A\N: Hello again. This idea actually came about when I stumbled upon some YouTube videos with this pairing and I don't know, I think I fell in love and I wanted to make this real and ugh, I'm just a mess. I'm going through a lot at the moment, here at home, and I just needed to get some writing done that I didn't feel like shit afterwards for writing. Ya know? It's weird, I'm weird, but whatever. Haha. I had more trouble finding a decent title for this fic than I actually did writing it. For some reason, writing Bella in this light was a lot easier than I thought it would be, considering she's so awkward in the movies and shtuff... Anyways, enjoy, I guess? :)
Summary: (Takes place sometime after Edward and his family leave in New Moon)
She knew she deserved better. Without anyone having to remind her, she knew. But it didn't stop the fact that Edward was her first love and he held something over her that she just couldn't shake. But Damon? Damon was different, from the moment she met him, she knew. And whatever she had with Edward couldn't have even held a candle to what her and Damon shared; honesty, loyalty, something Edward never had the audacity to give her.
Also. Bella had been turned into a vampire in the first movie, after the whole James shindig.
Disclaimer: I don't own either party. x
She saw him before he even approached her. Of course she'd been watching, she was always mindful of her surroundings, just like he had taught her. She had anticipated his arrival at least fifty-three minutes ago, but she surmised he needed more alcohol in his system before he braved the cold front she was ready to give.
From the corner of her eye, she watched as he tried to saunter over to her. Tried being used loosely. It was more like a false skip in his step which was merely a cover up for the fact that he was ready to teeter off the edge of alcoholism any second now.
One minute and twenty-three seconds. That was how long it took after he polished off his shot of what she assumed was tequila and made his way over to her. It was then another thirty-five seconds before he was able to control his labored breathing, as he was not in fair shape and was struggling to stand on his feet from the short distance he walked from his table to the bar where she was situated on the stool at, hidden only minimally in the corner.
Frankly, she was surprised he even could see her from that distance in his drunken haze. She was positive she hadn't brought any unnecessary attention to herself, merely sitting with her back to the wall, eyes scanning the crowd and sipping on her mixed rum.
She waited, another minute passing by agonizingly slow, as he stood before her, not nearly as tall as he thought he was. She blinked, once, twice, maybe a third time before he even said anything to her. And that's when his hot, alcohol-induced, breath fanned her face. Immediately, her shoulders tensed, her fingers wrapped around her glass visibly whitened to show her grip.
"If only you knew what vile things they were thinking about,"
Oh, she could give an accurate assumption.
"The revulsion that washed over me when I smelt their breath, Bella, you don't even know,"
Oh, she knew alright.
Well, that's what it meant when your senses were unbelievably heightened. What did he expect honestly?
Finally, a single movement in front of her reminded her of where she was and who was standing before her, causing Bella to reel in her utter disgust, not only for the man practically sweating into her personal bubble, but for the unnecessary flashbacks that would late plague her mind if she didn't act quick. Before he could say anything, however, she quickly finished off her drink and held up her hand, stopping him from saying anything he would later regret.
"Whatever it is you're selling, don't." Oh, she knew what he was selling. Or, trying to at least. "Not interested."
The man, that could easily pass for an under-waged office employee that clearly hadn't been on the playing field in some time, looked taken aback. He began to stammer a response, but before he could try and remedy the dying situation, she stood up and removed some cash out of her back pocket, throwing it on the counter to pay for her drink.
She had hoped to all hell that she had been wrong when she saw him stealing glances at her from across the bar. She didn't need the attention of some middle-aged spaz who seemed to be after one thing tonight. From her far right, she could see a few other men about the same age, snickering amoungst themselves. It was obvious they were his friends or, at the very least, his co-workers, and probably put him up to the challenge of trying to make an obvious pass at her.
Bella sighed and turned away, throwing a single hand in the air towards the barkeep who she had come to call as an acquaintance as she could often be found hanging around his bar nearly every night.
"Jonathon," She called over her shoulder without looking back.
"Bells," He replied, cleaning off a glass she could hear perfectly from her distance. "See you tomorrow?" It was less of a question and more of a statement.
"Haven't decided." Came her response, but they both knew she would be. It was always like that.
Feeling completely ignored, the old man that approached her, quickly slunk back to his buddies who were howling with laughter at his obvious defeat. Bella ignored them, however, and pulled her coat off the hook next to the door, wrapping it tightly around her body as she left the bar.
