Chapter 14 - A Major Breakthrough

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After surviving weeks of passive-aggressive, or not so passive, fighting after school, Lily had found any excuse to spend her evenings with one of her friends. While she tried to leave before dinner, it was not uncommon to end up having a plate made at Becca's, Amber's, or Micheal's family. Lily thought it was nice how inclusive their families were. She was worried that her presence could negatively affect her family's reputation. As with any small town, everyone tried to know everyone else's business. It was not uncommon for kids with less than attentive parents to be watched over by the community. Forks had definitely adopted the 'it takes a village' philosophy when it came to the children. This is another reason why the Cullens were not trusted by the community. They lived too far away and were too distant from the others. Luckily, this perceived flaw was not held against any of the children.

Even spending most of the evening away, Lily did not avoid all of the fighting in her house. Most often, it was Edward and Rosalie going at it. Rosalie was the less supported party by a large margin. Jasper was her only supporter and he was less than vocal. Esme had tried to remove herself from the conflict, Carlisle quietly supported Edward's actions, Alice was a vocal advocate for more interaction with Bella, and Emmett supported Edward with an air of indifference about human life. Lily tended to agree more with Rosalie's point of view. It was no secret that this could end very badly for the family. On the other hand, she was tired of Edward's attitude swinging from hot to cold with Bella. She was ready for it to be settled one way or another. Edward's mood swings were doing nothing but motivating Bella to find out what he was hiding.
One of the latest scuffles was over Bella asking Edward to La Push. It was a known fact that they were not allowed on the reservation. In fact, the entire family except for Alice, Jasper, and Lily had been present at the treaty's inception. Even as a human, Lily knew she should not venture on their land. Also, apparently, some of the teenagers were already starting to shift. The last thing Lily wanted was to come home smelling of wolves. Luckily, her friends preferred driving the extra distance to Crescent Lake.

Despite all odds, Lily and Bella had struck up a tentative friendship. Sure, their conversations were limited to the minutes before or after class, but that didn't stop them from getting closer. Neither one of them had anything particularly interesting in common. It was the standard high school friendship based solely on proximity. Alice's jealousy over the situation was only calmed by the steadfast belief in her visions that soon Alice and Bella would be close friends.

Today, however, the Cullen house felt different when Lily arrived home. There was no audible fighting. In fact, there was no noise. Vampires did not have to move as humans did. Her family rarely let themselves settle into stagnation. Their unnatural stillness even caused Lily to feel unnerved. She paced in front of the house and noticed Edward's Volvo was gone.

The family, besides Edward and Carlisle, was gathered around sitting in the family room. Most of their faces were devoid of emotions, except for Alice who was worried.

"Do we know where Edward and Carlisle are? Did something happen?" A quiet beat. Lily pictures the worst. Blood slipped. "No, Is Bella okay?"

Jasper moved from his spot and stood closer to the human, sending calming waves. Esme was the one to answer her. She began busying herself with making something to eat. "She's fine. Everyone is going to be fine. I'm glad you're home." There was obviously something missing.

"Where were you?" Lily was taken aback by her harsh tone.

"Becca's?" Her eyes flicked around to her family before settling back on Rose, "I thought I told you guys. I went to her house for a while and came home. What happened?"

Esme set a bowl down and gripped the counter tightly. Her fingers leaving slight indents. "There was an attack right outside of town. Carlisle does not believe it was human or animal."

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