I realized that after Seth touched my hand I'd started stroking his nose and head absentmindedly. He nuzzled back. I withdrew my hand, though it felt instantly cold in comparison. He walked away to phase back, then sat next to me in human form. "Did you have a nice nap?" he asked cheerfully. I nodded vaguely. Carlisle walked up to me "Actually, we were just talking about that. We're a bit concerned that you're not getting enough sleep." I could see their point. "I don't get as tiered around you." I admitted. "But then when I leave it catches up with me." He nodded thoughtfully. "We'll have to watch that" He announced. Seth looked concerned "How much sleep have you been getting?" I shrugged looking down at the hand I'd attacked. It was healed.
I touched it lightly "Does it hurt much?" I asked. What was I thinking bringing it up again? "Not a bit" He grinned. "How much sleep do you get?" he asked again. I didn't want to anger him and I wondered whether the truth or a lie would pacify him best. Given the fact that there was a mind reader in the room, I decided on the truth. "Three or four hours a night." He got a worried look on his face. "Do you think you can sleep longer if you try?" he asked. I nodded, though I wasn't sure.
I saw Renesmee open one eye. Slowly, carefully she placed a finger on her lips, signaling everyone to be quiet. Then, in a sudden but graceful maneuver, she shifted around and attacked Jacob with a fake wolf howl that quickly turned into a laugh. He grabbed the back of her shirt very carefully with his teeth, threw her lightly onto his back and started running. She had a good grip. She probably did this often.They ran out the door and into the night. "Jacob, have her back in half an hour" Edward ordered sternly.
The entire spectacle had made me tense. Seth had my hand and was rubbing it gently "Have you ever rode a wolf?" He asked, with laughter in his eyes. I backed away, not daring to say anything. He grimaced and got to his feet. As he took a step nearer to me, I threw my hands in front of my face. Not a huge defense against a werewolf.
He looked like I'd just slapped him. "I would never hurt you Juliet" he said vehemently. I felt my stomach clench and my ribs felt like they were on fire. He took a step back. "I'm sorry I scared you" He sat back down. That helped to calm me (Jasper might have helped too) "I'm sorry" I offered. My anthem for the night.
Later, I overheard Edward talking to Seth "She doesn't think you're a menace. She's just jumpy." Oops. Was the werewolf mad at me? Edward caught my thoughts, but didn't turn his head. I could hear him debating with himself (though I only caught a few words). On one hand, he was a little bit annoyed with my eavesdropping, but one the other hand he thought I would be scared if he exposed me and he kept in mind that no one was allowed privacy when he was in the room. Then, he realized I'd just walked in accidentally and he was no longer annoyed. I retreated.
After he was done with Seth, Edward walked up to me. I apologized for what I'd heard. He said it was entirely accidental: no need to apologize. "You just have a way of walking unnoticed. Part of that is because Alice can't see you easily, but there's also something else." He mused "Survival?" I guessed. "How so?" he asked. Oops. "Umm... I can't be drawing attention to myself when I don't age right." I pointed out. Edward seemed to consider that long and hard. "How long has it been since you've had people to talk to?" He asked. I laughed at his question so I wouldn't have to answer. By now, I was wishing I'd never overheard his conversation with Seth.
Seth baffled me. He was very kind and he was a peacemaker, but every once in awhile I knew that he could be dangerous. He'd been so mad at Emmett and Jasper for no reason at all. He seemed to be fond of me. Sometimes, they all seemed like that. I noticed that they all tended to treat me younger than I was and I gradually found out why. As they got to know me, they saw that I'd never had much time to just be a kid. That always seemed to upset them a bit. They thought I had too many worries and wanted to ease them. They were willing to take care of problems so that I wouldn't have to. Once, I overheard Carlisle talking to Esme about it. "In some ways, she's more mature than an average fourteen year old because she's been alive so long. In some ways, she's right about fourteen because her body functions that way. In some ways, she's even younger because no one's ever taught her how to handle many things. She's had to learn so much on her own."
Sometimes I truly hated being around the Cullens and the wolves. I'd forgotten most of my past, but it was rapidly coming back. Something about the vampires made me remember.
