Huge thanks to my beta, Fran (Sunflower Fran) and pre-reader Angela (Angela Abbot). Without the two of them, this story wouldn't have seen the light of the day.
'The most beautiful stories always start with wreckage'
– Jack Landon
The first time he saw her, she reminded him of a painting.
Streaks of reds, purples, and blacks, stippled the pallor of white.
Yet, there was no beauty in the dapple of colors, nor was there any comfort in the starkness of her canvas.
"Poor girl!" A feminine voice derailed his train of thoughts, making him jump.
He whirled around to gape at the kindly nurse behind him, unable to remember the last time he was taken by surprise.
The woman didn't look at him though.
Instead, she stared at her, and he could almost taste the sickly bitterness of her sadness on his tongue.
"What happened?" He asked, but a fleeting glimpse into her mind provided him much more than the answer he sought.
"A victim of chronic abuse," The nurse paused, her lips drooping. "Her mother and step-father are the perps."
Something burned within him, the knowledge giving everything a new meaning with a jarring sharpness.
His considerable repository of medical knowledge didn't fail in ascertaining the severity of her condition. An easy task considering the multitude of machines she was hooked up to and the gauzes, which almost swallowed her whole.
Yet, it was her least life-threatening injuries- the bruises peeking through the dressings, which disturbed him the most.
His first impression was spot-on.
Isabella Swan was a painting … a painting of cruelty and heartbreak.