“I said we shouldn’t have let her go to school!” Edward’s voice radiated from the house as we drove up to it; he wasn’t toning down his shouting. “She’s not one of us, Carlisle! I can see it in her head! She wants him, she’ll stop at nothing. If Alice hadn’t stopped her in the car lot, she would’ve drunk him dry right there and then!”
“Give her a chance, Edward. You wanted Bella dead the first time you smelt her blood, yet you managed to control yourself enough to have sex with her. What makes you think that Luna will be any different?” Carlisle matched his volume, yet not his tone. My adopted father made it perfectly clear in his mind that he trusted me indefinitely; perhaps more than I trusted myself.
“I fell in love with Bella. But that’s beside the point, Carlisle! I hadn’t been brought up to rip vampires to shreds as soon as they crossed me! She’s not one of us; her name isn’t even Cullen. It’s Volturi, and it always will be.”
“Your name is Masen, Edward. Rosalie’s name is Hale. Jasper is a Whitlock. I am the only official Cullen in this family, Edward; with perhaps the exception of Esme. Why are you so intent on driving Luna back to Italy? She has never murdered a human, nor drank a human’s blood. She has a better record than you, Edward. It would do you well to remember that.” Carlisle’s firm tone clearly marked the end of the conversation, and I yanked the keys from the ignition.
I stared out of the windshield, at the back wall of the garage, as I tried to pull the edges of the hole opening inside of me back together again. ‘Never murdered a human, nor drank a human’s blood.’ The words replayed through my mind; as if I were watching them on a screen. Carlisle had not technically lied, but he hadn’t been completely truthful, either. I had murdered, I had drank blood; my murder, my blood. When the fire had burned inside of me - the same fire that scarred my memory – I had ripped my own skin from the bone. In the ecstasy of pain, I had tried to suck the fire out; I had drained the blood from my body. It was the reason for mine being the fastest change any vampire had ever endured; I’d had no blood for the venom to infect. I had drained myself so completely that I had never fully changed. It was the reason for me sparkling in the moonlight, not the sunlight; the reason that I still smelled human; the reason I ate, slept and drank; the reason that I was different. Aro had always marvelled at my difference from the others, but I had seen it from a completely different perspective; I hadn’t seen how I was truly a vampire. I was wrong. The boy in the parking lot had proved that to me.
The expanses of my mind prevented me from pushing the thought away. Instead of trying, I slammed the keys onto the seat as I thrust my way out of the car. I didn’t know where I was going; just that I was going somewhere safe. Somewhere that no one could watch over me. Somewhere that belonged to me. I ran as fast as I could push my legs, willing them faster when I reached full speed. I didn’t know when I would stop, or even if I could stop – just that it wasn’t anywhere in Forks. I could just about hear Edward telling Alice to let me go. Just about hear Alice’s panicked trill as she half-screamed that she’d seen my future disappear. Just about hear the despair in Carlisle’s sudden inhale – he thought that he’d let Aro down.
Carlisle was wrong. I was the one that had let Aro down; I’d run when things got too much - a trait that had been preserved from my human life. The scent of wolf began to grow thicker in the air as I ran – I was in Quileute territory now. My ears pricked for the sound of padding, but all I could hear was the soft breeze rustling the trees. My anger draining, I began to slow my erratic pace. I wasn’t far from the ocean now. The salty taste of the brine hit the back of my throat before I heard the sound of the waves rolling against the pebbles. I stopped dead at the edge of the forest that surrounded the stony beach. A pair of deep black eyes bore into mine, and I understood why I hadn’t lost total control this afternoon; there’d been an edge to the scent that I hadn’t placed. As I took in the huge, black wolf stood in the fringes of trees that lined the beach, I fell into reality. I knew who it was before he began thinking.
“Hello, Luna. I’m Philip Highton.”
I tried to open my mouth in reply to the waiting wolf, but my body was frozen. My eyes were the only things able to move at the moment, so I focused my attention on uncurling my body outwards from that point. As my face thawed, I realised my eyes were huge in my ground-facing face and quickly pulled my eyelids down to shrink them. My body was free to move, but I wasn’t sure which part to move first. Did I simply walk up to him and hug him, the way I normally greeted people? I didn’t even know him. Thankfully, the tower of black fur stepped tentatively toward me at that moment; head ducked in question.
