Waiting for the Sun - 11 - One Hundred Fifty Years
my_moonandstars

(Not quite the image I had in my head, but the best picture I could find)

I thought that perhaps, if I kept on staring at Death, that he wouldn’t move any closer.  The man, with eyes as dark as thick blood and skin as white as the moon, glided forward.  He kept his arms clasped behind his back and tilted his head to look at me as if studying an animal in a cage.

“This is quite delightful.” he continued in a conversational tone.  Although I completely understood his words, the fluctuations sounded almost… archaic, as if my ear were pressed up to a dusty music box.  “I presumed that that blonde boy had done you in that night.  Imagine my surprise when I traveled up here a few days later and caught your scent.”

I croaked in barely a whisper, “Wh-what do you want with me?”

The specter took another curious step closer.  “There is something very familiar about your essence, somehow.  How could that be?”
Suddenly he appeared before me, breathing in deep a lock of my hair.  I shivered uncontrollably.  This man’s marble face was ageless – and yet ancient.  His red eyes opened in a flash once more and he smiled gleefully, revealing glimmering white fangs.

“Ah yes, I do recall.  That was a little more than a year ago.  In fact, there is quite a resemblance.  Familial, perhaps?”

“I – I don’t understand.”  But deep down, my lucid heart was breaking as it told me the freakish, otherworldly truth.  I felt absolutely sick.  The world began to spin.

“Her blood was delectable, one of the best I have ever tasted in my travels.  I am sure you will not disappoint either.”
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Waiting for the Sun - 10 - Into the Woods
my_moonandstars


credit: searchingfortomorrow

Somewhere along the line in Port Dixon Academy’s history, the idea of wilderness survival had been deemed a necessary skill for each of its students.  So a tradition had been established where once a year, the seniors would camp overnight in the mountains and learn to be one with nature.  Some of my classmates eagerly trekked up the leafy path full of romantic imagery of the vast mountains, whereas others trudged behind underneath stuffed backpacks, dreading a night without even the most basic modern luxuries.

Since breakfast we had gained substantial elevation, and finally came to a fork in the road.  Our teacher Mr. Clemons pulled out a map and asked a few of us to interpret.

“We can just use a GPS.” Landon, damp and grumbling and in want of a cozy bed, protested from the rear of the assembly.

“What if your GPS runs out of batteries or you don’t have a signal, Mr. de Graaf?”

“Technology has advanced so that major satellite connections can’t be distorted by a few trees.  Plus, there are solar-powered GPS’s nowadays too.”

Mr. Clemons sighed wearily.  “Just enjoy nature for what it is, Mr. de Graaf!”

We tried to hide our giggles and marched onward.

        There was one unfamiliar addition to our midst: a young man not much older than us, with bronze skin, a sharp jawline, inky eyes and equally sleek dark hair pulled into a low knot.  He seemed to be as tall and moody as the trees, and at home in them as well in the way that he effortlessly maneuvered the winding trails.  His name was Adam, and he was our designated S’Klallam guide – we were in their land.
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Waiting for the Sun - 9 - Blueprint
my_moonandstars

As soon as the sun rose above the mountains, Jasper hastened out onto the lake.  He waited and waited there afloat in hopes that Aurelia would take a look out her window and see him there and come to meet him as she had before.  All the events of the previous night kept agonizingly rewinding in his mind.  In his distress, he had acted on his fear and pushed her away.  Sure, he had protected her physically, but then he had turned around and lashed back when she had only treated him with kindness.  It was unacceptable and he didn’t know how he could make amends.  Meaningless hours passed but nothing stirred except the birds and the rustling trees.

----

That morning I covered my puffy red eyes with concealer as best as I could and sat in the back seat of the car with the duty of holding the dessert – my parents and I traveled through the winding hillsides to the S’Klallam reservation.  The local people were hosting a welcoming potluck luncheon for the doctors who were involved with establishing the clinic, which was due to be open by the New Year.  At the long communal table we feasted upon salmon caught in the river just nearby.  I ended up next to a girl several years younger than me, who was actually the granddaughter of the chief.

“You’re from California?  I’ve always wanted to go…” Hannah gushed.  “Do you miss it?”

“I do miss the sunshine sometimes.” I smiled wryly.  “But I’m glad we moved.  I can’t imagine now how it would have been if we’d stayed.”

Back home, a constant reminder of Abigail’s death might have torn our family apart.  And from the passionate way my father was discussing the new clinic with the others, it seemed like he had rekindled his passion for medicine, as well as the real reason why he had begun in the first place – the joy of healing people.

