1-3 Outside Shipshewana, Indiana

Shipshewana, Indiana is not a gorgeous town. It’s a manufacturing town, and it looks it—close enough to Gary that the air gets choked off by the output of the coal plants. But it was cute, in its own way. Picturesque and idyllic; houses with honest-to-god white picket fences. So it seemed totally in order that the town doctor was out in front of the house in a white T-shirt and a pair of 501s, washing his Chevrolet. You could almost imagine that he was human, the way he stood there, humming as he ran over the car with a soapy rag.

Except that it was ninety degrees out, the asphalt was sizzling, and he wasn’t wearing any shoes.

And his skin looked like someone had lit it aflame.

“What do you see?”

Jasper gets this worried tone to his voice, every time I See. Even now, when we’ve been together for the better part of a century. He always gets the tone. But it’s a comfortable worry. At first, I always wound up assuring him that I was all right; that no matter what it looked like (and I guess it looks pretty weird), I always am fine. But later I learned it wasn’t about me. Jasper worries about the people I see. Are they going to be hurt? Is there danger?

He’s a soldier. Protecting people is just how his mind works.

It’s part of why I love him.

So when he looked at me worried, I answered him.

“I saw Carlisle washing the car,” I said. “When we get there, he’ll be washing the car.”

Jasper’s eyes clouded a bit. I had been addressing all of the Cullens by their names for years now. At one point, they had just been descriptions: “the leader,” “his mate,” “the big one,” “the blonde,” “the boy.” But in my visions, they called one another by name. And gradually, so did I.

A hand squeezed mine. “What if they don’t accept us?”

An understandable concern. It took almost thirty years for me to find Jasper, or really, for Jasper to give up. He kept trying to fight to be the vampire he thought he was supposed to be; even as his ability to kill eroded. He’d bounced through two covens, and spent a fair amount of time alone.

I was looking forward to the Cullens. The way Carlisle in his 501s thought himself as the father to the others. The way his mate, Esme, thought herself as the mother. They didn’t like the word “coven,” I knew that much.

And they would accept us.

I knew that much, too.

I squeezed Jasper’s hand back. “They will.”

We would arrive on a day when Edward, the boy, would be gone with Emmett, the big one. A sunny day, when Carlisle would be washing the car.


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