Humming along to the radio, Anna glanced out the window as the vibrant green land of Forks faded into the shops and houses of Port Angeles. During all her lessons, she had listened to Angela and Jessica animatedly chatter on about their evening of dress shopping. Whilst she also needed a dress for the upcoming dance, Anna couldn't bring herself to feel the same excitement as her best friends. She despised shopping. People barged into her or got in her way, anything nice could never be found in her size and she often wound up spending far more money than she had initially planned to. However, Jessica had attempted to lift her spirits with the promise of getting dinner from the little Italian restaurant that Anna loved so much.
Drumming her fingers along to the beat, Anna laughed as Angela told them about Mike falling off his chair during her Trig lesson when Tyler had nudged him too hard. A buzzing sound dragged her attention down to her phone and she flipped it open to read the message she had received from the man himself.
'Can't wait to see the dress. Send a pic of the colour so I can match my tie ~ Tyler.'
Smiling at her friend's ability to correctly coordinate (a talent she was proud to admit she had taught him over the years), Anna promised she would before devoting her attention to the people in the car once more. Who knew how many carefree evenings they would have left together? Wasting entire nights buying dresses and eating Italian was a luxury they might not be able to afford when they were forced to spend their nights with their heads buried in books (Senior Year) or in separate states learning the skills required to become effective members of the workforce (college). But, for now, they were just four teenagers enjoying the freedom of a night without homework.
As they clambered out of Jessica's car, Anna slung her arm around Bella and poked her in the side, coaxing a smile from her sullen sister. Much to Anna's amusement, she wasn't the most miserable person on this trip. Similarly to her twin, Bella detested the idea of looking at dresses but she had promised to support her sister and twins. In contrast to her twin, she hadn't been cheered up with the promise of pizza and pasta. Dragging her unwilling sister into the first dress shop they happened across, Anna plunked her down on the window seat before dashing between the aisles.
Watching the little head of brown curls darting back and forth, Bella chuckled at the ferocity with which Anna shopped. The sooner she moved, the faster she would be done and the quicker she could get her garlic bread. Outside the window, the sun was already beginning to set and Anna glanced over at Jessica. Resisting the urge to groan as her friend gingerly pulled out an orange dress, Anna knew it would be hours yet until she could ear – Jessica happened to be rather indecisive.
Moments later, Anna was twirling around in an emerald green dress with a skirt that floated slightly as she moved. Swishing her skirts in Bella's direction, she struggled to garner a reaction from her disinterested sister.
"That colour looks so pretty on you." Jessica gasped, running her fingers through the silky material of the dress and admiring the deep green colour.
A ribbon was wrapped around the waist to separate the bodice from the skirt and it fell elegantly to the floor.
"What do you think, Bells?" Anna asked.
"I agree with Jessica."
"You're no help." Anna mockingly glared before turning back to look at her reflection in the mirror once again.
As Jessica had said, the colour did look nice on her and the dress itself was gorgeous but it just didn't seem to fit right on her body. Feeling her frustration grow, she turned to look at Angela with a look of helplessness on her face. This was the sixth dress she had tried on and as time passed by, she felt her anger slowly getting the best of her.
Mentioning the bookstore that she had wanted to visit, Bella sighed in relief when Anna practically booted her out of the shop, eager for Bella to do whatever would make her happy. With the promise that they would meet at the restaurant in an hour, Bella darted out of the shop. Watching her go, Anna wondered if she should've gone with her. Port Angeles was filled with lots of twists and turns and it was easy for someone to get lost. Before she could fret too much, Bella was gone and Angela was shoving a gown into her hands.
Grumbling to herself, Anna took the dress and prayed that she wouldn't hate it. Jessica had moved onto finding accessories that would match her electric blue dress and Angela was trying on heels to match her soft pink gown. Hurrying into the dressing room, she begrudgingly pulled the dress over her head. She didn't doubt Angela's ability to find nice things but she doubted her ability to be positive about her appearance at the moment.
A sound of delight burst past her lips when she discovered the dress had pockets, falling in love with it already. Bracing herself for disappointment, she glanced into the mirror. The dress fell to the floor in a stunning cascade of black material. Little sparkles decorated the material and as she turned, it looked as if the night sky itself was draped over her body. It was stunning. Hesitantly stepping out from behind the curtain, she was greeted with wide-eyed looks from both her friends before they eagerly nodded their hands. Hands running down the front of the dress, she was sure she would never wear anything so beautiful ever again.
Nervously pacing back and forth, Anna's hands shook as she continuously tried ringing Bella's phone. Her eyes darted up every now and again as she willed her sister to appear from the shadows. With each call that went unanswered, Anna's anxiety increased. Her mind raced with all the terrible things that may have occurred in the two hours that Bella had been gone. Relief flooded through the eldest Swan girl when she finally caught sight of her missing sister. But, the handsome Edward Cullen was escorting her. A wrinkle creased her brow as she glanced before them in confusion.
