The town of Forks was surprisingly hard to find when you’d never been there before; tucked away in a little corner of the Olympic Peninsula. Aro’s directions hadn’t helped much; his directions never did. He’d sent me to Phoenix once, and I’d ended up in Miami. All sunny places seemed the same to my father. I was on the verge of turning back and heading home when I heard something running through the trees. My eyes flitted through the greenery, and I smiled as I caught the scent; werewolf. I slipped in and out of the trees in the direction of the rustling, and smiled again as the muddy brown wolf came into view. It was too small to be very old; a few months old at most. It raised its head as I approached.
“Ugh. Do you have to smell so bad? I’m trying to hunt here,” I tried to sound friendly, but it came across more sarcastic than I intended.
“You can talk, bloodsucker.”
Definitely a wolf. Definitely a female wolf, too. I was a little surprised she’d expected me to understand her. She couldn’t have possibly known that I could read minds.
“Hey, I didn’t mean to offend you. I was just saying that you smelt bad.”
“What the- Oh crap! She can hear me.”
That explained why she’d answered me. “Umm, yeah. Mind-reader. Listen, you wouldn’t happen to know where I can find about nine vampires that go by the name ‘Cullen’, would you? It’s kind of important that you don’t send me in the wrong direction too, if you don’t mind.”
“Yeah, I know the Cullens. I’ll take you to ‘em. You’re on Quileute land by the way, so don’t kill anything.”
She set off running, and it seemed like she was trying to loose me in the forest. I’d never realised just how little werewolves actually knew about vampires until then; as if an overgrown Labrador could outrun a vampire! She dodged between the trees now and again, but it was easy to keep up with her. We reached the edge of the thick forest in a few minutes, where a huge white house stood at the far end of the clearing. Two huge stretches of grass reached toward us, with a gravel path separating them. We ran up the path to the house, but the wolf stopped at the door.
“There you go, leachy. Can you tell them that I’ll be back later? Thanks,” She didn’t bother to wait as she thought the words; she was already disappearing back into the forest.
I took a deep breath and knocked twice on the white door, denting it by accident. What a great first impression I was making. As I looked around for some way to get the dent out, the door opened to reveal a young, blonde-haired man smiling at me.
“Hello there, what can I do for you?”
“Hi, umm, I was looking for Carlisle Cullen. I was told he lives here. Have I got the right address?”
“Yes, dear. I’m Carlisle Cullen. You must be Aro’s daughter. We’ve been expecting you. Do come in,” He stood aside with a grin to let me through the doorway. “Alice told us that you were coming. We’ve set a room up for you upstairs, and we’ve enrolled you at Forks High School with everyone else. You’ll be in the same classes as Alice, Edward, Bella and Renesmee.”
“Oh, thank you. Thank you very much. I didn’t expect you all to be so kind,” I looked around at the nine pairs of golden eyes watching me. “Aro told me that you’d probably know that I was coming and why, but I didn’t expect you to have gone to so much trouble.”
“It was no trouble, dear. We’re very happy to have you here. Renesmee was growing tired of being the youngest around here anyway. I’m Esme,” It was obvious that Esme was the mother of this family.
The main room of the house was wide and tall; it looked as if two rooms had been made into one. Each wall was white, apart from the back wall which was made solidly of glass. The roof had wooden beams that stretched downwards from the middle, stopping when they met the wall. There was something very warm and inviting, yet organised and clean about this room. A grand piano stood in the corner with music sheets in a neat pile on the stool. It was more of a home than the house I’d had in Italy.
I took in the nine faces peering curiously at me, and began to feel a little edgy. There were clear couplings here; Esme and Carlisle, a blonde girl with a tall, dark-haired guy. A thin girl with dark, spiky hair was clearly with the other blonde man. A brown-haired girl stood close to a guy with bronze, tousled hair, and a younger brown-haired girl stood close by with a russet-coloured guy. Where would I fit in?
“Umm, I don’t mean to seem rude, but who is everyone?” I decided that the best way to learn names would be to ask.
