Chapter 3: Explanations
It was twilight. The best, and worst, time of our endless days. We could do what we want– hunt, tune our vehicles, compose, whatever. But it was a reminder of what we are.
Emmett and Jasper were playing a ridiculous and extensive game of chess near the back wall with multiple boards but. of course, I wasn’t allowed to play. Rosalie was directing Alice on our touch-screen computer (had to be tweaked by Edward and Carlisle as it was sensitive to temperature) around the corner from the boys on Rosalie’s stupid fashion design project. Edward was composing on his piano, a favourite pastime of his. Esme was upstairs, reading in Carlisle’s study while Carlisle was doing his night shift at the hospital. I hadn’t seen him yet.
I came downstairs to see what everyone was doing. I was going to play my violin, something I haven’t done in a while, but I then quickly decided that I wouldn’t. Rosalie drifted from Alice’s shoulder to the couch where she switched through the channels of our flat screen without pausing.
I sighed as I went back upstairs to grab something I hadn’t used in a long time, my surfboard. I change into my wetsuit (if anyone was watching I need to wear one, it was quite cold) but wore my board shorts and white shirt over it. I needed to use a car though. I wanted to go surfing.
Edward, I thought, knowing my brother would hear.
He paused on the piano; I know that’s when he heard me.
I might head for a surf down at the beach outside La Push. Ask Emmett if I can borrow the jeep, I said to him in my mind.
I pushed my flat-billed cap on my head and pick up my surfboard. I also grab a CD that I play in the cars whenever I used one.
I heard Edward call out to Emmett. “Hey Emmett, is it okay if Shay borrows the Jeep?”
“Yeah, it’s fine,” I heard Emmett call back as he knocks Jasper’s knight out. “What’s she doing?”
“I’m going surfing,” I answered for myself as I leap downstairs, my board underneath my arm. “It’s kinda been a while. I’ll be back in a few hours. See yas.”
I headed into the garage and placed my surfboard in the back and loaded my CD into the player. I started the engine and the CD comes to life, pumping hip-hop tunes that are soon pulsing through the rumbling Jeep. I revved the engine and sped out of the garage, towards the beach.
I heard Shayla leave for the beach and smiled to myself. She was a rather keen surfer and being half-Australian; I figured surfing was natural for her.
“Hey Rose, what do you think of this?” I asked Rosalie. She’s at my shoulder in an instant, checking the design I made for her.
“Looks good,” she said, rather enthusiastically “I love it. Let’s order it now!”
I touch the appropriate buttons and charge it to my credit card. “It’ll be here by Tuesday,” I told my sister who returned to the couch. I shut the computer down and turned around to watch the boys. Emmett has his back to me so I mouth his next moves to Jasper. We shared a grin at each other. Emmett curses as his favourite Castle is knocked out.
I tried to tune into Shayla, to see her future. I knew she wouldn’t be at the beach quite yet.
I saw her sitting on her board on the calm water, staring up at the stars. She shifted her weight back and started to paddle; a wave was coming up behind her. She caught the wave and stood up, in a relaxed way; she seemed to lean back and let her feet guide the board. I could hear her singing to herself.
‘Cause everything you want, everything you do, you try so hard to be everyone but you. Everywhere you turn, you just gotta learn it's easier if you don't try so hard.
Edward entered the room. He saw my vision and smiled at it. “Try too Hard.” I say, referring to the Pink song. “That’s her favourite song.” Edward gave a grin.
“I see she’s holding up well,” he notes as he leans against the wall, watching the boys playing their Ultimate Chess game. I nod my head and mouth Emmett’s next move to Jasper.
“Has she told you where she’s been?” I asked him, but I already knew he would know already.
He frowned “Yes, I do know. But…” He seemed to be choosing his words carefully. I couldn’t see what he was going to say. “I really think it would be better if you asked her yourself. But be careful,” he warned. “She’s a bit touchy about it.”
I nodded, mulling it over in my head. I’ll talk to her when she gets back. I said to him in my head.
He nodded before disappearing out the door. No doubt to visit Bella again. And I didn’t need to have a vision to figure that out. He always went to see her at night.
“Yes!” Jasper cried out suddenly as he snagged Emmett's last Queen.
