This is my first Fan fiction. Thank you for taking the time to read. Hope you enjoy it, Nemma :)
Note: I have no Beta so there will be the odd mistake.
Disclaimer: I do not own the wonderful world of twilight.
"Hey Jon, get over here and check this out. It's freaking crazy, man!"
Dave chuckled, as he continued to prod the defenceless hermit crab with a stick. The little creature had taken residence in a Rainier's beer can and had been happily scuttling across the rocky shore. Happily that was, until Dave intervened. Now it danced in panicky lines for his amusement.
"Stupid crab," he said, while the sky overhead darkened with rain.
The beaches around Port Angeles were nothing short of bleak this time of year – a far cry from the sunny shores of the Californian coastline – but hell, they had their uses. Like this secluded spot - it provided an excellent safe haven for underage drinking. And despite the fact that the shore was littered with masses of beer cans and cigarette butts on a near permanent basis, cops still didn't check the area out.
Dave and his mate Jon were regulars here. Here they didn't get kicked out for using fake IDs, here their moms didn't hassle them, here they could wander the shore uninterrupted and completely and blissfully pissed.
Dave chuckled again. It wasn't that funny – a hermit crab in a beer can – but he'd drank so much at this point that anything was amusing.
The rain, which had previously been nothing more than light drizzle, began to pick up and Dave's hair rapidly became plastered to his face. He didn't care. His position, perched on a rocky outcrop overhanging the sea, was precariously close the dark, deep water beside him, but again he just didn't care.
Swigging another gulp he continued his merciless taunting. The crab fell off the rock in fright and rolled onto its back, its legs kicking uselessly in the air. He chuckled at the sight, and jumped as another giggle echoed behind him. That laugh wasn't Jon's. Spinning around, he found that he was not alone.
Her laughter was like the chiming of bells, delicate and alluring.
"Whoa," he murmured, the can slipping from his grasp to clatter on rocks.
The sound echoed in the vacant air as he stared at the girl before him. Pale hair framed an exquisite heart-shaped face and hung in silvery sheets around her bare shoulders where she hovered in the pool's edge. The girl was young, maybe sixteen or seventeen, and floated with her arms folded over a large rock, completely at ease. Dave's heart picked up; setting a frantic new pace it thudded against the wall of his chest as if reaching out to her. Only her head, shoulders and arms were visible, the rest of her concealed by the murky water. Aphrodite, she could have descended from Mount Olympus itself to grace the mortals with her presence. Where had this Sea-Goddess come from? At that moment he didn't care, as long as she was here nothing else mattered. She was the epitome of beauty and his eyes greedily drank her in.
"You're gorgeous," he said. His words, though kindly meant, seemed somehow… insufficient.
No matter, the girl beamed at the compliment and the boy gasped anew at her beauty – it shone all the brighter when she smiled, like sunlight breaking through storm-clouds.
She was soaking wet, he realised then. Her sodden hair clung in tendrils to her face and neck. She must be freezing, especially with the weather which was not kind in this region. And she had little if no clothing on – of that he was very aware.
Why would such a beautiful creature be out here in the cold and wet, near naked no less?
Trying to shake off his drunken stupor, he pulled off his thick winter coat. It was frighteningly inadequate but he would give her more if she asked, he would give her everything.
"You must be frozen." He offered the coat.
When she made no move to take it he shuffled forward on the rocks, inching closer and closer to this Venus. His proximity did not appear to frighten her and that buoyed his confidence. Gently, he reached over and wrapped the material around her icy form, realising as he did, that she was, in fact, wearing nothing at all… Oh dear lord…
His hands rested on her delicate shoulders and now they were there he couldn't seem to make them move, they rebelled at the mere thought.
She looked down meekly, almost shyly, and he scanned her features in question. Her eyes caught his then, flashing up from under dark lashes and locking in place. They were… enthralling. Under their weight he found that he could no longer move, no longer breathe. He had never seen such eyes: emerald and sapphire and gold all at once. He leaned forward, not of his own volition, drawn by a force beyond his comprehension or control.
Her lips lay so close, a mere breath away, and that was too much. As he neared she tentatively drew back. His body screamed in protest at the distance and he instantly moved to close the gap. As soon as he did she moved again. They continued in this teasing dance until her face barely surfaced the tide. Hair seeped out around her in a halo of delicate gold, making her beauty ethereal…
"Dave," a voice yelled, "did you call me, man?"
Jon… Dave thought, and blinked, almost shaken from his spell-bound haze. Something, some innate sense of alarm was ringing in his head. Something was wrong with this situation, with her… Her eyes gleamed with an almost predatory light.
Jon… Call Jon… He turned, with every intention of doing just that, but her hands lashed out, quick as a whip, to latch onto his face. Cheeks in hand, she locked his gaze back on hers and the alarm, as faint as it had initially been, was smothered.
Almost lovingly, her arms wound around him. Delicate fingers caressed the skin of his neck and wound in his hair. She coaxed him forward with faint whimpering's and smiles filled with promise… gradually leading him into the depths. He followed her willingly. He would follow her anywhere.
Together and with barely a sound, they descended into the dark waters.
"Dave?!" Jon's cry issued far behind him. "Dave!"
Chapter 1: Bella
"Hey, Dave," I called happily as I wandered into the Fork's Police Station, with a brown paper bag swinging in my grasp.
