Hi everyone! It was quite a while ago that I put up a new story, wasn't it?
Well, I don't know if I want to call this a new story, really, since this is technically the multi-chapter version of Battle As Old As Time, but it has a whole lot of more details, it begins before the one-shot and, of course, continues where BAOAT fades to black.
I truly hope you'll like it! In fact, I haven't been this proud of a story for quite some time, and I've had several pre-readers looking at it, as well as my wonderful Beta Reader Belynda!
I'm so excited to hear what you think of this, and as always, I welcome all sorts of feedback :)
I don't have an updating schedule in mind yet, but many chapters are already written on this story, so I definitely won't leave you hanging after just one or two chapters, I can promise you that, but I have to warn you that I am in the midst of moving, so I can't guarantee weekly updates, but as always, I will do my best for you. Because, you know, I kind of love you guys!
Title: The Undecided
Beta Reader: SarcasticBimbo
Summary: Good and Evil Witches. A Prophecy. An Unfulfilled Destiny. The Promise of a Leader. And it all rests on the shoulders of a "misunderstood" teenage girl.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Chapter Word Count: 3, 746
I looked into the mirror on my vanity as I carefully combed through my long dark hair, and when my brush went through smoothly, I laid it down on the table and started with my makeup. With each step completed, I struck a pose to make sure everything looked as it should.
Some would perhaps call me high maintenance, but I disagreed. It was true that my morning routine always took at least an hour, especially as my style morphed from plain to punk rock, but I saw nothing wrong with wanting to put a bit more effort into my look.
Especially today since it was my eighteenth birthday.
Once I was pleased with everything, I grabbed my jacket and book bag and headed down the stairs.
My dad, Charlie Swan, sat at the kitchen table reading the newspaper, and he didn't even look up when I entered. Defiantly, I leaned against the door-frame and crossed my arms as I waited, but when I got no reaction, I groaned in frustration.
I didn't have a car because even though I aced my driver's test, my parents refused to get me one as they didn't think I deserved that sort of freedom. At least not as long as my current behavior remained the way it did. Their words, not mine.
It was true that I wasn't a Miss Goody Two Shoes, but I wasn't nearly as bad as they had in their heads. To tell the truth, it was all Banshee's fault.
Banshee was the nickname my friends and I had given our school's principal because she was such a cold-hearted bitch and her voice was the most annoyingly nasal one in the world. Her real name was actually Hollie Greene, but very few students used it.
Ever since I started my freshman year, she had been after me, and I was sure she'd memorized every phone number that could reach my parents by now since she called them several times a week to "report" on my bad behavior.
It wasn't like I was creating havoc wherever I went.
It was always things like the length of my skirt or the message she thought I was projecting with my band shirts. Other times, it was that I had my feet up on a bench, or that I "talked back in class," according to my teachers.
It was all just ridiculous.
And all of this resulted in my dad driving me to school every day. I hated it, but I didn't have a choice.
"School starts in forty minutes," I said impatiently.
He grunted in acknowledgment but made no move to get up, and I rolled my eyes when I realized that it was going to be the same as yesterday, and the day before that. Dad simply refused to move one inch unless I asked him to drive me, but I saw that as incredibly unnecessary since he always drove me. I believe it was one of his strange notions of teaching me to never take anything for granted or something like that.
My mom, Renee Swan, came down the stairs looking picture perfect with her chestnut hair silky smooth and her face all fresh and dewy-looking. She somehow carried it as if she woke up looking like that, but I was positive she put more effort into her appearance than I did. Otherwise, she wasn't normal.
"Good morning, honey!" she twittered and leaned over to kiss me on the cheek, but I didn't want her to smudge my makeup and cause me to have to do it all over again, so I jerked away.
For a second, she looked hurt, but then she returned to her chirpy self. "Do you want anything special for your birthday breakfast?" she asked and began rummaging through the fridge.
"I'm not hungry," I mumbled and glared at my dad who was slowly lifting his cup of coffee to his lips and appeared to have all the time in the world. "I will be late if we don't get going." He remained in his chair, and I groaned. "Dad!"
He closed the paper and leaned back in his chair, arms crossed and a taunting, expectant smile on his face. "You know what you have to do, Isabella."
"Charles, do we really have to go through this every morning?" Mom asked and poured a cup of coffee for herself.
