CHAPTER FIFTEEN

A soft yellow comforter lay across her bare legs. Golden eyes watched the alarm clock eagerly, waiting for the hands to inch closer towards an acceptable 'waking' time. A slight chill hung in the air, signalling the end of summer, yet the young woman showed no sign of cold. Alabaster skin practically shone in the weak daylight as she swung her legs out of bed.

Just as her hand reached for the doorknob, she heard the sound of a startled gasp; the result of her sister waking from a dream. Moments later, an alarm came from the bedroom opposite hers. If there was one thing she didn't miss about sleeping, it was the panicked disorientation her alarm caused in the morning. Now, she had no need to set one.

Perfectly wrapped gift in hand (a skill she had possessed prior to her supernatural abilities), Anna glided across the hallway and pushed the present under the door.

"Happy Birthday!" Her musical voice greeted.

She received a grunt and a dull thump back as Bella threw her pillow at the door. Anna grinned, shaking her head at her sister. September thirteenth; the day that Annabella and Isabella Swan were born. Today, it was the date that they turned eighteen. Well, one of them did. And she wasn't acting too pleased about it.

Hurrying her way through showering and brushing her teeth, Anna was aware of her impatient twin waiting outside the door. She seemed particularly irate this cloudy morning.

"Finally." Bella grumbled when the bathroom door opened.

"Bells, I was in there for a total of two minutes." It used to take her at least twenty.

"Not a very fast vampire then," responded Bella, before slamming the door shut.

Anna heard the bolt slid across. Muffling her laughter, Anna merely shook her head at her sister's dark mood. With the remnants of human blood clinging to her tissues, Anna was the second-fastest of the Cullen clan. A fact that Bella was well aware of. Taking advantage of her speed to dress, Anna sneaked downstairs moments later in the hope that she could evade her father before he bumbled down for his morning coffee.

She was dismayed to find that he too had woken early in the hope that he could surprise his twins. On the kitchen table was two separate piles of presents that Charlie had attempted to arrange in some form of display. Smiling sincerely at her father, she promised that she would open them later as she was late for her 'before-school-study-group'.

Holding her breath, she allowed him to press a kiss to her hair and a brief hug. Wishing her a 'happy birthday', Charlie watched his daughter launch herself out of the door and wondered how she got to be so grown up.


Pulling up next to the silver Volvo that practically screamed 'Edward Cullen', Anna secured the car and bit back a groan at the sight of the hyperactive vampire stood behind her car. Even prior to her Turning, Anna and Bella had driven everywhere in separate vehicles as they often had different plans (aside from school). But, as the elder Swan took in the waving vampire, she found herself wishing that her sister was by her side so as to bear the brunt of Alice's overpowering joy.

Edward's lips quirked up into a smirk at the sound of Anna's internal monologue. The smile fell when Anna's nose scrunched, and her thoughts changed after spotting the two gifts in Alice's dainty hands. September thirteenth had once been a day to celebrate. Anna would have a few friends round for the evening (and Charlie hid in his bedroom) and they'd watch crappy movies, eat greasy pizza, and well… who didn't love a birthday cake? Birthdays were designed to celebrate another year well lived.

Except, how do you celebrate a life when you're no longer living? All her birthday did this year was remind her that she was frozen in time. And dead. (Oh, and she couldn't taste cake anymore.)

"Cake is overrated." Edward said as way of greeting when Anna came to stand next to him.

"Stay out of my head," she grumbled. "And besides, how would you know? When was the last time you had cake, fossil?"

"I can't stay out of your head when you're so loud," he teased, ignoring her jibe. "Hence why you and Emmett are perfect for each other."

Attempting to scowl up at him, Anna's angry façade blew away when she let out a forlorn sigh. Emmett had 'graduated' that summer and so hadn't returned to Forks High with her a few weeks ago. Despite the fact that she had seen him just last night, Anna felt the gaping absence of him from her side. The day ahead seemed so dreary without him whispering jokes in her ear.

Edward squeezed her gently before he was pushed away and scolded for delving into her inner thoughts once more. Someone called her name from across the car park, saving the bronze-haired man from her wrath. The exuberant voice painted a smile onto her face and Anna turned in the direction of her best friend. The parking lot was filling with students and Anna used that to her advantage as she hurried away, pretending not to hear Alice as the older woman reminded her to open her gifts. After all, it's not like she could chase her down.

"Happy birthday, Little Monster," cheered Tyler, slinging an envelope at her. She caught it with ease.

How apt his nickname had become. Once she had cherished it - it was even scrawled across the enveloped in Tyler's messy hand - but now it was more of an ironic reminder. Plastering on her smile as she accepted his hug, Anna reminded herself that she was the girl who loved birthdays.


