Friday 15th September 2006
There was a certain shift in weather, the warmth of summer going but not quite gone and the wind and rain of fall on its way. I loved autumn, I loved the curls of leaves on the ground in the forest, the cinnamon coffee that you'd get in café's, the huge jumpers. But most of all I'd love the contrast- while it was freezing outside, I could huddle inside with my own personal space heater.
However, Seth was still gone. As I sat outside in the tree house, I cuddled under one of his big jumpers and a thick blanket. Grandpa and grandma were moving around things inside the house and I was getting in the way, so I had came out here. One of my legs was swinging beneath me as I gazed out to the forest and to the lake in the corner of my eye. It was a murky day, still under the covering of grey clouds.
I had been at school all week with Gina beside me- we had reconnected and it felt great to have her as a friend again. We began to talk about the future and what we dreamed of doing- though those dreams felt so far out of reach. Since my grandparents didn't earn a lot of money we were pretty hard up and memories of being poor with my parents were a constant threat in my mind. Grandma said it would be fine though- Logan would be a five star chef and we'd all go shopping in Paris for the weekends. Of course she was joking, though I knew Logan had the potential. However, I didn't know if he'd ever have time now for his career and education. There were talks of him dropping out of college. Sometimes, it felt like Carmen was ruining him- though I'm sure she never meant for any of this to happen.
I could hear music playing in the kitchen as my grandparents worked. They liked to change things around in the house, even if they were getting old. I wanted to help but they were too independent- saying that I should rest after a week full of mock exams and pop quizzes. But I didn't want to rest. There was a burning inside of me and I felt like I was missing out on so much- on Seth's new life with the Cullen's, on the new rules of the pack, on the tribe in general. I knew they had to sort out things but it was taking so long.
Watching over the forest, I came to realise two pairs of dark eyes were looking up at me as they edged forward. Squinting, I came up a little, my hand on a branch. Sandy fur met my eyes and my heart did a double skip. "Seth?" I asked, a little hesitant.
He came forward, the other wolf at his side. They were hiding behind a few bushes, wary of my grandparents. I turned and began to climb down, though slowly because I didn't want to fall. When I hit the earth they had changed into people and I looked at Seth inquisitively. I had only seen him a little last night but he was gone by the time I awoke this morning.
"What's going on?" I asked as Brady came forward. They were both wearing torn shorts that went to their knees and their skin was grubby, as was their hair. Brady grinned, coming forward to wrap an arm around me and tow me into the forest.
"Seth won't talk about it, but you can come and see the baby now."
"Whoa, really?" I questioned, looking around to Seth. "Wait, are you all on the same side now?"
"More or less." He said quietly, catching up with us.
I gazed back to Brady, frowning a little. "They want me there?"
"Of course. Bella is doing really well for a newborn- Charlie visited and she didn't eat him..."
"Brady." Seth said, his voice unnaturally low, his eyes dark as we moved further away from the house. "This isn't safe, I trust the Cullen's but-"
"She'll be fine!" Brady grinned, ruffling my hair. "Come on bro, we're all there and the Cullen's are too. Nothing's gonna happen."
Seth growled very gently and shoved Brady's arm off me, pulling me close to his side. Brady chuckled, walking down the hill, phasing a few moments later.
"Seth, I want to see them." I told him very gently. "I want to know what Bella looks like... what the baby looks like..."
"But this is dangerous, Eve." He stressed, suddenly crushing me to his chest. He squeezed me tightly. "I don't want you getting hurt..."
"Can't... breathe..." I spluttered and he stood back.
"Whoops. Sorry." He chuckled nervously. "Captain hypocrite, am I right?"
I laughed, breathing easier now he was here. "So, how are we going to get there?" I asked, looking around.
"I thought it was obvious." He said quietly. I glanced at him.
"Well... obviously I can be used as a mode of transport." He patted his stomach, standing back from me. "Hold on a sec."
"Oh..." I murmured. "You mean..."
He just smiled, fear still visible in his eyes as he ran off. I looked down to my hands- they were brittle and cold. It was strange, this breath of Arctic that flowed over me whenever Seth left- even just for a moment.
Being this close to somebody should scare me, but I didn't feel afraid at all.
When he came back I had a flashback to when I first knew what he was. Was that only this year? It felt like I had known forever. His eyes were hesitant as he came forward, his big wolf body gangly. I smiled as he laid down a little.