"As long as Isabella doesn't show any appreciation, then yes, Renee, we do," Dad replied, his teeth showing when his smile widened at his continued taunting of me. I knew in spite of his smile that he was boiling inside, though.
It was during times like this that I really didn't understand how my parents ever got married. They were complete opposites. Mom always remained calm and rational, while my dad had a hard time controlling his temper once something triggered it.
Their personalities weren't the only difference, either. Mom loved to dress in bright pastel colors, while Dad's wardrobe mostly consisted of blacks and dark grays; and Mom's dewy face looked like an angel's next to Dad's scruffy and ragged look.
Seriously, whenever they stood next to each other, they looked like light and dark incarnate.
I bit my tongue to prevent the nasty things I wanted to say from coming out and reluctantly did what Dad wanted me to do. "I will be late if we don't leave now. Can you drive me?"
He looked at me, appraising the sincerity in my words, but then he just shrugged. "Better, but you're not quite there yet."
My jaw tensed and I had to use everything I had to not scream at him.
"Charles, if you don't want to drive her, I can do it," Mom said and reached for her car keys.
Dad brought his fist down on the table top and it caused Mom to jump in fright, but this wasn't the first time our arguments led to that reaction, so I kind of saw it coming. "Don't!" he exclaimed and looked at her over his shoulder with a dark look. His smile was gone and replaced with a clenched jaw. "Do not undermine my authority, Renee. I will not tolerate it."
Mom narrowed her eyes and huffed before looking away defiantly.
No, it didn't make any sense to me at all how these two had stayed together for all these years, but I had never heard them even discuss a separation.
I absolutely refused to look at Dad when I opened my mouth again. "Dad, can you drive me to school, please? I will be really late if you don't."
He shifted his eyes to me and stared at me for a long time, and finally, he reached into his pocket for his car keys and headed for the front door. I followed him quietly with my arms still crossed.
"Have a good day, sweetie!" Mom called from the kitchen, but I didn't bother with a reply.
The drive to school held the same quiet tension it always did, and by now I didn't feel guilty when I popped my headphones in and turned up the music because Dad never spoke to me anyway.
When he pulled into the parking lot, I didn't turn down the music, and simply opened the door to get out. His parting words were always that I'd better not do anything stupid, and I usually answered him by rolling my eyes, but I was not in the mood for that today. I was feeling very off, and it hadn't improved with the fight in the kitchen.
Since we had cut it very close, I should have run to my locker to get my books and hurried to class, but I didn't want to arrive all sweaty and disgusting, so I took it easy. Of course, it ended with me getting a disapproving look from the teacher when I entered the classroom, but I didn't really care. It wasn't like I missed anything really important just because I was a few minutes late.
I sat down in my seat next to my best friend, Alice, who was leaning back nonchalantly in her seat and filing her black nails. "You should text, Edward," she told me as her greeting without looking up from her nails. "He was looking for you before class."
"What did he want?" I asked, but I was already digging for my phone.
"Didn't ask," Alice replied, and when the teacher huffed angrily because of our conversation, all she did was shift her eyes from her nails to him, and he immediately shrunk back behind his desk.
I was thoroughly impressed that she could do that because I had never been able to. I'd never understood how she did it, either. Sure, she exuded a very dark aura and it caused most people to give her space whenever she passed, but I still couldn't understand how people could fear my five-foot tall friend.
Maybe I couldn't feel it because, while most people shunned her, I'd felt drawn to her the first day I saw her across the parking lot, and I hadn't been the only one. My entire group of friends had begun to talk excitedly when they saw her, including the guy I hadn't yet started to call boyfriend by that point; Edward.
There was a brief moment when I'd felt jealous that this new girl was stirring up so much emotion, especially since she got Edward so excited. But with his uncanny ability to know how I felt, he had leaned over and whispered, "You know you're the only girl for me." That had placated me, despite the fact that we didn't have any sort of romantic relationship back then.
When Alice had walked up to us during the lunch break, I hadn't been able to stop myself comparing the two of us. She oozed confidence as she got closer, asked which one of us was Edward, introduced herself and that was that; she was in the group.
The worst part for me was that she naturally fit in.
My experience had been completely different. It had occurred during a party that was exclusively for seniors, but my ex-best friend, Angela, and I had somehow been able to crash it. I had spotted Edward the first week of school and had gotten somewhat obsessed with him after that, but because I was a freshman and he was a senior, I didn't dare to approach him.
I'd had all my hopes on that he would be at that party and possibly give me the opportunity to simply speak with him just once.