“Alright, you won this one bro but wait until next time!” Emmett roared as he leapt at Jasper and the two engage in a mock fight. It’ll turn into a real wrestling match for sure. Emmett would win, not that I doubted Jasper; it was just that Emmett was stronger. I should help him out when this thing turns real.
Emmett had Jasper in a headlock and was giving him a ‘noogie’ when I pounced. I had seen that Emmett would release Jasper and then tackle him again.
I crept up behind Emmett just as he let go of Jasper. I leapt forward and grabbed Emmett’s arm, twisting it up and behind his back while straddling him with my legs and with my other arm curled around his neck.
“Oh great, you’re here.” He made a face. “Now we know this fight really won’t be fair.” I leapt down off him and grinned at him.
Jasper took the opportunity while Emmett was distracted to attack him. He leapt up and pulled him backwards and into a headlock. Emmett reacted by grabbing Jasper and tossing him over his shoulder.
I sighed and backed away from them. They’ll be at for hours or until Esme or Rosalie tells them to knock it off. I watched them for a while.
I checked the clock. It’s 11:44. Shayla left at 11:10. She would be heading back soon. I see her in my vision. She’s realized the time and heading into shore. She will be back by five to twelve.
I headed towards the couch and saw that Rose has gone to tune her BMW again, leaving me in control of the TV. I was anxious for Shayla to return, I wanted to know where she had been. I couldn’t see if she wanted to tell me or not.
Ten minutes later, I detect the familiar rumble of Emmett's jeep and Shay’s hip-hop CD.
She entered the house, her hair wet but starting to dry; it wouldn’t knot like humans hair. She would smell of salt for a few days but she would have tried to wash the smell off at the beach’s shower that they have there.
I could hear her singing to a song I didn’t recognize. But then I realised. It was by her favourite artist Pink (or P!NK).
This used to be a funhouse. But now it’s full of evil clowns. It’s time to start the countdown. I’m gunna burn it down, down, down. I’m gunna burn it down!
Her voice was bold and confident. She hit the notes right and sounded like a real rock star.
She burst through the door and struck a pose.
Nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. Fun!
She caught me watching her. She grinned and I giggled at her antics. “Like it? It’s Funhouse by –”
“Pink, I know. Your favourite singer,” I said, cutting her off.
“You remember!” she cried as she dropped the board and hugged me. “God, I’ve missed you Alice,” she added. She let go of me and stepped back, smiling down at me.
“I hate it that you’re taller then me,” I said, slightly annoyed. Shayla gave me that grin of hers, the one that reminded me of a Labrador Retrievers smile, with cheek written all over it.
“Oh you’ll get over, shortie,” she replied, still grinning before picking up the surfboard. “Anyway, I might head up to my room. Catch ya.”
I watched her head up the stairs, shaking the water out of hair. Esme wouldn’t like that.
But for now, it was time to found out what she has been up to for the last year.
I reached my room and changed into drier clothes. I stood there for a while, gazing around my room. I could see that my stuff is in the exact same place since when I first left.
My room was a large room on the corner of the second floor, with a large window with glass shutters set in the back wall and an identical one set in the right wall. My bed was on the left hand side with a flat screen mounted on the wall across from it. My closet was beneath it. My desk was on the right hand wall with my music collection (not nearly as extensive as Edward's) on several shelfs in the corner just near the window.
I wandered to my CD player on the shelf on the top shelf of my CD rack and hit play. Pink’s Runaway started to play and I find myself singing along to it as I sat on my windowsill, leaning against the side.
I've got my things packed, my favourite pillow, got my sleeping bag. Climb out the window. All the pictures and pain I left behind. All the freedom and fame I've gotta find. And I wonder how long it'll take them to notice that I'm gone. And I wonder how far it'll take me…
To run away! Life don't make any sense to me. Run away! This life makes no sense to me. Run away! Life don't make any sense to me. Run away! Life don't make any sense to me. I was just trying to be myself, you go your way I'll meet you in hell. It's all these secrets that I shouldn't tell I've got to run away, it's hypocritical of you. Do as you say not as you do. I'll never be your perfect girl and I've got to run away.
