Title: For All Of My Life
Fandom: Twilight Saga
Summary: Many years ago, just before the American Revolution, Carlisle Cullen met a girl named Annabelle Steele, a girl who was most obviously his mate, and not so obviously not completely human, yet not a vampire. Carlisle had never met someone like her before, but to his surprise she knew what he was, and even more importantly, she wasn't afraid of him. But because of her family's hatred for the vampires, she had to run with him and keep herself hidden in fear that she and her mate could be killed. But that was just the start of their adventures, not knowing at the time that their family awaits them in the future, and the biggest threat of all will threaten to tear their whole world apart.
Disclaimer: If you recognize it (names, dialogue, etc) I do not own it. I do own my OC Annabelle Steele and her backstory.
Title: The Beginning
Warnings: Angst, language
Author's Note: Hello, all, and welcome to my new Carlisle/OC story! I hope you all enjoy this one as well as my other one, Second Chance at Forever. I really appreciate the response for that one, it's very humbling, and since I have that one almost completed, I decided to start working on this one. I hope you all enjoy! A couple notes: one, as always, the story info will only be on this chapter as it will never change, however the chapter info will so it will be at the beginning of each. Two, the rating is subject to change depending on where the story leads me. But again, I hope you enjoy! Thank you for reading, and I would love to hear your reviews, thoughts, comments, and questions on this story!
-Jamestown Village, Virginia Colony 1774-
The market wasn't as busy as Annabelle Steele expected, so her feet rushed her through without incident. Those around her weren't surprised to see someone hurrying through the square as that happened many times in days like these. With the threat of the British over their heads and quiet whispers of the Colonies revolting, not many people stayed outside to enjoy themselves, even in times when it was hot and sunny out. They all feared the invasion, wondering if it would happen any day when the crown decided that the Colonies weren't worth as much effort as they were putting forth. But that didn't mean the colonists would give up without a fight. They had meetings in secret basement rooms with plans and maps put forth, drawing up names of those wishing to volunteer on the off-chance it did come down to a fight.
Annabelle was never really one to worry, though, she knew that nothing the British army, or even the Continental army for that matter. Not often did she think about her secret, but at age twenty-one, she knew she should be. Three years ago her parents told her of who and what she really was, and it was never something she wanted. I do not wish to be a freak, she thought as she, once again, ran from her family home. It was the secret that brought her out in such tense times, another day of arguing with her father only for him to end up yelling, and for her to run off crying. As much as her mother tried to be the mediator, it never quite worked out.
And Annabelle was tired of it. She was tired of fighting with her father, she was tired of being told that she had no choice in accepting her fate, and she was tired of living her life in solitude away from other people just because she was different. Annabelle knew she was good at keeping secrets, she wouldn't tell a soul, but her father forbid her from going to school or joining in on town balls or picnics or anything that would be considered fun. It had been that way ever since she was a child and at that age, she always just assumed he was being overprotective of her, and unable to enjoy some fun. But the truth was almost much worse, because the truth of the matter was, no matter how much she fought it or how many times she ran from it, it was her destiny. It was in her blood and she would have to accept it even if she spent centuries running from it.
Yes, centuries. At first when her father told her that he wasn't simply "good at keeping himself looking young" as she had thought, she assumed that meant he had adopted her. While she had never been around an orphanage, she heard of them as there was one a couple towns over. It would explain why he and her mother looked to be approaching thirty, but never quite went over it. It would explain why the other townsfolk knew there was something off about them, and why they moved around so often. Many times people assumed she was either her mother or father's younger sister, but she always wrote it off as good genes. But she was very wrong and on the evening of her eighteenth birthday, after a day of gifts and a small party with her and her parents and even a cake her mother slaved over, Henry Steele told her the truth of what she was. Of course she didn't believe them, and it was the first night she ran away.
Every couple months for the last three years, she ran away, hoping that it would slow down whatever was happening. But her father said it wasn't something that would just hit her and happen over night, it was gradual and she would notice just bare hints of the matter as she hit twenty-one and continued to age. Soon she would look about as old as they did—late twenties at the very oldest—and then she would not age a single day after that. She would never grow old, never die, and she would never get to have the normal, amazing human life that she always wanted.
Because Annabelle wasn't human.
