Hermione glanced sideways at Severus. He shouldn’t look that serious only a quarter of an hour after ... no time to recollect, she chided herself. They were standing at the Cullens’ front door, ready to explain to Muggle parents what was awaiting their daughter Renesmee at Hogwarts.
Renesmee. What a weird name, Hermione mused. And why had she shown up in the list of Muggle-borns destined to attend Hogwarts? She was less than five years old, according to the book. Had the book been mistaken for the first time in centuries?
The door of the opulent yet isolated house opened on a young girl around ten with bronze-coloured hair and brown eyes. Her skin was paler than Severus’s, and that was saying something. She smiled when she noticed their wizarding garb.
“Come in. I’m Renesmee Cullen.”
The scent ambushes me as soon as Renesmee opens the door. My throat is assaulted by the sweetest honeyed scent I’ve ever come across. Venom flows in my mouth as freely as a stream rushes down the mountain. I think I feel my eyes turn black. I’m thirsty, terribly thirsty, and there stands the means to quench my thirst.
I barely notice the dark-clad man in the doorway. All my attention is focused on the woman with him and her delicious scent. I growl. I want to drag her outside and to drain her blood from her body. I could do it right here and now, but I have enough reason left to not do it in front of my daughter.
I crouch. I’m ready to pounce on my prey. On my Singer.
Not humans, Hermione’s mind screamed. Swiftly, she took her wand out of her pocket, while searching for a suitable spell against her aggressor. At her side, Severus too had his wand in his hand.
The female vampire was faster. She jumped before either of them could cast a spell.
Edward leaps at the same time as I do and meets me mid-air. Our colliding bodies produce a screeching noise that makes my ears bleed. The shock sends us through the wall. The kitchen countertop yields under our combined weight and the force of the impact. We’re both animals—growling, snarling, and clawing at each other. Clothes are torn, cabinets are destroyed, and the table is crushed. Colored jets of light swish by us, or simply rebound on our marble skin, until a sickly green one strikes me in the eye.
The pain is indescribable. Its intensity matches my change into a vampire, although it’s different in nature, more like an invisible blade than an all-consuming fire. It slices through my flesh, travels down my blood vessels, indistinctly cuts muscles and tendons, until it reaches the empty place of my heart. Or not so empty, if the pain in my chest is any indication. My heart is still in there; it’s just dead, which is probably why I’m still alive after the ache recedes.
“Don’t breathe, Bella,” Edward tells me. He’s on all fours above me, his face wary, his body tense, ready to spring, should I lose my composure again.
In the background, I can hear Renesmee crying.