Dave was the perpetual watcher; he had been manning the reception desk here since time began, as far as I could tell. If we lived in a completely supernatural world, I could easily imagine him as being something akin to Argus – the hundred-eyed giant of Greek Mythology. Dave saw everything that went on here; he may as well have had a hundred eyes.
"Isabella," he acknowledged with a gruff nod. Straightening his newspaper, he re-immersed himself in his reading.
"Hey, Bella," Mark called from the coffee machine. Mark was Charlie's deputy and a good friend of his. "I hear congratulations are in order."
That must have been the most commonly used phrase I'd heard this week and it still made me cringe. My upcoming marriage was the biggest bit of gossip in Forks since… Well, I couldn't even think of an appropriate comparison. Probably since the departure of the Chief's flighty ex-wife (i.e. mom) who had cruelly abandoned him and run away to sunnier climes with their months-old daughter in tow (i.e. me), leaving poor Charlie Swan to suffer their loss. Funny how I'd been a major participant in not one but two of the biggest scandals Forks had seen in the last twenty years.
"Thanks," was my automated response. "You'll be getting your invite in the mail, they're being sent out soon." In fact, Alice is probably posting them as we speak.
Mark nodded and carefully sipped from his steaming cup.
"Not that it isn't nice to see you…" he said, "but what brings you here?"
"I'm bringing Dad some lunch."
I held up the bag as evidence. Exhibit A.
He sniffed the air.
"Smells good," he commented. "Toasted bacon, right?" he sniffed again, "with jalapeños and barbecue sauce."
I smiled, he had a good nose.
"Just the way Charlie likes it. Still warm," I added, swinging the bag temptingly in front of him.
"Hey, don't tease my stomach like that; I've had nothing to eat since breakfast," he said with a smile, rubbing his belly.
"Oh, I'm sorry."
"No problem, I'll forgive you if you bring me one too next time, if you don't mind."
"Sure-sure, Mark." I bit my lip and flinched as soon as I said it.
That was a phrase I had picked up from Jacob, my purposefully-missing best-friend. He had his reasons of course, many of which I myself had provided. The responsibility of his absence rested squarely on my shoulders and it was a weight I was willing to bare, if only he were happy. It broke my heart to know he was not, but there was nothing I could do at present to change that status, so I did the only thing my aching heart could bare – I tried not to think about him. But as much as I tried, my thoughts always tended to spiral back to him.
Speak of the devil…
As if my will alone had conjured him into being he was unexpectedly right there in front of me – grinning his trademark sunny smile. I stared miserably at the poster of Jake plastered to the corkboard, as a hollow pit ripped open in my gut. I hadn't seen that smile in so long and I probably wouldn't really see it for a long time yet, if ever.
The words: 'Have you seen this boy?' were boldly printed below his image. They sent uncomfortable quakes through my stomach and an all too familiar lump formed in my throat. Every time I saw him it was like a slap in the face; a punishment I well-deserved and more besides. Resolutely, I pushed thoughts of him away. Thinking on Jake too much was an indulgence my delicate psyche could rarely afford.
"Oh," Mark noticed my pre-occupation. "Your father's been printing them out; we've been putting flyers up all over town, and we've sent them out to nearly every other station across the peninsula. Your father said you knew him?"
"We're… Friends," I said dumbly, struggling with the word.
Were? Are? I just didn't know which word to use anymore, I feared the former.
"I'm sorry," he said, rather awkwardly. He and I both knew the consolation was insufficient, but there really wasn't much else one could say. "Such a shame," he added, "so many of them go missing each year."
Trying to swallow the lump in my throat, I made an effort to re-immerse myself in the conversation. That was when I really noticed the board, and all of the other posters on it.
"There are so many," I agreed, taking in the mass. The board was smothered.
It was a shock all of its own. I had no idea so many people had gone missing recently. One in particular caught my eye, of a young red-headed girl a little older than me.
'Riana Lefebvre, 21 years old, Student of Washington State University' I read.
Apparently, she had been missing since last October. I sighed inwardly as I read further – she had disappeared in Seattle, no doubt a victim of Victoria or her newborn army. They had plagued the city for months. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot more of the missing listed here could be attributed to Victoria and her mad scheme.
Suddenly, my planned joint-lunch with Charlie lost its appeal. My appetite was gone.
"You know what, Mark. I have a spare Bacon sandwich."
He frowned. "Isn't that one for you?"
"I'm really not that hungry," I waved away his worry. "I had a late breakfast," I added, lying on a whim.
"Well, if you're sure," he murmured.
His eyes were already glued to the sandwich. I swear I heard his stomach growl.
I handed over the cellophane-covered toasty before his belly could snap at me. Mark unravelled the packaging and took an appreciative whiff, sighing contentedly.
"I'm suddenly finding myself rather jealous of Charlie, I wouldn't mind having a daughter like you Isabella, maybe one day, huh?"
It was common knowledge that Mark and his wife had been trying for a little one for a few years now. I truly hoped he'd get the family he deserved, he was a good man.
Feeling a little guilty, I continued on. This wasn't so much a selfless, thoughtful, I'm-just-a-darn-good-daughter thing I was doing. My sandwich scheme had another design.
I was playing the good daughter today.