She was an Immortal.
"There is no other term for us because we are not creatures. We do not shift like Children of the Moon. We do not carry venom like vampires. We simply exist, half human and half...other." Of course the phrases "Children of the Moon" and "vampire" got her started all over again with confusion and fear, but everything had been explained to her. They were an endangered species and very close to extinction, and that's one of two reasons her father kept her inside. The other being that if she got injured playing with other children, she would heal in an instant. "Nothing can harm you. Not bullets or illness. Nothing but this." He held up a knife then, made out of purse silver, something his father, her grandfather Matthew, had given to him on his own eighteen birthday. "We can only be killed by a silver dagger to the heart. Never let this out of your sight, Annabelle. For if you do, you shall surely parish."
That knife felt heavy against her thigh as she ran, glad for her long skirts as her feet carried her passed the market and into the woods to find her favorite hiding spot, one her father would never find no matter how many times he searched for her. The woods were a second home to her, a place so quiet and calm and peaceful that she could sit there for hours and never notice that any time had pass until the sun began to sink behind the hills. Deep into the woods there lay a small river running through the foliage and letting out into the bigger James River that was nearby. Along the river—which she nicknamed the Solitude River even though it had no real name—there was a fallen tree thats roots covered a small cave. It was this cave that she hid in, sometime just to lay there and think, other times to read.
Over her shoulder, she carried a satchel and inside was a candle freshly poured the day before, some matches, a quilt her mother made when she was six, and a book that she had read so many times the pages were threatening to fall out. But it's what she needed, to fall into this realm of fiction and fairytales rather than deal with the knowledge that she would never be normal and she would spend the rest of her life hiding.
There are creatures that want me dead. I have done nothing to them and they want me dead. That was something she could never get passed, something she had nightmares about nearly every night. Because as much as she wanted to live, in order to do so, she would always have to find caves and places where none of those creatures could find her.
That story, her father hadn't told her yet, only that they killed Matthew and also her mother's parents as well. It was them that made them go into hiding, they were the reason that the rest of the Immortals were dead. Having once been as numerous in populace as the humans, it was quite the devastating loss. Annabelle, of course, understood why they needed to stay hidden, but that didn't mean she had to like it. She pictured her life having adventures, not hiding from them.
Wiping away an escaped tear, she finally managed to make her way down the bank and into her little cave. As usual, it was clear and empty of any other life. It was small, not very deep, but it was enough. It had a large rock in it that she always laid her quilt near so she could lean against it as she read, or use it to sleep against if she got tired. She had also stored a canteen of water there along with an old shotgun of her father's—that he had been looking for desperately, but she never revealed that she took it—and a box of covered bread.
Her hands shook as she laid her quilt over the dirt floor and arranged her other belongings around it. The only thing she kept on her person was the dagger, lifting the edges of her skirts to make sure it was still hidden on her thigh sheath, before settling herself on her quilt. The candle was lit, the match pushed into the dirt to make sure it was smothered and didn't light again. The candle was bright, flickering shadows and light around the small cave, and it made her smile a little even as she couldn't bring herself to truly be happy.
Because it also wasn't lost on her she most likely would spend her life alone. Her mother and father got lucky when they found each other. But there weren't many Immortals left out there, her father had said merely a dozen families escaped the wrath of the vampires, and they all scattered. Who knows if they were still alive. And if she fell in love with a human, they would die in just a few short years, age and grow gray while she still looked twenty. Immortals could only be born, they couldn't be created like vampires or Children of the Moon. Her father had never heard of an Immortal and human having a child together, so it was highly unlikely it could happen.
So I may as well get used to an eternity of loneliness, she thought bitterly. Her parents would be around, but that wasn't the same as having someone to spend her life with, like they got to.
Sighing, she shook her head and forced the thoughts away. She wouldn't allow herself to continue in her own self-pity or think about the way life had royally screwed her over. She was tired of it; three years was enough. It was then she knew that she wouldn't forever be with her parents either, she would go crazy. But she had more to learn and she begrudgingly admitted to herself that she needed their help for that. Her father had told her that the vampires had burned most of the Immortals written history and so she had nothing to go by except for his first-hand accounts. She had them all committed to memory and would be writing them down one day, but for right then, she stopped thinking about it. Stopped thinking of her cursed life, stopped thinking about the loneliness already heavy in her soul, stopped thinking about the running and the hiding she would surely be doing forever. She lost herself in her book, the fairytales doing their job at sweeping her away and creating a life for herself that these princesses and fairies and magical creatures had. If they could find love against all odds, if they could be happy, why couldn't she?