Only a few days beforehand, Bella had been storming around Anna's bedroom and ranting about how irritating the man's hot-and-cold demeanour was. Had they planned to meet? Was the bookstore simply a ruse? Unsure whether she was hurt that Bella would keep her plan for a little rendezvous with the man that had frustrated her endlessly, Anna took slow steps towards her sister before pulling her in close.
Checking for any outward signs of injury, the brunette glared up at Edward. Brown eyes told him (and unbeknownst to her, so did her mind) that if she saw that any harm had befallen her twin sister, she would be holding him personally responsible. Amusement coursed its way through Edward as the image of the fragile human attempting to attack him played in his head – taken straight from the mind of the only Swan daughter he could mentally hear.
Whispering softly under her breath to avoid inquisitive ears from overhearing, Bella briefly explained the predicament she had wound up in until Edward had rescued her. Knuckles turning white as Anna tightly gripped Bella's arm, her spine stiffened with each detail of the attempted attack. Humans could be truly disgusting creatures and she knew that, if given the chance, she would hunt down those men and castrate them. Or she would if her father wasn't a police officer who would be beyond disappointed to find his oldest daughter imprisoned on the charges of grievous bodily harm.
"Where have you been?" Jessica demanded, a sour look creeping onto her face as she looked between Bella and Edward.
Rejection had never sat well with Jessica and seeing the new girl receive the attention she had tried so hard to get was a blow to her self-confidence. Initially, Anna's dislike for Edward had stemmed from the harsh way he had spoken to Jessica when turning her done. However, she knew that if Bella and Edward were to become a thing, she would have to put aside those feelings for her sister's happiness. That included diffusing any tension that brewed between Jessica and the couple.
"I got lost," lied Bella. Although, she had technically gotten lost; down a dark alleyway where something sinister had been waiting.
Listening in on the thoughts running through the heads of the three girls before him, Edward focused on the one that was tinged with slight guilt. Deciding the best way to end this interaction and get alone time with Bella, Edward preyed on sweet Angela's regret.
"Would you mind if I joined?" He asked, tilting his head towards the busy restaurant behind them.
Angela cast her eyes down to the floor as she bit her lip. "Um, actually Bella, we already ate whilst we were waiting. We're so sorry but Anna was practically begging us to order."
Jessica nodded her head in agreement.
"Excuse you but the two of you were also starving!" Anna defended, taken aback by the heinous betrayal.
"We didn't threaten to start eating the breadsticks that had been set out on the other tables," teased Angela.
"We also didn't threaten to start eating the tablecloth." Jessica joined in.
"I feel personally attacked right now."
A deep chuckle reminded Anna that the quartet of girls was no longer alone and now a male presence imposed on the little group. Glaring up at the bronze haired man, the eldest twin turned slightly sour at the reminder that he had infringed on their girl's trip. Knowing that Bella had already spent some time alone that evening with him, she was debating whether she should be sceptical of how he knew where to find her or just be relieved that he had prevented anything far more sinister from happening. When she found herself struggling to feel any real sort of hostility towards him, she turned to address the man for the first time that evening.
"Thank you, Edward."
Her gratitude was genuine but deep down, there was an instinct begging her not to trust him, to take her sister home and far away. She knew nothing about the man but Bella was silently pleading for Anna to go home. Knowing that this was the moment Bella had been waiting for to finally have an in-depth conversation with the man who had undeservedly obtained her affection, Anna agreed to make her way back to Forks without Bella.
Promising that she would hide outside in her car until Bella got home, Anna begged Bella to text the moment they left the restaurant. If the twins were to arrive home separately after leaving together in the same car, Charlie was sure to get suspicious. Anna had learnt the hard way that lying to the Chief of Police wasn't an easy feat.
A faint smile flickered onto his face at the overprotective thoughts shouting at him from Anna's head. Whilst she was typically harder to read than most people and almost impossible when Bella was around, her thoughts were always louder when she was overcome with strong emotion. Currently, she worried for the safety of her twin sister and confused over Edward's sudden personality change.
She is definitely Emmett's mate, he thought. It wasn't the first time he had noticed it and with each new layer he peeled from Annabella's head, he could see just how perfect they were for each other.
Head swimming with all that she had learnt that evening, Bella exited the bathroom after having washed away the sweat that had formed during the terrifying moment when she had been cornered by that group of men. Towel still in hand, she hovered outside the door to the bedroom across from hers.
