Chapter 17 - A Reluctant Participant

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Lily sunk to the floor and used her legs to move her into the back corner of her room. She tried to control her breathing to stop the panic attack from setting in. She knew she needed to be quiet.

After all these years, she can't help but picture the small child who was also huddled against the wall years ago. She focused on making herself small. She needed to disappear. Vanish. No noise.
She placed a hand over her mouth knowing that it helps to muffle the sound of her exhaling. She didn't dare move even when she heard the front door swing open or the footsteps rushing up the staircase.

Lily pictured Jasper as stiff as a board during lunch and figures she could give him a run for his money. Humans were not supposed to be so stiff. Her limbs were already beginning to ache from the tension. It was amazing what the human body could ignore with some help from adrenaline. Her pain was easy to ignore. Her sole focus was on the rushing footsteps that were growing closer at an impossible speed.

Lily heard the door to her room being slammed open. Her muscles tensed more and she squeezed her eyes tight. She was begging herself to remain invisible. She knew the view should be obscured by her dresser, but vampires had other ways of discovering their intended target.

"Esme! Where is she?" The voice was tense, loud, tight, and immediately recognizable.

Lily swore she could cry out in relief. Well, maybe it was more than a thought. As soon as she opened her eyes, she caught Rosalie rushing over to kneel in front of her. Her eyes quickly scanned Lily's form as if reassuring herself that she was there. She then stood and ran a hand through her windblown hair. She turns quickly as they hear the door moving again.

"She's right where I told her to be. She did well." Esme joined the two girls. "Are you alright?"

Lily could simply nod. The fight or flight response was still not abating, her mind still reeling.

Esme walked over and placed a hand on Rosalie's shoulder and spoke too low for Lily to hear, not that she was playing close attention to the two as she tried to calm herself down. "She's fine."

Rosalie gave a tense and minimal nod of her head, "I couldn't sense her."

Esme seemed to evaluate the information, "We always knew her markers are dulled. Let's just be thankful. There will be time to question everything later."

Esme now continued moving towards her youngest child. Lily looked up at her with fearful eyes, but before she could talk to the girl, there was a knock at the door. Lily's eyes widened more as she backed up into the corner again shaking her head. Rosalie moved to attack, but Esme grabbed her wrist silently telling her to wait.

An unknown voice was barely audible to Lily, "I do apologize for interrupting your game, but I believe we have some things to discuss."

Her dad's voice was next, "I believe you do. Is the rest of your coven here?"

"No. We aren't a formal coven anyway."

The voices continued but moved further away, leaving Lily completely in the dark about what was being said. Esme dropped Rosalie's wrist.

"I'm going to see if Carlisle needs any help." Her eyes flicker between Lily and Rosalie and put a finger in front of her mouth signaling the others to stay quiet. "Rose. Come down in a few minutes. It's rude not to introduce yourself to our guest."

Rosalie glared at the maternal figure's eyes flickered back towards Lily who had closed her eyes again seemingly trapped in her own fear.

"I would prefer not to. I'm still dirty from the game earlier. I'm going to freshen up." Rosalie basically sneered out. She wanted to make it as clear as possible that she had no intention of leaving this room. Esme nodded in understanding.

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