“Well, you already know myself and my wife, Esme. This is Rosalie and Emmett”- The first couple- “Alice and Jasper” – The second – “Bella and Edward” – The third – “And Renesmee and Jacob; Renesmee is Bella and Edward’s daughter,” Carlisle indicated to each couple as he named them.
“Nice to meet you,” I made a nod in the general direction of the group.
“Aren’t you kinda small to be a tough bodyguard for the Volturi?” It was the first time I’d heard Emmett speak. He was tall; perhaps bordering on six foot, and very muscular. His short, curly, black hair reminded me of an afro for a toddler, and his huge grin showed off his dimples.
“Yeah, umm, I wasn’t exactly a bodyguard. More an experiment that Aro wanted to keep; sort of like a pet. Long story short, Eleazer told Aro what he thought my ‘gift’ could turn out to be, so Aro made me a vampire.”
“Classy,” Jacob had a huskier voice than other vampires I’d met. He also smelled extremely bad; kind of like a dog. I inhaled sharply as I realised that I’d jumped to the wrong conclusion earlier; he wasn’t a vampire at all. He was a dog, and a very big dog at that; he was a werewolf. Carlisle had said he was with Renesmee, and she was clearly a vampire. Her scent, her appearance, and the fact both her parents were clearly vampires all gave that away. A werewolf and a vampire... That was new.
“Jacob,” Renesmee scolded him. Renesmee was thin, and very tall; the sort of frame any supermodel would die for. Her bronze hair matched her father’s, and the curls in it flowed gracefully to the base of her back. Her bronze eyes were liquid and deep; clearly not thirsty. She stepped forward with the grace and poise of a ballerina; her face inquisitively cocked to the side. She was more observant than the others; her mouth dropped open as she gasped in shock, “Your eyes! They’re... they’re... blue!”
As soon as the words had left her mouth, everyone in the room was looking into my eyes. I suddenly began to feel very self-conscious. “Umm, yeah. Sorry about that,” I mumbled it more to myself than the others.
“It’s not something to be ashamed of, Luna. I’m Alice.” Alice was short and thin with short, black, spiky hair. She stepped forwards toward me as she spoke, but her movements were exaggerated; as if she was afraid to scare me. “Carlisle told us about Aro’s claims. Aro told him that you have a remarkable talent. I don’t see any future for you. Would you mind explaining that?”
“Oh yeah, that. Umm, it’s nothing really. I can tell what other people’s talents are, and I sort of take them in. Once I have them, I kind of... adapt on them.” I gathered by the confused looks on everyone’s faces that they weren’t following me. “Like this. Edward, try to read my mind.”
Edward looked straight into my eyes with a confident expression on his face. As the seconds passed, his face grew more strained in concentration; his eyes narrowing as they burned into my face. “I... I Can’t. I thought only Bella had that sort of control.”
“She did. Then I walked into the room, I knew she had an extreme level of control, and I took it for myself.”
Edward’s eyes shot wide open, and I realised my words could be taken in two ways. I threw my hands in front of my face as he began to crouch.
“Bella still has her talent; I just have it now too. Bella’s no less powerful or more powerful than she was before she knew me. I promise. Try to read her mind and you’ll know I’m telling the truth.”
Edward turned in his half crouch, without straightening up, to look up at Bella. He slowly straightened up; his eyes running down Bella’s body as he did so. His eyes skimmed along the floor, before moving up my own body. “You’ve grown up around Jane,” Edward’s stance shifted infinitesimally so that he was between Bella and me.
“I’m trained to defend myself, Edward. I wouldn’t harm anyone unless they were planning to harm me. Yes, that is true,” I answered the question in his head without realising it hadn’t been said aloud. “My ability to harm people is greater than Jane’s, but my desire to be something other than a monster stops me from using it. As I said, I will defend myself if I need to, but I don’t use my ability for recreational purposes as Jane seems to.”
Edward really didn’t seem to trust me. The next, and last, words he spoke to me that night were simply, “We’ll see.”