Mattie

©Molly Looby No way. I knew I was dying. I knew I was dying fast, but this hit me like a speeding bullet. How long did I have left, years, months, weeks? Days...?
Hours...?


For Ali-Rose life is just a fading moment. Fighting from her inevitable death is the only thing she can do to save her family from the grief that is sure to engulf them. But something on the horizon is about to change her life...
Forever...


(This is a Twilight fanfic set twelve years after the end of 'Breaking Dawn', but not from Bella's POV, from the POV of Ali-Rose - all will be revealed if you care to read on.)


(Author's Note: Before you read Mattie, please can I just point out that it was written when I was fourteen-fifteen years old, and it was also the first thing I ever wrote and finished, for my own benefit and that of a close friend. I know it has its flaws and I'm okay with that because this story made me grow as an author more than I could've imagined. I truly hope you enjoy it.)

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11. APPROACHING

I WAS DEEPLY INDULGED IN BELLA AND EDWARD’S world when Carlisle came in. I couldn’t believe that Bella and Edward both thought they weren’t good enough for the other, that the other deserved so much more - but both getting more than they ever dreamed of receiving in the process. I had heard Edward’s side of the story many times, and I was glad that I had - it completed the irregular jigsaw. I pulled myself out of the book and back to reality. I snapped Twilight shut and put it in Carlisle’s waiting hand. He put it back on my perfectly ordered bookshelf without even glancing in its direction. He checked my pulse and did various other observations. It bored me. I listened closely to the noises around me, noting things I could and could not hear. I could pick out voices . . . talking, downstairs, but I couldn’t put a name to any of the voices. I couldn’t hear a lot else. Carlisle was finished so I slipped down into my covers and closed my eyes. I was tired but not sleepy. I concentrated harder this time as I started picking out sounds again. I could hear Carlisle’s pen scratching across the paper as he quickly wrote down a complex web of notes. I could hear the steady beating of my heart. I could hear both mine and Carlisle’s breathing. My breathing sounded violent and out of place compared to his, balanced and even. This amused me, I needed to breathe, but yet it sounded more natural when Carlisle did it. I sunk deeper into my pillow, my muscles protesting more than I expected as I changed position. I lay silently, thinking, letting the weight in my muscles get heavier and heavier as I waited for sleep to take me. I focused on each muscle as it relaxed. I took a slow, deep breath. I remained perfectly still as the action hit me like a stabbing wound in the chest. I stayed calm, which was easier said than done. I continued to lie still for a while, but knew that I was nowhere near sleep. I tried to open my lips to voice this thought to Carlisle, but my lips wouldn’t move. They were locked tight shut. It didn’t feel like they belonged to me. Stay calm. Don’t panic. I told myself. I tried to lift my arm, but it didn’t budge. It felt as though it had one hundred weights tied to it, making movement impossible. My breathing quickened and my heart picked up. Calm, stay calm. I chanted in my head. The voices downstairs stopped abruptly. I was breathing way too fast, panting even. I tried to steady my breathing so it would match my heartbeat. I breathed in and out as slowly as I could, but as soon as my concentration slipped I had to start all over again. My heartbeat sped up yet again as I reached this terrifying conclusion. My lungs were getting heavier by the second. My huge raking breaths were not enough to satisfy the need for oxygen. My lungs burned. My heart unbelievably, sped up again, my heart was flying. I took a breath. But it wasn’t enough. It was like I hadn’t breathed in at all. I tried to scream as the realisation dawned on me. I was petrified – but I wasn’t the only one. Panicked voices came flooding up the stairs. I tried to take another breath. My mind was swirling. Suddenly the voices stopped . . . I heard nothing. I couldn’t open my eyes to see what had happened. I tried to take another breath, and I heard my heart stop. Then the black found me.

