The inside of the house matched the outside – old and a little run-down, but clearly grand once-upon-a-time. The furniture was ripped in places, and the colours in the fabrics were faded, yet everything seemed like it was from an elegant, Victorian period – just very lived-in.
We followed Desiree through the living area to the dinning room. The large table that looked as though it could sit about twenty people was being used as a drinks and nibbles area.
“There is a real sense of monumental history in this house,” Esme said to Desiree, “so grand, yet completely, liveable – I adore it,” she complimented.
“Thank you,” Desiree replied, with genuine enthusiasm, yet the smile on her face was somewhat sly, holing a possible hint of suspicion towards Esme. She began handing us all a drink – some sort of homemade fruit-punch.
“Let me find my family,” she said, “my husband has been looking forward to meeting you all.”
“Sure,” Esme answered.
Desiree left the room, via the other doorway from which we entered; I guessed that it was probably the kitchen.
We seemed to be alone now in the dinning area, and just like it was at school, people seemed to be keeping a distance from us. “These outfits really must be scary,” I said jokingly to Alice, voicing my observation out loud.
She responded by giving me a knowing wink.
“Desiree seems to be acting the same,” Edward muttered under his breath, though we all could hear clearly, “she’s reciting some Latin poem over and over again. I can hear Savanna’s thoughts too. She’s blocking me, but also trying to communicate with me – they don’t know about last night, so we can’t say anything.”
“I think that would be best,” Carlisle agreed.
Desiree walked back into the room via the entrance to the kitchen. A tall, skinny man followed closely behind. He was different to what I had expected, even though he was wearing a wizards costume, Desiree was so confident, and seemed very sure of herself; this man looked timid and shy – somewhat nervous too. He had short, mousy-brown, wispy hair and was balding; he most definitely did not live up to Desiree in the looks department, she was by far the prettiest of them all. Eric came through the door with Savanna now too; he was dressed as a zombie and Savanna a witch like her mother.
“This is my husband, Roy,” she said, without even glancing or making a slight gesture to acknowledge his presence; it was such an ordinary name which only encouraged my thoughts around their differences, “and our children Eric and Savanna; I hear that some of you have met in school?” she added.
“Yes, we have,” Edward answered. I noticed Savanna look away slightly when Edward spoke – clearly nervous with us being here.
“Well enjoy the party, help yourselves to anything you need,” she said, “Esme, shall I take you on a quick tour?”
“Sure, I’d love that,” Esme replied. Desiree showed her out of the room through the kitchen. Carlisle moved closer to the nervous looking Roy and began introducing himself properly. Rosalie, Emmett, Alice and Jasper headed back towards the lounge and through the French doors which appeared to lead to a large backyard.
“So where’s your boyfriend?” Eric said in a somewhat arrogant tone to Nessie; the word boyfriend startling me – I was sure that I wasn’t missing something there. I also noticed that Savanna had now left the room.
“Ahh, he’s at his Dad’s,” Nessie replied as casually as she could pull off – something that she didn’t seem to find hard from being around Jacob so much; “and he’s not my boyfriend. We’re family,” she added.
“Oh,” he said with a smirk, “so what’s the story with you guys anyway? Your all like together or something? But family too?” I started to bite my tongue trying to create some pain for myself as a distraction. I had met him for two seconds about a day ago, and again now for only five minutes and I wanted to kill him! I knew that people thought our perceived family dynamics were rather strange, but no one ever brought it up, not with such cheek anyway; he was clearly testing us.
Edward answered him in a calm, yet serious voice, and didn’t leave much room for more questions to be asked on Eric’s part – I was adamant that he was drawing from deep within to control himself too; “we’ve all been adopted by Carlisle and Esme.”
Eric’s expression seemed confronting towards Edward in a way; he had a content smirk on his face, probably well aware of the effect he was creating.
“The other guys went out back right?” I asked Edward. Not caring that it was rather obvious that I wanted to get away from Eric.
