A painful pressure on my bladder woke me up and I sleepily got out of bed, untangling myself from the dozen or so blankets I was wrapped in, and stepped onto the cold floor. Wait. My eyes jerked open and I realised what I had ignored in my sleepy state.
The last thing I remembered was running for my life through the snow, I should either be back there, or in all likelihood dead. Yet instead I was naked in a stranger’s room, in a house I didn’t recognise, and looking out the window at the white expanse of snow and lack of any discernible landmarks I was far away from anywhere I knew. And even if I could escape from this house, after finding clothes, I wouldn’t know which way to go for help. If there was one thing Charlie had been quick to drill into me after moving from Phoenix it was that down here neighbours were few and far between.
I heard heavy foot treads thundering up the stairs drawing closer to me and the tentative grip I had on my panic started to slip. Where was I? Had the wolves taken me? But why would they bring me home and put me in a bed? Maybe Charlie…? I felt the panic and misery rush up once I thought about Charlie and squashed it back down, I didn’t have time to cry. I had to get out of here, find out where here was, go back home.
“Emmett wait, we don’t want to overwhelm the poor girl.” A soft maternal voice spoke beyond the door, easing my panic.
“But she’s in my room!” I took in the features of the room for the first time, an enormous flat screen TV and a collection of different video games consoles scattered beneath it occupied on wall. The other held the large window I had already examined when I woke up disorientated with my new surroundings. The rest of the room was pretty bare, with just a few piles of books on a desk and a shelf holding CDs. Whoever the owner of the room was I didn’t really want him seeing me in my current state of undress.
I dived for the bed, frantically trying to wrap a blanket around me before the people outside could come in and see me looking so utterly defenceless. Although odds were they had already seen… everything. My face flushed at the thought.
Just as I had succeeded in covering myself with the blanket a knock sounded on the door and I made a last frantic search around the room for an escape route, but failing that I settled for pulling the sheet tighter around me. The knock came again, startling me. Why would my captors knock? In fact, why would they bother with this pretence of politeness?
But then again, the last thing I remember was tripping in the snow. Maybe these people were my saviours and not my captors.
I was pulled from my thoughts when I realised the person behind the door was knocking again and I had been ignoring them all this time. Was I the one being rude? Maybe this was their plan, act genteel and I’d end up thanking them while they made a rug from my skin.
"We know she's up, we can hear her. Why not just go in?" Another voice from beyond the door said.
"C... Come in." My voice nervously cracked and I winced, hoping no one had noticed. I bit my lip and nervously waited for my rescuers to reveal themselves.
"Finally!" The voice from before was quickly matched with a face as the door crashed open and an enormous muscle bound teen rushed in.
"Emmett!" A sweet looking woman with a heart shaped face and brown hair came in the room, the burly teen shot her puppy dog eyes when she glared disapprovingly at him. But when her eyes turned to me I could see nothing but compassion.
"Er..." I was at a complete loss. Of all the scenarios that had flashed through my head when I woke up in a house and not still out in the snow I never figured this
"Let me apologise on behalf of my son." The woman smiled at me, calming me despite my recent alarm at the onslaught of Emmett. "My name is Esme, you've already met Emmett-"
"Which we're all sorry about." A girl around my height, with short black hair danced into the room, interrupting Esme and easily dodging Emmett's attempts to grab her. "Emmett still hasn't been completely trained to behave human."
"I don't bite though." Emmet said to me grinning, I distantly heard a few groans at this comment from the others still outside the door.
I felt my already naturally pale skin whiten further at his words, images of the wolves and running from them, from Charlie, returned full force.
“Oh dear, please, sit.” Esme rushed towards me and guided me to sit down on the bed, wrapping another of the blankets around me. I caught a glimpse of a blonde haired girl outside the door before I felt faint and my vision blurred. Once I had calmed down and my vision cleared I looked back to the doorway wondering if she was going to come in but she wasn’t there.
“What’s your name?” Esme asked me, gently rubbing my back through the blankets she had covered me in.
“Isabella -Bella.” I replied, the girl with the short black hair handed me a glass of water I took gratefully.
“Do you remember what happened Bella?” I started to nod then stopped, considering that I didn’t know where I was I don’t think I could say I knew what happened to me.
“Well… Not really?”