Despite the distance she had gained from the bar as she walked home, the warning bells inside her head were spiraling out of control. She could practically taste the sweat still rolling off their tongues as the stalked her, trying and failing miserably, to catch her off guard.
"Why is it always like this?" She asked herself, her voice too low for them to hear as she kept her pace, waiting out the inevitable.
Because it always was. Isabella Swan was never attractive, she never considered herself to be what guys wanted in a woman. Her skin was far too pale, unlike all of her other friends who sported deep tans on the daily. Her teeth weren't as straight or white and perfectly sculpted like the models in the magazines. Her hips were too bone-y and her hair always looked unkempt, even though she always brushed it out. And her face? God, that might've been the worst yet. She couldn't even think of words to describe her overall appearance, however-
Bella barely turned her head, she didn't really have to. Her stalkers were far too obvious to not have gone unnoticed. Their steps were loud, almost stomping. Their ragged breaths were short and quick, as if they had just got done running a marathon and were on their last leg of strength.
And the alcohol? She probably would have vomited if she were any less of the woman she was today. Lots of training on that part, though.
They were snickering again, but this time, she could hear the reluctance in one of the men as he spoke quietly to his friends.
"Come on, guys, she said she wasn't interested, let's just drop it."
Making sure to keep her emotions under wraps, Bella continued to walk forward in silence, the only evidence she felt any sort of way were the fact that her hands, deep in her coat pockets, were balled in fists.
"Nah, nah, she don't get to just dismiss you like that!" One of the others spoke, his voice husky and dry.
This time, Bella began to count their breaths and even steps they stole to gain stride with her. This method she had learned on her own. It didn't help as much as the alcohol did, but she was able to gain some solace in the numbers she counted by. It would help her from ripping out their jugular on the spot.
As they began to devise their plan of action, Bella's pace began to slow to a leisure stroll and that's when they acted. Completely caught up with her defense, Bella was unable to see the fourth figure's fast approach until it was already too late.
For them, of course.
She only blinked once, she recalled, as the three men were visibly thrown off their feet and knocked to the ground, screaming all the while. Knowing she should have done something had not registered in her mind in that moment. Her head was filled with their blood-curdling screams and she watched through half-lidded orbs as they fell, one by one, covered in their own blood, to the ground.
Normally, she would have been more defensive, anxious even, but she was unable to find a single fuck to give when the fourth stalker rose to his feet and she was met with a familiar set of blue eyes and dark, shaken hair.
She did not wait for him to address her and instead, turned her body to completely face him. "I remember you. You were at the bar."
The man chuckled dryly, wiping his chin to erase the mess of blood from his meal.
"You saw me."
Of course she saw him. She saw everyone who came in and out of that bar, likewise, her life, too. She never forgot, even if she sometimes wished she could.
He was a fairly attractive man, very pleasing on the eye. Ice blue orbs for eyes and a mess of black hair that clashed perfectly with his slight pale skin. He doned a leather jacket over a midnight blue t-shirt and dark jeans. He had appeared in contrast to the bar they had been previously situated in and maybe that's why he stuck out at her so vividly, because she didn't belong there either.
While everything should have screamed at her to defend herself against this monster before her, the larger part, the one equally as sadistic as this man, remained aloof and merely stared back at him indifferently. The sight of blood that use to cause her unease, now only further fueled her hunger for the unknown.
"I can't hear your heartbeat," He commented, eyes matching hers.
Was that why he followed her?
She blinked once. "Strange, because I can hear yours." And that only slightly unsettled her.
The smirk he sent to her immediately afterwards might have been breathtaking, but right now she was just ready to sleep off the nights festivities and call it a day. It was slightly off-kilter and could have raised questions, but alas, she didn't care.
"I heard the bartender call you Bells," He gestured to her person, being mindful not to cause her any sort of distress because he didn't know her. Not yet, anyways. "Is that your name?"
After his question, it then dawned on Bella that she had not really conversed with a man this much in quite a long time. True, it wasn't much of a conversation and when Bella couldn't hear the heartbeats of his victims, she surmised this wasn't much of a first impression sort of thing either.
Cocking her head to the side thoughtfully, she asked, "Was there something you wanted to confirm, vampire?"
