‘Are you sure you’ll be alright?’
I nodded at him, forcing a smile on my face. Mentally, I was questioning my sanity for letting Jeren talk me into this. I mean, it was obvious from the start that she could make me cross my boundaries sometimes, but I truly could not understand how - and more importantly why - I had given in to this particular demand of hers. Daniel had been nice enough to drive me to Port Angeles, had even been nice enough to let me wait in his car. But now the bus was approaching the bus stop and I knew I could not go back anymore. Reluctantly, I left the warm, safe confinements of Jeren’s brother’s green Ford, stepping out into the drizzle. I shivered, still getting used to the wet, cold weather after sunny California.
As I paid for my bus ticket, I waved as Daniel took off – and with him, my last tie to the civilized world. Soon, I would move into the wild: Forks. A place with bad radio frequencies, no existing connection to the internet and just no connections to the outside world in general – or so I would have to believe, were I to rely on my psychoses. However, from what Jeren had found during her Google search the night before, I was guessing the reality wasn’t going to be much better than that.
I was still wondering about my temporary bout of lunacy when the bus took off again. I mean, what could have possibly possessed me to give into Jeren’s mad suggestion to visit Forks? What did I expect to find there? More evidence of the instability and overall failing of my mind? I sighed, I could only hope to snap a picture of the Forks town center soon, so I could get going again – and try to forget I ever let Jeren force me to visit that place.
One hour and a half. For one hour and a half I had been contemplating jumping out of the moving vehicle and to my death. And now I had finally arrived at my destination, I wished I had saved myself when I’d had the chance. Forks was, well… strangely familiar to how I remembered it. Almost eerily so. I had to give my crazy mind credit for being so realistically accurate. I mean, the town center consisted of the same small, boring shops as I recalled from the psychoses, the weather was as dreadful as always – albeit perhaps a bit less cold – and the people were all looking at me like I was some dangerous animal. Figured, they probably hadn’t seen signs of civilization for the last century or so.
Sighing, I decided I might as well get things over with. The sooner I’d be leaving, the sooner I would get back to Jeren’s home and be able to put on a fresh pair of dry socks and underwear. Taking out my phone from my coat, I went to stand in front of a map of the town, making sure the town’s name was clearly visible. Because of course, Jeren being Jeren, she had seen straight through me when I had planned on not actually going to Forks at all.
I was about to snap the picture – the most annoyed look I could muster on my face – when a voice made me lower my phone. For a moment, all I could do was stare.
‘Do you need help with that?’ He repeated slowly, probably taking my silence and flabbergasted look as a sign that I either didn’t speak English or was mentally retarded. Whichever of the two it was, it wasn’t really flattering. However, in that moment, I found I didn’t really care.
I recognized that stupid hairdo of his, that way-too-friendly baby face, that all-too-eager expression. I knew it but all too well unfortunately. But it couldn’t be. ‘Derek?’
Now his expression turned into one of surprise. ‘Do we know ea…’ He trailed off in midsentence, then shook his head. ‘Dalia.. you.. where did you.. I can’t believe you’re back! You were just gone all of a sudden and then I..’ he frowned. ‘I kind of forgot. But now I remember. Does that make sense?’
Once again, I found myself just staring at the boy. I didn’t understand what was going on. Like, not at all. But there was a part of me that was almost desperate to believe him. Desperate to believe that I hadn’t just dreamt everything. But how could it be?
Suddenly a more prominent thought reached my consciousness, one that I was almost afraid to think because of the hope that it bore. If Derek was real, if he was here, then what if.. what if they were as well?
A bus stopped across the street – the bus that would bring me back to Seattle. ‘I got to go.’
‘Will I see you again?’
‘No.. I don’t know.. I don’t think so. Maybe.’ I sprinted away without waiting for a response, desperate to make it to the bus in time. Luckily for me, there was an old, grey-haired lady in front of me with terrible hearing, making the bus driver have to repeat the ticket prize four times. I had enough time to catch my breath – hell, I would even have had enough time to wave at Derek. I could have. If I’d wanted to. But I decided leaving this way was much more dramatic.
I took the front seat and tried to keep casual conversation going between me and the middle-aged driver. Of course this was harder than I’d thought, especially since I had but half an hour ago stepped out of his bus in Forks. He liked me enough though, for when I asked him to stop on the middle of the road, he did so and even waved at me as I stepped out of the bus.
Looking left and right – and then left and right again – I crossed the road in a hurry, not particularly feeling like being driven over that day. When I stepped onto the long driveway, my heart started beating in overdrive. What if they weren’t real? But what if they were? Would they remember me? Would they like seeing me? I bit my lip, trying not to think of everything that could go wrong. What would happen, would happen.
It took me about five minutes to get to the house. It looked the same as I remembered it: big, beautiful and spotless. Another thought pressed forward. What if they weren’t here anymore? I mean, it was plausible, right? Taking a deep breath, I willed all my fears to ease down and pressed my index finger on the door bell.
‘There’s a human approaching.’
Edward looked up at Rosalie, just to see Alice and Jasper share a meaningful look. They’re minds were guarded, though, so he figured he’d have to interrogate them later. For the present being, however, there were bigger problems at hand. He could smell the human that had now stopped in front of their front door as well, although its sent was hard to pick up due to Bella sitting next to him. Its thoughts were easier to pick up on, though.
He immediately came to the conclusion that the it was in fact a she. And more importantly, she came for them. ‘Be on your guard,’ he warned everyone, just as the doorbell rang.
Esme gave him a look, silently asking for his permission, then moved to the front door. All present were listening for any sign of conversation, but there came none. The thoughts of the girl, too, didn’t give anything away. She knew Esme, though, that much was certain.