A flicker of light seeped through the crack between the door and the carpeted floor. The rustle of pages followed by a small gasp every now and again alerted Bella to the fact that her sister was currently enthralled by a book. Unsure whether disturbing her sister to talk about the evening would be the worth the venomous glare she would receive for disturbing her, Bella hesitated. Raising her hand to knock, the wet haired girl hesitantly lowered it again, turning to face her own door. Before she could take the step, she convinced herself that she had to share this news with someone.
Vampires were real and she was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with one. If she couldn't share a secret like that with her twin, then whom could she tell? Unfortunately, Edward had entrusted her with his family's most sacred secret and whilst she knew Anna would never reveal something so serious, she couldn't betray the man she loved. Resigning herself to a future of deception and evasion, Bella turned away from her twin and spent the first night (since they had made up) alone in her room without so much as a goodnight. She couldn't face any inquiries into her dinner with Edward or about the drive home. Protecting Edward was currently more important than not upsetting her sister.
Outside her door, Anna heard a floorboard creak and looked up in time to see the shadow move away. Odd, she thought as she heard Bella's door click shut, she didn't even say goodnight. Worrying that her sister's heart had been broken yet again, Anna shoved a piece of paper into her book and set it down. Prepared to kick Edward's ass, she stormed over to her bedroom door before realising she was being ridiculous. Perhaps the dinner went amazingly and Bella simply had nothing to talk about, Anna reassured herself. But, Bella always had something to talk about in regards to the youngest Cullen.
Glancing at the alarm clock on her nightstand, Anna was alarmed to see how late it was. Berating herself for jumping to conclusions, she told herself that Bella was simply tired and needed to get some rest if she were to make it through school tomorrow without falling asleep. Burrowing herself down under the covers, Anna couldn't help but fret that perhaps her bond with Bella wasn't as strong as she thought it had become and that her sister was simply tolerating her. In the room across the hall separated only by a bathroom, Bella shuffled under her duvet and thought of Edward. Secrets could shatter even the strongest sisterly bonds. Especially when revealed in the most damaging and unexpected way.
Dressed for the day, Anna dragged her weary body downstairs to find that both her father and sister were gone already. Due to his schedule, it wasn't unusual for Charlie to be gone before the girls. It had been that way since Anna had started high school but Bella always waited for Anna to be ready before the two drove to school, even when taking separate cars. Trying to recall if she had heard a faint goodbye, her eyes landed on a note pinned to the fridge. Bella's messy scrawl informed the baffled girl that she had gotten a lift to school with Edward and would see Anna at lunch.
"What the heck is happening?" Anna muttered to herself, snatching up her car keys and hoping to catch her sister before first period.
Much to her dismay, Bella's note had been accurate because half the day had almost passed and Anna still hadn't managed to catch a moment alone with her. As they passed each other in the corridor, Bella was in a rush to get to Spanish on time and barely noticed her sister as she hurried by. Heading towards the library, Anna prepared herself to spend the next 55 minutes alone and confused about something other than her sister's love life – Trig. Shuffling over to her usual table in the corner, she was shocked to find someone else occupying it. For the past three years, that table had been hers. No one ever sat in during her free periods.
Upon hearing a heartbeat more familiar than his own surname, Emmett glanced up at the human that finally entered the library. He had been waiting for an entire three minutes and his face broke out into a beaming grin. The heartbeat fluttered slightly when she caught sight of him and he resisted the urge to chuckle. It was nice to hear the physical evidence that Anna reacted similarly to his presence as he did in hers. Hearing it from Edward reading her thoughts or Alice describing their future together didn't provide the same reassurance.
Gesturing to the seat across from him – the one she always sat in – his smile never faltered. Except for when he chuckled because she stumbled over the table leg and landed ungracefully in a heap on the seat. Cheeks flushing, she apologised for her unceremonious entrance but a sweater-covered hand landed atop her own and the man across from her reassured that she never had to apologise.
"That colour looks good on you." Anna complimented, glancing down at the navy sweater that encased Emmett's hand.
Part of her wondered why Emmett always seemed reluctant to touch her. Most of the time he went out of his way to be as close to her as possible and yet he was still impossibly far. No skin to skin contact had occurred in the time since their friendship had developed, which was bizarre when two humans spent as much time together in school as they did. Accidental touches were bound to happen when you had to pass notes to people or walk by their side down busy hallways.
Emmett thanked her before claiming that the colour would also look good on her. "But then again, I'm not sure what colour wouldn't look good on you."
"Bright orange and yellow," she responded instantaneously, not even glancing up as she pulled notes from her bag. Emmett laughed once more, his mind drifting to how well she would get along with Rosalie and Alice. "Or so Jessica told me rather flatteringly one sunny day and I've never worn yellow since. It makes me look like I'm about to throw up apparently."