After Charlie's reaction to the news that Edward and I were getting hitched, I was playing my cards right, buttering him up if you will… just in case he reconsidered the whole 'shot-gun' approach to Edward's proposal.
I spotted him easily enough; Charlie leaned over a desk pouring over paper-work. From the way he went on about his work sometimes, I'd almost expected to come across him playing Black-jack or shooting some pool. His description had been misleading.
"Hey, Dad," I called.
Charlie's head snapped up, "Bells." He was visibly shocked to see me and half-rose from his desk. "What are you…?"
"I brought lunch," I smiled, raising the brown paper bag before his thoughts could run wild. I hadn't considered that he might see my waltzing randomly into the police station as a bad thing, and I wanted to belay any fears before they could form.
"You… Brought lunch?" he said slowly, testing the words.
Judging by his disbelief, I may as well have said I was joining the circus as a juggling mono-cyclist. Was it really such an unusual thing to do? It was only lunch.
"Yeah," I said in the same slow tone. "Does a daughter need a reason to spend some quality time with her dear old dad on his lunch break?"
Attempting to be the very image of innocence, I smiled sweetly.
He raised his eyebrow questioningly. I knew what he was thinking – I'd never bothered before. Did that make me a bad daughter or just negligent?
"Okay, I'll admit that my visit has some other… advantages." I sighed as I dropped into the chair beside him, and admitted, "I'm hiding out from Alice."
It wasn't the primary reason I was here; truly it wasn't, but…
"Still absorbed in the wedding madness is she?" he chuckled knowingly.
I grimaced. If only he knew…
When Alice was on a mission she was a force to be reckoned with. A scary, vampire, tornado force wrapped up in a deceptively cute package. And this wedding was her mission. She acted as if we were going into battle, all seriousness, barking out a stream of constant orders. I could easily imagine Jasper saluting her with a, 'Yes, drill sergeant!' I'd said it once myself, and heard Emmett's accompanying snort downstairs, but the look she gave me then scared me so much that I'd never indulged again. I'd lost track of the amount of things she'd attempted to absorb me in, from: lighting, the guest list, and cake designs to things I had never even thought of, like: coconut brands, lace-designs and confetti-shapes. She also had a tendency to bring up things I definitely didn't want to discuss – specifically honeymoon-related things. My cheeks burned at the memories. And randomly, two days ago, she had run up to me and asked, 'You have no aversion to De Jaeger, do you?', then she had shaken her dainty head sadly and disappeared just as quickly as she'd arrived, without giving me the chance to ask, "What is De Jaeger?" I still wasn't sure if I'd just imagined the whole thing. All in all, my head was spinning.
"I thought it was the Bride that was supposed to go all crazy about 'the big day'." Charlie actually air-quoted the last three words, drawing me back to the present.
"You know me, I'm not one for the spot-light," I mumbled.
However much Alice thought I should enjoy the attention, it just plain scared me.
"We have that in common," he agreed.
The dress-fitting, so far, was the worst part. With measuring tape and pins sticking out of her mouth, Alice pricked and poked as she flitted about, often muttering things about one designer or another, or commenting on the incredible talent that was Perrine Bruyere. At the end of each session I felt physically bruised, although there was not a mark on me. I couldn't understand it – she had already gotten me the dress before I'd even agreed to marry Edward, so how many fittings could I possibly need? I had to admit though, Alice had taste; the dress was a fabric masterpiece. Even so, during the pre-wedding preparations I felt more and more like her personal Barbie-doll than I ever had before. I loved her, but sometimes that pixie was a nightmare.
"I've got a fitting this afternoon," I grumbled morosely.
Charlie noticeably shivered, and I was glad that somebody shared my pain. He muttered something unintelligible about a 'monkey-suit'.
I laughed. "You think you've got it bad? At least Alice isn't forcing you into six-inch heels."
He flinched at that mental image, and I couldn't help but laugh again.
All in all, this lunch idea was going pretty well. I wondered why I hadn't thought of it before. Spending time with Charlie was never a big priority for me and that was a shame, after all, I didn't have that long left with him, I'd be moving out soon, and for all he knew heading off to Dartmouth with my new husband. No, I hadn't spent much time with him, but in the few weeks we had left together, I resolved to rectify that.
In the corner of the room the TV caught my eye. A news report was in progress, with a young female reporter sporting a bob-cut speaking into the microphone. She was wind-swept and having a lot of trouble keeping her hair out of her eyes. Behind her was a rocky beach, similar to the ones I'd seen around La Push, and in the corner of the screen an image of a cheerful-looking teenage boy with pale brown hair was displayed.
"What's this?" I asked, and Charlie turned it up.
"After a four-day search, the body of college student David Griffin from Carlsborg has been found in Dungeness Bay, half a mile from where he was last seen," the reporter said emphatically. "We cannot reveal at this point the exact nature of his death, however, one of the police officers on-scene has stated that: 'judging by the boys injuries, it appears he was attacked by some kind of animal, perhaps a mountain lion or a bear', although, there have been no sightings of such animals in the local area and no other attacks have been reported. Another more popular theory is that David has fallen victim to a shark, though highly unusual in this area it is not impossible. But again, we must stress that no other cases or sightings have been reported. Police are appealing for any information…"
The reporter's words began to glaze over me as I thought of another theory she had not covered – vampire attack. Dungeness Bay was near Port Angeles and Port Angeles wasn't that far from Forks. Did that mean another vampire was hunting in the vicinity? Usually they were more careful to conceal their tracks, at least that's what I'd gathered from Edward and Jasper whenever the subject had come up, which I had to admit, was not often. Sometimes though, nomads were drawn to the area by the Cullens, curious at the presence of such a large coven, and they would snatch a snack whilst in the area.