“Yes,” Edward replied, holding his fix on Eric for a moment longer, “lets find them.”
We left the dinning room, and Eric, walking through the French doors into the cool night air. The backyard was large, and had many random clusters of seats and a few tables for guests – it was all situated around a small bonfire where people were roasting marshmallows, and keeping warm. The others were sitting around a small picnic table towards the back of the yard.
“Nessie – “ I started as I realised that she was still in the dinning room with Eric.
“Its fine Bella,” Edward cut in quickly, “Carlisle’s there too,” he said reassuringly.
“Okay,” I said, letting it go a little. I didn’t like that she hadn’t stayed with us, but knew that I was already over-paranoid about the whole party and that I couldn’t expect her to become our shadow all night.
When we reached them my mood suddenly felt a whole lot more relaxed – Jasper! I glared at him light-heartedly.
“You looked a little tense, that’s all Bella,” he said, grinning.
“Eric was winding us up,” I replied.
“Has anyone seen Savanna?” Edward asked.
No one answered, but they all shook their heads slightly. I glanced over at Edward and he had his eyes closed – he must have been trying concentrate on filtering out everyone’s thought to locate her.
“In the house somewhere,” he said, “we’re back to reciting numbers.”
We sat together for a while longer, watching the other party guests socialise amongst themselves; we analysed their costumes to try and overcome the boredom.
Edward kept us well informed of the conversations that Nessie, Carlisle and Esme were having too. Desiree and Esme had rejoined Roy and Carlisle, but the conversation was very dry, clearly both parties – well more Desiree from that side than Roy as he barely spoke – were making conversation that they both clearly weren’t interested in. Acting the part! Carlisle was telling them some fake story of how he and Esme met, and where he studied to become a doctor. Whilst I wished that Nessie was sitting here with us, she seemed to be handling Eric remarkably well. Her laid back attitude to it all helped a lot, resulting in Eric doing most of the talking. He was telling her all the ins’ and outs’ of the High School social world – he clearly played a significant role in this scene; the whole family did! Except for Savanna, who still seemed to be isolating herself somewhere.
As time moved on I began to notice that more and more people had gathered outside, and that loud music was now playing. People were starting dance with one another.
“Hey,” a short girl with blonde coloured hair said, coming up behind Rosalie and Emmett, “come dance with me,” she was speaking to Emmett. He stared at her blankly for a moment – I was speechless myself; everyone had been so wary around us and all of a sudden this girl was so confident in asking Emmett to dance.
“Ahh,” he sounded a little unsure of what to make of the whole situation, “I’ve actually got my dance partner right here,” he replied, grabbing Rosalie’s hand as and extra attempt to brush her off.
“Just one dance,” she said, a little more persistent now, “then you can have him back,” she added, directing this last bit at Rosalie.
Rosalie pulled her hand from Emmett’s, indicating for him to go; “amuse me,” she mouthed to him.
He seemed a little reluctant to go, but did anyway – probably more for the risk of the girl getting any more persistent. Emmett grinned back at Rosalie. We watched as the girl led Emmett towards a group of people who were dancing to the beat of the music – a popular dance club tune. Emmett didn’t move much, but the girl was hyper! I looked around at the other people dancing, and noticed that they all seemed to have a similar level of energy too.
“Carlisle,” Edward said, pulling everyone’s attention away from Emmet and his dance partner immediately, “where’s Renesmee?”
“We came to ask you guys the same thing,” he replied. They had obviously both finished talking with Desiree and Roy.
I watched Edward as he closed his eyes quickly again, trying to concentrate on hearing Nessie or Eric’s thoughts - through all the noise I guessed.
“Everyone’s thoughts are filled with this beat,” Edward said, keeping his eyes shut. I could only imagine how frustrating it must have been for him, to try and concentrate on hearing one persons voice in a crowd of so many; then it occurred to me;
“Do you think this is all set up?” I asked, “that girl wouldn’t have asked Emmett to dance if she was in control of herself! She’d be too shy like they normally all are.”
