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Cold Arms

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There were four things of which I was absolutely positive: One, I was completely alone out here, two no one back home would notice if I were missing since I had left everyone I knew behind to reconnect with my dad, Charlie. Three, if I didn't find shelter soon I would die. Four, I really should stop stating the obvious and focus on losing the huge wolves hunting me. Luckily- I guess- they had been occupied with Charlie and left me alone once Charlie had yelled at me to start running. I guessed the reason they hadn’t turned back to chase me was because Charlie was giving them a run for their money. I didn’t want to think about what else the pack might be doing that would keep them too busy to chase after me.

I struggled to move through the heavily snow covered ground, stumbling every few steps. Why I had ever agreed to a bonding trip to Alaska with Charlie I'll never know. I was never outdoorsy at the best of times but I felt I should make the effort to reconnect since he was obviously floundering after I had been dumped at his door by Renee.

I felt my movements slowing down, my legs felt like they were filled with lead and I was struggling to move past the crushing grip of lethargy that was dragging me down. I panicked and forced my heavy legs to keep moving until I stumbled again, but my slowed reflexes meant this time I couldn't right myself in time and I fell into the deep snow. My heart raced and I knew I had to get up if I wanted to survive this but my body wasn't obeying my brain's frantic signals to move. A few snowflakes slowly dusted my face their peaceful descent totally at odds with the frantic beating of my heart. They stayed on my skin, not melting, and I felt my eyes start to droop and everything seemed to slow. Maybe I could just rest a little, I had been running for what seemed like forever and I was never very active. If I caught my breath I could get moving again. I just needed a little-



Why I agreed to this I'll never know. My family had decided we needed to engage in more human activities, namely a family walk, of course me pointing out most human families wouldn't be caught dead walking in a near snowstorm in Alaska-or rather, that they most empathetically would, was only met by eye rolls and the rest of them mumbling I was no fun.

I saw Emmett gather up a handful of snow and glared at him in warning. He just smiled and threw the now giant snowball at the back of jasper's head. Luckily for him Alice had seen it coming and pushed her mate out of the way in time, while she and Edward both turned and pelted Emmett with the snowballs they had gathered and hidden about their persons. Due to our cold body temperature the snow wouldn't melt, a bonus the others had clearly taken advantage of when Edward had read Alice while she had her vision of Emmett’s plan.

"Hey! No fair!" Emmett cried shaking snow from his dark hair.

"You started it." Edward smirked.

"I started it with Jasper I wasn't aiming for either of you two!" Emmett whined.

"And my mate stepped in to defend my honour." Jasper said amused. "Just because she's been carrying snow in her pockets for a mile now, waiting for the perfect moment to strike doesn’t mean she didn’t do it purely for noble reasons.”

"Hey!" Alice pouted. "Are you suggesting I just wanted to beat on Emmett?"

"Darling, I would never." Jasper's drawled; his southern accent making the endearment charming enough to stop Alice’s pout. Something all of us were glad of, Emmett often joked her ‘sad puppy face’ was her true vampiric ability, capable of making the most determined of enemies want to cheer her up.

Emmett gathered up an armful of snow in preparation for what I was sure would be a long snowball fight but his plans were stilled when he yelped out in surprise after glimpsing a flash of colour underneath the powdered snow. He quickly cleared the surrounding snow uncovering a small human girl. Esme and Carlisle quickly rushed over and started checking the girl.

"Frozen humansickle!" Emmett grinned lifting up the girl. I rolled my eyes at him. Trust him to find the fun side of discovering a dead body in the snow.

“What should we do with her?” Jasper eyed the human with unease. At least with her blood frozen in her veins she was unlikely to tempt his control. That was probably the reason none of us had smelt her.

“Leave her where we found her of course.” Edward said decisively. I snorted, drawing the eyes of Edward who frowned at me, no doubt wishing he could read my mind and discover just how much of an ass I thought he was for appointing himself the head of our coven.