I sighed; I was probably getting ahead of myself. It was too easy to become paranoid after the year I'd had and assume that every mystery human death was vampire-related. Humans did occasionally die of natural causes. It was probably, as the reporter said, a wild animal or a shark-attack. Still, I made a mental note to ask Alice about it when I got back.
"…the work of the wildly active serial killer. Perhaps, this attack is related to the recent spate of killings in Seattle."
Perhaps she was right. I wondered idly if one of Victoria's new-borns had escaped the Cullen's grasp. Edward had been adamant that all the vampires had been destroyed, but maybe one had escaped, maybe one that had left Victoria prior to her attack on Forks. It wasn't beyond the realm of possibility. Onscreen, the reporter sighed and hung her head.
"Needless to say, his family is devastated. David, you will be sorely missed."
Charlie sighed. "Such a shame, he was so young too, not much older than you."
"Yeah, I bet his family is distraught," I said, a little numbly. I was still staring at the boy's image. He was only young, about my own age…
"They are. I would be." Charlie frowned, rubbing the stubble on his chin. His face – lost in thought for a moment – flicked back to the here and now and he raised one eyebrow. "You still have that can of pepper-spray I gave you in your bag, right?"
I laughed, a little nervously, "Of course, but I don't think it'll work against sharks, Dad."
Or vampires, I mentally added.
He shrugged. "Still, I don't want you going anywhere near that beach."
"Don't worry, Dad. I have no plans to travel up to Port Angeles, and definitely no plans to go to the beach. It's hardly the weather for sun-bathing."
It was Washington State; it was never the weather for sun-bathing, but I didn't feel the need to add that part.
"Anyway," I said, sliding the sandwich bag across the table in front of him. "I brought you a snack. It's hot, or at least it was."
Charlie rooted around in the paper bag and retrieved the bacon sandwich. He also pulled out the thermos of coffee and a pair of Mars bars I'd thought to add at the last minute before leaving home. He crunched into the toasty sandwich, which surprisingly was still warm. He smiled, genuinely happy.
"This is pretty darn good, kid. Thanks."
"Don't mention it."
I retrieved the second Mars and began to munch along with him.
The silence wasn't awkward, it was comfortable. That had always been the way between me and Charlie; we didn't need to fill every second with inane chatter. The quiet was relaxing and together we idly observed the workings of the station. A young clerk – who I assumed was on work experience – passed with a pile of paper, looking harried; and at the front desk a woman was describing her lost cat, Mr McFluffykins, to a bored-looking Dave who was taking down her details. With a name like Mr McFluffykins I wasn't surprised that he'd run off.
We didn't discuss Jake, we didn't need to. It was still a sensitive subject for me, and Charlie was still sore over Billy's involvement, or lack thereof, in the search for his son. He didn't approve of Billy's 'Jacob's a grown man, he'll come home when he wants to' approach. Of course, none of us could just up and tell Charlie the truth – that Jake was a werewolf that could look after himself, and that through the pack's telepathic connection Sam was keeping an eye on him and would know if anything was seriously wrong. Yeah, that would go down well. Charlie couldn't understand Billy's apparent carelessness, it made him mad, and so there was another reason to avoid the subject. Therefore, it was left undiscussed.
It didn't take us long to eat and soon we were wiping our hands and dusting ourselves off as we demolished the last few crumbs. I packed up the rubbish, ready to dispose of it on my way out. I didn't want to take up too much of his time, he was on the clock after all and I didn't want to make a nuisance of myself.
"Bells…?" Charlie said.
"Hmmm…?" I said, getting up from the chair.
"I, err, really enjoyed this." Charlie's word were awkward and gruff, he wasn't one for embarrassing emotional displays. "We should do it again."
"Yeah, same time tomorrow?" I asked.
"It's a date." He nodded and pointed a finger at me sternly. "Don't let me down, kid."
"Sharks or wild bears couldn't keep me away." I smiled as I turned to leave.
Waving to Mark and Dave as I left, I wandered out into the parking lot. It was still early and the sun was out, for once, and I admired the beauty of the day as I dug around in my pocket. Unfortunately, it wasn't my Chevy's slightly tarnished silver key that I retrieved; it was some new electronic gadgety thing that I still didn't like the look of.
The key to my new car – and by new I mean brand new, and by brand new I mean straight of the manufacturers show line new – bleeped strangely and the car's lights flashed.
The thing was massive, a shining monstrosity that was far more extravagant than anything I'd ever need. I really did miss my poor aged Chevy.
Reminiscing, my mind drifted back to a few hours ago, to the grand unveiling of the 'before' car, as Edward had dubbed it. Before, as in, before I was changed…
Emmett threw up his arms as he, Edward and I entered the spacious Cullen garage.
"The only thing she'll say is that it's shiny," he complained.