She was so lost, in fact, that she actually was smiling a little bit. Her body grew content and she was happy to lean there against the rock, feeling the warmth from the candle next to her as it flickered light over her precious, private little cave. She was happy to immerse herself in wonderful writings and found joy in the lives that were written upon the slowly yellowing pages. She was happy.
At least, until, from outside her hiding spot, she heard a noise.
One hundred and eleven years ago to the day, Carlisle Cullen became a vampire. On the streets of London, he was but a boy under the instructions of his cruel father to hunt down creatures that lurked in the shadows and underbelly of London's darkest streets. It was never something he wanted to do, especially because the hunts his father conducted always led to the deaths of innocent people. That wasn't Carlisle; he couldn't kill anybody. They were simply lonely and hungry, unable to live in a home because the world was cruel and gave them no place in it. They had feelings and thoughts and emotions just like the rest of them. But no matter how hard he tried, Carlisle couldn't talk his father out of his actions, so it was actually a blessing in disguise when his father got too sick to continue and handed the reins over to him. Under his watch, nobody died and everybody was given a fair consideration.
At least, that is until Carlisle found a real vampire nest and he was bitten in his efforts to uncover it. He still remembered what it was like to burn for three days straight while the venom worked its way through his body and changed him into a monster. As much as he tried to forget it, that never left him, and yet he refused to curb to the urges that vampirism gave him. He never once drank from a human let alone killed them, and he never allowed himself to fall victim to the beast. It rattled in its cage, its bars bending now and then as Carlisle worked through the first few years after his transition, but he never fell. It was the victory over the beast, never feeding its true hunger, that Carlisle was most proud of. And he continued working it every day until he could be around blood with the scent barely scratching the surface.
Confident in knowing that he could control himself, he found himself in the Colonies along the coast of Virginia, wishing to find work as a doctor. Of course he had heard the rumors of the British invading and forcing the Colonies under their control by force. But he also heard the Colonies were planning on fighting back. If that were true, he had every intension on fighting for the Colonists, despite the fact that his voice spoke of his British roots. Still, he was working on changing that, allowing himself to dwell outside pubs and listening to the way the Colonists spoke, desperate to make themselves separate from Britain, and working over the words in his mind. If he was going to stay there, it would be better to have the right accent and blend in.
It was nearing sun down, just around five o'clock in the evening. Carlisle wasn't daft enough to spend his days in the city around human gaze; he would still bring attention to himself that the Volturi would surely hear about. So he took himself into the woods, feeling the slightest bit peckish and seeing his eyes were closer to black than topaz now, looking to find a deer or perhaps a couple smaller game to keep the hunger and the beast at bay while he looked around town for work the next day. Luckily he had the credentials to prove his title, thanks to Marcus of the Volturi for help with that one—the only one of the three brothers that was interested in his different lifestyle—so he should have no problem setting up shop where he was needed. He had stopped in Wilmington, Delaware and Richmond, Virginia before arriving in Jamestown. Both Wilmington and Richmond had the doctors they needed, so hopefully he could be of service to the people of Jamestown.
The woods were quiet and just what he needed to think. Truthfully it was sort of odd being around humans again because he spent so long in Italy with the Volturi that he was used to vampire company. But he wasn't less confident because of those thoughts, simply he had to re-teach himself how to be patient and gentle. The last thing he wanted to do was try and help set a broken bone and wind up just ripping the limb off by mistake. That would surely give away his truth and send Aro down on his head. The last thing these colonies needed in a time like this was the threat of the most powerful creatures in the world.
Sighing away his troubling thoughts, he easily took down a couple buck and a rabbit. Normally he would only take the one deer, but seeing as he could possibly be working with human blood soon—his natural, instinctual food source—he wanted to make sure he drank enough to take away the thirst for a couple weeks at the very least. The deer didn't taste the greatest—mountain lions were actually his favorite—but they would suffice for what he needed. Once he was complete and had disposed of the bodies and cleaned himself up in the small river, he started heading back for town.
