She started ”Em and I met Jo ten years ago while spending our seventh honeymoon in Italy. We were hunting in the woods just outside Bologna when we heard a car racing off the road, down a hill and landing in the trees. We deliberated for a moment whether to go check on it or not, since we were close to the rarely used road. She was almost dead when Em pulled her out of the wreck, but she was breathing and when she opened her eyes and saw me leaning over her, she gasped and a bit of blood came out of her mouth. I knew she was going to die, but before I could think any further the smell of blood that was streaming out of the gushing wound on her back, took the last bit of self control I had…”
She closed her eyes and shook her head, I know she still felt guilty and nobody from the now staring listeners had to hear the rest of that sentence. Carlisle came closer to rub her shoulder and comfort her, letting her know that he as well as the rest of the family understood and didn’t judge her, so she went on “ Before I could finish, Emmett pulled me away, picked me up and run with me, not stopping till we reached the end of the woods. Only then, when I inhaled a lung full of clean air I started realizing what I’ve just done. Em told me she was transferring and that we need to go back to end it, not to massacre but to make it as humane as possible. After another minute, we ran back and she was already screaming from pain. I approached her slowly, wanting to …. And then all of a sudden, she looked at me and said quietly, pleadingly, as if she knew what’s going to happen “I changed my mind, I don’t wanna die, anything but death, please”. I looked at Emmett holding a hand over his mouth and nose and he just nodded. We were sitting there with her in the woods for the rest of the day and the whole night, she stopped screaming pretty soon so there was no need to be afraid somebody could hear her. In the morning we rented a cottage close to the woods and took her there to help her clean up and welcome her to the new life. We told her about our family and our way of life, about the alternative lifestyle that other vampires lived, over and over again, till the burning was over. I apologized at least a thousand times and when she finally opened her new eyes I instantly felt that I’ve done the right thing.”
Suddenly Emmett darted out of the room and came back with a tray “Time for tequila!” He poured three glasses, handing me and Rose lemons and salt, not even noticing the looks on other’s faces till Edward almost screamed “No way, seriously?” pulling all the attention on him now. “Tequila is supposed to help a little and cool down the burning in the throat when you’re really thirsty,” he explained out loud. Everyone was disbelievingly eyeing him as we emptied the first glass and started laughing. “Too bad we can’t get drunk,” Emmett cracked as he poured another round. “Anyone else?” he looked around the circle, and since nobody answered, he playfully added “more for us.”
After two more rounds Emmett suddenly looked into my eyes and screamed “Holly crow, when did that happen?” Rose elbowed him in the ribs “so much for men noticing things” and Em went on “seriously Jo, when and why did you stop feeding on humans?”
I took another sip and smiled mockingly “about five years ago when I killed a human male I loved, by accident”. Although it was me telling this sentence, the pain caught me off guard, my stomach turned and the memory send a cold shiver down my spine, I knew if I could cry, the first drops would be on my lap by now. “Excuse me, I think I need some fresh air and a cigarette,” I apologized as I started to get up from my seat. Everyone but Edward and Alice gave me a surprised look. “It’s not like I am going to die of lung cancer,” I said winking at Jasper who just poured down another tequila with Emmett.
As I left the room I heard Carlisle and Edward starting a conversation on tequila and Jasper playfully adding “whatever helps, right?”. I went to the backyard, walking towards a stream or a river I could hear and when I reached it, I sat down on a rock. I knew if I would close my eyes now, I’d only see a picture of him and I wasn’t ready for that, I wasn’t far away from the civilization to have another panic attack. I got the cigarettes out of my pocket, fire and inhaled deeply, the tobacco smoke in my lungs didn’t really have any influence on my body, but I was used to calm myself this way if I had company. I could hear silent footsteps coming closer behind my back, as the wind blew in my direction I could tell it was a vampire approaching, but I couldn’t be sure who it was. The only ones I could eliminate from the list were Em and Rose. Although I haven’t seen them in so long, my vampire mind did remember everything about them, I could remember every single second of every single day and every word that has ever been spoken. This steps sounded a little softer than Em’s would, but still too sharp for a female. He slowed down and with another breeze I could tell who it was. I inhaled the smoke again, let it out of my lungs and said “thank you”.
“You’re welcome” he answered gently, as he sat down on the rock next to me.
“But I am doing pretty fine on calming myself” I half whispered.
It got silent for a few seconds before he spoke again. “You know, I almost killed my sister in law, because she gave herself a paper cut” he continued, “so I understand much better than you may think”.
“Did you ever cheat?”
“Does it get easier over time?”
“Jasper”, another puff “why did you come after me?”
“I enjoy your presence. For the first time in a very, very long time, it feels like someone could really understand me.”
I took his hand, squeezed his fingers gently and whispered “I know exactly what you mean”.