Emmett could only hope he would be lucky enough for the future where she met his sisters to come true. Slowly working through their assignments, they spent more time chatting than focusing on the work. Conversation ranged from her life living with Charlie and his with the Cullens to topics as simplistic as their favourite season. Neither one mentioned Anna's lack of a mother figure or the cover story that Emmett was adopted.
Emmett informed her that he liked Spring but refrained from mentioning that it was due to the bears he hunted during that time. A pleasant smile took form on her Anna's glossy lips as she exclaimed that Spring was also her favourite season. She loved how something beautiful was reborn from death. Barren trees and frozen grounds made way for the vibrant green trees and the blossoming of beautiful flowers.
As they fell into a comfortable silence, Emmett allowed his mind to run wild with the fantasy of Anna becoming like him and how he had turned. Practically near death, Emmett himself had been broken and bleak, covered in his own blood and losing more with every laboured breath. Rosalie had found him and dragged him back to Carlisle, begging the father figure to change him. Now, the beautiful thing to grow from such a lonely and long existence was him finally finding his Mate. For all of his existence, he had told himself that there was a reason he had been Turned – a reason stronger than Rosalie's moment of weakness for a handsome face.
Looking across the table, Emmett beheld that reason. Anna had been made for him before the moment she had been born and every event in Emmett's life had been drawing him closer towards her. Why he had spent so long trying to avoid her was beyond him because nothing could compare to the elation he felt when Anna looked up at him and smiled shyly.
Shifting under his gaze, she tried to break the tension between the two of them by mentioning Bella's chauffeur of the morning. Poking fun at his brother's emotional mood swings, Emmett noticed the girl of his affections shiver slightly, hair rising on her bare arms. Shrugging out of his sweater to reveal a white short-sleeved shirt underneath, he had it over her head before she had a chance to protest her coldness. A primal instinct ignited in him that differed to his emotions during a hunt as he looked at her drowning in his sweater. A feeling he hadn't ever felt during past entanglements with other women. Nothing else mattered as he glanced down at the small girl, the edge of the garment swaying below her knees and the sleeves drooping as her hands reached halfway past the elbow.
"See, I told you that colour would also look good on you." Emmett gasped, suddenly feeling as if he lacked oxygen despite never needing it since he had turned. "Perhaps it will be our colour."
Taking a painfully slow step forward, he crouched down to roll the sleeves back so that she could use her hands. Anna was so close. All it would take was one slight movement and his lips would connect with hers. Gazing into his golden eyes, her heart pounded violently at the close proximity between them. All it would take was the slight inclination of her head and their lips would connect.
His eyes shifted to her neck and Emmett watched her jugular thrum. Throat burning with thirst, he was surprised to find that the desire to tear her neck open had dulled slightly. Granted, it was still prominently there but another sense overpowered it; the desire to keep her safe from all harm.
Hands still moving to roll the sleeves at a human like speed, one cool finger brushed against her wrist. The vein beneath jumped at his touch and a small gasp escaped from her mouth. Wrenching back, Emmett excused himself before disappearing from the library.
Stood alone, Anna was perplexed at the events that had just transpired. Dropping her hand back to her side, she giggled when the sleeve just rolled back down and lifted up her arm to inhale the muscular scent that invaded her dreams. Whilst the man himself had disappeared, she had his sweater for comfort, even if was only for one night.
Eyes twinkling in the glow of the little lights that were strung up everywhere, Anna laughed at something Tyler said. One warm hand rested respectably on the small of her back and the other one clasped her equally warm hand in his. Twirling them around the room, Tyler dipped Anna and snorted as she shrieked in shock.
The beautiful brown curls bounced as he brought her back up and Emmett's gaze trailed from the sample of pale skin that the slit in her dress displayed, past the teasing neckline and onto the pure joy shining in her brown eyes. Never before had he seen someone or something so radiant. The dark black of the dress suited her pale complexion nicely and as the light caught her dress with each motion she made, it glittered as if hundreds of little stars had been sewn into the fabric.
In Emmett's eyes, her beauty was akin to a goddess. The human boy that held her in his arms had no idea how precious of a jewel he was handing. For if he did, Emmett knew that his hold would be far more fragile; terrified of how breakable she could be. Wrapped in the warm arms of a human man with no true appreciation for the allure of the woman he danced with, Anna could enjoy her evening and happily grasp his hand.
If Emmett had been privileged with such an honour, he knew she would've recoiled from his icy touch as she had done the day before. No, it was far better that she enjoyed this evening without the fear that her date would tear open her throat and spill her blood all over the sparkling dress.
For now, he would be content watching her dance with another as he possessed the knowledge that one day soon, Anna would understand the love that Emmett held. All it would take is a little patience.