If he weren't a vampire, he wouldn't have seen it, and it made him stop in his tracks, nearly uprooting a nearby tree with how hard he dug his feet into the ground. As a vampire, he also knew he wasn't seeing things, but there it was, a small dull light flickering from between the roots of an overturned tree. He frowned, blinking a couple times as if he had something in his eyes that needed to be cleared away, but it was still there. For a moment he thought about shrugging and leaving anyway; if anyone was back there, it wasn't any of his business. They could sit there if they wanted to. But something was drawing him in, tugging at his body as if there were a rope physically wrapped around his waist.
What does this mean? he wondered as, at a human pace, he stepped over broken twigs and leaves to get closer to that flickering light. He had never felt something quite like that before, the sheer inhuman need to be somewhere without having any idea as to why. It made him realize that that's why he came to the Colonies in the first place. There were plenty of towns and villages in Europe that needed a good doctor, and yet he chose to stick himself aboard a crowded ship with humans to get there without any real clue as to why. He told himself he needed to help people, but why the Colonies? Now he knew. He needed to be in these woods, in this village, right at this time. And whoever was there with the flickering light? He needed to know them, and there would be nothing that stopped him.
So deep in his thoughts, he didn't watch his footing and found that he stepped on a branch, snapping it in half. The sound was like a gunshot through the quiet setting and he winced, mentally cursing himself for doing something so stupid. But it's like he was under a spell, even his beast had been quiet at that time. Part of him wondered if he should just leave before whoever it was could come out, but that same feeling that drew him there in the first place kept him there, locking his body in place and not allowing it to move. I have to see who is there, he realized, the confusion nearly making his head spin. But he had to know, there was no choice. He had to.
Oh my gosh. It is her.
After the first sound drifted through the tangled roots in front of the cave, Annabelle had stayed still and quiet, waiting for something or someone to come charging in at her. Part of her wondered if it was her father and that was the only reason she hadn't moved from her spot. She knew he would be worried, but she would talk to him once she got home. She would rather shove the silver dagger into her own heart rather than allow him to find her hiding spot, or allow him to drag her back home before she was ready. She would show up in time, and her parents knew to give her space, but her father was stubborn and didn't always like to listen to her.
But after the sound of the breaking branch dissipated, she was left with quiet once more and just the foreboding feeling that she should go out there and take a look, all the while fighting her instincts of keeping herself hidden and protected. Since she was certain this cave was unknown, it's not as if anybody would know where to look. And since she didn't want to give it away, she didn't blow out her candle in fear it would draw more attention to her. Yet still, the urge to go out there was intensifying by the moment, enough that it nearly suffocated her and she was choking on her own oxygen. Her breathing came in short gasps, her heart picking up speed loud enough that that was all she could hear, a rush of blood in her ears.
At least I cannot die, she thought wryly, supposing that was one good thing of being an Immortal that she could deal with. At least for right then.
"...hello?" she called out tentatively, hesitating over her own choked words. Nothing answered her back, not even the sound of a scurrying animal or a bird song. She wasn't sure if that comforted her or not, but her heart just beat faster. Slowly she began to move, the only sound her uneven breathing and her skirts rustling with her movements and the quilt still spread out underneath her. She careful set aside her book, making sure to mark the page, and gingerly moved the flickering candle closer to the doorway to help guide her movements. (Faintly she recalled how her father had told her that Immortals had slightly better sight, hearing, and smell than humans, but she didn't notice anything different. Then again, she was just used to how she worked.)
Swallowing thickly, she moved aside some smaller roots and squeezed through a couple larger ones, knowing the route to take through them to ensure an ease at leaving. Luckily it wasn't too dark outside so the light still flickering from the mouth of the cave was enough to guide her out into the open, peaking through the fallen tree to see if she could spot what made the noise.
Well, it definitely wasn't hard to spot, considering the man was standing right there about ten feet away from where she was shimmying through the tree. Her breath caught as she looked at him, her heart actually skipping a couple beats before it began to beat erratically behind her ribcage. The man there was completely unknown to her. It was a small village and a small state, of which she had lived in it her entire life. While there were thirteen colonies in total, she knew that those in each state stuck together. As such, if she hadn't personally met someone who resided in Virginia, she heard of them. And this God-like creature before her certainly would've caused a stir among folks—especially the women—so she was confident in her assessment that he was new. Honey blond hair, incredible ochre eyes, tall and towering over her small frame, pale skin...