Very carefully I climbed on his back, gripping his soft fur in my fingers. He lifted up and I beamed like an idiot. He huffed and I knew I had to lean forward and hold on tight.
Brady grinned wolfishly and took off and before I was ready Seth was running.
It was like being in one of those wind machines- it tore at my hair and burnt my cheeks. I huddled down in his fur- his warmth the only real thing around me. Everything moved so fast, so blindingly fast. I gazed to the side as trees became strips of darkness. My heart was thudding so quickly with excitement as I looked around me with awe. I had never thought of the pack being magical, but this was. A bubble of laughter built inside of me and I felt Seth's throat vibrate in response.
Too quickly it was over and we jumped over the river in a rush. Landing on all padded fours I let out a breath- sure I had been holding it. Brady looked around to me and grinned before walking off into the forest. Seth huffed and laid down to let me off. My limbs were shaking and I gripped a nearby tree as I climbed off him. He blinked at me for a moment and then disappeared into the forest.
Before he came back Alice rushed down to greet me. Her amber eyes were wide and excited, taking in my pink cheeks and wild hair. She giggled, taking my hand in her freezing one.
"We're so glad you came!" She trilled. "Bella needs to be around humans." She smiled, her eyes twinkling.
Seth came back, clothed in a dark grey shirt and shorts now. He smiled at me and stayed close to my side. "The baby's name is Renesmee, but everyone calls her Nessie." He said as we climbed up the yard. I recognised all the trees from the wedding and remembered dancing with Seth under the fairy lights.
"Nessie? As in the Lock Ness Monster?" I asked, feeling a little confused.
"It was Jacob's idea. Too much of a mouthful otherwise." Seth said as we came up to the house.
"Edward's making dinner." Alice informed us. "He hopes Leah will eat some..."
I frowned. "She should eat something."
"We know." Seth sighed. "But enough of my sister." He grinned. I smiled.
We went into the house from the kitchen door. Edward glanced up from frying something on the stove and smiled. "Hello Evelyn. I'm glad you could come."
"Thank you for letting me." I smiled politely, breathing in the delicious smells of dinner. Edward could rival my grandpa, but I'd never tell him that. Edward smiled and I knew he had just read my thoughts.
"It's chicken risotto." He told me, flipping the juicy chicken in the pan.
"Oh, great." I said, coming over to look at the meal. "You're really good for a vampire."
He laughed. "Why thank you. It's nice to have a professional eater and chef actually tell me what it's like instead of wolfing it down..." He glanced to Seth. "No pun intended, of course."
Seth rolled his eyes but smiled. "Come on, Ness is in the living room."
"Okie." I waved goodbye to Edward and walked with Seth and Alice into the living room.
It was very cosy for such a completely sterile environment. The fire was on, crackling away in the crate, sparks flying up in the air. Candles were dotted around the room- scented and smelling of flowers. Emmet was talking to Jacob when we came in and they both looked up and smiled.
"Ah, human." He smiled toothily, knowing I was a little afraid of him. I slapped on a brave face and smiled.
"Hello." I said calmly. We came over and then I saw Bella was sitting down near the coffee table, a baby in her arms.
But it didn't look like Bella. At least, not the Bella I know- or knew. She was so stunningly beautiful that I was sure I looked really weird as I stared at her. And her eyes? Creepy.
The baby in her arms was even more beautiful. Exquisite, her eyes creamy brown like her mother's had been. I was sure she was a cherub. Bella smiled hesitantly as I came forward, kneeling down a metre or so away from her. Seth stood apprehensively beside me.
"Hi." Bella said nervously, her voice changed- like velvet. But, I could still catch glimpses of herself in it. Like her softness, the gentleness in the way her arms were around her daughter. I smiled widely at her and looked to the baby.
"She's beautiful... I mean, wow." I said, though my voice came out like a whisper. I gazed up to her- to her bright red eyes. "And you are too, Bella. It... kind of looks like you were meant to be this way."
She smiled broadly, her eyes shining. "Thank you."
"Nessie has a gift, too." Jacob piped up. "It's amazingly cool."
"Do you want to see?" Bella asked gently. Seth stiffened, crouching down beside me.
"But she bites Jacob-"
"Renesmee knows not to bite humans." Bella told us, motherly authority in her eyes. Seth's hands began to shake and I gently took them, looking to him with large, soft eyes.