One day, I was in the garage with Rosalie. She was showing me various things on the Cullen's many cars. It was really fun until her instructions, or the tone she used or something reminded me of someone else teaching me, a very long time ago "Can you say sister? It's not hard. Try saying sister" It wasn't in English, but I understood. After that, I saw many small scenes of the girl, until one night the puzzle pieces all fit together. I remembered my past. I remembered my family.
I started crying. How long had it been since I'd cried due to any emotion other than fear? What emotion was this anyway? A bit of fear, but also anger and sadness and uncertainty. Jasper and Edward both turned their heads. I'd forgotten all the Cullens except Renesmee were there.
They crowded around me. Esme wrapped an arm around my shoulders. "What's wrong?" She asked. "Nothing" I muttered. Edward looked to me for permission. I nodded. Edward had learned from my thoughts a few weeks ago that I didn't mind much if the vampires knew my thoughts. The only thing I minded was having to tell them myself. Now, Edward was going to tell his family. "Juliet was remembering her family. She'd forgotten about some things and they're coming back to her" he explained, then hesitated. "Tell them whatever you wish" I told Edward in a dry, monotone voice that was not mine. "It really doesn't matter."
Edward shook his head "I've only caught a few basic concepts. Besides, it isn't my story to tell." he said. "If you'd like to know, I'll tell you." I said. A few of them said they did want to know. I launched into an expressionless narrative. "When I was born, I was normal size and everything, but I aged slowly from then on. I had a sister. An identical twin. She aged normally though."
Emmett cut me off "That doesn't make any sense" My voice had a little more emotion now, even if that emotion was frustration "I know" I said "But we were identical at birth and when I did age I would look like she used to. Eighteen years after we were born, she went away. I think she might have married. Then, two years later, I moved out." I realized that I was telling the vampires my life story. I'd just been so surprised that I'd remembered. I'd done a good job of keeping my emotions out of the story, but Jasper and Edward knew.
Jasper looked at me, trying to decipher everything. "What did you leave out?" he asked point blank. I answered with a composed face, but a broken voice. "My sister did get married... I'm sure now. I didn't go to the wedding. My parents didn't hide me, but they didn't really want to show me off either. We'd already gone to three different doctors, but no one knew why I wasn't aging. For the first twenty years of my life I was learning how to live. My sister was the one to discover that I could understand things, even before I could talk. My brain developed as if I was what I looked, but I'd had more practice at some things than your average infant. So my parents taught me things like feeding myself and, twenty years after I was born, they left."
Emmett interrupted again "Wait... your parents left you? Why?" I flinched slightly "My sister and I had been surprises right after my father was going to stop working. At the rate I was going, they would have been dead long before I was anywhere near grown. So my parents left for some peace and quiet. I can't blame them." To my surprise (partly because I'd forgotten I was speaking out loud to an audience) I heard a few growls "I can" Emmett stated through clenched teeth, with a dark look in his eyes "I can definitely blame them." Several people nodded "So what did you do then?" Esme asked quietly. She looked concerned. I looked around quickly, searching for danger before I realized her concern was for me.
I struggled to answer "Oh, they didn't abandon me completely. They arranged to have bread and milk brought to me every morning and as my skills increased I was able to make better food. Then, at some point, I started to venture further and further from my house. After a very long time, I left completely." I still couldn't figure out why my story upset them. When I thought about it, it upset me too. I wished I hadn't been left alone, but it was unreasonable to ask my parents to stay with me "It wasn't a big deal" I said, to myself as much as to them. "I was twenty years old. I just always wished they would visit sometimes, but they were probably really busy."
Bella looked sympathetic "They never visited?" I looked down "My sister did" I offered. I didn't want to tell a sob story. From one perspective, it was perfectly fine. I was twenty. But the vampires saw me as an infant. My head told me that their perspective was wrong. I obviously had better chances than the average infant. Yet being... nurtured felt good in a way. That's what what was in LA. Edward gave me a confused look. "Sorry" I thought, instead of actually explaining.