Annabelle gulped again, seeing that like her, his eyes had not left her and a deep, heated blush crept to her cheeks when she realized she had been gawking at this man. Her lips quickly shut and shyly, she stepped out of the foliage and into the stranger's line of sight.
He could be a serial killer and you are staring at him like a silly little girl, she scolded herself. What would Mother and Father think about such an audacity?
Mentally she shook herself and decided it would be best to be polite, even if she was partially intrigued and partially terrified of him. Her head bowed and she reached to lift her skirt ever so slightly, bowing to the man in front of her. She hoped she didn't look incredibly foolish as she had been climbing through the tree roots and sitting on dirt for awhile now and was aghast to think he could view her at such an unfortunate time. However, when she gazed back up at him, catching those topaz eyes once again, she saw he hadn't removed his from her, even as he gave a short bow.
His look made her heart rate spike again and it made her curious to know what he was thinking as he looked upon her. Did he see some beauty in her that she saw in him? That is just silly, she thought immediately, pushing the thought away. There was no way that he could think these things about her because she was simply ordinary and average at best. While he? He was truly a sight to behold, and she knew she could spend the rest of her Immortal years simply gazing upon him.
However, that would be incredibly rude, especially since he clearly wasn't an immortal—she was sure her father would've heard about another Immortal in the village and informed her; Immortals could sense each other, and she got nothing of the sort—and she didn't want to waste anymore of his life by silly little fantasies that she concocted in her head just because hers was in her story books and not there in reality.
And yet she found herself incredibly sad that she couldn't do just that. She wanted to, more intensely than she ever felt in her life. It was a feeling, like a moth to a flame, and she couldn't explain it. But the thought of never seeing him again made her want to weep...and yet, she didn't even know his name. And she had to, she decided. She had to know everything about him. His name, what he liked and didn't like. What he did for a living. What his dreams and aspirations were. Where he wanted to be when he was old and gray.
Her run-away thoughts in a mere few seconds after meeting him had her blush deepening, and her gaze moved itself to the ground at his feet, unable to keep his gaze as she decided that it was killing her. She would have to let him go, and it made her feel like she was dying. Literally, the air leaving her lungs, her heart stopping, her entire body on fire and icy at the same time. Yes, this is definitely what death would feel like, she decided.
"My apologies," she finally murmured, her voice stuck in her throat so it was more hoarse than she wished it to be. Clearing it lightly, trying to be subtle, she shifted her weight to another foot. "I interrupted you, sir. That was not my intention."
"Oh, no." Oh, his voice is beautiful, she decided. It was like church bells, the most beautiful sound in the world. "The apology is mine. I had no idea there was somebody else in these woods. Please, miss, pardon the intrusion."
Oh, please look at me again. Grant me that one honor.
The moment the girl stepped out, Carlisle knew he was lost. Raven black hair accompanied with bright cerulean blue eyes, skin the color of freshly fallen snow, cute little pink lips, and a short yet shapely body... A goddess, was his first thought as she had stepped out from the tree roots. While he had never experienced the call of a mate before—clearly—he had heard of it from Marcus while in Italy. He had been told there was nothing like it in the world, no feeling that could compare. The need to want to be everything for one person, do anything and everything to keep them safe and happy. It was a draw like no other, and there would never been another feeling in the world in all of eternity that would compare to the mating call. He hadn't understood it until the very moment this incredible creature appeared before him like an enchantress. For a moment he thought he was simply dreaming, but he realized that between the sound of her racing heart and the fact that he physically couldn't sleep—and even if he could, there was no way his mind could conjure up a woman like her—that she was real, and she was standing before him, alive and breathing and his.
