It's a good day to be out, the sun is high above them and the snow is tickling down the forest ground. Irina is reminded of her home, where it's safe and cozy. It's the only thing stopping her annoyance from ruining the day. Her cousins had made such a mess that the Denalis are forced to step in. And Edward's speed as they dash through the forest makes him even more irritating to the blonde. He still has the displeased look on his eyes, no amount of winter breeze or impressive vampire speed could hide it. She mentally scoffs at the reminder that her coven leader once harboured deep admiration for the younger Cullen. Remembering all the idiotic and selfish ways he had portrayed himself, she wonders what her coven leader ever saw in him.

Perhaps it was the loneliness.

She too sometimes finds herself staring at human couples and wonders what it would be like to be mated. A painful memory comes to mind but inhaling the cold wind manages to freeze it away. Her footsteps become lighter as she tries to redirect her attention on attempting to be quieter in the thick wood. A brief glance from her cousin reminds her of Edward's gift and he isn't happy with her thoughts/insults.

"You ought to be on your best behaviour, Edward," Irina reminded them once again as they approach the Cullen's house. "Remember your training." His golden eyes harden and his jaws tense. Irina's not the only one feeling unhappy about this arrangement and she isn't shy to remind him that in her thoughts. She adjusts the white scaff around her neck, tightening it once more so she doesn't lose her most prized possession during the journey.

Actually, Irina is irked Tanya had asked her to escort the broody Cullen back to Forks since Kate was deemed too excited to meet the fascinating human and might scare her away with her inappropriateness; as Carmen had eloquently quoted.

"I mean if she got Eddy boy all stirred up, she must be something special, right?" The mischievous gleam in her eyes told them everything.

Tanya believed the Cullens already got their hands full with all the drama in Forks and sending her most promiscuous sister to assist their cousin would have been a mistake, eventhough Kate's the most qualified out of the three to keep Edward in line. Kate's always eager with the opportunity to shock someone with her sparks.

As they hear the humans nearby, Irina feels uneasy. Something does not sit right with she feels something stirring the moment they reached Forks. She pushes it away, justifying it is her annoyance at having to babysit the young vampire when she could have used her precious time for something else. Irina also isn't a fan of Rosalie, someone whom she respects but can't stand sometimes due to their mirror-like behaviours at times. She has had enough of Emmett's jokes about Rosalie potentially belonging to a Denali.

No, to her, Rosalie may have the same sex drive but most times she can be such a prude, just much like her annoying brother.

Edward turns his heard and throws her an annoyed look at another insult they're approaching the Cullen's residence. The house it seems to remain the same but knowing Esme, Irina could guess the maternal figure would have done some remodelling on the inside. She knows how much Esme wishes she could do a complete makeover of their house just to kill some time but it would have been tad too suspicious. In a small town like this, the humans' ugly emotions usually make themselves known especially towards a family of vampires who may seem perfect to the humans. Not only they've got the looks, the youth and the money, a bigger home would have definitely attract more unwanted attention.

Opting to be a better person, she mutters a half decent apology in her mind and trails behind him slowly, for the sake of the human she's about to meet. On their phone call last night, Alice had requested to speak to her. In her usualy bubbly manner, Alice advised Irina to take her speed a notch down all due to their human guest. It was rather puzzling but she knows better than to go against the seer. It must have been for everyone's benefit.

Edward too walks at a human pace once they're within the compound, perhaps still trying to gather the guts to meet his ex lover. As usual, he looks like a human suffering from constipation and Irina finds herself humoured. A slow grin etches on her face and she tries hard to surpress a mocking laughter. He's such a drama king, she thinks. How could one intelligent vampire and one high school girl fall for the pathetic charm, she wonders quietly. The door flungs open and an excited Alice is practically vibrating at the front porch.

Irina narrows her eyes suspiciously as she realises Alice's excitement is directed at her instead of Edward. And something in her eyes tells Irina that the seer is up to no good. Her eyes drag back to the door and that's when it hits her. She catches a sniff of a very sweet smell that rivers of venoms start to pool in her mouth. Clamping her mouth shut, she has to force it back down. And for one second, her fingertips turn warm, leaving her paralysed on the snowy ground.