Then we heard another pair of feet moving fast toward us and this time I was sure, even without smelling him. I put Jaspers hand back on his leg, petted it lightly and turned around “hey big bear, did you miss me already?” Emmett stopped, my face was now just an inch from his broad chest, scooped me up like a little doll and cradled me, walking back to the house, Jasper followed. “Well, I don’t want you to catch a cold, you’re still a baby” he snickered.
As we walked pass the doorway Rose came towards us, stretching her arms in front of her and took me from Emmett’s arms. “You better now?” she asked concerned. “Yep, just didn’t want to pollute the air in the house or make you guys second hand smokers” I smiled, trying to sound as indifferent as possible.
“Will you be staying with us longer?” Esme asked hopeful, like she really wanted me around. “Yes, she will” Alice answered for me and looked over my shoulder where Jasper just entered the room, and then her eyes flickered back to me with a grateful expression.
Even though I didn’t meet her eyes, I knew Rose was desperate for some alone time with me. Ever since her venom spread thru my veins I felt connected to her in an odd way, like we were a real family and I knew she felt the same way, she has always been very protective of me, trying to help me with everything she could and providing as much information as possible, almost a motherly care, trying to teach me the difference between right and wrong. But I had to make my own mistakes first, before I could learn the lesson and that’s why she let me go. And now I was back, hoping to meet her expectations and willing to let her teach me. After living a nomad’s life for the past five years I could definitely use a lesson or two in the fashion department.
Rose suggested a walk and before we left Bella offered me hers and Edward’s room, explaining they don’t need it since they were staying at the cottage. Stepping out the door I turned around to take another look at all of their glorious faces again, no matter how often I looked, there was no way I could ever get used to this perfection. I thanked them all for being so hospitable and the next second I was running down the porch with Rose leading the way.
We ran a couple of miles then slowed to a walk. “So, do I have to tickle it out of you?” she teased. “No tickling, please” I smiled, “what do you want to know first?” She thought for a brief second before she continued “How long are you staying? I need to know when I have to prepare myself to let you go again” she said, her voice breaking on the last word. “You’re not going to miss me, are you?” I tried to keep it light.
We were in a clearing now, we sat down on the damp grass, everything looked gray and silver purple around us from the full moon, it was a little windy and I could hear breaking waves somewhere in the far. I was sitting across from Rose so I could really take in her exquisite face. Her long blond hair was waving in the wind, the moon’s light was breaking on her ever so perfect skin and made it glister a little. I suddenly remembered Emmett telling me, how she found him and carried him away from the bear and the whole way he thought he’d died and she was an angel, and in this moment I knew if I had to describe her with one word, it would be angel. I couldn’t really understand why her family thought of her as a shallow person, who was concerned only about her looks, when there was so much more to her. She saved my life in so many ways, I could never tell her how grateful I was, no words could explain it. But still, I’ve been having the hardest time convincing her, that she did not damn me to this existence but saved me from a worse one.
She snapped her fingers in front of my face “hey, daydreaming again?”. “It’s in the middle of the night, Rose” I smiled and she laughed too. “I am staying for good, that is, if you’ll have me” I continued. She raised to her knees, leaning closer and hugged me as tightly as she did on the stairs before “how could you even ask this, you’re my…” she paused to think for a second “well not really my child, but my baby sister, a part of me”. And then she laughed her comedian laugh “and I mean that literally”.
And then we started talking, none of us touching the really sensitive themes, we had enough time for that after all. She told me all about Bella’s pregnancy and her niece, how proud she was of her and that she was actually sleeping at night so I’ll get to see her in the morning. I wondered a little about the confidence she put into me, after telling me that child was half human and her heart was beating, she didn’t even give it a second thought on me hurting her precious little Renesmee. She told me about the alliance with the wolves and how she still couldn’t bare their smell and then she told me about the big fight with the Volturi. Once she got started, she needed only a few little encouraging words to keep her going and I was happy not having to be the one to provide all the themes. I couldn’t even remember the last time I listened to someone speak so much to me. On my trip thru Europe I hardly met anyone of our kind and since I kept my distance to humans, not wanting to provoke my new strength more than absolutely necessary, I didn’t speak as much as fifteen minutes in a whole month. But that was good, I needed my distance and time alone, to figure out who I really want to be and to get used to my new diet. Rose kept going and I was observing her full lips moving so fast, as if she feared there wasn’t enough time to discuss all the important issues. And then she cut to a subject that cut me a little off guard. She started talking about Emmett and how he was worried when I left them. Of all people I would have thought Emmett the last person to worry, but she told me about all the times they talked about me and how he wanted to go back to Europe once they were in the States again, to find me and make sure I didn’t get hurt. I would have to talk to him sometime later about that and thank him or something, although I still couldn’t imagine sitting calmly somewhere with him discussing fears. So, when Rose was sort of motherly, then Em would be sort of fatherly toward me? I had to chuckle about that.