“My family and I found you out in the snow; you were half frozen so we bought you back here. I am sorry we didn’t think about your clothes once you woke up. I’ll get some for you to change into then when you’re ready you could come downstairs and meet the rest of the family, if you’d like?” Esme smiled sweetly at me.
I nodded slowly, still unsure of what exactly was going on. Esme ushered Emmett and the pixie-like girl from out the room, and after coming back in with a selection of clothes, probably from the pixie’s wardrobe. She showed me where the bathroom was and gave me a reassuring smile as she closed the door behind her.
I distantly heard the family go back downstairs and after checking they had left the corridor I went across to the bathroom to finally relieve myself. I spent some time in the comforting warm water of the shower before changing into the clothes Esme had brought for me.
I took a deep breath and walked down the stairs to find a group of the most attractive people I had ever seen in real life lounging around the living room as if it was a photo shoot for a magazine. I let out a little chuckle at the thought, drawing the interested eyes of the group.
My eyes quickly found the blonde I had caught a glimpse of before. My breath hitched, if the others were attractive she was a goddess, models and actresses would pay thousands to make up artists and photographers to look the way she did but they could never achieve it. But when her honey gold eyes met mine I was taken aback by the aggravation they held, despite her obvious irritation with me I still felt a strange pull to go to the statuesque blonde.
Luckily before I could make even more of a fool of myself than I already had with my staring the short haired girl from earlier appeared beside me suddenly, making me jump, and pulled me over to sit by her.
“I’m Alice by the way, Alice Cullen, sorry I didn’t say before. Esme and Emmett you already know, that’s Carlisle Cullen he’s Esme’s husband, and a doctor, he-”
“Alice, take a breath.” A blonde haired boy who had yet to be introduced to me interrupted Alice, shaking his head at her, but smiled endearingly. I wondered how these two knew each other, Esme had said they were family but aside from the fact they were all stunning they didn’t share any features with each other.
“That’s Jasper.” Alice continued as if he hadn’t interrupted her. “We’re together. We were all adopted individually by Carlisle and Esme but Jasper is Rosalie’s brother.” Alice indicated the gorgeous blonde I had been staring at before, she looked startled Alice had included her and I jumped at the opportunity to have a legitimate excuse to look at her again. Our eyes quickly met and my breath caught,
“I’m Edward.” A bronze haired boy loomed in front of me, blocking my view of Rosalie.
“Er… H- hi.” I could feel myself blushing. How long had I been staring at Rosalie? God what would she think of me now, that’s the second time I had been ogling her like an idiot.
I was distantly aware of Edward still talking to me as Rosalie swept out of the room. But I couldn’t help but watch her leave. I felt a hollow pit grow in my stomach; everything else was secondary to the angry goddess leaving me.
“Bella? Bella?” Edward had noticed my inattention and my gaze snapped back to him.
“What happened Bella?” Esme asked softly, interrupting Edward and gesturing for him to take the seat Rosalie had vacated.
“I… I was running… then the snow, it was so cold.”
“Why were you running dear?” Esme asked me gently.
“I…” I took a deep breath. “I was camping with Charlie-my dad. He wanted to spend some time with me before school started. We came up here while we waited for my stuff to be shipped to Forks. We…”
I lost my voice, taken back to the memory of Charlie yelling at me to run, me leaving him behind. Huge circling beasts, closing in on Charlie, their teeth gleaming in the moonlight.
“Wolves.” Edward interrupted my thoughts, drawing me back from the horror of my memories. I looked up at him, his eyes dark and angry.
“You mean?” Esme questioned, shock colouring her voice.
Edward nodded, his mouth set in a hard line.
“Did they follow us?” Emmett asked.
“Did who follow you?” I asked confused, only to be ignored as the Cullens continued to talk over me.
“Bella said Charlie lived in Forks, who else could it be?” Emmett said angrily.
I flinched at the past tense, even though I knew it had to be true it was hard to hear it come from someone else.
“We are nowhere near their land, why would they follow us?” Jasper asked, his tone reflective. “This would only weaken their territory, unless they had a larger population than usual?”
“Maybe they just need to be taught a lesson every couple of years or so.” Emmett punctuated his statement but pounding his fist into his palm.
“I haven’t seen anything.” Alice said, her forehead scrunching up in confusion. “Then again they were always… tricky to see.”