"It's okay Seth." I told him, smiling a little at him.
He sighed, falling into a seating position next to me and he huffed. "Okay." He said, his cheeks a bit darker.
I beamed, shuffling closer to them and looking down at Renesmee. "What is it?"
Bella pulled Nessie up and the baby smiled widely at me. I was surprised to see tiny white teeth in her mouth. Her soft hair was curling around her ears- in the same shade as Edward's. She was adorable.
"There's no word for it, really." Bella murmured.
Then little Renesmee's hand came up to touch my cheek, her baby skin soft and smooth.
Instantly I saw many things- I was taken from that warm room and to the backyard. Seth was in front of me, his eyes happy as he brought up a picture that showed myself and him on my birthday last year. Then I was inside again, in the kitchen as Jacob spoke about the pack, Seth beside him and mentioning me with a smile. He described me to myself.
"...she's my best friend. Like Jacob is your best friend."
Jacob laughed, pushing his shoulder. "Yeah, but Evelyn is more than a best friend to you now-"
Seth frowned at him, but then smiled dreamily. "Yes... I suppose so."
Then it was gone and I came rushing back to the living room. The contact of Renesmee's hand was gone from my cheek but I was still staring into space, still seeing the images. I sat on my heels, blinking. My heart was thumping loudly and I knew everybody could hear it. "Wow." I breathed.
"Are you okay?" Seth asked, his hand on my arm. His contact made me come back and I looked to him, a blush staining my cheeks. "What did she show you?"
I bit my lip and smiled, glancing at Bella as she smiled too. Little baby Renesmee giggled and clapped her chubby hands.
"Oh crap, what did she show you?" Seth sighed, his head falling into his hand. I laughed, pulling my legs up to my chest and rocking back and forth.
"I'll talk about it to you later." I grinned, looking to Bella. "That's amazing. How on earth can she do that?"
"Genetics." Bella murmured, turning Renesmee around and smiling down at her. "Her dad can read minds... and I suppose you could say she can do the opposite."
"Wow." I echoed my own words from earlier. "That's awesome."
Bella looked to me and grinned. "It is, isn't it?"
Alice then came to sit down on the sofa, leaning forward and smiling. "She's so beautiful... finally someone to dress up!"
"She's not a doll, Alice." Bella sighed. "She may be a little more indestructible than regular babies, but she's not a plaything."
Alice pouted, sitting back and crossing her legs. "You and your motherly instincts. If you had been a proper vampire, you wouldn't have been allowed near her at all."
"Alice." Jasper sighed, coming into the room. His dirty blonde hair was all windswept and he thumped down onto the sofa next to her. He glanced at me. "Hi, Eve. Or, is it only Seth who can call you that?" He smiled mockingly.
"Ha!" Emmet laughed from the armchair.
I frowned at Jasper but he just smiled. "Alright, Evelyn."
"There will be a riot on our hands." Seth muttered next to me. I looked to him, confused.
"What does that mean?"
Seth beamed. "It just means that only I can call you that. If anyone else does..." He cracked his knuckles, grinning at Jasper.
"Oh, so threatening." Said Jasper.
"D'ya want to go?" Seth teased.
"Sure thing, dog."
"No! No stop it right now." I exclaimed, hugging Seth's chest. "You're not fighting. I know you killed a vampire Seth, but come on."
"You doubt my skills?" He scowled down at me.
I smiled. "What would you do if I said yes?"
He growled and looked intensely at the fire. I gazed back to Bella and smiled. "He gets angry way too easily." I sighed.
"Oh, I know that feeling." She smiled softly, lifting up Renesmee's arms as the baby wobbled on her legs.
"She doesn't look like she's one week old." I said. "She's already got teeth..."
Bella's smile disappeared. "She's growing fast. We don't know when it will stop." She said quietly. "Carlisle's keeping a close eye on it."
I nodded, looking to Renesmee as her brown eyes gazed up at me. I smiled briefly at her and she grinned, wiggling her legs. Sadness filled the air and I felt weighed down with it. Then, suddenly, it was gone. I felt calm and peaceful and I peeked at Jasper. He just smiled at me, wrapping his arm around Alice.
When it was dinnertime I sat at the small table in the kitchen- Edward said the main dining table was way too big. He hadn't just made chicken risotto- which would have been enough for me- but he had roasted potatoes and fried some bacon, along with making some bread rolls which smelled wonderful. Brady joined us because he was starving and didn't want to kill any animals when there was a huge meal waiting for him. Leah didn't come. I wasn't disappointed... I was expecting it, really.