The beast was very much awake inside him as he watched her for the few moments that she seemed to be fighting with something inside herself. Clearly she wasn't a vampire, her eyes were neither red nor topaz. And yet...she smelled different. Not like a human, something...peculiar. There was a hidden scent of fresh lilies along with lavender and cinnamon, and yet it didn't seem right. Not that she was wrong, of course. Not to him. Never to him. To Carlisle, she was the most perfect creature in existence. But that didn't explain how she still held this scent that he couldn't place. He had never smelled it before, and it worried him ever so slightly. Still, he pushed it away as he gazed on her, settling with the knowledge that this might be the only chance. He couldn't possibly damn her to his cursed life. He would have to let her go, and the thought staggered him, making him want to weep as this feeling of dread and fire and ice crept over his body.
But nothing on the outside showed this, his gaze level and his body immobile as he watched her study him, her adorable blush deepening, before she looked down to his feet as if embarrassed. It was then the thought of begging her to gaze upon him once more crossed his mind, along with the thoughts of her speaking once more in that beautiful lilt, one that was fully formed around the Colonial accent, glad that he could hear it in a voice much more beautiful than the dirty, rough banter at the local pub.
"No intrusion," she finally said, her eyes still cast down and he resisted the urge—just barely, the beast roaring and very nearly breaking through the bars in effort to reach her, but Carlisle was an expert jailer and kept the beast where it was—to go over and lift her eyes to his as he begged her to never look away from him. "I...I have a spot." She frowned as if realizing something unfortunate, but she kept speaking, much to Carlisle's delight. "Behind the tree is a small cave. I found it when I was young. I go there to—" She paused, seemingly looking for the right words. "—to read. I bring a candle and a book and I read." She shook her head, her beautiful raven locks floating around her delicate shoulders. "But you did me a favor, sir. I must get back home. Father will not be pleased I have been out so late."
"Carlisle," he blurted before he realized it, inwardly wincing, and yet rejoicing a moment later as her surprised glance lifted to his once again and he was thanking the God he had fought with faith over for the past hundred years that she gifted him as such. However, if he could blush, he would be because that's not what he meant to say. "I am sorry, miss, I did not mean..." He shook his head. "Please, call me Carlisle. That is my name. Carlisle Cullen." He smiled gently at the lovely girl. "I would be happy to escort you home if you wish, miss." She looked shocked, puzzled, and delighted all at the same time. It was the last emotion that the vampire focused on, feeling thrilled that he could cause such a reaction in her. "But, please... If you would, what is your name?"
She looked surprised for a moment, before that ever adorable blush darkened yet again. "Annabelle. Annabelle Steele." She smiled, she actually smiled and he quickly cached it away, wanting to spend the rest of his eternity viewing the snapshot of her smile on her lovely face, complete with those bright beautiful eyes, pink lips, and adorable blush. And of course, the name that fit her so perfectly, he knew that the angels themselves had to create it. Of course, they had to create her as well, as lovely as she was. There was no way she was possibly an earthly creature. She was far too splendid and Carlisle once again, if only for those briefest moment, believed in God once again as he knew that He brought her to him.
And yet she would be taken away in just the few short moments it took to get her home. Carlisle believed, and yet he also believed Him to be cruel. Why else would He give him such a goddess and rip her away from him so soon?
It is not fair, he thought sadly. And yet, life never was. After all, he was damned to become a vampire. However, if he hadn't been, he never would've met Annabelle Steele. None of it made sense, and he stopped trying to make it that way.
"It is a great pleasure to meet you, Miss Steele." He took a couple steps closer to her, knowing he probably should've been a little bit slower, but he was eager to be closer to her after spending a hundred years thinking he would never find her. Once in front of her, he gently lifted his hand, which she obliged and offered hers. Her own hand was warm and comforting and his eyes shot to hers as sparks—ever cliche and present—started at his palm, tingling through his fingers and then down his arm and through the rest of his body, waking him up in a way he never had been before. Ever the gentleman, he raised her touch and gently pressed a kiss to the top of her small, delicate hand. Carlisle smiled in delight as she gave the smallest of giggles, something he would bend over backwards to hear again if he could.
"You as well, Mr. Cullen." She gave another small curtsy and he raised an eyebrow at her, making her grin. "I apologize... You as well, Carlisle," she corrected. And boy, if her voice saying his name wasn't the most beautiful thing in existence. He never particularly cared one way or another for his name until just then, but she made it sound like a gift from Heaven above. "And to answer your question... I would be honored if you escorted me home." She paused. "I just have to go and fetch my belongings, if that is okay?"