From the sounds of the discussion, there were a few complications holding up the building completion.  One calm voice of reason was missing from the cohort.

I turned to my mother.  “Are Dr. Cullen and his family not coming?”  The striking, pale, empathetic man was absent from the gathering; I only thought of him in the context of his adopted son.  At the mention of that name, a few of the council members stiffened and glance my way with narrowed eyes.  Even Hannah appeared a bit uncomfortable.

“Apparently he had important business he could not postpone.” said my mother.

“Speaking of Carlisle, he mentioned that one of his sons has an extensive background in architecture!” my father offered.  “Maybe he can help us with the final logistics.”

“Which one of his sons?” the grey-haired chief named Saul asked tersely.

“The blonde one – I forget his name…”

“Oh, Jasper?  I did not know that about him.”

I stopped chewing for a moment.  How was the native leadership already so acquainted with the Cullens?

“We can ask him to come take a look at the blueprints and the roofing.”

The same men across the table gave their chief wary stares before returning to their conversations.

Saul gave a vague nod.  “I’ll get back to you about that.”

          There was definitely a story untold beneath their cautious demeanor.  In the midst of the animated chatter Saul rose and was soon followed out by another elder.  I excused myself to use the restroom and with a pounding heart, concealed behind a stack of chairs around the quiet corner from where the two men urgently debated.

“—They have never meant us harm, Mahlon.  Carlisle is working on our behalf for the clinic.”

“No, I don’t doubt their intentions.  But why can we not just hire a different consultant?”

“You know we’ve already gone over budget, even as careful as we planned.  We cannot take ask for any more of the tribe’s savings.  Our people have been desperately waiting for this clinic.  If there were to be an accident in the future, our investment would be for nothing.  Right now it would be foolish and arrogant to refuse help, even from a cold one.”

I frowned – what was a ‘cold one’?

The one named Mahlon ruffled in anxious frustration.  “But – but the treaty!  We cannot break it now, not after ninety years!  For one of them to cross our borders…!”

“I understand how much of a risk it is.”

“Just because the Quileutes have accepted them--”

“I trust Billy Black’s judgment to the fullest.  And since Jacob Black has imprinted on the halfling daughter, there is no way that the Cullens would threaten that bond.”

“Surely you know that the lion one has left his coven?”

“Of course I heard.” Saul paused somberly.  “Still, that doesn’t mean he’s abandoned their ways.  He too has been living peaceably.”

Mahlon sighed, resigned.  “I don’t like it, Saul.  The others feel uneasy too.  Don’t you know that Jasper is the most unstable of them all?”

“Yes, but we can have the pack escort him while he’s here…”

With bated breath I crouched lower and tried to decipher all the cryptic words – cold ones, coven, imprinting, halfling, pack – which alluded to a dangerous world, one that Jasper, Carlisle, and I bet that even the fiery-eyed man from the night before were entwined in.  There was perhaps a good reason why Jasper had wanted me to stay away.

-----------

...  There was no escape.  A pair of murderous red eyes and razor teeth lunged at my neck -- I bolted up in bed in a cold sweat; sheets snarled around my legs like prisoner’s rope.  My heart raced as if I’d just been running for my life and the sudden halting return to reality sent the room spinning.  I scolded myself to slow down my shallow breathing.  It was just a nightmare.

As my mind cleared, I smelled a savory scent that wafted from downstairs.  I put on my slippers and curiously shuffled downstairs where my mother was preparing a full spread of bacon, eggs, toast, and fruit.  I stood there, astonished.

“What’s the occasion…?”

“Your father is having a guest over this morning.”

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Waiting for the Sun - 8 - Lover, Find Your Cover
my_moonandstars
In keeping in standing order with all his documentation – from his numerous college degrees, to his birth certificate, to his “legal” surname of Hale – Jasper had to cross reference over twelve ledgers on a regular basis.  That evening he worked through the numbers once more and his pen rest on a square on the calendar he had carefully marked many decades before.  A half-conscious, dull gnawing anticipation ran through his gut as he stared at the upcoming date of expiration.  Then, guilt set in.

After sitting as a statue for an hour of cross-fire in his mind, he finally picked up his phone.

“…  Hi, Jazz.” a high, melodic voice, far too calmly, answered at the last ring.  “It’s time, isn’t it?

Preparations were set for the next day.


         However, Jasper had also made a promise that he would fix Aurelia’s canoe before the week was over, so after working overnight he quietly delivered it across the water.  As he set it back in its original spot on the shore, he heard a soft rustling in the trees and out dashed Aurelia with an eager smile.  Little did he know that the girl had been glancing out her window all afternoon just waiting to catch him.
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