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Immortal Beloved

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I sped down the narrow roads of Forks, passing through downtown in half a second and speeding past blurs that were homes. I weaved past other cars on the road, not even registering the blows of horns in my wake. I didn't usually drive like this. Even with my heightened reflexes (not to mention nearly-impenetrable skin and overall immortality), I much preferred to drive at a slower pace. It kept the police off me. Today, however, was definitely a drive-like-a-crazy-woman day.

I made it to our home in minutes of leaving school. Ana and I lived in a modest two-story home on the outskirts of the town, in a private suburban neighborhood. It was painted a light blue and raised up on a deck, either to prevent flooding or just to look nice. It was cute and nice and the perfect home for two vampires to hide in plain sight.

I brought my poor car to a dead stop in the driveway, barely remembering to take the keys out of the ignition before I stormed up the walkway and into the house. I forced myself to close the door calmly, for if I were to slam it, I would have thrown the door through the threshold.

I flew through the house, calling Ana's name, trying to find her. Even though our home boasted only five rooms, she could be tricky to find. She was a silent creature, and even with my sensitive hearing, I had trouble tracking where she could be at times. I first checked her room, stomping up the winding staircase that led right into the foyer and taking three steps at a time.

Though both the hall and Ana's room were dark, I could easily see everything: the furniture, the pictures on the walls, the clothing scattered about Ana's room. The owner of these clothes was not to be found in her room, however, and I hurried back downstairs, still calling for Ana and growing more annoyed with every step.

A quick search of the living room, kitchen and dining room turned up nothing, but I found a note on the refrigerator from her stating that she had gone out and would be back “later”. There was no time listed on the note, so I had no idea if “later” would be any minute now or hours on into the night. Ana was very care-free and often came and went with the wind. It was irritating.

I let out a puff of air and leaned against the granite counter of the island in the center of my kitchen. I glanced around the rarely-used space, noticing the fine layer of dust on the barren countertops that needed wiping. I was usually the one who cleaned the house because I was the one who never went out, and over the years, I seemed to have developed some kind of compulsion to keep my living space spotless.

But it wasn't the dust that bothered me that moment in the kitchen. My gaze swept the wide expanse of dark green granite, broken up only by a pure white, spotless stove. In mortal homes, I knew that counter space like this would be crowded with all sorts of food preparation supplies. There'd be knife sets, spoons, cutting boards, appliances of all kinds, food in baskets or left on the counter. There would be decorations to liven up the room that was used every day and the buzzing energy of humans would be felt within the walls.

In my life as a human, I had been the sole daughter and child to my parents. When I lost my mother, I had to be the one to take care of my father. I would take care of the home and cook for the two of us. As I got older, I began to really take a liking to cooking, and I had plans to maybe find a job somewhere using my skills.

After my death, I held onto cooking for several years, finding solace in it, even when the taste of food faded from my tongue. After a few decades, I realized that I could no longer find the joy in such a pointless act and so gave it up.

My thoughts often turned to such dark memories, and so I pushed them away. I decided I’d clean to distract myself, but first I needed a meal.

I noticed, as I reached in the refrigerator and grabbed one of the pint-sized plastic bags of blood arranged on the glass shelves, that we had about one week's worth of blood left. My fangs descended from their sheaths just at the sight of the thick red liquid, and I didn't hesitate to sink them into the plastic of the bag, puncturing it as if it were a mortal's flesh. The blood, cold, sweet and sticky, flowed out of the bag and into my mouth, and I swallowed every red drop.

Drinking human blood from a bag was a strange sensation. I didn't get the satisfaction of biting the human that was to be my meal. Humans were soft, warm, and smelled delectable. I had hated biting other people when I first turned, but over time my feelings on the matter changed. Biting humans was exhilarating, and their fear and adrenaline enhanced the taste of their blood all the more. Hunting one’s neighbors was not conducive to peaceful living in society, however, so Ana and I had turned to living off bagged blood which Ana bought from one of her friends down in Port Angeles.

When I was half-way through a second bag, I heard the front door open and the jingle of keys. Ana was home, as I could tell by her upbeat whistling. She was usually in a good mood. Actually, in the fifty-or-so years I had known her, I had rarely seen her in a bad mood. Had I seen her grinning face when I got home, I would have ranted to her at length about my day and demanded that I never return to that silly school ever again. Now that my hunger was sated, however, I had calmed down. I still absolutely despised that over-sized convection oven called a high school, but now I could more calmly discuss it with Ana.

I turned to the woman who I'd come to see as family over the years. She was quite the sight to behold: she was tall and lean, with long, strong limbs. Her skin was dark; when she lived, it was a vibrant brown color, though now it held a tint of gray. She liked to dress in bright colors, however, to make her skin look more vibrant. She always said that she didn't feel dead, so why should she look it?

She walked in with a bounce in her step, swinging her keys on one long finger by the ring. Her grin turned into a toothy smile, and she had her fangs extended for no reason I could see. “Hey, Belle!” she greeted me in her usual cheery tone. “How was your first day of school?” Before I could answer, she let out a bite of laughter.

“Horrid,” I responded dryly. Ana's lips, covered in lipstick the color of red wine, puffed into a mocking pout, and I narrowed my eyes at her. “I refuse to return that despicable place.”

Ana just shook her head and walked over to the refrigerator for a bite. “You've been there for one day, Belle,” she said over her shoulder. “Give it a week, at least.”

I groaned aloud at the thought. “No way in Hades will I agree to going for a week. I'm not going to put on a show for a crowd of people that I'd rather sink my fangs into.” I snarled my words, letting the frustration and anger I felt out with every breath. As I spoke, Ana had retrieved a bag of blood and closed the refrigerator to lean against its stainless steel door.

She smiled at my outburst. “I haven't seen you this worked up in a good long while,” she said as if I had just accomplished a great feat, and in her eyes, perhaps I had. A good long while to a vampire over a thousand years old, just as Ana was, certainly counted for a long time indeed.

I just stared at her in silence as she ran her tongue over her fangs before she sunk them into the bag. I shook my head and spoke while she had her mouth full. “I'm not going back there,” I said stubbornly. “I cannot, just cannot, make friends with those humans! Not when I want to eat them.”

Ana waved her hand dismissively, which only served to anger me more. How could she be so unconcerned about my discomfort with the high school? She normally never pushed me to do something like this – or at least, hadn't in the past decade. She used to pressure me to go out, but I thought she had given up at last.

Something had prompted her to press me on connecting with people again, I realized as Ana emptied her bag of blood. She tossed it in the trash and smiled at me, her long tongue poking out to catch a crimson drop of blood that pooled in the corner of her mouth. “Belle,” she said, walking over to me with two long strides and wrapping an arm about my shoulders, “don't be so stressed. Just give it four more days, hm? I'm sure by then, you'll have found the time worth the trouble.”

I stared at Ana with exasperation and confusion. I opened my mouth to question her further, but she put a tapered finger to my lips. “Just trust me, sis,” she said. “Besides, what's four more days?”

I ground my jaw. “I have no hope of changing my fate, do I?” She gave my ear and affectionate bite, and I let out a sigh of resignation