"Of course," he said immediately, taking a small step back, though his very being protested very loudly. "I shall be here."
The girl resisted a very girlish squeal as she gave him another small curtsy and turned to gingerly—and yet as quickly as she could without being too obvious—ducked back into the roots to get to her cave and grab her belongings. The candle was taken and moved closer to the rock so she could use it to help her guide her book back into her bag, and then her quilt which she gave a good shake of to get most of the dirt off. After that was in there, the box of matches was placed inside, and finally the candle blown out so the cave was cast into mostly darkness. Luckily there was still a sliver of daylight outside so she was able to carefully find her way back to the mouth and through the tree to find the man waiting for her.
What fairytale land did she fall into to meet this man? Surely she was dreaming one of her stories, and he was the dashing Prince Charming come to take her away from this life. She knew there was no actual taking her away from it, but that didn't stop her from wishing it. It was only when, in her haste to exit the tree and get back to Carlisle's—What a wonderful and beautiful name, she thought—side, that she accidentally got her skirt caught in one of the smaller roots at the bottom, causing her to stumble and awkwardly tumble slightly into the roots at her side. A wince shook her frame as she gently extracted herself, glad that he couldn't have seen that, but the way she tumbled with her skin scratching against the roots lightly and the slight pain that followed, told her that she was awake. This wasn't a dream, and this man was real.
It made her even more breathless to be around him, and so she carefully worked through faster, before breaking through the foliage again. True to his words, Carlisle still stood there in the spot she left him, and she gave him a grateful smile when he held out a hand in an offer to take the bag that she had dangling at her side. She handed it over, glad she only had the one book that time and not anymore like usual, otherwise she would've declined in an effort not to put too much weight on him.
"Thank you," she said softly, reaching up to push back at her hair that had tangled around her face during her little tumbling experience, and missing the way his eyes followed every single move that she made. "I shall show you the way. It is not that far from the village market." Carlisle nodded and together they began their trek into town. It was silent for a couple moments, Annabelle's eyes lifting to the sky as, at least, the sun dipped behind the horizon and cast the land in light shades of pink, purple, and blue. Annabelle smiled, wishing to pause for a moment and bask in this beauty, but she didn't wish to slow him down. "This is my favorite time of the day. I love twilight. It is so beautiful. The colors of the sky... It makes me wish I was a painter so I could capture it."
"Very beautiful indeed," Carlisle said and Annabelle glanced at him, realizing he was looking at her instead with a small, knowing smile on his face. The blush that had started to dissipate was back with full force, accompanying Annabelle biting her lip and glancing down at the ground just in time to step over a large, fallen log. She didn't know what to say. What could she say? Never had she been complimented like that before. Other than her father, she had not been around many men, and she knew that was all his doing. Whether protection because of her Immortal status, or protection because of simply being the father of a daughter, she had no clue. But it left her without some experiences she wished she had, other than reading about them in her books.
"I believe the sky is that way, Carlisle," she said softly, pointing up above their heads, a gentle way of denying his claim.
"I know," he said simply, and yet didn't take his eyes off her. She bit her lip again, reaching up to tuck some hair behind her ear, and they fell into an easy silence.
The village came up quickly, way too quickly for her taste, but she knew she couldn't deny the inevitable for too long. She would never have a future with this man. While she was destined for an eternity of solitude, he was graced with the ability to live and grow old as he should. It was why she vowed not to seek him out, even if he were to stay in town. She was sure she would hear about it soon anyway; there was no way his presence or his beauty was going to go unnoticed. The feeling of death crept up on her again and she tried her hardest to focus on breathing, even as chills shook her small frame and threatened to toss her to the ground if she wasn't so keen on pretending like nothing was happening.
What was happening, anyway? She didn't understand it. Why such a draw, such a feeling to a man she just met? True, he was beautiful, but that didn't mean anything in the long run. She had no idea who he really was, and yet she was drawn to him. She wanted to be with him, in every way a man and a woman could. It was a drowning feeling, like a lifeline that her entire being was desperately trying to grab onto to stay afloat, and yet she knew as soon as she bid him ado at the door, she would sink under and she wouldn't be coming back up, not anytime soon, possibly not ever again.