 

 A huge gust of air made it into my lungs and I was conscious at once. I chocked, gasping, making up for the breaths that I’d missed. I searched for my heart. It was beating. I was alive. My eyes flew open and I sat bolt upright. My breaths sounded like sobs as I took in the looks of terror on the faces of the people that I loved. As I saw Renesmee my arms instinctively reached for her, her arms mirrored mine and she was holding me in half a second. For a moment I was six months-old again. All I wanted was to be held - to cry. To live. I didn’t know how long I was being cradled by Renesmee. I didn’t know how long everyone stood around me. I didn’t know how long it took me to get my breathing back to normal. All I knew was that I’d been moments away from the thing that I was running from. So close. I’d experienced it. The black. It must have been the same blackness that Bella had described to me, over and over again. It seemed funny now how I had wanted to know. I never wanted to experience the black, the nothingness, ever again. But I would have to at some point. I wasn’t immortal. The blackness was coming. Every second I got closer. And there was nothing I could do about it. Then my mind flooded with questions. Why had I felt it this time? I had never felt anything before now. I was always asleep when I was in danger. Had that changed? Does that mean it was worse this time?

No. My mind formed an incoherent sentence. I wasn’t expecting to be answered, it made me jump. I saw Edward stiffen. He must have heard my voice as clearly in his head as I had in mine. Did he notice a difference? Could he notice the difference between what I thought and what my mind told me?

Yes. I searched for him. He looked perplexed, lost in his own thoughts for a change.

I searched for Carlisle this time. I decided to voice the question that my mind had already answered, hoping to find out more. “Was that any worse than last night?” My voice was no more than a strained whisper.

“No. Last night was worse.”

My mouth dropped open. Worse? How could that be possible?

“I felt it that time.” I said sadly. I closed my eyes trying to think of something else, but the image was fresh in my mind and would not leave.

“I thought you might,” He answered simply. “You were awake when it happened so I suppose that’s why.”

“How did you know I wasn’t asleep?” I asked confused. I remembered trying to lie very still before being pinned down.

“It usually takes longer, your panic was obvious, and it sped things up, making your heart beat faster. If you were asleep you wouldn’t have panicked.”

I thought this over. I had tried not to panic, but it was impossible. I was still petrified. Eventually exhaustion took over. I fell asleep, but I was prepared. I hung on to Renesmee while I slept, refusing to let go of the reason I was fighting.

 

School was, impossibly, worse than yesterday. Edward had once seen high school, secondary school they called it here, as purgatory. I finally understood where he was coming from. I insisted that I go to school, my reason had been good, had convinced them to let me go, but now I wished I’d stayed at home. My fast approaching doom hung over me like a storm cloud all day, no amount of joking around would blow it away. I must have looked a wreck. Alison, the nutty Twilight fanatic, knew something was seriously wrong with me. I could read it in her face - in her eyes. She knew me the best, well, she thought she did, no one at school really knew me. During Design and Technology, another utterly pointless subject, she found her chance to ask me what was wrong.

“Ali?” I turned my head from the piece of wood I was supposed to be filing. I didn’t expect her closeness. She was the closest any human had ever been to me. The humans felt fear towards me for reasons they didn’t understand, just like they would if they knew a vampire, the thought made me smile.

“What’s wrong with you Ali-Rose? You look as if you’ve been given the death penalty.”

I laughed, but there was no humour in my voice. Alison was dead on the mark, as always. She waited for a reply that I never gave her. She sighed in an impatient way before continuing. Then something very strange happened. As she sighed I breathed in, getting her scent in my mouth. This had happened before, once, but I had hunted the day before. I hadn’t hunted in a month and a bit. This tasty friend of mine didn’t notice the change in my posture. My muscles were tense, a mix of instinct and practiced hunting skills. My mouth filled with saliva, as a vampire’s would with venom. She was talking to me, but I didn’t pick up any words. My friends had never smelt one bit appealing to me until this moment. As soon as I knew a person, they were safe, more or less. So what was happening now? I shook my head angrily, breathing out, trying to rid my taste buds of human scent. I would never let human blood pass through my lips, never have, never will. She turned her head, answering to her name. I breathed in again. Nothing – good. That’s the way it should stay. I was too thirsty to risk moments like that again. I could have killed Alison easily, not as easily as a vampire, or a werewolf could, but still easily, I could have done it without getting blood on my clothes, but I would never have be able to live with the guilt. The only one of my weapons that hadn’t faded in time was my razor sharp teeth. They can’t fade, thank goodness. If suddenly they disappeared it would take me longer to eat food. I nearly gagged at the thought.