“We can’t leave her here Edward.” Alice said exasperated. “Her family should know what happened.”

“And they should also know that a group of vampires found her?” Edward bit back sharply. “I’m just thinking about my family Alice, how would we explain walking out in the wilds of Alaska without any equipment, or getting back to civilisation without a vehicle without letting it slip that we are inhuman creatures?” ‘Of the night.’ I mentally finished, Edward was so predictable when he started on his monster tirade.

“Oh, I don’t know Edward, how about by not going in to a police station in broad daylight with our clothes covered in blood and our fangs showing? Everyone’s first thought when they see us isn’t that we’re vampires, you know that more than anyone.” I enjoyed the rare moment of Alice being annoyed with the ‘golden boy’, usually those two were always in each other’s heads. It was creepy really, having whole conversations without ever saying a word. I was surprised Alice wasn’t Edward’s mate instead of Jasper’s.

"She's alive." Carlisle's calm voice cut through the developing argument.

"We need to get her back home." Esme said gazing at the girl with ready compassion. "Edward you're fastest, you carry her there and start making the house warm. We'll be there as soon as we can."

My chest constricted at the thought. A human being brought into our family home? I ground my teeth but kept my apprehension to myself, she would die without help, when she recovered we could work out what would happen to her. With any luck we could just take her back to her family as soon as she was able to say where she lived and we’d never see her again.

Edward scooped the fragile looking human up in his arms and raced back in the direction we had come, the rest of us hot on his heels. Typical that as soon as Carlisle told him to do something he jumped to it, no matter his previous opinions on the matter. Edward hadn’t been in the house long before the rest of us showed up, the girl was wrapped up in blankets in front of the smouldering fire and I could hear the kettle and various pots boiling in the kitchen.

The kitchen was rather small compared to the rest of the house, it was really only there in case we ever had any human visitors, which was unlikely given that we lived about as far away from civilisation as you could get. Esme had designed and built the cabin, which in reality was nothing like a human’s idea of a cabin. A large living room, with a music room branching off from it, which held a selection of our favourite instruments, being immortal we often needed something to help pass the time and music, along with cars was one of my favourites. Edward often tried to claim sole ownership of the magnificent grand piano we had brought with us but a vision I allowed Alice to see of me shaving off his perfectly styled hair soon changed that. And the others thought I was the vain one.

Carlisle had a decent sized office on the lower level too, filled with more books than a human could read in a lifetime, and then there were the rooms upstairs. All of them were large, even though we didn’t sleep. Alice and Jasper shared, as did Esme and Carlisle, however Alice had demanded a whole other room for her clothes. Emmett, Edward and I all had our own rooms. The one thing I disliked about this house was the lack of a garage, the fact that there were no roads leading to the house, or tracks of any kind meant I had had to leave my cars behind. Something that bothered me more than a little. There was something soothing about being able to definitively fix or improve an engine. And even though I was a vampire now and able to run faster than most cars I still enjoyed the freedom having my own transportation gave me.

Carlisle and Esme set to work, quickly stripping the girl of her sodden clothes and wrapping her in blankets all in the space of a few seconds. The rest of us had avoided looking at the nude girl on the sofa and stood around the room awkwardly. Alice was flitting back and forth from the kitchen; bringing different utensils she had filled with hot water to warm the girl. Being vampires we had a distinct lack of items humans might have in cold climates such as hot water bottles but Alice had instead filled some of Carlisle’s medical supplies with the warm water and proceeded to pass a catheter and blood bags filled with water to Esme to pack around the girl’s torso.

Carlisle was busy testing the girls extremities for signs of frost bite or nerve damage.

"She's going to need a room." Carlisle announced once he was satisfied the girl was safe to divert his attention from.

"She can have my room." Edward said.

