Chapter 12: Denali

Shayla’s POV

Things settled down after I got home. But then they revved up again as we started to prepare to leave for Denali, for the CornellUniversity spring break. Carlisle had gotten time off at the hospital for a month and we were leaving just after New Years Day, January the tenth to be precise.

Rosalie wasn’t speaking to me, still too angry that I had travelled back to Forks to see her almost worst enemy, and that Esme and Carlisle were not angry at me about it at all. Because she was being bitchy to me, I was almost as bitchy to her. We spoke in hard voices and only when needed, and whenever one entered a room where the other was, the first one would walk out in a huff. I felt bad, having to stoop to her level, but I didn’t really care.

Poor Emmett was torn. On one hand, he wanted to remain to his wife and mate Rosalie, but on the other, his little sister (me) was there. He wanted to please Rosalie but stay loyal to me. Whenever I came into a room where she and Emmett were located, and she would stalk off in a huff, calling a reluctant Emmett after her, where he would meekly glace at me and mouth an apology, before he scurried off after her, like a little lost puppy.

Alice and Jasper were staying out of our feud. Jasper wanted to support me, but at the same time, he felt a tie to his ‘twin’. In order to protect both of our feelings, he proclaimed himself out of the quarrel and refused to hear, see or talk about it.

Alice was the same; she refused to even go near the subject. She busied herself with mini projects, one that involved clothes, and I, for a unique change, allowed myself to be her Barbie-doll guinea-pig. She dressed me. She re-dressed me. And she re-re-dressed me until she found the perfect style to wear that particular outfit. And she would drag me, ugh, shopping. But, like the human Barbie-doll thing, I did not complain and allowed myself to be dragged around various malls, giving my opinion on various clothes, and carrying bags and bags of outfits in the proximity of some rather appealing humans. The one good thing was that she let me go into comic-book, video-game and media stores. She not once complained about my boy-like tendencies as I emerged grinning with several bags of my purchases.

Esme and Carlisle… they were trying to keep the order alive in the household. Order in a family of vampires… that was just a recipe for disaster. Esme was ‘trying’ to fix mine and Rosalie’s grudge against one another by forcing us to talk and apologise. She wanted an apology for me running off to Forks to see Bella. I refused as I felt what I was doing was right. We were going nowhere so in the end, Esme threw her hands in the air and told us that, “We better sort this out before we leave for Denali.”

That wasn’t say we hadn’t made any progress at all. We were speaking again, in more softer, less cold voices to one another. No long conversations, but short words of kindness to one another. Emmett was thrilled and proud of us for making the short steps.

So here I was now, packing the small backpack of winter clothes to take up to Denali. Part of it was filled with thick ski clothing, just for show to the humans, and the other half had my normal clothes in it, just jeans and a few t-shirts. I would go hunting in them.

It was almost time to go. “Are you nearly done Shayla?” Jasper asked as he poked his head in through my door.

“Just about!” I answered as picked up other belongings I would need: wallet filled with cash, cell phone, driver’s license, and my passport just in case…I put them all in my bag before I shoved passed Jasper and raced downstairs.

We were taking two cars: Carlisle’s Mercedes and Emmett’s jeep. I was going with Carlisle and Esme in the Mercedes while the others claimed the jeep. I was personally very happy about this. While Alice and Jasper weren’t so … flamboyant I guess, about their relationship like Rosalie and Emmett, but there were times when they forgot that their younger sister was in the room or car. Esme and Carlisle, they never did anything more then a peck on the cheek, or a simple touch of the hands but still, it was kind of gross.

However they kept that to a minimum in the car ride up to Alaska. I sat lounging across the backseat, staring out the window with my iPod in my ears, watching the landscape change as we raced across empty black roads at twice the legal speed.

I was looking forward to spending the spring break with the Denali’s. I was cautious, mainly because of Laurent, wondering how my family would react. I was only slightly glad that Edward wasn’t around to invade in on my private thoughts anymore. It was quite lovely to have privacy but, I missed my eldest brother very much.

I sighed sadly as I turned the music up, before skipping the next few songs, before coming to a rather depressing yet meaningful song, Fall for You, by Secondhand Serenade.

Esme flashed me a troubled look when I changed it, raising a perfect eyebrow, but dismissed it hastily after I looked at her, rolling my eyes at her unnecessary concern. My father saw this and smiled slightly to himself. He knew I didn’t like to be looked after, and that I hated people to worry about me. It came from growing up on a farm by yourself while your Dad was workin’ hard to make a living and put food on the table for you.

“Are we almost there yet?” I asked as I watched snow falling from the sky outside of the car. “Surely we must be. Running is so much faster.”