Bare legs stuck out from navy shorts as she stood in the noisy Gym Hall. Anna was frowning at smooth skin of her pale thigh. Prior to last March, there had been a thin scar about four inches long marring the skin. At the age of five, she had fallen off her bike after Charlie took off the safety-wheels. She had bled, she had cried, she had been stitched up, and then she had vowed to never get back on the bike. That vow had lasted two days and then Anna watched her friends driving past on their bikes and refused to be left out.

Watching her sister poke herself in the leg, Bella would've typically found the scene amusing, if not for the fact that Anna had been off kilter all day. After the accident, she had spiralled into a depression (that Edward had assured was very common) and whilst she wasn't as jovial as she had once been, Anna had been doing a lot better recently. However, she seemed like she was back at square one today. Even worse, she had been quiet.

"You feeling okay today, A?" Bella asked.

The pair of them were huddled safely in the far corner. Neither of them took part in the class anymore; not that Bella ever took part unless forced to. Bella was too uncoordinated and Anna was too coordinated. Either way, one of them was bound to hurt someone.

"Missing Emmett?" Bella inquired after her sister had been silent for too long.

"No. I mean, I always do but that's not the issue right now."

"Then what's wrong? You're known as the happy twin. Especially today. Charlie used to tell me all about your birthday plans and how you'd decorated the house."

"Yeah, well, it's not as if I can have friends over this year, is it?" Anna snapped before wincing. "I'm sorry. That was-."

"Honest. How did you tell them about the lack of pizza party?"

"I told them Charlie wanted to spend the evening with us as it was his first birthday with us both in a long time, and the last one before we go off to college. They understood."

"Even Tyler?"

"Even Tyler," chuckled Anna.

The ball sailed towards the back of Bella's unsuspecting head. Instinctively, Anna whacked it back over the net where it sailed straight into Jessica's chest, causing the perky girl to stumble backwards. After calling out her apologies (and cursing herself for the bout of strength she had used), Anna's ethereal features morphed back into their frown. There was no crease in her forehead despite her pinched brows and her down-turned lips. Silence settled between the twins as Bella debated whether she should risk asking her question again. Anna heard the intake of breath as her sister prepared to speak.

"I never thought I'd miss my period." Anna said, speaking first.

A startled laugh burst past Bella's lips. She quickly choked it down when she realised that her sister was being serious.

"Pardon?"

"I've always been fairly regular. Never missed a period. No matter how stressed I was. But I woke up today to see that little red dot on the calendar next to the date and it hit me all over again. I thought the past few months without one would've lessened the blow. I was too preoccupied with all these new changes that I hadn't given it a second thought and then I was elated to not have to worry about cramps or bleeding through but…" She inhaled deeply to control herself. "But I saw that red dot next to the words 'eighteenth' and it just hit me. I guess I'm just feeling a little melancholy today. Sorry for being such a bummer."

"Do you want my period?"

"Bella!"

Anna burst out laughing and Bella followed seconds behind. Both of them clutched their sides - although it was more of a reflex for Anna than a need - and tears leaked from the corner of Bella's eyes. For the first time that day, they were cheerful. It was only fitting that the first laugh on their first birthday together in over a decade had been caused by the other.


Strands of sunlight tried to claw their way through the grey clouds. Light attempted to break through the gloom, trying to chase away the black cloud hanging above Anna's head. All day she had endured the cheerful greetings of her friends, accompanied with birthday cards and the occasional gift. By the time the end of the school day rolled around, she was rather sick of it.

Dragging her body towards her car, Anna looked forward to her evening of solitude, cuddled up next to the cosy body of her Mate. An inaudible (to humans) groan left her as she remembered the cruelty Alice had planned instead. When Alice had told her about it during lunch, the Newborn had tried her hardest to get out of the party; even using the excuse that she no longer aged so technically she wasn't turning eighteen. The Cullens refused to listen. She was learning that this was a shared family trait and was likely to continue for the rest of her existence with them.

The scent hit her first. Fresh laundry and pine trees in the summer. Grinning wildly, she reminded herself to run at a humanly acceptable pace before leaping into his arms. Students turned to gawk at the affectionate 'reunion' between the two. A few of the girls made soft sighing noises. The residents of Forks were under the illusion that Emmett had gone off to college at the beginning of Fall so to them, it looked as though he had returned home to surprise his girlfriend on her birthday.

"What are you doing here?" She grinned down at him. Her feet dangled inches above the ground as he spun her slightly.

"I'm taking you hunting." Emmett pressed a kiss to her cheek before lowering her back down. "Alice saw it putting you in a better mood for the evening."

"You know what would put me in an even better mood…?"

Emmett grinned, his eyes blazing. He towered over her, a smirk on his pink lips. His hand slid round to rest on her waist but before he could pull her closer, his smile dropped and he pushed her back gently. The heat left him and Anna frowned, knowing her plan failed.

"I'm not angering Alice," he said. "You're going."