A moment later, his mother came back into the room, a small, pale looking girl trailing behind her. He immediately recognized her as the girl from Alice’s visions and shot his sister a dirty look, realizing that she’d probably been expecting the girl.
‘I’m guessing you don’t remember me,’ she said softly, her arms wrapped around her waist. ‘But I do remember you..’
Movement from beside him made Edward tear his eyes away from the newcomer, fixing them on Bella. ‘You’re the one that saved me that day. You pulled me away when that van was about to crush me. I thought it was a dream..’
Suddenly, forgotten memories came rushing back to him. Memories of things that had seemed daydreams for almost half a year. Memories of things that he’d thought he would never be able to forget. ‘You’re back.’ He had crossed the distance before he fully well realized it, his arms suddenly remembering the feel of her body curled up against him, of her hand in his. How could he have forgotten?
Before I was really registering what was going on, I found myself hugged against his body. A body that I knew so well, that I knew almost better than my own. ‘Even though I could not remember, my heart knew there was a part of me missing.’
I smiled at his confession, not caring about the tears that were streaming down my face. Not caring about all of his family that was still there, about the fact that this moment of happiness would only last for so long. For now, it was enough.
He pulled away slowly, almost as if it hurt him as much as it hurt me to be away from him. ‘What happened? You disappeared and it was as if it had all just been a dream..’
I sighed and sat myself down on a chair. ’It’s a long story.’
‘And we’ve got plenty of time to hear it,’ Jasper chuckled. ‘If you want to tell it, of course.’
Truthfully, I didn’t really enjoy telling them about my past. But they deserved to know. And if there was anyone in this world who could help me figure out how all of this had been possible, it was Carlisle. ‘Very well. As you know I lived in Los Angeles before I came to Forks, or well.. The thing is that I never really came to Forks.’
Judging from the faces around me, I was guessing they understood about as little of it as I had done when I first found out. ‘On one of the last few days of the summer holiday, my parents took me and my sister out for dinner and then to the movies. We were attacked on our way back to the car and the rest of my family was killed in the assault. I don’t know why they decided to leave me alive, but I guess they knew it was crueler to let me live than to kill me along with the others. That’s when I first turned up at Forks.’
‘But you said your family was killed? We saw them here as well.’
I nodded at Emmett. ’They were killed. That’s when everything gets complicated. In reality, I was brought to a treatment center, where I remained for over half a year in a comatose-like psychosis. My mind however, was here. From what I understand of it, my mind created a fake reality to keep itself from having to deal with the truth. But then things happened here and I started having short moments in which I’d wake up. That’s why you weren’t able to read my thoughts when I was asleep,’ I said to Edward, the realization only hitting me at that moment. ‘Anyways, on a certain moment, I guess things went downhill here and my mind concluded that reality wasn’t worse than the thing my mind had created. That’s when I woke up permanently.’
‘That must have been around March,’ Alice said, thoughtfully. ‘I started having my first visions of you around then, but I didn’t understand why. What happened in the meantime?’
‘I stayed at the center, talked and talked and talked with a therapist, made a friend and..’ My eyes widened and I took out my phone, seeing that it was already five o’clock. I’d promised her to be back on time. ‘I will have to call her, if that’s okay. I’m staying at her house,’ I explained, walking out onto the veranda. Not that it would matter, of course, for the vampires would be able to hear me even if I’d go into the woods. Quickly dialing Jeren’s number, I waited for her to pick up.
’Jeren, I am so sorry, I..-’
‘Did you find what you were looking for?’
I frowned, how did she know that? ‘I did.. Anyways, I completely forgot about the time and the last bus back to Seattle departs in,’ I looked at the screen, ‘one minute. So I will book a motel tonight and then I’ll come back tomorrow, alright?’
‘Fine with me. Tell Eddie I said hi.’ Then she hung up. Although I had told her about the vampire family, I had never told them that they were.. well, a vampire family. I didn’t question how she knew I’d found them; It was just one of those things Jeren knew.
As I walked back into the house, I saw none of them had moved from their spot, apparently waiting for me to continue my story. For good measure, I took my former seat at the chair as well and tried to remember where exactly I had left off.
‘Everything okay?’ Emmett asked, his goofy grin betraying that they had all been listening in on the conversation. I found I didn’t really care.
‘You don’t have to stay at a motel. You can stay in our guest room tonight and then we’ll drive you back to Seattle tomorrow,’ Esme said, smiling friendly.
‘That’s really not necessary,’ I started, but at seeing Alice’s face, I knew I had no choice. ‘But thank you.’
‘You’re friend seems uncommonly perceptive,’ Carlisle remarked suddenly and I realized that not just the conversation, but also my thoughts had been shared among the group.
‘She is. She was the one to suggest I went to Forks in the first place.’
‘And you’re staying at her house in Seattle now?’
I nodded. ‘I’m only visiting, though. Next week I’ll go back to California.’
Edward frowned, probably noticing the change of voice when I said that. ‘What will happen then?’
‘I’ll go to an orphanage. I’m under aged, remember?’
Nothing was said in response to that and I guess we all shared a ‘well fuck’ moment. Then Carlisle – good old Carlisle – broke the sullen atmosphere.
‘If you were having psychoses at the time you were in Forks than all of this,’ he gestured around him ’all of us, shouldn’t be real.’
‘I know.. Up until I saw someone in town earlier today, I myself thought it wasn’t.’
‘But then how..’
‘She can project her mind,’ Rosalie said, her voice as beautiful but cold as always. ‘I’ve only ever heard of one vampire who could do it, but even his ability to do so was weak at most.’
‘Perhaps the mechanism that opens up the mind to psychoses also allows the mind to leave the body,’ Carlisle mused, then he smiled at me. ‘I am sorry, you must be tired after the day you’re having. We will talk about this later.’
I liked the sound of that word. Later. It promised a future.