Seeing Charlotte’s smiling face after so long was much a relief. I didn’t hesitate to pull her in for a much needed hug from my friend as soon as I was within reach. “How’s things going? How the hell did you two take in a newborn?” I asked hurriedly. It was something that was plaguing my mind and just craved to know.
She seemed cagey at wanting to answer, putting it off until we got to her truck where her nervousness and apprehension doubled. “We came across an accident. There was just something about the girl that we couldn’t let her go. Peter changed her because I was too afraid that I’d drain her. She really smelt good too.”
I studied her as she spoke. There was truth in her words but she was omitting something and my gut told me that Alice was involved there. When she spoke of their newborn’s blood, my mind brought up Bella and how delicious she smelled despite everything that happened. “Okay, so tell me about your current problem? It sounded like she was pitching a fit with Peter on the phone.”
She face twisted before she glanced at me. She was avoiding something and I narrowed my eyes. A low growl escaped and she flinched at my warning. “Cupcake woke up pretty calm considering what we know of newborns. It really threw Peter and I for a loop. We hadn’t wanted to travel far for her first meal so we gave her the option of trying animals like you and she seemed okay. She didn’t tell how she felt which way or another after that but we let her know her options. Her memories are – conflicting?”
“Conflicting?” I repeated, confused at what she meant.
“I don’t know Major. She knows things. You can see it in her eyes that she knows something but when we try to get her to open up about it, it seems like she is genuinely lost. Best I can put it is that its’ like the edge of the memory she’s trying to grasp. It’s there but she can’t hold onto it and she doesn’t know if she wants to. I do know that she was hurt. Deeply and it’s carried over to a very emotional and broken vampire.”
“So you and Pete decided it would be best to call an empath in?” I questioned incredulously and terrified. “If she is as broken as you say, you have any idea how it will mess me up?”
“That’s the thing. You are probably the only one that might have a chance to help her resolve her issues,” Charlotte sighed. “Just…wait. You’ll see what I mean when we get there. I only hope you don’t kill Peter and I when you do.”
At her words, I wasn’t sure how to feel. They were afraid for my reaction to their newborn? Their newborn who according to Alice is my mate. “Alice told me something about her. That she’s my mate. Is that why you wanted me to come help?”
She was torn again and nodded after a moment. “Partly. Please, just wait until you see her. Don’t make me answer anything else about her until after.”
I accepted her request reluctantly and the rest of the hour long drive was spent mostly in silence as I tried to follow her emotions and think about what to do if things didn’t go well. Scenarios and plans plotted for every possibility that I could think of.
When we got to the house finally, Charlotte ran up the steps to the door and waited for me before she went in. Peter was pacing the floor, just as nervous and apprehensive as she was at the airport. “She’s out for a walk. She’ll be back soon.”
Charlotte nodded as she went to stand behind him as I remained silent. I could smell the unfamiliar scent but it was also known. Freesias and hints of vanilla that I could only assume was from Peter as he sired the girl. If she was indeed my mate, I could handle that as she would at least have an extension of myself in her.
I walked in further and set my bag on the chair before turning back to my friends. “So what is the story. And please, don’t lie. Omission of facts is still a fucking lie. I thought we were more than that with each other Peter,” I complained. I was tired and restless.
Before he could answer, the freesias scent was growing stronger. I reached out to get a feel for the emotions and knowing she was a newborn, barely a week old, they were surprisingly calm after learning of the tirade she went through and I’d been witness to over the phone. She obviously knew that I was there and she grew frightened. There was recognition in her fear, likely at my scent if she had gone into my room at all to know that I wasn’t a complete stranger to the house.
I eyed the door waiting for her to come in but she seemed to linger outside, unsure if she should enter or flee. Peter luckily seemed to have developed a softer side with her because he called out to her. “Cupcake? It’s alright. It’s our friend Jasper. Remember? We told you about him?”
Curiosity spiked and it made me smile, giving me a small flare of hope. As the door slowly opened, revealing her, I stood stock frozen. A marbled statue in the living room. Her face was as beautiful as I remembered, and more so now. “Bella?” I whispered, tasting her emotions but that recognition was gone suddenly and the pain at its loss hurt me.
Bella was alive, in a matter of speaking. She was now one of us, something that Edward tried to avoid. My eyes flashed over to Peter questioningly and he shrugged, not knowing how to answer. I would beat an explanation out of him first chance I got.
“Hello,” she said to me before looked to Peter. “I think I’m going to go lay down. I’m actually feeling kind of tired,” Bella murmured, looking at Peter apologetically before glancing at me again. The same shy girl I remembered was there again and gave a weak smile before running upstairs out of sight. I heard a door open and close, and knew it was to my room, making me smile for a moment before I glared at my friends.
“What the fuck happened?!” I asked, trying to keep my voice down. “Tell me everything! Right now!”
Peter looked around, panicked. It made me wonder why his trouble meter hasn’t gone off with all this mess yet because I was seriously contemplating removing a limb or two. “Alice called us the other night. Said that there was going to be an accident during that storm that came through. Said it was your mate and we didn’t ask any questions after that. We took off to find her. The truck was a mess and she wouldn’t have survived long enough for the hospital! So I changed her! What did you want me to do? Let her die? She’s our sister now and if you don’t fucking want her, we do!”
My hands flew to my hair as I tried to process everything. My brother’s ex girlfriend is now a vampire and supposedly my mate. The fucked up part now is that since I’ve actually laid eyes on her I could feel the pull to take me up the stairs to her. She was no doubt listening in on the conversation so I couldn’t exactly say just anything without pushing her to run away from me.
As I battled to get my own emotions under control, I knew my friends were trying to keep themselves in check for me, but the curiosity, fear, and longing that came from upstairs felt so much like it was coming from myself. Letting out a moan I fell to the couch. Taking a deep breath to ground myself, I could smell her scent lift from the fabric as it moved under me. I didn’t catch myself in time before I realized I was basking in it.
Resigned, I looked up warily. I had to ask. “How much does she remember?”
“We don’t know. She told us bits about Carlisle at the hospital, but something spooked her about one of the bedrooms. I didn’t ask her about it as I didn’t think she wanted to share yet, but when she went into your room, which is her now by the way. You can stay in the ugly blue one. Anyway, she seemed fine,” he smiled, making me curious. “She said she felt safe in it so if you don’t like it tough shit.”
“Really?” I grinned at that. So maybe she did feel the beginning of the mating pull. It gave me hope that this mess would turn out positively. “Of course she can have the room if she wants it.”
“I’m sure she’s grateful for hearing your permission voiced. She was fucking nervous at first about taking it. Regardless, I don’t know what was going through her mind. I’m not a mind raper like Edward, but whatever she was thinking stirred up the hornets’ nest with him. Cupcake remembers him now. Vividly. I’d venture to say that if he were to show up at the door now, nothing the three of us could do would stop her from tearing him apart. Not that I’d willingly stop her after what Alice filled me in on with their history. Which by the way you asshole, why the hell didn’t you call us when you two took her to Phoenix to deal with that nomad?”
“Our main concern was to get her as far away from James as possible. At the time I thought you were heading up into Canada! What good would have been for us in the south?” I replied before noticing the odd look Charlotte was giving me. “What?”