I'm too young to be taken seriously. But I'm too old to believe all this hypocrisy. And I wonder how long it'll take them to see my bed is made. And I wonder if I was a mistake. I might have nowhere left to go but I know that I cannot go home. These words are strapped inside my head; tell me to run before I'm dead. Chase the rainbows in my mind. And I will try to stay alive. Maybe the world will know one day why won't you help me run away. Life don't make any sense to me. Run away! This life makes no sense to me. Run away!
I could sing for change, on a Paris street. Be a red light dancer in New Orleans. I could start again, choose a family. I could change my name, come and go as I please. In the dead of night, you'll wonder where I've gone. Wasn't it you, wasn't it you, wasn't it you that made me run away!
I was just trying to be myself, you go your way I'll meet you in hell. All these secrets that I shouldn't tell I've got to run away! It's hypocritical of you; do as you say not as you do. Never be your perfect girl, I've got to run away!
Life don't make any sense to me, run away! This life makes no sense to me, run away. Life don't make any sense to me, run away! Life don't make any sense to me. This life makes no sense to me, it don't make no sense to me, and it don't make any sense to me. Life don't make any sense to me…
I finished singing and listened as the next song comes on. I shifted my weight so my legs were half-hanging out the window just as I heard a knock on my door. But I smelled who it was before they even spoken.
“Can I come in?” I heard Alice ask.
“Yeah, it’s cool,” I answered with my voice barely more than a whisper.
Alice entered, walking like she was dancing. “That was good,” she told me. “You’re the best singer in the house.
“Thanks Alice.” I smiled weakly. She danced over to the CD players and skipped back to Runaway. She fast-forwarded to the bridge. “That’s my favourite part,” she admits.
“I could sing for change, on a Paris street,” I sang for her, my face serious. “Be a red light dancer in New Orleans. I could start again, choose a family. I could change my name, come and go as I please.” I stand up on my window still; it was tall enough for me to leap off without hitting my head. I grinned at Alice as she has a vision. She gave a gasp. “In the dead of night, you'll wonder where I've gone. Wasn't it you, wasn't it you, wasn't it you that made me run away!” I back-flipped off the edge and soar down the side of the three-story house, smirking all the way down, before catching myself on one of the branches of the mighty cedar trees. Noticing that one of the branches arched up towards my other window. I ran up it and slid in the other one, to Alice’s disapproving glare.
“Don’t do that again Shay!” she hissed. “You could have impaled yourself!”
“Chillax, Alice, I’m not that delicate!” I laughed as I leant against the wall. “You could see I wasn’t going to anyway.”
“I could see that if you haven’t grabbed that branch you would have,” she countered.
I frowned, I wasn’t that clumsy. “When I was away Alice, I learnt a lot. FYI, I learnt to go faster, be more agile. You should see me hunt now.” I gave a smirk at her.
Alice sat on my bed and looked up at me. “Are you ever going to tell me where you’ve been?”
I sighed. Guess it’s time.
“It’s a seriously long story. Might go for a few hours,” I said before checking the clock. 12: 15.
“Shay,” Alice rolled her eyes. “We have plenty of time.”
I sat on the bed beside her, cross-legged. “Well, you know that when I first… changed, I had only really tasted animal-blood right? Except for the occasional slip-ups when I was a newborn of course.” I studied her, trying to predict what her reaction will be. But she her face remained normal and she simply nodded. “Yeah well, I was kind of selfish and for the past few weeks I had been having this ache inside of me. I couldn’t figure it out. I tried feeding more but it didn’t help.” I tried to get my words right, to try and make her understand.
She nodded again and looked into my eyes. But I looked at my hands as I spoke.
“So, yeah, it didn’t help like I said. But I spoke to Jasper about it. He said that he thought I was craving human blood. You know, remembering the taste of it.”
“Jasper said that?” Alice said, frowning. I knew she would scowl him later for putting the idea in my head. I could not allow it.
“Do not blame him for what I did. It was just a theory that he thought up but little did he know that was the reason.”
Alice’s eyes widened as she listened carefully. She moved as if to hug me but I held up a hand, stopping her.
“I knew I couldn’t control it for much longer so I headed up to Alaska for a few days. I stuck to the forests, staying away from human settlements. But once I lost control the first time, it was too hard to resist.” My voice is bitter as I speak.
Another knock is heard on the door. Jasper stepped in followed by Emmett.