It's bizarre. It's almost impossible for vampire to feel warm or hot, unles their marble skin is being licked hard by the very thing that could kill them; fire. Her fingers tremble and her knees give away. Something shoots through her chest and she feels a powerful force tugging her heart, as if it's beating again.

What the fuck?

Almost all of the Cullens speed to her side, trying to assist. Somehow, something keeps her down on the round on her knees and palms against the snow. She can sense Carlise right next to her, his mouth opens and closes, words flowing out but she couldn't hear them. And then she hears it. Irina hears footsteps not graceful enough to be one of their own and they sound almost clumsy and unevern approaching. The pain in her chest doubles and her desperate eyes seek the empath for his gift. Her strong but weakened hold on his arm sends a silent cry for help but Alice's grasp on Jasper's shoulder stops him.

"I'm sorry but Jasper cannot interfere."

Irina feels her rage building at Alice's absurdity, not understanding why the pixie has suddenly turned into a masochist. A rare nature. She wishes stupid Kate were here to help her.

When the sound of human boots crushes the snow not one foot away from her, Irina glances up, suddenly feeling as if time had stopped. Tousled brunette hair is the first thing she notices. It reminds her of the trees; strong, beautiful and natural. Her eyes warm in another shade of brown, throwing Irina into fond memories of her earlier years with Sasha and her sisters. The pink hues adorning her cheeks make her look gorgeous. Her nonexistant breath gets caught in her throat.

The human is perfect. Her beauty rivals any other vampires Irina had laid her eyes on as the human. Who is this stranger?

"Is everything okay?" the human asked.

For the first time in over a thousand vampire years, words are stuck in her throat. Concern is written on the human's face and Irina finds herself swoon a little by the kindness shown. To her left Jasper chuckles and she can see the knowing looks sported by the couple.

It is overwhelming and Irina wants to feel angry and sad and scream. Her face must have looked odd because the human fastens her pace and kneels down in front of the vampire, disregarding the soaking wet knee of her jeans in the snow. Her floral smell only heightens and Irina takes the chance to inhale her. Her every being finds her delicious but not in the way she expected. Instead of feeling the vampire thirst, something else lingers in her instinct.

"Are you hurt?"

She notices no one but her. Only one word screams in her head.

Mate.

She's my mate.

This unexpected discovery made her forget there's a mind reader among them, which proves to be a mistake because as Bella tries to reachout to touch Irina's face, all out of her own accord, Edward runs and steps in between them, effectively shoving Bella away into the snow. Bella yelps in surprise as she trips and almost lands on the thick ice but Irina's fast reflexes have a mind on their own, her own pain earleir suddenly forgotten. One arm holds the human in between her shoulder blades and the other is scooped behind Bella's knees. Once the human is unharmed, she stands straight. Angry eyes stare into Edward's and a low snarl escapes her lips.

Bella's breath hitched and she sighs in relief managing to avoid getting wet yet again in the snow and she releases her breath. Irina's arms remain strong around her and at this realisation Bella turns as red as a tomato, "Erm.. Hi?"

Irina stares amused at her human mate and a smile escapes her, "Hello there."

She is now grateful that her sister Kate isn't here otherwise she'd be teased endlessly.

"I think I'm safe now," Bella hinted at wanting to be released. It makes her anxious to be held this way as seven pair of golden eyes are blatantly staring at them. Her cheeks feel hot at the sudden attention.

"Yes, you are." In more ways than one, Irina thought. But no need to scare her off just yet. This is a human she has to handle carefully, one that is still infatuated with the silly Edward. Speaking of, she turns to him and snarls. She gently sets Bella on her feet again but stands very close to her, not trusting Edward one bit.

"What the hell, Edward!"

Her eyes turn black and furious. Bella stiffens next to her so she automatically places her right hand on Bella's back to assure her that she is safe. Red fills her skin up from her face down to her chest. Her heart thumps louder and it sends the wrong message to the blonde stranger.