Carlisle chuckled quietly. “Yes, almost Shayla, only just a few more minutes.” To emphasise his point, he put his foot down harder on the accelerator and the car drove ahead faster up the winding mountain road, always staying on the right side of the road, and never slipping on the slippery ice.

I laughed quietly and watched as we ended up pulling up to the Denali’s cabin-like mansion, one they used for when we stayed with them. It was a lot bigger then their normal house and it offered a lot more privacy to everyone, especially for the couples.

Kate came charging out when we pulled up, Emmett and the others weren’t there yet, seeing as how the jeep was missing. “Shayla!” he called enthusiastically as she ran up to me and embraced me in a hug.

“Hey Kate!” I greeted my sister-like ‘cousin’ just as enthusiastically. “Long time, no see. Sorry I didn’t manage to say a proper goodbye before I left – something big came up.”

“Nah, it’s okay,” she laughed back, giving me a quick squeeze around my shoulders before she whisked me inside. “I knew you wouldn’t leave without saying goodbye unless it was an emergency!” She giggled and poked me in the ribs, resulting in me jabbing her back with my elbow.

Inside, Carmen and Eleazar greeted us appropriately, just as Emmett, Rosalie, Jasper and Alice pulled up. While they got the welcoming treatment, Kate tagged along beside me as I retrieved my only bag from the car and then headed upstairs to the spare room that Tanya pointed out when I passed her on the stairs. After she had, of course, she hugged me and kissed me on the cheek before she ran downstairs to see the rest of my family. I knew that she would be disappointed that Edward would not be there. Even when Edward and Bella were still together, it hurt to think that weren’t like that anymore, Tanya still liked Edward – a lot.

When I finally headed back downstairs, my siblings were no where to be seen. Instead though, Carmen, Elezar, Esme and Carlisle where seated around the fireplace with a roaring blaze set in it. Tanya and Kate were there too, sitting on a gorgeous Persian rug with a chess board set up in front of them. I paused, but Tanya turned to smile sweetly at me before she patted the blank space of rug beside her. I sat in between the two of them, so that three sides of the board had a vampire on it.

“Where’s Irina?” I wondered out-loud to the group. “Shouldn’t she be here?”

“She’s with Laurent, they have their own little place,” Carmen explained. “It’s so delightful for her to have her own one now, no?”

“Yeah, that’s brilliant,” I replied, not adding what I really thought of Laurent. Despite the fact that Irina was easily the one of the Denali coven I disliked the most, I couldn’t help but to feel pity for her about Laurent.

While I was thinking this, the front door banged open, and the wind sent a scent across my nose. I turned to see Irina step in, snow covering her hair and clothes, before she flitted over. “Sorry I’m late!” she said, smiling slightly. “Laurent got a call from a friend who he said he absolutely ahs to meet. He says he’ll be back in a few days.” She beamed.

Irina seemed to be better behaved then my last visit. We stayed in the house, conversing with our ‘cousins’ and getting reacquainted.

As the days went past, I discovered I was increasing in strength to resist. No where near the impressive record of Alice, Rosalie, Carlisle and Esme, but still strong in its own way. I couldn’t help how proud I felt sometimes, and I felt somewhat bad for Jasper, who was many years older then I but yet still struggled with his thirst. I knew his story, and knew it must be difficult for him – especially after we tried to attack Bella.

That was another problem. If human blood was spilt, could I still be strong? Or would I become a monster again? I had no way of knowing the answer to the question and frankly, I didn’t want to know anyway. Some questions must remain unanswered after all.

And so, about a week later, the boys took off hunting with Carlisle, Esme, Carmen and Eleazar, while Tanya, Kate and Irina took Rosalie into the nearby cities for some shopping. I would’ve gone hunting with the guys, but I shrugged off the small but rapidly increasing pain in my throat.

And I was also rather surprised at Alice when she said she didn’t want to go shopping. I was shocked.

“Geez, Alice, you feeling okay?” I had teased, holding a hand to her forehead. “Are you sure that you’re not sick or something?”

“You’re such an idiot sometimes,” she answered seriously, swatting my hand away, but she grinned widely, before letting out her tinkling, bell-like laugh.

I laughed along with her but then, she stopped short and gasped. Her body shook, her eyes widened and glazed over, as she gasped and held a hand to her mouth. It looked like she was having a seizure rather then a vision.

“No,” she whispered. “No… it can’t have happened… no, not yet… oh dear God no!” She yelled the last part loudly and glared at the ceiling, as she forced herself to experience another vision, trying to see before a sob burst out of her chest.

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