“We need to get Renesmee,” Edward said, opening his eyes now, “I think you could be right Bella, her thoughts are the same as everyone else’s. Alice and Jasper,” he directed, “you guys check downstairs, Bella and I will look upstairs.”
“We’ll be waiting in the car,” Carlisle said.
Edward nodded, “if we’re not out in five minutes, come in,” he said.
“Sure,” Carlisle replied. They walked away as trying to act casually as they could, and Rosalie went to interrupt Emmett and his dance partner.
“Five minutes,” Edward said to Alice and Jasper. They nodded in agreement. I followed Edward back into the house through the French doors into the living room. As we walked through the room I was able to catch a glance out to the front door, Carlisle, Esme, Emmett and Rosalie had been stopped by Desiree and Roy – but they seemed to be handling it well as it looked like they were only saying their goodbyes. We went into the dining room, and through the door that I had guessed that the kitchen was behind earlier – it was. The kitchen led through to a wide hallway where the stairs to the second story were.
“She’s upstairs,” Edward said, “I can hear a lot clearer in here than outside.”
I followed Edward closely as he ran up the stairs, stopping outside the third door down the hallway. I could hear laughter coming from the room behind the door, it was Nessie; and I guessed that they were dancing from the noisy movements of their feet against the floor. I looked at Edward, and he raised his eyebrows slightly, as an indication that we were about to go in. As Edward placed his hand upon the door handle, I took one quick look around the hallway to make sure we were fine to enter. I noticed that a few rooms down, someone was watching us; the door was opened slightly as someone quickly shut it very briefly after I turned my head.
I grabbed Edward’s shoulder, indicating for him to refrain from opening the door for a few seconds longer, “two doors down,” I mouthed.
“Savanna,” he mouthed back, and continued to open the door. I forgot her quickly, as Edward opened door to what must have been Eric’s room.
“Sorry to interrupt,” Edward said coldly, “but its time for Renesmee to go home.”
Eric looked rather surprised at our presence, “ahh sure,” he replied, a little nervously, which was odd as he was so arrogant and confident earlier.
“But I’m having so much fun!” Renesmee said, still dancing a little – it was obvious that she had been brainwashed or something, as she should have realised that something wasn’t right; and the tone of her voice was loud and careless sounding, like she was drunk.
I started to walk closer to her, “come on Nessie, we really need to go,” I said.
“Yeah Ness,” Eric said, he put his hand on her back, pushing her forward slightly, “you betta get going,” he seemed even more nervous now that I had moved closer.
As Nessie complied with what we were both saying by somewhat skipping towards Edward and I, I couldn’t help but notice Eric’s fingernails has he placed both of his hands behind his back again, out of sight. They were long and a dull green colour – gnarly too, not like from a beauty salon or anything. From the glimpse that I saw they didn’t look fake either, and I was sure that there were a few dark veins running along his fingers, just before the beginning of the nail.
“Nice nails,” I said to him, in a cold, suspicious tone as Nessie was close enough for me to grab her arm, “you really have gone all out on your costume.”
“Ahh – thanks,” he said sheepishly.
I tightened my grip around Nessie’s arm and led her out of the room with Edward – now was not the time to be asking Eric any questions.
Alice and Jasper were waiting for us by the car; Carlisle had driven home when he saw that we safely had Renesmee. We were lucky that we didn’t have any issues with Desiree either, who we said goodbye to briefly at the front door.
“Its like she’s drunk!” Alice said, referring to Renesmee as we were driving home. Somehow she had been affected in the same way that everyone else had. The weird thing was that the rest of us were fine!
“One of them is going to spill,” Edward announced as he sped around a corner, the tone of his voice firm and cold. We drove the rest of the way home in silence.
© Copyright to Jonathan Cameron
© Copyright to Jonathan Cameron