“And why would they attack humans?” Jasper continued his personal musings. “This doesn’t make sense…”
“Edward you could tell us what happened?” Carlisle interrupted the rising voices; everyone quieted down and looked at Edward expectantly.
“I can’t.” Edward looked at me frowning.
I shifted uneasily in my seat. What were they talking about? Why had Edward known I meant wolves without me saying it? Why were they all so worried about a pack of wolves nowhere near their house?
“It’s almost like when I try to read Rose.” Edward continued. “I can see some things, the campfire, sitting with Charlie, but then the wolves turn up and everything goes fuzzy, like trying to watch a show through static.”
Everyone looked worried. I still had no idea what they were talking about.
“Do you have anyone you can stay with Bella? Until we find your dad.” Esme asked me
I shook my head, tears filling my eyes.
“Charlie… he, I was going to live with him, back in Forks. I had to leave my mom, Charlie… he was all I had.”
Esme rushed over to sit by me and petted my hair, making soothing noises. That was what broke me, I couldn’t hold it in anymore and I started sobbing. Esme held me tighter and I heard the others leave. I didn’t know what was going to happen now, where I was going to go. And Charlie… I’d never see him again.
I stayed huddled in Esme’s arms until my tears stopped, I felt more exhausted than I had while I had been running from… from them. I pulled back and met Esme’s sympathetic eyes. She pulled a blanket over me on the sofa and I sat and watched the flames dancing in the fireplace. My eyes felt heavy and I drifted off to the soothing sounds of the fire and Esme stroking my hair and back.
We all occupied our time as best we could after Carlisle took the human upstairs to Emmett’s room. We were used to this, immortality quickly lent itself to monotony, very little ever affected our lives, we mostly kept to ourselves or other vampires like us. Even when we played at being human and attended school or universities we stayed apart from the general populace. Yet this girl had suddenly appeared in our lives and without even being conscious had already changed our normal routines and had us all waiting for her for our cues of what to do next.
Well, none of us were saying it but Carlisle had had to stop Emmett being purposefully loud several times already in his attempts to wake the human, and Alice kept asking how long humans needed to sleep.
Edward had commandeered the piano so without my cars I was stuck flicking through magazines Esme and Alice had bought last time we had ventured into town. The magazines failed to hold my attention though, instead I found myself focusing on the heartbeat of the human upstairs, timing my page turns to its steady beats.
I heard soft footfalls from upstairs and then the human’s heartrate quickened. Alice tilted her head to one side and grinned.
“She’s up!” Alice bounded up from the sofa and flashed up the stairs, quickly followed by Emmett. “I know!” Alice called back down. “We won’t go in.”
Esme shook her head and her and Carlisle ascended the stairs. I exchanged glances with Jasper as Edward emerged from the music room and the rest of us walked up the stairs in a more sedate pace.
“I didn’t think you’d come to see her Rose.” Edward commented.
“It’s not like there’s anything better to do.” I shrugged and joined the rest of my family on the landing outside Emmett’s room.
Predictably Emmett rushed into the room the minute the girl invited us inside. Esme went in quickly afterwards to repair whatever damage Emmett had done. I remained outside with Jasper and Edward. Jasper seemed as eager to meet our new guest as me.
He was probably only nearby to help the human with her emotions. Once again I felt admiration for my brother, his gift more than any of ours was a burden for him. The strength it took him to have to endure our emotions, and the emotions of everyone around us the times we played at being human teenagers must have been torture yet he never complained. Unlike Edward who would groan and sigh every time we went back to school at the thoughts he would hear from the student populace.
I could feel Jasper sending out calming waves to the girl. Another aspect of my gift was a stronger awareness of other psychic abilities. Unlike Edward's gift I wasn't able to always block Jasper's, I was just more likely to know my emotions were being influenced. Which... To be honest usually made me angry with Jasper, so we had come to an understanding. He would avoid messing with my emotions unless I was in danger of hurting a human or a member of our family, and I would try to be thankful rather than angry when he helped me rein in my impulses to tear off the limbs of the hormonal twerps asking me out.
Edward on the other hand, no matter how much he said he wished he could turn off his gift, I knew it irked him that he couldn't hear my thoughts.
"I don't bite though." I rolled my eyes and jasper and Edward next to me groaned at our brother's attempt at humour.