Irina would protect the human and she knows she will win despite his gift. He had never been in a real vampire fight before. Edward turns his body so he's facing both of them, a vicious look sports his face.

"You're wrong! She's mine!" Edward growled.

The rest of the male vampires quickly surround Edward, ready to block him as they make sense of what is happening. The female vampires all surround Bella and Irina, all anxious but prepared.

But Irina isn't going to let this go. It does not bode well that not a minute within meeting her mate, there's a vampire who almost hurt her. Accident or not, it feels like a crime, especially when he made nonsense claims on her mate.

"Do something stupid like that again and I will have your head," she warned. Images of the things she will do to him stir Edward a bit.

"You think you can win against me? You're just a succubus! That's your talent, to draw men in to-"

Before Edward could finish his sentence, Irina manages to get past all of the Cullens and choke Edward forcefully against a tree, leaving a big dent the shape of Edward's back onto it. Carlisle almost interferes but is stopped by Alice, who shakes her head no. This needs to happen and even if the Denali needs stopping, only two persons have the capabilities to do that - Irina's coven leader and her newly found mate.

Irina tightens her grip on Edward's neck, causing his skin to crack. She chokes him so hard he is unable to utter a word but whimpers of pain.

Alice moves to Bella, pleading her to stop Irina. Confused Bella only needed to see Edward's cracked neck to understand Irina means business. She doesn't necessarily understand what's really happening but she knows if she doesn't do what Alice says, all hell wil break lose. Following Alice's advice, she calls the blonde's name, having learned it after Alice told her last night that their cousin, Irina, was coming to visit - and that they should meet.

"Irina?"

Irina is brought back from her rage and turns to the sweet voice of her mate, her grip automatically loosened up. She notices Esme looks worried but happy at the same time. Rosalie looks humoured seeing her dick of brother in the position, probably freling relieved someone is finally putting him in his miserable place while Emmett looks curious and amused.

"Can you please let him go? I'm fine. He didn't hurt me."

She narrows her eyes and the memory of her mate being disrespected and put in harm's way replays in her mind and she tightens her hold again. Bella turns to Alice for help and the pixie dashes to Irina, trying many ways to convince Irina to not kill her brother. But it all seems fruitless.

Quick on her feet, Bella scoops a palm of ice and throws it on Irina's back. Irina glares at her but relaxes as she sees her mate, instantly forgiving her for intruding the moment. "See? It's just like playing snowball fight. It didn't hurt," Bella explained.

Irina's shoulders still seem tense. Everyone can see the anger subsiding but it's still evident.

"Plus, you saved me."

She mulls it over and relents. She nods and lowers Edward's down till his feet reach the ground but not before whispering threats of a Denali. She then stands in front of Bella protectively. "I'd appreciate it if you don't hurt her, either by accident or on purpose," the last part directed at what Edward did earlier.

"Irina is right. Son, I think you need to go hunt to calm yourself down. Irina, let's head inside. Bella's getting cold," Carlise called for everyone's attention.

At that reminder, Irina quickly takes off her scarf and puts it around Bella, "Hope you don't mind. You need it more than I do." Bella is stunned but only smiles in appreciation. It's freezing out here but somehow, she feels much warmer now.

She again feels awkward as Irina leads her away from Edward, her hand goes back to the small of Bella's back. She couldn't help but stare at the blonde as they make their way inside. Her thoughts are all jumbled up having the Cullen's cousin so near that she almost missed Emmett's snicker at the back. Ever since she hears the ruckus outside earlier, her heart has been beating wildly. She is too caught up in Irina's dazzling and charming smile, that she stumbles upon the slippery staircase.

Irina zooms off effortlessly to stand behind her and catches the human in time as she falls backwards. Amused golden eyes stare down into hazel eyes. Irina smirks, "My my, falling into my arms twice a day already, Isabella?"

She glares at the vampire without any hint of anger and retorts, "No, it would seem your hands are always in my way." Irina grins, impressed at her mate's backbone. Now she knows for sure their dynamics will be nothing short of interesting.