“Ali? Are you okay?” Panic stricken, Alison looked around for help, she’d seen me nearly gag, and she must have thought that I was ill again. I lightly touched her shoulder. I could only do this because her blazer was on. She would, no doubt, think that I was a werewolf if she felt the blazing temperature of my skin. I smiled again.  

“I’m okay,” I promised. “I just thought about something repulsive, I shouldn’t have done, I know.”

She looked at me, wary of my every move, trying to analyse me. Her eyes sparkled with something for a second, but it passed. I knew that look in her eyes. It was related to vampires. I stiffened, but only slightly, she didn’t notice. I didn’t know what she had been thinking, I wasn’t Edward, but I could guess, and I had the facility to do so. I smiled again. The day seemed to be picking up. I waited until Alison was done talking to me, and then I started my inquiry. 

Did Alison have a theory to do with me about vampires?

Yes. This much I could guess, but I wanted all of the details. Does she believe her theory?

No. That was good. She shook the thought off quickly, like any other human would. Did she, for a second, think I was a vampire?

Yes. I liked this even more. Of course she’d shaken it off quickly - my eyes were not red or gold, usually. I ate at lunch, and my skin wasn’t cold. No, it definitely wasn’t that. Will she think of her theory again when I act strange?

Nothing. I thought as much. The future was Alice’s domain, and obviously, not mine. But what about the past? Could I ask about that? I quickly thought of a question that I knew the answer to. Did Bella ever go cliff diving when she was human?

Nothing. The past obviously wasn’t my domain either, but hadn’t I just asked about the past?

Yes. I suppressed a snarl. I didn’t need an answer to that. I had asked did she, for a second, think I was a vampire? that was past tense - in the past. I tried to work out what was different. Maybe it was because I had seen it. I had seen the sparkle in her eyes. I had all of the details I just needed to understand them. Yes that was probably right. Oh, I thought to myself. Maybe I can check. Was I right?

Yes. Ah, good. Suddenly I was being shaken. I realised I had been staring without seeing, the way Alice did when she was having a vision. I blinked three times and shook my head before looking directly at her.

“Ali, everyone’s left.” I looked around and sure enough the classroom was deserted. Even the teacher had disappeared.

“We were calling you.” Jamie said, continuing Alison’s train of thought. “Didn’t you hear, or see us?”

“I’m so sorry about that, what can I say? I’m not myself. I was in a world of my own.”

They both looked sceptical. I liked to see them standing side by side. They looked like a team - a force. We strolled out to lunch. I stumbled over a hole in the pavement. Alison and Jamie snorted and carried on with their conversation. I stood still rooted to the spot. Had I just fallen over?