He was one, wasn't he? It was brief and the moonlight was no help in giving her a better view, but she guessed his fangs are what pierced those men, blood and puncture wounds from their neck was proof of that. If Bella had been in a mood before, she was practically unstable now. But, with lots of practice and precision, she was able to remain calm and collected despite the inner turmoil she was facing with this strange man.
"Is that going to be our thing now?"
She raised a quizzical brow in earnest.
"We're going to answer each other's question with another?"
She didn't need this right now. Perhaps at one point, under different circumstances, she would've been better equipped at being more defensive and on guard, but right now, she could practically feel her bed calling her name. She didn't care who this man was and how different his kind was to hers at this point in time and merely sighed, turning away from him.
"Take care of the bodies," She spoke, her voice the briefest amount of sternness and authoritative as she waved him off. "Or don't, I couldn't care less."
And she couldn't. Well, she didn't want to anyways. She had spent the majority of her life, worrying after things she couldn't control, but that all stopped the moment she died. If nobody else cared, why would she?
She had an inkling this wasn't going to be the last time she saw this man and while a part of her dreaded the next time, she'd be lying if she said she wasn't secretly anticipating his next appearance.
The next time they crossed paths, she had been in her favorite coffee shop, sipping from her preferred choice of herbal tea and reading a book. She wasn't particularly interested in the read, rather she was just giving her mind something to focus on. While the counting indeed helped, sometimes it took a little bit of an extra push in the right direction to further distract her.
There were a total of eleven people in the coffee shop; she, of course, was situated in the far corner, mindful of every single person in the room with her. Their voices were blurred together, hushed whispers but if she tried, she could listen in on any of their conversations with ease. However, that wasn't the point of her routine. Observation only, nothing more unless provoked. It usually never came down to that.
She had spotted him before he even turned back around to walk into the cafe. Noticed the way his blue eyes found hers through the mess of people between them before sending that same smirk he shared with her only a week ago. Choosing to ignore him altogether, Bella gingerly sipped her tea and pull her book back up to cover part of her face.
Only five and a half minutes went by before the chair across from her was pulled back and cologne filled her senses.
"Isabella Swan," He drawled, waiting for a reaction as he brought his cup of espresso to his lips.
He didn't have to wait long. At the mention of her full name, Bella slowly lowered her book so she could lock eyes with the still smirking vampire, his blue eyes practically dancing in her face.
"You spoke to Jonathon?" She guessed, raising her brow pointedly.
"It didn't take a lot of convincing on my part," He bragged, his wicked grin transparent as all hell, causing her to frown.
She had secretly hoped he hadn't went out of his way to torture the bartender on her behalf. She rather liked the guy as well as her nightly visits to his bar. She said nothing, however, and merely averted her gaze back to her book without further explanation.
"I'm curious about you," He said again after a moment of silence.
At this, she snorted. "I've been called worse."
The still unnamed man smirk in amusement, leaning forward slightly.
"You don't have a heartbeat, but you're clearly breathing."
"I don't have to," She offered, only slightly detached as she turned a page in her book.
To prove her point, she stopped breathing altogether. She didn't have to look at the clock to tell how much time had gone by when her guest leaned even further to try and gauge a reaction out of her, to catch her bluff; but when her eyes remained impassive and her face didn't turn blue from lack of oxygen, he smiled and leaned back in his chair, whistling softly. She figured he wasn't all that surprised as he appeared.
"Just what are you?" It had sounded less like a question and more like a tell-me-now-or-so-help-me-god sort of thing.
Pulling her book away from her face and taking another sip of her tea, Bella slowly began to take breaths again, leveling him with a look.
"The same as you," She began before backtracking as another thought dawned on her. "Or perhaps not, seeing as your heartbeat is a little too excited at the moment."
And it was. His heart rate had sped up quite a bit since he sat down and engaged in conversation with her, most likely showing his excitement even though his eyes did the majority of the talking.
"I said I was curious, didn't I?" He shot back, taking another sip of his espresso as well, his blue eyes flashing. "Damon Salvatore."
She flipped the page in her book. "I didn't ask."
His signature smirk was smug as he replied, "Think of it as an offering, then."
It was a long while before either of them said anything after that. Bella had felt compelled to get up and leave a handful of times during that long period of irritating silence, but remained seated and waiting for Damon to make another move.
"Do not be the first to engage. Always wait for your opponent to make the first move."