Her heart rate suddenly jumped. And I moved without thinking, catching a glimpse of the girl through the door. I frowned at myself. Why had I suddenly felt the urge for me to check on the wellbeing of the human? I knew Emmett wouldn't have been doing anything too drastic in there. Not with Esme there anyway.
And it didn't feel like exactly like the urges I had to protect my food while hunting with my family.
As I took in her nervous stance I struggled to keep control of myself. Her dark brown eyes met mine and I had to pull my gaze away, still eager to make sure she was okay. She gripped the sheet around her, my eyes drawn to her fingers clenching at the material, the delicate bones under her pale skin visible from the strength of her grip.
I realised she would be naked under the sheet since we had removed her clothes and no one had left her anything to change into. My mouth pooled with venom and the burning sensation it caused when I swallowed it made me determined to not have this human affect me more than necessary.
I quickly moved back from the doorway, shaken by my response to the human. I glanced at Jasper who looked at me reassuring; surely I wasn't the only one who was made uncomfortable at her arrival. Not that I would ever tell anyone that. Although Jasper probably had an idea if he was picking up any of my emotions.
Esme sent us all downstairs and we took up seats around the living room, taking care to lounge and slouch as humans would. For once I didn’t need to remind myself to fidget as my fingers tapped out a rhythm on my leg without my conscious approval. This human was disturbing my usually iron control. I didn’t like the sudden feeling of powerlessness this gave me, since becoming a vampire the one thing I had always enjoyed in my new life had been my autonomy.
I abided by Carlisle and Esme’s rules, but they weren’t anything I wanted to break anyway. Even while hunting I had never had the issues Jasper, or even Emmett and Edward had. I had never drunk human blood and my death count was by far the lowest of all of us. Unlike my human life, as a vampire I was in complete control of my actions and the route my life would take. Until now, with one singular human upstairs, I was doing things based purely on instinct. I nervously fidgeted in my seat and waited to meet the human we had found.
Bella descended the stairs, her tight grip on the banister evidence of her nervousness. I did my best to ignore her but my gaze was drawn inevitably to hers and I felt a shiver of electricity run through me. I glared at the human
I studied Bella discreetly while Alice was introducing her to everyone. Her chestnut hair caught the light of the fire, giving it red highlights that shimmered in the room. Her skin was almost as fair as our unnatural paleness, contrasting with the warm brown of her hair. I sighed under my breath, Alice was telling the girl more information than she needed. Not that it mattered I suppose, she would be back with her family soon enough. I’d never have to see her again.
Alice mentioned my name and caused Bella to look at me, catching me staring at her, the flames in the fireplace were reflecting in her eyes making them seem brighter, deeper. I was lost in her gaze, if I was human I would have felt the discomfort that came from not breathing, but as it was nothing was there to stop me from falling into this human girl’s eyes. My body became as still as stone and the rest of the room dropped away, leaving only her, Bella.
Then as quickly as it occurred the room and everyone in it rushed back into my perception. Edward, of all people, had saved me. He stood in between us blocking my sight of the girl and allowing me to regain control of my senses.
I stood up, shaken. I had to leave the room. Had to get away from whatever was happening to me.
As I moved from my seat I saw Edward was smiling at her in that stupid crooked way that he had, she was blushing. Probably inwardly swooning at his bedhead teenage popstar looks. I growled to myself, Edward was still talking to Bella as I walked past and I had to resist a sudden impulse to remove his head from his body. I jerked myself back, drawing the stare of Carlisle and Emmett. Emmett looked at me confused but Carlisle gave me another understanding smile and nodded at me.
I fled the house, remembering to grab a coat on my way out to maintain the illusion of humanity. When I stepped out into the clean white landscape I took a deep breath, wishing I had the benefit of human temperature and could feel the cold around me.
I scented the air, and moved off in the direction of a herd of elk. If the human was going to be staying any longer with us I was going to have to hunt in order to control my predator urges around her.
I tried to ignore the niggling feeling in the back of my skull, the pressure on my chest telling me, roaring at me, to go back to the house.
I stiffened and stood up out of the crouch I had adopted without realising. Rosalie Hale was not controlled by her impulses, controlled by a human girl. There was no way I would let anyone control me again. I strode off, back on the trail of the elk. Determined to put everything about the girl out of my mind.