"No, I won't," I said with mock hurt. "I'm sure I can think of something more technologically savvy and surprisingly witty to say about it. I may actually know more about cars than you realise."
Edward snorted as he drew close to the sheet-covered vehicle, and with a swift, sweeping motion, he unveiled it. And there it was – the Guardian.
In an effort not to disappoint Emmett, I exclaimed, "Oh, it's shiny."
Well, it was and it was definitely expensive. I suppressed the urge to grill Edward over the unnecessary cost; after all, part of our impromptu and rather lop-sided engagement compromise was that he got to buy my new car. Its jet-black design and tinted windows were very stylish, and it was obviously advanced and I was sure that Edward could tell me a lot about the engine design, horse-power, and other unnecessary gadgets it contained. But still, I was at a loss for words. As far as the technology side of it went, I had nothing. I couldn't even name the manufacturer – where was the damn symbol?
Predictably, Emmett burst out laughing while Edward rolled his eyes.
"It also looks like a tank!" I frowned, "And let me guess, this is bullet proof glass."
Emmett snorted, "No, its missile proof."
I looked at him for a moment before slowly turning to Edward.
"Should I be worried? Because I don't think he's joking."
Edward grimaced, guiltily.
"Edward!" I cried. "At what point did you think I was going to be attacked with bullets, let alone missiles, on a trip to the convenience store? …In Forks?"
"Oh yeah, I hear the crime rate around here is awful." Emmett chuckled evilly. "Delinquent squirrels throwing nuts, raccoons stealing garbage… How will she survive a trip to the gas station?" he shook his head sadly.
"Emmett," Edward said in warning.
"Although, with your track record, Bella, Edward probably has a point," he conceded.
He then punched Edward's arm in camaraderie as he made his way out of the garage, leaving me and Edward alone. I moved closer to assess my new prize. Trailing my fingers lightly over the expensive-looking sheen, I looked back at him, trying to assert the very essence of innocence.
"You know, it's funny," I started in sweet voice.
"What is, love?"
"That my poor old truck wheezed its last breath just weeks after we made our compromise, a major part of which included you buying my next car. Rather convenient timing, don't you think?"
Very convenient timing…
He smiled crookedly, already seeing the game.
"Well now, you have to consider that your dear Chevy did live a long and wholesome life. It was just its time to move on." His voice was remorseful and I didn't believe it for one second. "I assure you it died of natural causes."
Of course it did.
I surveyed him through narrowed eyes. He'd have been a more believable if he hadn't added that last part. Of course, there was no way I could verify his story or prove that he'd turned autocidal on my truck. Resurrecting the Chevy was also out of the question, I couldn't tell a carburettor from an AA-battery. The only way to be sure would be to have Jake-
And the thought process halted right there and refused to go on.
Jake was not a topic I allowed my mind to peruse at will.
Instead, I refocused on Edward.
Perhaps there was another way I could wheedle the truth out of him.
Mimicking his crooked smile, I manoeuvred around the car and strolled back towards him. He watched me warily, probably wondering what I was up to, and no doubt anticipating my usual explosive response to such extreme gifts.
"The car is very nice, Edward," I murmured as I drifted closer.
"Good," he said, slow and wary. Damn, his guard was up.
I moved closer. Pressing against him, I stared idly at his chest.
"In fact, it's beautiful," I said, my voice contemplative as I marched my fingers up his torso. "I may not be a car-buff, but I can tell it's fast, it's advanced, it's well-designed, and it's obviously expensive."
My fingers had completed their march all the way up to his chin and on the last word I pressed my forefinger lightly to the tip of his nose, before releasing it.
He frowning then, likely trying to unravel the inner workings of my mind, wondering what on Earth I was thinking.
"I'm not mad about the cost," I assured him.
I was a bit; I bet it cost more than my house.
Edward wasn't having any of it.
"What are you up to?" he said seriously, but I could tell that he was finding it hard not to smile.
"Whatever do you mean?" I asked innocently.
"I know you. You don't accept gifts this easily."
No, I don't.
I shrugged, staring at his shirt as I splayed my fingers across the fabric, exploring the smooth cloth.
"I'm just trying to say thank you."
His guarded countenance started to crumble then; I could tell by the way his body broke rank. His hands glided up along my arms to cup my shoulders. His thumbs rubbed lightly at the smooth skin above my collarbones and I had to remind myself not to get lost in his touch. This was my game and I had a purpose, information to gain. The ghost of my poor deceased truck demanded justice. It sent me on a giddy new high to realise that I was considering this little act as an interrogation.
"The Guardian is capable, it'll last, and there are a lot of miles left on those tyres and the paint-jobs certainly better." I switched my voice into a purr, hoping to lure him in.
He laughed but it was short and I don't think he was really listening to me anymore; his gaze was trained on my lips. I smiled as he leaned in closer.
"In fact, it's vastly superior in every way," I murmured, trying to instil my voice with huskiness.
Unfortunately for me, being sexy wasn't my natural state, but it seemed to work today. My senses were on high alert, hyper-aware of ever inch we touched. This was a new for me, being this slow, seductive temptress. I had to focus then, and not allow my voice to quiver.
"That being said… the truck wasn't the worst vehicle in the world."
He was still entranced. Was I actually dazzling him?
"And no matter how bad it looked; you would never compromise my vehicle, would you?" My voice was as low and as breathless as I could make it.
