Chapter 11

A car honking pulled me out of my thoughts. I had been nervous, high-strung and slightly irritable all morning and a part of me wanted to just crawl back under the blankets.

Yet here I was, sitting all dressed up and looking overall decent on the couch. I deserved a medal.

‘Your friend is here,’ Veronica said. Way to go in stating the obvious.

‘Who did you say it was, again?’ My Dad asked, although again was not a correct term in this sentence. In fact, they had never even bothered to ask.

‘Alice Cullen.’

I might as well have said I was going to meet up with a drug dealer, get high and sell my body for more drugs. ‘Cullen, you say?’ My mother shrieked.

I nodded, walking to the hallway to get my coat.

Mom followed me, clearly not finished. ‘The daughter of Dr. Cullen?’

‘I don’t know, Mom, I haven’t really met her parents, have I?’

She huffed as she fixed my coat. ‘Why didn’t you tell me this sooner, then at least I could have made sure you looked presentable.’ She gave me a once-over, then sighed dramatically, as if I was a lost case. ‘Just make sure you’re polite.’

At that point the doorbell rang and I opened it quickly, glad to get away. I paused in mid-motion, about to say hi to Alice. There, at my door, looking immaculate as always, was Edward Cullen.

‘Good afternoon Dalia, Mrs. River,’ he nodded politely.

‘I.. good day young man,’ my mother stumbled and I was glad to know that I wasn’t the only one being overwhelmed by his perfection.

‘My sister is waiting in the car,’ he explained to her, then turned back to me ‘Are you ready?’ I nodded. As much as I’d ever be, at least.

Edward smiled and I knew he’d heard me. ‘Dalia won’t be home late, Ma’am.’

I don’t think my mother would have said anything, even if she wasn’t still dazzled by the beautiful boy standing before her. He could have probably told her they were going to murder me in cold blood, then dispose of the body by feeding it to a goldfish and she still wouldn’t have cared.

Following Edward awkwardly, I made a point of not looking at him – if only to regain some self-control. As we arrived at the car, he opened the door for me and took a place on the backseat himself.

‘Dalia!’ Alice greeted me, being her usual, hyper self. ‘I trust my brother has been nothing but polite?’

I laughed, my suspicions being proven to be right. ‘No he hasn’t.’

‘Good.’ She squealed then. ‘We’re going to have so much fun!’

Taking a peek at the tachometer, my eyes nearly bulged out of my head. We’d be so dead if the police caught us. Or if we’d meet anything on the road, I swallowed as I held on tighter to my seat.

‘Oh will you please relax, Dalia, I’ve driven a car before, you know.’

‘You might not be able to die, but I am!’

‘Don’t be so silly, you won’t die! You...-’ I watched as her eyes glazed over, about to snap her out of it since she was still in a car. Which she was driving. At that moment, however, she shook her head and smiled at me. ‘I knew you would like it!’

I frowned, like what?

‘Alice can see the future,’ Edward explained, casually. As if that were such a normal thing!

‘What did you see about me?’

‘You’ll see..’ Frowning, she suddenly pouted. ‘So, you knew what Edward’s gift was but not mine?’

It was at that moment that we stopped in front of the house. Their house. And let me tell you, it was one hell of a house. I’d forgotten whatever it was I was about to say, could only stare at the enormous mansion in front of me. It was a perfect blend between modern and antique, although it clearly tilted more towards the modern – something that I found kind of ironic given its inhabitants. ‘Wow..’

Alice giggled at my reaction, Edward just snorted.

As a garage door opened automatically, a collection of cars came into view. And when I say cars, I mean cars. Like, too-expensive-to-drive-with-too-expensive-to-even-look-at cars. To top it off, there weren’t just two, there were a lot. I recognized Edward’s silver Volvo, a red Mercedes Convertible that I could only imagine was Rosalie’s, a big jeep and a black Mercedes. There was also a motorcycle parked against the wall, but since my knowledge of them was rather limited, I could only say it looked expensive. Like the rest.

Casually – as if she hadn’t just opened the door to car heaven, Alice drove us into the garage and shut off the engine. ‘Are you ready?’

As ready as I’ll ever be.. ‘Yeah.’ Following her out of the car, we walked out of the garage, back to the front door. Although this seemed rather strange to me – since there had been a door leading from the garage into the house – I decided not to say anything.

’Carlisle wants us to use the front door. Since we’re with a guest..’ Edward sighed, as if he thought that was silly.

‘Behave Edward,’ Alice warned, then gracefully opened the door.

Stepping inside, my mouth once again fell to the floor. How could they act so casual, like living in a house like this was nothing special.. Being a vampire must be awesome.

‘You must be Dalia!’ A friendly, female voice called and I suddenly found myself in front of two people. One was a woman with caramel colored hair, a heart-shaped face and friendly looking eyes. The other, a man, was blonde, with an aristocratic nose and a small smile on his lips. They were both breathtaking.

‘Yes. You have a wonderful house, Mrs. Cullen.’

‘Please, call me Esme,’ she stepped forward, smiling. ‘Alice has told me so much about you. This is my husband, Carlisle.’

‘Pleased to meet you, Dalia.’ He shook my hand I couldn’t help but laugh. So this was the famous Dr. Cullen..

‘Likewise, Dr. Cullen.’

‘I trust you’ve already met my other children?’ He inquired friendly. Why was the only way to describe these two adults ‘friendly’? How could they stand to be so nice all the time, given that my mother couldn’t even keep that up for ten minutes a day without thinking herself to be worth of a medal?

‘Yes, we’ve seen each other at school.’

‘Good, well then I’ll leave you and Alice to yourselves. From what I’ve heard she’s got enough planned for the day.’

‘Have fun,’ Mrs. Cullen added, although her expression said something closer to ‘Good luck’.

As we ascended the stairs, I marveled at the beautiful house. Everything was so open, so light. It was almost ironic that a coven of vampires would live here. Returning to the whole vampire thing, I frowned. ‘Don’t your parents want to know how I found out about your secret? I mean, aren’t they afraid that I’ll tell on you?’

‘They trust our judgment,’ Alice said, smiling. ‘Besides, they didn’t want to scare you right away. They’ll ask later tonight.’

I didn’t doubt her, given the certainty in her voice – something that seemed all the more logical now that I knew she could see the future.

‘So this is my room,’ Alice said, stopping in front of a door.

’Well, it’s actually my and Jasper’s room, but I kicked him out for the day.’

As she opened the door, I found myself in rectangular room, with a huge king bed, an even bigger wardrobe and a mirror. One side of the room was completely flanked by a window, leaving an open view on what must have been the garden. Stepping closer, I marveled at the sight. A seemingly endless meadow spread out from under Alice’s window, reaching until the horizon, where it met with trees. Something about that meadow seemed familiar, almost eerily so. There was something about the sight, something that…

Realization slammed into me. That weekend, when I went for a walk. I had been in the Cullens’ backyard. My cheeks reddened and hoped Alice wouldn’t notice. I knew, however, that erasing it from my thoughts was more important. Edward would never let me forget it if he found out.

‘Dalia, are you listening?’

I looked up, staring at Alice who obviously had been talking to me. ‘I’m sorry, I got distracted. You’ve got a beautiful.. garden.’ I almost choked that last word out and could slap myself with the irony of it all. Alice, however, didn’t seem to notice.

‘Well thank you, Dalia, that’s really kind. However, I was telling you all that I have planned out for today and since you didn’t listen to me, you’ll just have to wait and see!’

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