Could she live like that? Could she really face eternity knowing that she let something like this float out of her grasp? I have no choice, she thought sadly as they turned down Mulberry Street, the one she lived on. Her father's house was at the end, right on the corner of Park Street. It's too soon! It's too soon! her soul screamed, and yet she ignored it as she passed first the Carters, then the Bakers, and finally her neighbors, the Smiths. The house was mostly dark other than a small flicker of light in the downstairs kitchen window, telling her that her mother was probably up preparing some pastries for the morning.
"Thank you, Carlisle," she said quietly and finally turned to look up at him. While she knew she shouldn't, that could be dangerous as she never wanted to stop looking, she knew she couldn't just walk away without one more glimpse. To her shock, his face was twisted a bit as if in deep pain, in agony, and yet it cleared in the split second he noticed that she was watching him. I just imagined it, she thought, as she watched him give her a small nod and a smile.
"It was my pleasure, Annabelle." Say my name again, she wanted to beg. She wanted to commit the sound to memory, how it sounded rolling off his tongue. And yet she bit her own to keep from saying those words. "And it was a pleasure meeting you."
"You as well, Carlisle." She smiled once more, allowing the blush to appear as he gifted her with another kiss to her hand, before giving her her bag and taking a step back. Too far away, she thought, her whole being trembling and clawing at her to close the distance in, to take him in her arms and never let him go. But she didn't. She couldn't. She gave him a small curtsy. "Goodnight."
"Goodnight." He didn't move, and she knew that meant she had to, and yet she couldn't. For one more moment, her greedy eyes feasted upon him, hungry for more glances, for more kisses to her hand, for more small touches. But she had to turn, turn around and walk inside and pretend to her mother and father as if this never happened. Perhaps, if she did that long enough, she could fool herself into thinking that it didn't as well.
Heart stopping, breath caught, she turned on her heel and climbed the few steps into her home. He's home, she thought, feeling her body grow more and more cold, more closer to death than she had before. When she saw him, she felt alive, she realized. It was like she was truly alive for the first time in her life and she didn't know what to make of that. But it was him, it was all him. Carlisle Cullen made her feel alive. But now she had to let him go, she had to live, and yet she wouldn't be alive. It hurt, it made her weak, and she fell against the door once she was inside.
"Anna?" her mother called. Of course she heard Annabelle come in, the girl could only hope she didn't hear the exchange outside, otherwise Gwendolyn Steele was sure to tell Annabelle's father of it. But she didn't seem to be too cross as she stepped out of the kitchen, which meant that she hadn't heard them. Yet, she did point the spoon she was holding at her daughter, wagging it lightly. "Your father has been out looking for you. He was very cross when he went to bed."
Annabelle looked at her feet. "I know. I am sorry, Mother."
Gwendolyn sighed. "I know, dear. But you must not get him so worked up. He only does what he thinks is best for you."
Annabelle resisted the urge to roll her eyes, far too tired and drained to say much else. "I know," she murmured. Finally she pushed herself off the door, her body shaking as she closed the distance and hugged Gwendolyn. "I am very tired. Goodnight, Mother."
"Goodnight, Anna." She paused. "Promise me you will speak to your father in the morning."
Annabelle sighed. "I shall." She nodded and gently moved passed her mother, hearing her tut as Annabelle climbed the stairs to her bedroom, which faced the street. She quickly got ready for bed and just before she laid down, she pulled the curtains back a little to peak outside. She didn't know what she was expecting, but the street was empty. She only wished she could see those topaz eyes one last time before she went to sleep.
Shaking away the thoughts and feelings, promising herself that she would forget about him in the morning and chalk up all these ridiculous feelings to her stories, she blew out her lamp and settled under her covers, allowing herself one last night of dreaming of Carlisle Cullen and happiness and forever.
Author's Note: I just wanted to say I'm aware I used the American Revolution as a meeting point for Carlisle and Abigail in Second Chance at Forever, but it just seems like a good place to start as it's far in the past, but not too far, and it would give Carlisle an excuse to be in America. Also, don't forget to go to Polyvore and search alysalvatore for the outfits and photos for this story! (Mostly it will be just Annabelle, but I might add some of the others in if I feel like I can get away with something good.) Anyway, thanks again for reading! Comments are love!