"What, so you can play the martyr?" I snapped at him. For some reason I didn’t feel comfortable with the girl being in Edward’s room. Besides it was hardly fair on her, she was still in a deep sleep, god knows what waking up and seeing Edward standing over her would do to her.

“Do you have any better ideas Rose?” Edward asked me archly, no doubt waiting to hear me offer my room for the use of our human guest.

"She can sleep in Emmett’s room.”

"Hey! What about me!" Emmett scowled playfully at me.

"You can rest in my room." I said eyes still locked on Edward who looked annoyed.

"Oh! And will we be doing anything that requires rest in your room, darling Rosalie?" Emmett waggled his eyebrows at me.

"You can rest in my room when I'm not in it. Obviously." I sighed. "Or Edward’s, since he was so generous before I'm sure he won't mind?" I arched my eyebrow and Edward smirked.

"Not at all." He said turning to Emmett. “I would be honoured to help out a brother turfed from his own room by the ice queen."

"Oh, give it a rest." I turned back to watch Carlisle finish treating the human.

Well, now that’s settled I’ll move her upstairs. Her body stayed miraculously unharmed during her stay under the snow, she couldn’t have been there for long.” Carlisle said as he stood up from the girl and started moving some of the many pans and assorted containers filled with water Alice had brought in from the kitchen.

I stepped closer and properly looked at the girl we had brought home and my heart gave a strange little flutter. I frowned. Since dying my heart had been completely silent. The prospect of temptation so close might be harder for me than I had previously thought. Unlike the rest of my family I had never tasted human blood so I usually had the best control, next to Carlisle. But I had also never been in close contact with a human for prolonged periods of time. The girl stirred in her sleep, her heart beating the blood around her body stronger than before, and I fought the urge to go to her. I clenched my fists, catching the attention of Jasper who gave me a pained smile, understanding my sudden urge for her blood.

“Err. I’ll just go and… clean up my room.” Emmett said, dashing off upstairs.

Edward stepped forward towards the girl preparing to take her upstairs but stopped, shocked, when I growled. Alice and Edward turned to face me incredulously, I knew that if I had the capability I would be blushing right now. Not twenty minutes in from having a human in the house and I was already acting like a newborn trying to protect my kill.

“Edward you wait here, I’ll take the girl up to Emmett’s room. I trust he has hidden everything he needs to by now.” Carlisle looked at me understandingly and I felt another wave of shame hit me. He easily scooped up the girl in his arms taking her upstairs. As soon as they were out of sight I had to fight the urge to follow him and frowned angrily at myself.

“how long before she wakes?” Alice asked, dancing around the room ignoring the pots still filled with water taking up half the space.

“I’m not sure…” Esme replied, a concerned look on her face. “I think she just needs to rest now, she will probably wake in a few hours.”

“Oh good. We’ll need to go shopping.” Jasper looked pained and I stifled a grin, the poor man couldn’t say no to Alice and often had to accompany her on day long shopping trips ferrying her purchases to and from the car.

“Shopping?” Edward inquired.

“She has no clothes. Rose and I can go for her.” Alice explained, Jasper brightened up a little at this and looked at me beseechingly.

“She can wear the clothes she has Alice. They’ll dry before she wakes up. Anyway she won’t be staying with us long.” I said moving to sit down on the sofa the girl had recently vacated. For some reason saying that out loud caused a sharp pain in my chest, I carefully sniffed the sofa and got up; deciding the scent of the human must have been the culprit.

Alice sighed heavily “But I-”

“Now Alice, the girl will have to go home, you said it yourself her parents will be worried about her.” Esme said as she came back into the living room from returning the last of the pots to the kitchen.

Alice pouted and we looked at each other, Emmett seemed sad the girl would be leaving us too. Edward… Edward was harder to read. Ironic since he always complained that about me. I looked up at the ceiling to where Emmett’s room was and thought about the girl upstairs sleeping and felt the tug to go to her again. The sooner she was out of our house and our lives the better.