Scowling at him, her fake anger melted away as he opened the passenger door for her. Pressing a kiss to his lips, she slid into the seat and let him shut the door behind her. Emmett stowed her back and her books safely in the trunk before settling into the driver's seat.

Comfortable silence filled the car as the supernatural couple enjoyed the serenity that the other's presence brought. Whilst they weren't as bad as Bella and Edward, having distance between them put them on edge. Emmett still forgot that she wasn't his fragile human anymore; she wouldn't break and she didn't need him watching over her.

Street lamps and asphalt gave way to trees and gravel as the car pulled into the Cullen's driveway. Turning off the car, he noticed the feral glint twinkling in Anna's honey-coloured eyes. A tinge of red still stubbornly clung to the iris but most of it had faded. The brown contacts had burned away over the duration of the ride, letting that vivid red out. Venom pooled in Emmett's mouth at the look on her face. His favourite expression of hers was when she looked at him with love shining in her eyes, reflecting the depth of emotion in his. However, he held a burning torch for the look she was currently sporting. The look that came out when she was chasing a bear or a mountain lion. The sparkle that shone in her eyes just as she was about to pounce on her prey. If he existed for the look of love, he breathed for the look of danger.

Hand in hand, the pair took a peaceful stroll through the green trees, not pressed for time. Anna disturbed the peace by grumbling about Alice and her menacing plans. Casually mentioning that Ashton had returned from Africa, specifically to attend the party, Emmett was pleased to finally see a smile on Anna's face.

"And Rosalie?"

"Will be there. Ashton dragged her back. Although, there wasn't much dragging involved when she found out that it was partly for you."

"That's because I'm her favourite," she teased. "Sorry, Honey, but you've been replaced."

"I shall battle you for it," declared Emmett, pretending to start a joust.

"You'd have to catch me first."

A wild howl echoed through the trees as Emmett took after her lithe form, tracking her on scent alone. Trees blurred as he passed them but his focus was entirely on his Mate. Wind whipped her hair back; the chocolate strands taunting him as they remained beyond his reach. A frustrated growl tickled her ears. A soft laugh responded. She vanished from his view.

The coppery tang of blood floated on the wind. Emmett's eyes darkened, his hunger growing - not necessarily for the Roosevelt elk that she was feasting on. Using her distraction to his advantage, Emmett pushed off from the ground. His body collided with hers and the two creatures slid across the dirt-covered ground, smashing into a thick trunk. Mud splattered their tangled forms. Fallen leaves clung to their hair and skin.

Snarling at the unprovoked attack, Anna fought to get the beat off her. Despite the Newborn strength she still possessed, Emmett matched her. He grinned as she struggled to hold him off. His teeth clashed against her skin and her fingertips caved in his bicep. The pair rolled closer to the cliff edge. Anna finally swung herself atop her and called victory. The ground beneath them gave way and the pair were suddenly airborne.

"Shit!" Emmett exclaimed, holding her tight as they were enveloped by the salty water.


Twilight had fallen. The moon lit up the sky as the pair trudged along the forest path. A squelch sounded from Emmett's shoe with every other step he took. Whilst his booming laughter was a familiar sound in the Cullen household, they all smiled brighter when it was accompanied with Anna's twinkling laugh. They hadn't thought it possible but Emmett was more joyous as each day passed and his Mate had developed an amazing dynamic with each family member already. As they heard the Mated pair taunting each other as they drew closer to the house, the parental figures of the Cullen household felt nothing but contentment. The shortest member of the household, however, felt nothing but pure and utter disgust.

Judging by the ear-splitting screech she let out upon exiting the front door, Anna guessed that Alice had spotted them.

"Look at you!" She screeched, zooming over to the tattered pair in order to scold them better.

The left sleeve of Emmett's grey-blue shirt was lying somewhere in the bottom of the sea and his right trouser leg seemed to have been left behind in the forest somewhere. Anna had fared better but her black cashmere sweater was torn at the shoulder and her skirt plastered to her legs. Limp brown strands sat atop her head instead of the bouncy curls she had spent the morning making. The pair of them stood in puddles on the clean driveway.

"You were supposed to feed her, Emmett! Not turn her into a fashion disaster." Alice let out a furious hiss upon seeing the state of Anna's top. "I bought you that sweater! And you've torn it! Is nothing sacred?"

Emmett did his best to shield himself behind Anna. Stomping on her cowardly Mate's foot, Anna tried not to smile when he winced. Furious eyes still glared at them and so the baby vamp looked past Alice to where her calm, southern Mate stood and silently begged him to come to their rescue. Jasper merely shrugged his shoulders, taking pleasure in their torment.

"Traitor." Anna mouthed at him. He smiled back.

"And why the hell are you soaking wet?" Alice continued. "It's as if none of you care about my events. You don't care about all the planning I put into them. All I try and do is throw nice parties for you and-."