"N-no, of course not…" He was mesmerised and his breathing had become heavier.
I smiled victoriously, "Hmmm?" I purred – putty in my hands.
"No, I would never…" his breath rushed out.
Huh, perhaps he was telling the truth and my truck really had died of natural causes.
Edwards's eyes drifted shut and those luscious lips hovered a bare millimetre from mine as he crooned, "You can't be too upset with the upgrade from that rust-bucket?"
I pulled back, breaking my spell.
"Rust-bucket…?" I gasped in mortification, leaning away from him. "Have some respect for the dead."
Smiling, I smacked his arm and flippantly moved to leave the garage. Thinking I may as well have drenched him in ice-water.
Game over: Bella scores. I'd achieved results; he hadn't confessed but he had sounded genuinely sincere when he said he'd done nothing to my Chevy and I believed him, so he was out of trouble.
I got no further than the open garage door before stone arms wrapped around my waist halting me in my tracks.
"Where do you think you're going?" he growled playfully in my ear.
Judging by the wry amusement in his voice, he knew exactly what I had been up to with my teasing.
Giggling as he swung me around, I didn't notice immediately when Jasper pulled up in the jeep and Emmett hopped out, Jasper wasn't far behind him. Edward set me safely down and frowned, running a hand through his messy bronze hair in frustration.
"No, I didn't forget," he said, before turning to me with resignation.
"I'm heading out with Jasper and Emmett soon. We're only hunting in the Olympic Peninsula, so I won't be far from home, but I won't see you until later tonight."
He obviously liked the idea as much as I did.
Winding my arms around his waist the same way his were wrapped around mine, I looked into his pained honey-eyes. In an effort that probably looked forced (and fooled no one), I plastered an encouraging smile on my face.
"That's alright." I shrugged. "My schedules all booked up today anyway. I'm having lunch with Charlie and Alice plans on subjecting me to further dress-fitting humiliation this afternoon. But it shouldn't be too bad; apparently she has some other victims to target."
Edward laughed. "Why do you think Emmett's running?"
Emmett mumbled a string of unintelligible words. I thought I caught 'not running'in their midst.
Edward snorted and Emmett threw up his arms in irritation.
"Don't pretend I'm the only one. You're running too, Edward," he accused point-blank.
"I'm not running anywhere," he said with eyes on me.
"You should be. With all the wedding madness that little pixie is a whole new level of scary."
Jasper snickered. "And it's only going to get worse, Emmett."
"How could it get worse?" he asked, incredulous. "She's already a certifiable mania-"
"-Hello Emmett," Alice said sweetly.
"Gah!" he nearly fell over as he stumbled out of her range. She had materialised at his side, seemingly out of nowhere.
"You forgot your phone," she continued, maintaining the sweetest, most serene tone.
"Err, thanks," he muttered, eyeing her warily as he accepted his cell.
She smiled benignly as she turned to leave, but I wasn't fooled.
"Oh, and one more thing, Emmett," she cast over her shoulder. "No matter how far you run, no matter where you hide, I will always be one step ahead of you."
She pointed to her eyes and then at Emmett, in an 'I've-got-my-eye-on-you' gesture. Emmett actually gulped.
"We'll sort out your suit when you get back," she finished and was gone.
Jasper laughed in open disbelief at Emmett.
"Did you really think you'd get away without her knowing?"
Emmett turned on me in retaliation.
"What did you unleash, Bella? I place the responsibility of this monster solely on you."
He grumbled unintelligibly as he clambered into the jeep, followed by a still-snickering Jasper.
"I think this maid of honour thing has gone to her head," I said in real consternation.
The power I had instilled her with definitely had. A new nickname I had dubbed her with sprung to mind: 'The Wedding Tyrant'. I never actually used it, only in my head. That was safest that way.
"You have no one but yourself to blame for that," Edward pointed out and it was true. I'd given her free reign to organise the wedding. "But she is very happy," he added with a smile.
I raised one eyebrow. She didn't seem happy, the words: obsessive, nervy or quick-tempered seemed more fitting; I wasn't seeing so much of the happy.
Edward nodded, conceding my unsaid point.
"Despite appearances to the contrary," he finished.
The imminence of his departure settled into my chest then, like a lead weight. I was finding it harder and harder to let him go. My hands did not want to unravel from around him.
"I'll miss you," I murmured, running my fingers through his hair, "hurry back."
My voice sounded needy and embarrassingly husky, and I reached up to caress his lips with my own. It was meant to be short and chaste but Edward responded with more fervour than I had anticipated. His kiss smouldered in a deliciously icy way, I clutched at his shirt, straining to bring myself that one nanometre closer, to immerse myself in the passion he offered. Ever since our engagement had been made official, I had been tentatively exploring those carefully placed boundaries of his, shifting them that little bit further with each passing day, wondering just how far Edward would allow me to go. He hadn't stopped me so far and not just that, to my delighted surprise I found that Edward was more than willing to accommodate my wishes. As a result, Edward's carefully enforced boundaries of our physical relationship were somewhat lax these days. Our lips manoeuvred in synchronisation, absorbed in their own desperate dance. My heart was behaving ridiculously again, the sound of its hammering nearly drowned out all other noise. Nearly, but didn't quite.