“Luna? Luna, are you alright? You haven’t moved much. Is that just a vampire thing, or did I scare you? Listen, I’m so sorry if I did. This imprinting thing, I can’t control it; it just happens. I doubt I would’ve thought a young werewolf would imprint on a young vampire any more than you. I know you’re young, but we’re about the same age, really. Would it really be so terrible if we-“ He was cut off by my head snapping up to meet his gaze.
“Wait, wait, wait! You imprinted on me?! Since when?!” My voice maintained it’s perfect clarity as it shot through a few octaves.
“Well, umm, yeah. I thought you’d have known,” He paused as he measured my expression. “Is it a problem?”
My breath caught in my chest as the sudden heat from his blush radiated from his fur, throwing my throat into a fit of flames again. I squeezed my eyelids together and threw my head back; reasoning with myself. I knew how to kill him; one simple bite would do - just enough to expose his heart to the venom. My lips pressed together into a hard line, and my forehead furrowed with the excruciating pain this thought provoked. I couldn’t loose him, and I certainly couldn’t be the reason for loosing him. The mental argument that flooded my mind had taken mere seconds – three at most. My head shot downwards and my eyes flew open as I remembered the reason for his blush.
“I, umm, I’m not sure what to say. I mean, setting aside the fact that you are quite honestly burning my throat right now with your smell, I have to admit that I like you. You seem like a nice kid. A little young sure, but definitely a nice kid... No, this is wrong. We can’t be together, Phil,” My voice choked on his name, “Don’t you see? I’m dangerous, Phil. I could kill you with a simple scratch from my teeth. I won’t put you in that danger. It’s too hard to control myself around you; you smell absolutely incredible! There is a slight hint of wet dog in there, I must admit, but even for a human you smell good. No, I’m distracting myself. Look, I came out here to find a way back to Italy. Not to be imprinted on.”
“But that’s the thing, Luna. You didn’t come here to go to Italy; you came here because you knew I’d be here. You can’t argue this, Lu-” Unbelievable! He’d created a nickname for me in the past five minutes- “I’m not saying it was intentional, but something made you come here. Jake wouldn’t know this is where you were headed. I just took a rough guess when I heard you took off, since I already knew I’d imprinted on you. I figured you’d find me wherever I waited for you.” His shoulders almost seemed to shrug. I couldn’t believe that he saw all this as unavoidable – fate, even. I felt as though I was missing something vitally obvious.
Then I remembered the last thing that I’d heard Alice say, ‘Her future just disappeared, Edward! It’s these wolves, I can’t see with them around!’ It took no more than two seconds for my head to wrap around reality, though it seemed to take hours. Jacob had heard Alice’s shout – he’d been in the trees surrounding the house – and Phil had heard it through Jacob. Maybe this new wolf wasn’t as dumb as the others; he certainly seemed to believe that he could fool a vampire. Stupid, imprinting spaniel.
“Okay, so say we go with your ‘fate’ theory,” I couldn’t stop my fingers reaching up to create inverted commas, “What happens now? We announce that we’re the world’s oddest couple? A vampire and a werewolf...” My voice trailed off and my eyes drifted to the horizon as I realised this was the assumption that I’d thrown at Renesmee – I thought Nessie sounded like a Scottish sea snake - and Jacob on my arrival in Forks. Now I was living out the bizarre situation, and I was utterly unable to prevent it. It was odd; my head was telling me to laugh in his face and run home, yet my heart and body felt as if gravity had shifted. It was no longer the ground below my feet that kept me held to it, but Phil’s heart. He was now the centre of my universe. My eyes returned to his as I measured his wolfish grin and stepped toward him, placing my hand against his muzzle. “Actually, I like it. So, we go for it. We go back there and tell them that we’re together. You imprinted, I fell in love, and all in the space of a day. They might laugh, in fact they probably will, but there’s nothing we can do about it.” I realised he was staring at me then, not thinking. “What?” My neck inclined as I questioned him.
“You’re in love with me?” His head cocked to the side as his mind filled with questioning.
“Umm, yeah. I thought imprinting and falling in love were the same, though?”
“Oh. I didn’t realise. I thought imprinting and falling in love were different.”
I couldn’t stifle my giggle. “Oh, don’t worry. You love me, you overgrown Labrador. You’ll see.”
We grinned at each other as we realised how long we had for him grow to see it; we had forever.