Brady and Seth began to stuff their faces as I poured myself a glass of water. I heard the phone ring but it didn't really bother me. However, moments later Emmet came forward with it, handing it to me.
"It's for you." He said, his voice deeper than usual. I frowned, taking the phone, the glass in my other hand.
"Evelyn?! My god, where have you been?!" My grandma shouted.
"Oh, I'm sorry... I meant to tell you-"
"It doesn't matter now." She said, her voice suddenly quieter. "I need you to... come to the hospital."
I gently placed the glass on the counter. "Why?"
"It's your grandfather... he's..." Her tears could be heard through the phone and all of the breath from my lungs disappeared. "He had a fall, darling, while trying to bring something out of the attic- I told him we didn't n-need to go up there-" She sobbed. "He's unconscious... we're here in the hospital, love. Can you come? Do y-you need me to drive there?" Her voice shook.
I couldn't breathe.
"Darling? Are you still there?"
I choked, my legs crumbling underneath me.
"Evelyn!" I heard Seth exclaim and before I hit the floor his warm arms were around me. He grasped the phone.
"Mrs Hund? Yeah, it's me Seth. She's just... well, er-" he gazed worriedly down at me. "A bit shocked..." He gently pulled me up onto my feet, his arms still bundled around me. "I'll bring her Mrs Hund, don't worry about it, yeah, it's okay. We'll see you soon. Thanks." He hung up and placed the phone down. He held my face in his hands, pressing my forehead to his. "We need to go to the hospital, Evelyn." He breathed.
I was silent. Unmoving. Fear- like lightning- struck my heart.
He moved back, his arm solidly around my waist, pulling me from the room. Brady gazed up at us from the table, food dripping from his open mouth.
In the living room Edward was looking at us with wide eyes. "You need a driver..." He said, coming forward. Seth nodded towards him, glancing at the others before pulling me outside. The cold wind whipped at me and I shivered. Seth brought me closer, his fingers tightening around me as Edward brought out his car. Seth opened the door for me and I sat down, moving over a little to let him in. He slammed the door behind him and the noise made me flinch.
The wind howled outside, whipped at the trees, brought leaves tumbling down. The ticking of the clock in the hospital room was rhythmic and slightly annoying. I kept drifting to sleep and then waking up again at the irregular beat of a monitor.
I blinked, realising I had been leaning on my arm and it had gone to sleep. Sitting up I looked about blearily, seeing Mrs Hund was curled up in one of the uncomfortable armchairs, her mouth slightly open as she slept. Evelyn, beside me, was staring intently at her grandfather, her chin resting on her hand.
He was under the light grey covers, tucked in neatly. In the back of his left hand was a cannula attached to a drip filled with clear fluid. Against the sheets the man I knew looked so pale, so ghostly. His white hair flopped around him- too long, really. It was mostly covered by a thick bandage around his head. Shadows were all over his face- under his eyes, around his cheekbones. He looked so ill. It scared me. I winced as pins and needles invaded my arm.
I didn't have to imagine how Evelyn was feeling. With her being my imprint, intense emotions from her could easily be felt by me. It was horrible- like I was suffocating. We both knew so much of death. I saw it everyday in the woods- in predators, even in my own pack if they got ravenous.
Dr Cullen had visited once or twice- he was in and out of surgery but made sure to see us. He was kind, but honest. I knew that was what they needed.
Evelyn didn't cry. She blinked dryly as she watched her grandfather breathe. His chest heaved and I could hear the air whistle in his lungs. I felt my eyes sting and I found it difficult to breathe myself. Being this connected to her was difficult but it gave me insight. I wanted to know how she felt. It would be much worse if I didn't know.
She pulled her legs up to her chest, hugging them, the blanket around her drooping. I watched her watching him and it was painful. Where had my Evelyn gone? My partner in everything?
When would she come back?
She glanced at me, the pupils in her sea green eyes small despite it was quite dark in here. We gazed at each other for a long moment, flicking millions of silent conversations between our eyes. She then stood, taking the blanket with her as she came to sit on my lap. I smiled sadly as she hugged my neck and I covered my arms around her. We didn't speak. We didn't need to. After a few minutes she finally fell asleep and, a few moments later, I did too.