Yes. The snarl was out of my lips before I could stop it. Apparently the answer book in my head didn’t understand rhetorical questions. I had just fallen over. That was very unlike me. My reactions were fast, my co-ordination good. Maybe it was just a lack of concentration. I didn’t want to ask my answer book, I was too afraid of the answer. I quickened my steps until I caught up with Jamie and Alison. The doom cloud was back over my head. After we had finished eating, we all just laid on our blazers, enjoying the hottest sunshine all year. It was late July. The summer holidays were only a few days away. My friends chatted about this and that. Human things - T.V, the music charts, that sort of thing. I never joined in with these conversations, and everyone was used to it. I just closed my eyes and tried my hardest not to think at all. Nobody bothered me. They could probably tell I wasn’t in the mood to talk. I was tremendously lucky with my friends. They were the best humans I had ever met. They all cared for one another like family. They were my human family. We were an odd group - all misfits in a way. I seemed to be the only one who couldn’t understand why. They were all better than any of the popular people in school. The popular people were so shallow, and in constant need of attention. Trust these five to be the first people in the school to talk to me, to make friends with me. They would make friends with the only vampire-werewolf-human in the word, in existence - the potentially dangerous hybrid. I shivered as I thought of what had happened earlier. The shiver was half fear, and half desire. I wanted blood. I needed it. I had never been so dangerous. If the wind was to blow the wrong way, if one of them got too close. Would I, could I, resist? I wondered for a moment, my throat burning fiercely. My answer book didn’t know. I didn’t know. I had always been so confident, there had been no way before. But now I was dangerous - very dangerous. I needed to go home - Now. Go hunting. Talk to Carlisle. I jumped up fast, making Alison jump. I could look ill. I would ring Carlisle first. The school knew my father, as he was pretending to be, was a doctor, so they would definitely let me go home.

“Ali?” Alison looked worried.

“I’m going home.” I whispered quietly.

“It’s only lunch time.”

“I know, I don’t feel well. They’ll let me go.”

“I’ll come with you.” She said rising to her feet.

I jumped back. I didn’t trust myself. “No, no. Enjoy the rest of lunch time. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

The sparkle in her eyes returned. It was still there as I turned and fled to the medical room. On the way there I rang Carlisle. He knew something was up. As soon as I’d decided that I was going home, Alice had seen Carlisle’s future disappear. At least she could still guess. I was breathing heavily when I got to the medical room. I knew how to arrange my face so that I looked ill. It wasn’t difficult. I was ill.

“Hello dear. What’s your name?” The nurse was in her early thirty’s and quite pretty. I hoped she would keep her distance.

 “Ali-Rose Black, I’m in year nine.”

 “What’s wrong?”

“I don’t feel good.” I answered simply, using the persuasion skills that Edward had taught me early on in life. “I was ill last week, and it hasn’t completely faded.”

“Well, sit down dear. I’ll get you some water.”

I shivered in disgust. Not a chance. “My father’s a doctor.” I stated. “He said if I didn’t feel right I should come home.” I wondered if father had been too formal. I cursed myself for my mistake. The nurse didn’t look like she was prepared to let me go home. I played my last card. “He’s coming to get me. He’ll be here in a minute. You can take down his details for future reference.” I turned around and sat in the chair furthest from any human. They all looked more bored then ill. The nurse didn’t try to argue with me. I had just told a lie successfully, I was getting better at it. Being part vampire, I needed to be able to lie. Carlisle arrived in less than a minute. He strolled into the room, still wearing his work clothes. He must have left early to come and get me. I felt guilty. But it wasn’t safe for me to be here. Carlisle smiled at me before turning towards the nurse. I heard her gasp from where I sat. She wasn’t expecting Carlisle to look like that. I choked back a giggle.

“I’ve come to collect Ali-Rose.” Carlisle said voice full of authority.

“Uh, yeah, sure.” She seemed to have lost her train of thought. I held back a giggle again. “You’re Ali-Rose’s father?” She asked in disbelief.

“Yes.” Carlisle said simply.

She took a minute to get her thoughts straight. “I need your details for the school records.”

“Certainly.” Carlisle replied. He was careful not to write too fast. He didn’t have to think once about his answers. My cover story had been created after the scare with Harriet. All the details had been made clear and final. Carlisle was my father – Carl. And Esme was my mother – Emily. No one needed to know about the rest of the Cullen’s. When Carlisle finished he put his arm around me and led me through the front exit. We went the long way round, making sure to keep out for watchful eyes.

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