"Get a room!" Emmett called from the jeep's window.
Neither of us paid any attention. When we were together like this, time itself stood still.
Edward drew back for a moment, his eye burning down into mine with raging intensity, he chuckled breathlessly.
"I am counting down the days until I get to call you Mrs Cullen."
I smiled. Despite my reservations about the wedding, I really did like the sound of that – Mrs Cullen.
"That sounds nice," I mumbled, already breathless.
Flashing a grin, he swung me over his arms until I was hanging nearly parallel with the ground. Before I could as much as utter "Edward what?" he lips crashed down on mine and I was hopelessly lost, again.
Jasper and Emmett honked the horn and whooped like chimps. But we ignored them; we were too wrapped up in our own blissful little world.
Finally becoming bored when we didn't stop, Jasper sighed with wry amusement.
"Break it up, love birds," he said, while Emmett called, "Save it for the honeymoon!"
I did blush then, suddenly embarrassed. We were with company after all. I hadn't meant to broadcast our love so blatantly but as was usually the case when Edward and I were around each other, we just got carried away. Edward was the first to pull back, apparently his self-control was, as usual, infinitely superior to my own.
I half-stepped away but Edward stepped with me, allowing no distance and keeping his arms securely around my waist. He leaned in close as we both caught our breaths and my heart settled to a gentler hum, and a gust of his delicious honey scent swept my way, making me dizzy.
"I'm leaving my heart in your keeping," he murmured, pecking chastely at my lips, "keep it safe."
Emmett made a gagging sound, which I thought was rich considering some of the displays he and Rosalie had subjected the rest of us to.
"Don't worry, Bella. We'll bring him back in one piece… probably." Jasper chuckled, leaning out of the driver's window.
I rolled my eyes and reluctantly released Edward.
"Go ahead. I'll see you in a few hours."
I gave him a shove towards the jeep, which had no effect whatsoever; I may as well have shoved a brick wall. He sighed dramatically, as if the hunting trip were such a burden, and swooped back in for one last kiss.
Before I could draw breath, Edward was gone, jumping in through the jeeps open window to tackle Emmett. I heard an "Owf!" followed by a "what gives?" as they crashed to the floor. The brothers grappled, each trying to get the other in a head-lock, while Jasper swung the jeep around. Its tyres squealed, spraying gravel as they speeded towards the highway – Boys.
Dragging myself out of my reverie, I clambered into the tank before any of the officers saw me swooning. The parking lot of my dad's police station…? Not the best place to do that.
The leather squeaked as I dropped into my seat and I took a moment to grimace. I looked so wrong in this swanky car it was unbelievable – with my checked shirt and scrappy jeans – it definitely didn't suit me. Plus, I was still in mourning for my Chevy; I reserved the right to not approve of its replacement.
Shifting the car into gear I stomped on the gas-pedal without thinking, the way I would have done with my old car. The engine released a lion-like roar and lurched forward so swiftly that my body smacked back into the seat, bruising my spine.
I slammed on the brake just short of a police cruiser.
I whistled in relief, close call.
Great, the last thing I needed was to be had up on charges for ramming a police car with my tank – whether it was unintentional or not.
Trying and failing to smile serenely and keep my head, I carefully lifted the clutch… and stalled. I swear this car has a vendetta against me.
My second attempt was much more effective and I carefully began to move.
Well, I mused as I drove cautiously, successfully avoiding further mayhem; at least I'm the police Chief's daughter. If nothing else, Charlie could get me a nice cell.
Pretending nothing too embarrassing had just happened I manoeuvred lithely through the lot and was soon on my way.
On a whim, I decided to drive the coastal route down the I101 to the South. It was a pleasant day and Alice didn't need me for hours. Edward was gone now, and would be gone for the rest of the day. I was also a little reluctant to return to Alice and her persistent pre-wedding madness, well… maybe more than a little reluctant.
The coast was a little out of the way. Ok, a lot out of the way but I had a nagging urge to see the ocean and I couldn't really discern the reasoning behind this feeling. Perhaps it was due to my enforced absence from La Push and First Beach, my absence from Jacob.
I sighed. There, I was thinking of him. I thought his name.
Now that I was alone, my mind tumbled into Jacob-induced worry. His prolonged absence from La Push was troubling me. I understood that he needed space, I understood, really I did. That didn't stop the worry though.
I debated again, as I had already done a hundred times today, about ringing Seth to check up on him through their wolfy connection. But I was trying to be good, trying to limit myself to just the one call a day. There was also that one other issue that gave me pause – his sister, Leah, picking up the phone. That girl was scary incarnate, not to mention one seriously bad-tempered werewolf. Leah gave Paul a run for his money.
I flipped the phone open once, twice, three times, then sighed and, resigning myself to a day without news, stowed it away. Later, I promised myself.
I supposed I could have gone down to First Beach if I wanted to see the ocean, it was the closest, but I didn't want to impose my company on anyone I may come across. Not to mention this tormenting sense that rose in my gut every time I entertained the thought of going there, that I was betraying Edward in some way, and I got that from just thinking about it, let alone acting upon it. It was only a beach after all and Jake wasn't even there.
