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"Diego inhaled through his nose—a big, long pull—and I watched his body change. He crouched on the roof, one hand gripping the edge. All that friendliness disappeared, and he was a hunter."
—Bree Tanner

Diego Cullen was a newborn vampire who recently served Victoria's newborn army until he joins the Cullens as an adopted son to Carlisle and Esme Cullen.

Biography

Early life

"I was gonna get out of the ghetto, you know. Go to college. Make something of myself. But there was a guy—not much different than Raoul. Join or die, that was his motto. I was careful. Stayed alive.

And?

My kid brother wasn't as careful.

"
—Diego and Bree

Diego was born in November, 1987, in Los Angeles, California. He grew up in a lower-class, single parent home. When he was 16, his mother relocated to Portland for a job that then fell through. Diego worked part-time jobs to help out while he attended school. He had a goal in life: to leave his street life and go to college, and to help his younger brother get an education as well. He had some trouble with a gang at his high school, but managed to avoid them. However, his brother was more involved than he wanted, and tried to work up a plan with his mother to remove him from the gang. Before they could figure out a plan, his little brother died during the initiation ritual, and Diego was overcome by grief. When he found out who was responsible for his brother's death, he stole a gun from the house of one of the gang members and avenged his brother. He was then cornered by the other members until Riley Biers came to his rescue, asking if he needed a new life. Then, he slaughtered the pursuers, brought him to Victoria and she transformed him into a vampire. He was among the first created during this period, others included Fred and Raoul.

Within his next months as a newborn vampire, Diego acted as the most responsible member, always looking after his wilder mates, even if they didn't want to be looked after, and cleaning up their messes. Part of his obedience came from the fact that Riley had been his only friend since he became a vampire and was therefore very loyal to him. Because of his responsibility, Riley kept him on a thin leash and others started rumors about him being Riley's "right hand".

He once had his leg ripped off in a fight that erupted between some of his newborn members.

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

Main article: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

Diego became one of Bree Tanner's few companions (the other being "Freaky Fred") one week before they moved on to Forks and later became Bree's love interest. He was first introduced in the novel: he went to hunt with Bree, Kevin and Casey in Seattle. He lectured the others for being reckless on their hunt, but warmed up to Bree because she was one of the "tamer" newborns in Victoria's army. They spent the night hunting, stealing from malls and then hid in an underwater cave during the morning (since the house they lived in had been burned to the ground). As they discussed the myths of vampires, he became curious about whether or not sunlight and wooden stakes could harm them. He tested his theories by driving a wooden stake into his chest, and when it shattered, he stuck his hand out into the light, much to Bree's dismay: to his amazement, the light merely reflected on his skin like small diamonds. That was when he and Bree realized that sunlight couldn't kill vampires.

The two then spent the next day looking for their army. Diego and Bree realized that they were all created for some reason, but weren't sure what it might be. While Bree wanted to dig information out of Riley about the army's true leader (Victoria, though she was only known as "her" by the newborns), Diego was reluctant since he was often appreciated and treated kindly by him.

Right before the battle, Diego escaped and hid from the battle. After the battle, Bree and the Cullens hatched a rescue plan to find him. The two were overjoyed to see that they were both alive, and joined the Cullens.

Physical appearance

"He was pretty, with dark, dense, curly hair, big, wide eyes, and really full lips, but then, who wasn't pretty?"
—Bree Tanner

Diego had thick, curly black hair, full lips, wide eyes, and a faint olive tone to his vampire skin. He was lean but muscular and around 6 feet tall. His features were perfected by the transformation. As a human, his eye color was brown. Bree commented that his scent smelled sweeter than the rest of their army, something extra like spice.

Personality

Diego was a very independent character. As a newborn vampire, he provided better control and discipline than the rest of his army, and for that he was given responsibility of taking care of the wilder newborns, and was very smart and careful with his actions. He had a liking to music, which drove him to steal from malls at night when he grew tired of his old CD's. Unlike most of the newborns, he was friendly and responsible, and liked to think independently.

His loyalty to Riley was unwavering and Riley was very fond of him, but it was also what brought him to his demise, as Riley helped Victoria murder Diego. As Victoria mercilessly tortured him to death, Diego revealed everything that he'd learned with Bree, including the secret promises they'd made, before she killed him.

Powers and abilities

Diego learned to control his instincts and urges better than most others in the army. He learned to use his abilities swiftly in a matter of months and was able to follow a vampire without leaving his scent too close, as demonstrated when he followed Riley without his notice.

Relationships

Diego had a mother and a deceased little brother as a human. When he became a vampire, he was coven members with his mate, Bree Tanner, Riley Biers, Victoria and many other newborns in the newborn army.

Bree Tanner

Main article: Bree Tanner and Diego
"He leaned in slowly, never moving his eyes from mine, and kissed me. His smooth lips pressed against mine for one long second while we stared at each other."
—Bree on their second kiss.

Bree Tanner was Diego's mate. They quickly formed a close bond after they got to know each other better during a hunting routine in Seattle. Diego kissed Bree twice in the novel, and proved to her that the vampire traditions were fictional; for instance, vampires don't burn in sunlight or get killed by stakes. Bree initially was cautious about him, just like everyone else, but warmed up to him when they went hunting together and realized that he was different and wasn't dangerous.

Eventually, they fell in love shortly there after.

They formed a "B.F.F. secret ninja club", with a secret handshake that Diego completed shorty after he found Bree alive.

Riley Biers

"Need a new life, kid?"
—Diego quoting Riley.Riley Biers was Diego's most trusted friend in the army.

He gave Diego a new chance at life after nearly getting killed by his enemies. After becoming a vampire, Diego held more responsibility over the army's actions than the other vampires and Riley grew very fond of him. He basically held a thinner leash and allowed Diego to do almost whatever he pleased. Subsequently, the rest of the army started spreading rumors about him for it.

Diego trusted Riley with his life because he was his first friend in the vampire world, which became his near fatal doom when he told Riley and Victoria about the sunlight's true effects on vampires. Diego was distraught when he found out Riley was dead.

Note

Despite the statement of Diego's age being 17 in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide, he said he was 'just past his eighteenth' in the novella.

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