“Hey, what are you girls going?” Emmett asked us. I gave a snort because he was interrupting us. Jasper tilted his curiously as he glanced at me. He must have heard part of it.
Alice ignored Emmett and spoke to Jasper instead. “Shayla is informing me of where she was for the last year.”
“I cannot be bothered to tell them the start again so you wanna fill them in?” I asked Alice who agreed. She whispered in both their ears and when she’s done they nodded. Jasper leant against the wall while Emmett sat on the floor, leaning against my desk. In the study, I heard Esme pause in her book as she strained to listen. I wanted her to hear this, to understand how I felt.
“Okay, anyway…” I started to continue. “I was trying to resist feeding on humans. I drank animal-blood more then necessary, sometimes getting a painful ache in my stomach. But then I came across him and that’s when the monster won…” I shook my head and stared at my hands, shame filling me.
Alice leant forward and hugged me. “It is okay, Shay-Shay, keep going,” she urged.
“I was outside of Denali when it happened. I came across a lost hiker in the woods. He was close to death and I could have saved him by taking him into town. But if he hadn’t been bleeding…” My voice shook. “I wouldn’t have done it. But it did feel oddly satisfying.”
My voice disgusted me. I’m satisfied with myself that I killed a human, just to quench my thirst! I completely loathe myself.
Jasper moved closer and rested a hand on my shoulder, absorbing some of the shame, disgust and self-loathing that I now felt. “This is my fault,” he said quietly. “I put the idea in your head. I’m so sorry Shayla.”
“No…” I shook my head at him. “I would have figured it out sooner or later. But that man wasn’t the first I killed. I still hunted animals but as time went on, I drank their blood less and humans more. . I’m a monster.” I held my head in my hands and my shoulders shook as a sob is rocked my body.
Alice leaned forward and lifted my head from my hands. “Shayla…” she whispered.
I turned away from her and looked out the window, just so I wouldn’t look at them.
“Hang on,” Emmett said suddenly, frowning. “If you killed people, how come your eyes were normal when you came back?”
“I planned ahead. I stayed in the forest for about a week, up in the mountains. I needed to look normal, well as normal as you could for a vampire. I got my bike from the storage shed place in Seattle and rode back here yesterday,” I replied.
Of course I’d taken precautions. I wasn’t stupid enough to go to school while thirsty. I wasn’t as strong as the others.
I flared my nostrils out as I feel myself getting more disgusted and mortified with myself. I was my own stupid fault and not anyone else’s.
Jasper rested his hand on my shoulder. “Shayla, I know how you feel. Remember all those times I’ve killed? Even though the feeling of guilt never goes away, you know you can prevent it from happening again. You can resist.”
“Right Jasper.” I’m being rather sarcastic now. “Guilt never goes away. Good advice.” I rolled my eyes at him. He dropped his hand and made an angry and annoyed noise. “But I don’t really feel guilty for killing people. Well, I do but you know what I mean. Except for the first man I met, I killed the worst in society or at least tried to. The second person I killed was a wanted serial killer. The third, a mugger. The list goes on. The feeling I have is disgust that I’ve have stooped that low just to get what I want. I’m selfish.”
“No you’re not,” Emmett answered. “It’s… natural to want human blood. I myself fell off the wagon.” I raised an eyebrow. This Ididn’t know. He caught my surprised look. “What? Even the best of us fall off the wagon,” he added cheekily.
In response to his cheek, I grabbed one of my pillows and pummelled him with it. He doesn’t even attempt to fight back but instead he laughed along with Jasper and Alice. I grinned but I didn’t laugh.
“Alright, get of here you guys,” I eventually said as I replaced the pillow on the bed before laying back on it. “I need to be alone.”
Alice nodded and dances out the door, pulling a less-then-enthusiastic Emmett with her. Jasper follows but pauses by the door. “Shay…” he said. I look up and he’s gazing at me, like he wants to say something but doesn’t know how.
“Yeah Jasper?” I asked, sitting up again. He hesitated before speaking again. He crossed the room to me and laid a hand on my shoulder. He doesn’t try to manipulate my emotions this time though.
“It’ll be okay,” he whispered. “Everything will be fine.”
“Yeah, yeah I know,” I replied, my voice almost rude. “Just leave me Jazz, alright?”
I can almost see the hurt in his face as he turned and exited the room, shutting the door behind him.