He and his friends had been sitting on a group of couches in the corner and I'd slowly made my way over there while completely ignoring Angela's pleas to leave. We had already been there for hours, and she wanted to go home.
She had grabbed my arm when we were just close enough for Edward and his friends to hear us.
"Bella, I want to go home now!"
Without hesitating, I had replied. "Go then. I'm staying." It had been the first step toward the demise of our friendship.
When I'd turned back around toward my goal, he was looking right at me, and our eyes locked. His had darkened and the girl next to him leaned over to whisper something in his ear.
I don't know what she whispered, but it caused him to stand and walk up to me. When he was close enough for me to actually feel his body heat, my knees went weak, and he had to grab me so that I wouldn't fall to the floor. Everything about him so intoxicating, and my heart was already beating a mile a minute just because he saw me.
"Are you okay?" he had asked, and I silently nodded, too intimidated to talk. "Do you want to sit with us?"
My eyes had widened in disbelief. "Are you serious?"
He'd smiled in response. "Yeah."
I swallowed nervously but did my best to answer him as if it wasn't that big of a deal for me. "Um, sure. I'll sit with you."
Edward wrapped his arm around my shoulders and introduced me to his friends, and that was where I stayed the rest of the night. Not once did Edward let go of me, and it was the best night I ever had in my life up until that point.
That was also the night I truly began to change from the girl I had been my entire life. The girls of Edward's group started to invite me to hang with them. I got to borrow their clothes and found I was comfortable with the style. We went to concerts and I started my own collection of band t-shirts, but despite all of those good times, I always got the feeling that there was one part of the group's activities that I wasn't allowed to join, and it always happened in the middle of the night.
At first, I'd been worried that my new friends were into drugs or something similar to that, but when rumors began to circulate in the city that they were an occult sect of some kind and that I was their newest member, I started to worry about something darker instead.
Edward had somehow sensed my fears and assured me that they weren't doing anything wrong and that one day I would be allowed to join, but not right now.
To this day, I had not been invited to whatever they were doing, but I was pretty sure Alice had, although she never spoke of it.
When I finally found my phone, I saw that I had a missed call from Edward, and I quickly composed a text to him.
"Heard you were looking for me."
It took only seconds for him to reply. "I was. I want to see you after class. Do you have time?"
"For you? Always."
Class dragged on, but eventually it ended and Alice and I walked to our lockers, which were conveniently close to each other. I had no idea how it had happened because I was sure a different girl used to have that locker, but one day, Alice simply placed her books inside it as if it had always been hers.
I did have the sneaking suspicion that Edward might have asked her to trade lockers to stay close to me because ever since he graduated two and a half years ago, he had somehow still known everything about my schedule, and Alice was the only insider with that information.
I didn't even have the time to open my locker before a pair of strong hands turned me around, and there he was; the center of my world and the guy I would do just about anything for.
Edward smiled widely and leaned down to kiss me. As always, it took my breath away, and my heart pumped frantically when he pressed the entire length of his body against mine.
When he released me, I could feel the heat of the flush on my cheeks and my entire body pulsed with desire. My feelings for him were so intense, they scared me sometimes.
I giggled and wound my arms around his neck. "You know you shouldn't be here. I was going to meet you outside."
"What's the fun in that? Besides, my Angel deserves that I break the rules on her birthday," he said with mischief gleaming in his eyes.
"If you're not careful, Banshee will have the security on your ass."
He shrugged with one shoulder as if it was nothing. "She could try, but as long as you attend this school, nothing can keep me away."
We kissed again, but then Edward shifted and held a plastic bag up to me. "I need you to hide this in your locker for me."
"What is it?" I asked and eyed the bag curiously.
"It's a gift for Jimmy, and I'm going to meet with him soon, so I can't have it with me."
I nodded. "Yeah, sure. Just put it in the back."
The bell rang for second period and I frowned. I didn't want to part with Edward already. He knew how I felt and we kissed one last time before Alice and I started down the hall.
Classes continued to drag on, but I endured them because school started only a month ago and I needed to graduate. Not because I was going to college; I was way too tired of school for that. No, Edward and I planned to travel across the country and just drive where the road took us, and I knew that my parents would never allow that unless I graduated.
When school finally ended, I was itching to get out of there, and I yawned as I exited the building.