Luckily for her, her cell phone went off in her bag hanging from the back of her chair. Breathing a sigh of almost relief, Bella closed her book and fished out her phone, only to narrow her eyes at the name that flashed across the screen.
"Boyfriend?" Damon teased, leaning slightly across the table as if to get a better view.
Bella frowned and turned in her chair, avoiding his ever watchful gaze as she hit the ignore button and got up. Shoving her book into her bag, she leveled Damon with one last look before turning around to leave.
"Don't follow me." Was the last thing she said before she left the cafe.
And he didn't.
She had told him, hadn't she? That one day smoking wasn't going to lead him anywhere in life except on death's door.
It had been Jacob who had called her, which was surprising in itself, considering he was still upset with her leaving Washington. However, the way he spoke to her over the phone when she called him back was almost like a slap to the face. His voice was soft, somewhat, as if he had forgiven her for all of her sins and only wanted what was best for her right here and now.
But nothing was ever that easy. And this call surely wasn't.
"It's Charlie, Bells." He said, his voice being carried through the phone as if on some invisible cloud. "He's in the hospital."
As if that wasn't already bad enough, he had the audacity to ask her to come home.
"Don't do it for me... But he needs you."
Did he not think she knew that already? Did he honestly believe she would have left him on his own if that were the case? If nothing else, Charlie and her had an understanding of sorts. That's why they got along better than she ever did with her mother. Because they were the same person. They felt and handled situations similarly. And for Jacob to accuse her of running away from her father for selfish reasons only fueled the pent up aggression she had tried her best to keep under wraps.
Even if he didn't come outright and say it.
Bella pinched the bridge of her nose, trying and failing to keep from heaving another distorted sigh.
"Bella?" Came a voice from behind her at her bedroom door.
Without having to turn around, she knew who it was.
"I won't be staying long," She started, focusing back on her suitcase. "A couple weeks, maybe. Just long enough to make sure Charlie's situated."
The old man, who had not only come to be like a parent figure himself, was also her teacher whom she had stumbled upon what felt like ages ago. He was a very old witch, that had sustained somewhat of his life with different types of foreign herbs. He had found her when she had been on a vampiric rampage after she had been turned. Before, of course, they had left her.
He ended up finding her again after she was left alone and to her own devices and offered to take her in, to help her control her urges and he was actually a huge part of her control habit she had with counting numbers and occasionally, her drinking issue.
When he didn't say anything, she looked over her shoulder to make sure she wasn't talking to herself. Just what she needed, another excuse to teeter on the edge of insanity. However, Robert did not move and she made no effort to oblige his silence.
Robert Harrison, whom she normally referred to as Harrison as it made him seem a lot more teacher-like and sophisticated than his first name only. He was slightly hunched over, from his deteriorating spinal column and with a mess of silver-y hair that complimented his ghastly white skin.
Being under a witches care could have said a lot about the type of person Robert was, however, she wasn't sure how much he was actually aware of her presence in his home. Mostly because, Robert was blind.
Finally, Robert parted his dry lips and spoke, his voice low and husky, as if he hadn't had a decent glass of water in the Sahara Desert and said, "If it begins to be too much for you, Isabella, I want you to leave. Right away."
At this, Bella let out a breath of air she hadn't realized she'd been holding. While the sentiment was endearing, she knew better than to take it for what it was.
"I won't lose control. You've taught me that much."
And he had. That and even more. Through the chaos she'd been thrown in since James had turned her, Robert had been the one constant thing in her life that kept her grounded and aware. She owed him her life, yet he never asked for a single type of repayment.
He really was like a grandfather of sorts.
Smiling softly to herself, one that she only ever had for Robert himself, though he wouldn't ever be able to see it, she walked up to him. Having lost his sight, Robert made up for it in other ways. Sometimes, he was far more in tune with his surroundings than she was. Leaning down slightly, she placed a gentle kiss to his forehead.
"Take it easy while I'm gone, would you?" She doted. "I'd rather not come back home with the kitchen smelling like dead carcass like last time."
His witch-y voodoo experiments always did get out of hand whenever she wasn't around. Robert tried not to smile at the memory.
"I'll have you know that it wasn't all that awful, young lady."
Bella snorted. "Yeah, after I febreezed the entire place."
This time, he did laugh, causing Bella to smile fondly at the sight.
"Just, take it easy, okay?"
"Sometimes I do wonder just who the elder is here."
Yeah, he'd be fine.