Jasper finally spoke up. "Alice, it's Anna's birthday. You promised you would be nice to her today, remember? Dinner got a little messy but that's why you bought the dress. You knew she wouldn't wear something you approved of so you were going to change her outfit regardless."

Anna struggled to recall why she thought Jasper could be helpful. His tone was soothing but his eyes gleamed with mischief. He loved getting Emmett into trouble and had no issue with Anna being collateral damage. In this case, he enjoyed watching Emmett get yelled at whilst Anna was treated like a Barbie doll.

New clothes and beautiful hair were nothing to complain about, in Anna's books, but she hated being prodded and poked. She hated having strands of hair yanked, all while Alice scowled at her for not being able to bend her head in some ridiculous way just so she could reach.

Stone hands slid over her honey-red eyes. Taken aback by the sudden darkness, Anna tried to scramble away from the pixie-haired demon but to no avail. She had a vice-like grip on her head. Her legs flailed but her body didn't move. Snickers came from the two men behind her. As she felt herself being dragged towards the house, Anna flipped her middle finger to where she presumed to be Jasper's general direction.

"I saw that." Alice chirped in her ear.

Damn premonitions.


Awe lit up her face as she glanced around the main room. Candles had been placed on every (safe) visible surface, casting the room in a soft hue. Bouquets of flowers had been dotted here and there.

The twinkling strand of lights illuminated the red tint to her eyes, yet none of the Cullens shied away from it. With each passing day that it faded, they were taken aback by her strength and her resistance. Aside from Carlisle, most of them had continued to have red eyes far past the one-year mark.

Freshly washed, her hair had been arranged in soft curls over one shoulder, held back with a shimmering clip. A shimmering gold had been applied to her the bottom of the stairs stood Emmett. His arm was held out, ready for her to take, and he guided her over to the rest of the family. Perfectly pink lips morphed into an automatic smile when she came into contact with the man her blood had called out to. Her body immediately leaned into him. A muscular arm slid around her waist, pulling her closer. Amused laughter left her mouth when she realised Emmett's shirt was the exact shade of dark blue her dress.

"I had them specially made," smiled Alice, a touch smug.

From the back of the group, a pair of golden eyes rolled.

"Rose," beamed Anna.

For those first few months after the transition, the blonde vampire had refused to leave Anna's side. She had done her best to ensure Anna was equipped with all the necessary knowledge to survive those hard months. They had spent hours in the forest together, learning about the new senses Anna possessed and how to control her strength. She'd done her best to teach her how to behave in a humanly manner and even how to choke down human food, if ever necessary. It had been a crash course to ensure she could fit in with human life as quickly as possible.

It was only after she felt confident that Anna had been dragged out of her depressive phase that Rosalie allowed Ashton to whisk her away to Africa for another well-needed honeymoon. Even then, she had forced the newest coven member to promise to check in every day. Emmett had also been threatened so that he provided regular updates. The rest of the Cullens had been shocked by the protectiveness and caring that she had shown.

The coldest Cullen flitted over to the newest and wrapped her arms around her. Irritated at the barrier stopping her from fully embracing Anna, Rosalie shoved Emmett aside with a swift nudge of her hips.

"Move, Lug."

"Nice to see you too, Rose." Emmett mumbled, rubbing the sore spot on his thigh.

"I told you I was her favourite now."

Emmett pulled a face at her.

"Happy Birthday." Ashton greeted, pulling Anna in for a hug once Rosalie had finally released her.

Protesting the words, the Swan reminded the Cullen clan that the whole scenario was appreciated but now unnecessary. Thanking them for planning this for Bella, she tried to remind them that the focus should solely be on her twin; the living, breathing, ageing, and thus birthday-needing twin.

"But the banner says 'Anna + Bella'. I can't just change the banner now. There's not enough time." Alice's smile was bright but the look in her eyes promised pain. So, Anna thanked them all once again for the effort they had gone to.

"We wanted you to have this before Edward and Bella arrived." Esme smiled, handing the defeated girl a small box.

Undoing the satin bow, Anna popped open the lid. Laying against a velvet cushion was a silver locket threaded onto a delicate chain. Gently lifting the gift out of the box, she gasped at the intricate detailing on the front. The Cullen crest had been neatly engraved on the front. A small diamond twinkled from the lion's eye.

"Welcome to the family." Esme smiled.

"Officially," added Carlisle, considering she had been regarded as part of the family from the moment she had been introduced to all of them.

"And when Emmett wears you down and forces you to marry him, it'll be official to the rest of the world." Rosalie joked with a sardonic smile.

Emmett shoved her. Ashton snorted and Esme reprimanded her (with barely contained laughter). Anna smiled, trying to hug as many of them as possible, all at once.


FUN FACT: Ashton is based off Ashton Irwin from 5 Seconds of Summer.