No, better to bypass the area completely and head out to new territory
This little outing was for me and me alone, I was in sore need of some me-time and I hadn't really been getting it recently with all the activity constantly surrounding me. I wanted quiet, quiet from celebration-organisations, quiet from troublesome worries about vampires and werewolves, quiet from my own thoughts. I wondered if Edward ever got this overwhelmed with other people's thoughts crashing around in his head. I knew the answer to that straight away – yes, because he'd said so more than once. I guess that was partly why the quiet of my mind appealed to him so much.
Stealing myself, I took a deep lungful of air and held the breath. Clutching the steering wheel, I let it out slowly and pushed all thoughts aside.
No more worries, I told myself sternly, just enjoy the scenic drive.
The sun glinted off the dark blue sea, throwing crystalline flashes intermittently into my eyes. The sky was very near cloudless with only the odd fluffy splotch to mar its perfection. Even the surrounding trees looked greener, if that were possible. It was so bright that I had no doubt none of the Cullens would be venturing out into town today.
I flipped down my sun-visor and gazed out to sea.
My foot slammed on the brake and the Guardian screeched to an unhealthy halt just shy of the grass verge. My eyes frantically scanned back to what I thought I had seen.
Was that? …Yes it was. Cold fear stabbed at my gut.
Throwing the door open, I leapt out of the car and launched into a stumbling run. There was a girl, lying right there, face down in the sand. She was half-submerged in the sea, with the tide lapping at her waist and her hair splayed out above her in a sticky black mass.
I wanted to get to her quickly, but I feared it was too late.
The shale was not my friend, my feet could find no purchase in it, they slipped and slid and more than once I fell flat on my face, no doubt grazing my cheeks in the sharp grains. I got a mouthful of the stuff once, but regardless I trudged on, spitting and choking as I went. I took no care in my haphazard sprint and now I could taste the iron-tang of blood in my mouth, I must have cut my lip. My shins stung painfully too and I realised that I must have torn my jeans. All these thoughts were secondary though, as my mind locked onto my goal.
As I drew closer it became clear that the girl was definitely not conscious. She lay face down in the gravel, with heaps of soaking ebony hair concealing her face. My breathing hitched, and I didn't think it was due to my mad dash, as panic rose to the forefront of my mind. My phone buzzed loudly in my pocket then and I wasn't really surprised.
I flipped it open as I ran.
"Bella! Oh thank goodness, are you okay? You just vanished. I can't see-"
"-There's a girl by the shore, she's hurt. I don't think she's breathing-"
"Okay, calm down, where are you?" She said, trying to keep calm herself, "Carlisle!" I heard her yell over her shoulder.
"Err," I panted, scrunching my face in confusion. My thoughts were chaotic; it took me a while to focus on her question and even longer to answer it. "I'm somewhere along the I101, the coastal road. You can see my car along the side. I'm in the area just in front of it."
With each passing moment I drawing closer to the girl and as desperately as I wanted to help, another part of my mind was screaming at me to leave and bolt in the opposite direction, in open fear of what I would find.
"Okay, Carlisle will be there soon." Alice's voice was calm and reassuring on the other end of the line. "Can you check her pulse?"
"Just a sec," I gasped as I dropped down next to her. "I'll have to roll her over."
Gingerly, I moved the mass of soaking black hair that spread across the shale around her head. Her face was on its side, half pressed into the sand. She was deathly pale and her lips were tinted blue and her skin was ice-cold – colder even than Edward's or Alice's. As unwanted understanding overtook me, my hands began to shake.
"This isn't good," I moaned. "She's really cold."
"Bella, keep calm"
"…and pale, really pale…"
Her eyes flicked open and I stopped breathing, mesmerised.
They were the most beautiful eyes: deep, iridescent, swirling with a myriad of different colours, vibrating with their vibrancy. Green and blue and gold… They were haunting; there was no other word for it. Her eyes held hidden depths; depths that you could get lost in willingly and never care.
Somewhere, in a very distant, muffled part of my mind, alarm bells began to ring, desperately signalling to me that something was terribly wrong. I struggled to think through the murkiness that enveloped my thoughts. My mind resisted, protesting against this unnatural fogginess. It wasn't right.
That one word managed to haul its way to the forefront of my thoughts and make it-self known.
This girl was dangerous.
It was harder than it should have been to place the pieces of the puzzle together, locked as I was in her merciless gaze.
Cold, pale, dazzling eyes…
"Oh Crap!" I gasped.
I knew of only one creature with those definitive features – a vampire.
The phone slipped from my grasp and fell into the sand.
Alice's voice was frantic across the line but too muffled to make out the words. The girl slowly rose to my height and faced me where I knelt, sinking in the shale, hands hanging uselessly at my side while the tide lapped at my jeans. She maintained eye-contact all the way.
I couldn't move. I couldn't remember how to.
She launched at me, with viper-like accuracy and intent, plunging teeth into the tender flesh of my throat. Her canines sank in, slicing the skin like butter.
Agony speared though my consciousness and the spell broke. I fought; my body broken loose of its frozen state, but to no avail. My fingers could find no purchase on her ice-cold skin. The girl snarled, and it was a feral animalistic sound that was in all ways terrifying. A pitiful, garbled cry escaped my own throat and in a moment of sheer clarity I managed to make out the words Alice was screaming across the line.
"Bella, Hold on! We're coming for you!"
Hope you enjoyed it. Let me know what you think. :)