Neither Mom or Dad was coming to pick me up, because even though they might not approve of me dating a twenty-one-year-old, they knew there was nothing that could physically keep me away from him. So it was agreed that I could spend time with Edward after school as long as my homework was done when I came home.
Edward was lounging on the hood of his car while he waited for me, and I knew that behind those sunglasses he was wearing, he was looking at the kids who passed him with amusement.
He had always had a dangerous aura around him and, as with Alice, it caused people to avoid getting too close. While I still felt the taste of danger when I was with him, I had gotten quite used to it because I knew that he would never let any harm come to me.
"Who are you waiting for, handsome?" I asked as I approached the car, and Edward turned his head and smiled widely when he saw me.
"Well, I was waiting for my girlfriend, but I'd ditch her for you if you want me to," he said and pulled down his sunglasses slightly so that I couldn't miss his wink.
"I don't know," I continued, keeping up the game. "Wouldn't she get very angry if you left her behind?" I smirked and placed both of my hands on the hood so that I was practically leaning over him.
"I'd just take cover behind you," he replied.
I laughed. "Oh, really?"
"Yes, really." He grabbed the back of my neck and forcefully kissed me. I wasn't complaining.
A bout of giggles erupting behind us distracted me from my man's perfectly soft lips, and I leaned away from him so that I could look over my shoulder. As I suspected, the giggles were directed at us.
A group of girls that looked more like dolls than human beings stood close together behind a tree and whispered amongst themselves while continuously casting looks our way. It annoyed me to such a degree that I felt it in my entire body.
My breathing got labored and my eyes narrowed as I wished the girls would just disappear and leave us alone.
"Angel, what's wrong?" Edward's voice sounded far away as my annoyance built into anger and caused my blood to pump behind my ears. My hands, which I'd placed on Edward's shoulders when he pulled me toward him, tightened, but if I hurt him, he didn't say anything.
Suddenly, a thick branch cracked loudly above the girls' heads, which caused them to scream in fright and take several steps back. A very smart thing to do, because the branch fell down at the exact spot where they'd been standing seconds before.
Uneasiness replaced the anger inside of me because even though I had no idea how, I had the feeling that I had caused that branch to fall. Had the girls not moved, they could have been seriously injured.
"Whoa," I said under my breath, but I was brought out of my worried thoughts when I felt Edward's chest move up and down rapidly as he tried to hold back his laughter. I turned to look at him and frowned in question.
"That was probably the fastest those girls have run in their entire life," he said, and I gave him a weak, unsure laugh in response, just so that he wouldn't think I felt sorry for the girls.
"Yeah, I guess," I agreed, but my uneasiness did not let off. I got this weird aftertaste that made me certain I'd had something to do with the branch falling. The worst of it was that a part of me felt angry that the girls had moved out of the way.
I tried to swallow down the lump that was building in my throat and pulled away from Edward completely. He was frowning because he could read me better than anyone and he probably saw that I wasn't completely okay, but he remained silent and hopped down from the hood on the driver's side.
I felt very thankful when he changed the subject. "Is it okay for you to keep Jimmy's gift in your locker until Friday? We're having a party for him that night at my place."
I nodded. "Yeah, of course," I said and climbed into the passenger seat. "What are you giving him anyway? I never saw what it was."
Edward shrugged and started the car. It vibrated underneath me as he revved the engine to scare a few freshmen out of the way, and he chuckled when they scattered in every direction. "It's just something he wanted," he said.
"That's very nice of you."
"It's nothing, really." Edward waved away my compliment as if it made him uncomfortable. "Jimmy and I have known each other since we were both in diapers. We do this sort of thing all the time."
I decided to let it go because I saw how he was grinding his teeth, causing the muscles in his jaw to tense up. That was a sure sign that Edward was uncomfortable, although I couldn't understand why.
"So, what are we gonna do today?" I asked, and he immediately relaxed enough to give me one of his lopsided grins.
"Anything you want, Angel. It's your birthday, and the sky's the limit."
For those of you who have read BAOAT, you got a little background story here and I hope you enjoyed that.
For all of you who haven't read the aforementioned story, you don't really have to because the entire one-shot will be covered in this story, just a lot more spread out over the chapters with lots of details that were never mentioned before!
If you're very impatient, though, and want to know where this story is headed without waiting for the next chapter, the one-shot is available to be read!
As I said above, I don't know how things will look for me next week, but hopefully, I will be around to give you the next chapter!
Love you and see you all soon!