the afterlife. On autopilot, she opened the veil but her grandmother wouldn’t leave.
She kept trying to say things. Broken words filled with static but expressing so much emotion it was overwhelming. Calmly, banshee picked up her stuff and went outside into the pouring rain, not minding the weird looks some people gave her.
And she sobbed. Ugly, loud, chest heaving sobs half from her and her mother and grandmother. All their emotions colliding in her small 16 year old heart. It was the only day she’d ever hated her gifts and wished they’d never existed.